The Yellowjacket Union hosted royalty April 10, 2019. Professional and amateur performers took the stage, some being UWS’s very own students!
This academic year, Alliance and the Gender Equity Resource Center (GERC) will be holding the drag show Oct. 26, 2019 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the YU Atrium. There will be a meet and greet afterward, so as T Leeper, UWS Gender and Sexuality Program Coordinator, stated, “Come for the show, stay for the dance party!”
The night was full of smiles and glitter while audience members watched queens and kings perform. Leeper hosted the show, however, before officially beginning the show, Leeper spoke in recognition to whose land UWS inhabits – the Ojibwe people’s. But after the pause for respect, Leeper (below) was jumping right into their role as host.
“Who are those first timers in the house…raise those hands ya’ll!” spoke Leeper. “Yes, make some noise for our new comers!” The atrium was filled with applause and cheers. “Kings, queens, and in-betweens—“, but Leeper’s introduction was cut off. The microphone cord had disconnected from the mic. Thankfully, the sketchy mic was a source of comedy instead of a hindrance throughout the show.
The first performer was Angelo, a professional and seasoned drag king. He opened the show and dollar bills immediately went in the air, as Angelo is one of the crowd’s favorite reoccurring kings.
After Angelo’s dance, Carmella Sweetness, alumna of UWS, took the stage as co-host to Leeper. Upon her entrance, members of the audience shouted, “Yas, honey!” excited to see her return.
Later, Venus DeMylo (right), also a returning queen to UWS’s drag show, performed.
When DeMylo arrived, the audience was excited. UWS was witness to her first drag performance from prior years, so this was the next level to her evolution. She performed a lip-sync to Petula Clark’s “Downtown”.
Following, Sweetness (right) lip-synced to Patti LaBelle’s “New Attitude”. Afterward, she reassumed her role as host and segued into a quick reflection. “I started this show because those that are underage had no way to perform [and] I wanted to provide an opportunity to minors, those underage, to have a chance to perform.”
The fifth performer was Goddess Empress. She lip-synced to Hamilton’s “You’ll Be Back” and the audience sang along.
Another technical difficulty with the microphone had the audience laughing. Leeper shared, sitting on the stage, “You know that face when you know that silent internal scream is happening? Then [while] I’m sitting down here and going ‘plug it in, plug it in,’ some of that silent, internal scream comes out.” Everyone in attendance had a wonderful time at the show, which helps secure the promise for another annual performance.
To differentiate this year from years past, Leeper said Alliance and GERC are “looking forward to [sharing] aspects of LGBTQ+ history, ballroom culture, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.” For context, the Stonewall Uprising, also called the Stonewall Riots, began in June 1969. The New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club, which sparked a riot. In response, there were six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement. This was a catalyst for the gay rights movement.
Morgan Richardson, a member of Alliance, said they are “a student group that provides community and support for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.” Alliance meets every Thursday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. in Swenson 1031.