Drag Across Generations | Shangela, Desmond is AMAZING, Ruby Rims

By | September 6, 2019

(upbeat music) – So our first guest really does not need an introduction, and if
you know your drag history, which I’m sure is no one here, I’m sure all of y’all know, is Ruby Rims, who started his drag career in 1973 and continued throughout Stonewall and was an advocate throughout those years and was one of the pioneers
around drag performance here in New York and
helped to make it possible just so that we can have
this conversation today about drag across the generations. So please welcome Ruby Rims. (applause) All right, so our next guest is DJ Pierce, AKA Shangela, (whooping) who is a multi-faceted performer, singer, dancer, actor, and arguably,
the most successful and most enduring RuPaul’s Drag
Race contestant in history. So help me in saying
“Hallelu” to Shangela. (audience saying “Hallelu”) (applause) – (Louie) Yes! – And our last guest is
proof that drag does inspire young and old and all those in between. Desmond Is Amazing is
a young drag performer who’s now emerging and
inspiring young people his age, and it’s all because of
the support of his family that allows him to express and to explore this performance and
expression of himself. So please help me welcome
Desmond Is Amazing. (audience whooping) (applause) – (Shangela) Work! Work! – (Louie) Yes! – How did you and when
did you discover drag art? – I was 18 years old, and
I came into New York City. I lived across the river
in Newark, New Jersey. And I went to my first gay bar which was the Round Table
over on 50th Street, and I went there a few times, and one night there was a drag show. And I saw it, and I went “Wow! I could do that. I could do it better!” (laughter) And so two years later, at 20 years old, I started doing drag. – Awesome. And Shangela? – My first, kind of, introduction to drag would’ve been when I’d
just moved to Dallas to start college, and I was
dancing at my first gay bar that I got to go to ’cause I was 18, I was like “I’m in the gay bar, yay!” So I was in there dancing
and my good friend who is now my drag mother
from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alyssa Edwards, was competing
in drag pageants at the time, and she came up to on the
dance floor and she was like, “Who do you dance for?” (laughter) And I was like “No one.
I’m just here to dance.” She goes, “Uh huh. Well, you dance for me now.” And I was like, “Okay!” So I went to the studio,
and we started touring, dancing backup in a lot
of the drag pageants, and so that was my first
introduction to drag, backstage, in the dressing
rooms, and just getting to see how much work
and how much creativity and how resourceful the Queens were. I did 10 shows and then
ended up–the casting people from RuPaul’s Drag Race
were there and said, “You should put an audition
tape for season two,” and I was like, “No!” and then I was like “Yeah!” and then I thought “I’m
bout to win this $20,000 and make all my dreams come true.” Well, I was home the next day. But even still, (laughter) that’s how I kinda got into drag and just never gave up and
now here I am today with you. – Awesome! So, Desmond, what inspired
you to get into drag? Or what sparked that inspiration, you said “I’m gonna do this right here, right now”? – RuPaul’s Drag Race. – (Shangela) Hey! – I was, like, mesmerized
by what was happening on the show, so I just
didn’t play with my toys at the time, and then I started, like, wrapping towels around myself as dresses, – (Shangela) Yes, towels! – They didn’t look elegant, (laughter) didn’t have all the beads
and rhinestones and glitter. – I love it! Towels is true fashion if
anyone saw me creating costumes, that’s basically how I did it, too, baby, so you were great! – Okay, thank God I’m well-round. (laughter) – So it’s kind of like what
Shangela just mentioned, like being resourceful– – Oh, I thought you were
gonna say me season two, I was like, “Hey! Now hold
up! This ain’t no roast!” No, I’m just kidding. (laughter) – In what ways have you
seen drag performance create a safer environment
for LGBTQ people? – Well, I think for the
magic of television, we’ve seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it’s become more mainstream, and we still have a very,
very long way to go. There are transgender children who are not being able to work, who
are still being beaten up, who are still being abused. Many, many years ago,
when I did Phil Donahue– for those of you who don’t know who Phil Donahue is: Google, it was, “Let’s watch the freaks.” Now, it’s “Let’s watch the drag queens.” – Hats off, especially to you, mama, who’ve, you know, went on shows that were really the only outlets,
I believe, at the time where there were very few outlets to even see drag queens. For a small, gay, black
kid in Paris, Texas, even seeing drag queens on TV, even in the face of an
audience that always was, you know, you would get
looks like, you know, all that, even to see you guys on TV standing proud as who you were and saying, “This is my life. I’m here.” And it gave visibility to people that didn’t have a lot of visibility, so thank you for doing that, I’m sure it couldn’t have
been comfortable always going on to those type of shows. (applause) – But they were like the comment section– talk shows in the 80’s and 90’s were like the comment sections on Facebook, (laughter) in real life, right? So, like, it’s amazing that Ruby Rims was and still continues to be the inspiration and provide that visibility
that inspired you. And now you’re doing the same for people who are like Desmond, who
are emerging artists, right? So, Desmond, my question to you is: What is your favorite song to perform to? – My favorite song to perform to is, let me think, 10 years later, I’m just kidding, Cardi B. – Yes! My favorite to perform
would be anything Beyonce. I love Beyonce, music, and
it’s allowed me to connect with so many people around
the world through music. As a drag queen, you know,
sometimes we perform live, but a lot of times we lip sync, and so when you have a person who has so much heart and passion in their music and you love it, it’s good, okay Beyonce? Plus, I got to, 10 years later, after my first number I ever performed was Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” and then fast-forward to this
year at the GLAAD Awards, I got to perform for Beyonce. (applause) And then I got to meet her backstage, and you know, I’d never
met her, like, in person, like, “Hi, my name is…”
“It’s so nice to meet you,” kind of thing, so I
practiced in my head, like, “What am I gonna say?
