This Catchy Song Explores The Fascinating History Of Drag

Get ready to dance through 2,000 years of drag history. With the help of Imp Queen, The Vixen, Lucy Stoole, London Jade, and Eva Young, performer Dorian Electra will take you on an exuberant romp across the theaters of 19th-century Beijing and the revolutionary halls of Manhattan's historic Stonewall Inn — the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement. After all, drag has a long-standing history, passed from the wig-wearing male actors of Shakespeare's playhouse to the singers of Prohibition-era New York's jazz clubs.

For all of its glamorous allure, drag has always represented a lot more than its enchanting appearance. "It’s a captivating form of entertainment that pokes fun at gender and identity along with the social and political traditions that accompany them," Electra says, highlighting the theater as a naturally transgressive space where actors can become anything they imagine. Centuries before RuPaul brought drag to the mainstream, queer performance created opportunities to quietly play with and question gender roles — such as in Elizabethan England, where women were notoriously banned from appearing on stage.

Yet, as drag moves more deeply into mainstream culture, it risks losing some of its delicious, renegade energy. Imp Queen, whom you can catch rapping about ancient Greece's masked male performers in the video above, notes the dangers of rising from the underground to pop culture prominence.

"[E]xposure often erases or invisibilizes a population of queer people, and especially trans women of color, who are actually creating these cultural expressions," Imp Queen says. "So it felt like an important time to gather a group of queens and trans women and try to make something about the history of drag and trans culture, but in a way that felt accessible to a straight audience that maybe doesn't know anything about drag beyond what they've seen on TV."

Electra's diverse group of performers has certainly created an entertaining look at drag's complex and compelling history, while amplifying a range of voices that continue to influence its culture. As their fantastically catchy song preaches, "live your life and celebrate...you are what you create."
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