What am I gonna say?” I wanna say like, “I
honor you, I love you,” like, I had so much to
say, and all I thought when I got there was like–she
was like, she started, she goes, like, “You were so good.” (laughter) And I was like, “Thank
you! You are so good!” And she was like, “Thank you,
I could tell you were in it.” And I was like, “You are so always–” Everything she said, I
just repeated back to her, and then at the end, I was like, “Girl, I’m so happy, I
could go to Popeyes,” and she was like, “Ooh,
I wish I could go, too.” And I was like, “Okay, thank you! Bye!” And I was just like, “Why’d you say that?” But, anyway, it was great. – Ruby, where do you see,
or where do you hope to see drag and LGBTQ people 50 years from now when we’re back here celebrating and doing a live taping
of Kiki’s with Louie at the hundredth anniversary of Stonewall? – Well, I’ll be here. (laughter) ‘Cause at the end of the world, it’s gonna be me, Cher, and roaches. (laughter) I would hope, wherever I am, that there is more acceptance
all over the world, that there’s more peace,
not just for drag, but for everyone. And that everyone can always be themselves no matter what they are. (applause) – What is your hope for other young people who want to do drag like yourself? – My hope is that they can just do them without their parents or
their friends or whatever, which if your friends do that, then they’re not your friends, obviously, but if your parents or,
like, anyone else says “you can’t do it,” I hope that
doesn’t exist in 50 years. Thankfully, I’ll probably
be able to see it ’cause I’ll probably still be alive. I’m only 12. (laughter) – So what is your favorite part of Pride, and why is Pride still important to you? – Pride has always been being
able to show who you are and what you are, and never
be ashamed of what you are. People will tell you you shouldn’t be, tell them to go… themselves. – I think it’s important
that we have Pride and we have these marches
and these celebrations to remind us that we are exactly
who we are supposed to be. And it starts right here,
when you look in the mirror, and you have to love and
embrace every part of yourself, and not be ashamed of it,
and not let society shame us for who we are and how
we love and how we behave and go through life as human beings because that’s what we are. We are all human beings,
and everyone counts, and everyone matters. So I think Pride’s a great
time that we remember that, that we should be proud of
who we are and not ashamed, no matter there’s no one
around us who is like us or if there are tons, you know? We have to accept ourselves
and not be ashamed to share that with others
’cause when we can share our most authentic selves with others, then we can all become a better and closer community, together. So I think that’s really
important about Pride, and it’s also–we have
to remember that the work that we did to get us here is not over. And that’s why we have to stay involved, stay informed, register
to vote, be active, actually get out there and vote, tell a friend to vote, and don’t be shy, you
know, I used to be very– I give long answers, I apologize– but, you know, I was thinking
when people in my community or, like, in my family even,
would be afraid to say “gay,” they would just say, you know, growing up in a black household, sometimes
it’s totally different. Some of you may have a similar experience. But, like, they would
dance around issues of gay. If I brought home a date,
it’d be my “little friend,” not like a boyfriend or
someone I’m going out with, it’s just “Oh, that’s his friend.” We’re both very gay and obviously gay, but it’s important that I started saying, “No. It’s not my friend.
This is my boyfriend, and you guys have to address this person as my boyfriend. My friends are gay. The word
‘gay’ is not a bad word.” I love seeing, you know,
Desmond and his mom, and at Pride, so many families coming out because people are talking about “gay,” and it’s not a taboo thing. It’s just what it is. – My mom grew up in a
Roman Catholic house, and her uncle was gay, and whenever he ate at their house, my mom
told me that her parents would throw away the china that he ate on. – Well, we’ve all, I think–
and that’s a good story for you to know because
people will discriminate, and you will see it in
your families right close, and you gotta call it out. And that’s what we have to do even with the administration now, when you get into rooms of people that are coming up with
this rhetoric that is– whether it’s anti-black or
anti-gay or anti-trans– if you don’t agree, being silent
is no longer an okay thing. You need to open your
mouth and say something. (applause) – Desmond, you know, even
having your mother, like, when you’re visible and the
love and support of your family is visible, it inspires other families and lets other mothers
and other families know that they’re not alone
and that they can do this. We all love RuPaul’s Drag Race, and we all love a good drag show every now and then, but we must keep that same energy when it’s not just for our entertainment. The Trump administration has just declared that they think it should be legal for insurance companies
and medical providers to discriminate against transgender, gender non-conforming, and
gender non-binary people. LGBT young people already
face several obstacles when trying to access medical care. That is why Advocates for
Youth is working in coalition with trans-led projects to make sure that this rule does not
go into full effect. We need to submit thousands
of comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, but we need your help. You can take action by going to ProtectTransHealth.org to make sure that this rule does not take place and make sure that your voices are heard. So what are gonna do? (chanting “Protect Trans Health”) (applause) Oh this is cute. – (offscreen) Louie! – Oh, hey! Well, I wanna thank you for
watching Kikis with me, Louie, and if you enjoyed this episode, make sure to like and
subscribe down below. And I wanna hear your
thoughts and experiences on this topic, so drop a comment, and let’s keep the Kikis going. (upbeat music)

8 thoughts on “Drag Across Generations | Shangela, Desmond is AMAZING, Ruby Rims

  1. Anthony Blessett Post author

    Honestly this was so amazing and beautiful I was here for it ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Gemineye Duality Post author

    They aren't all pedos but I would happen a guess that pedos are 1000% more likely among them as the common population.


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