Emma Flint tells DIVA why drag kings have earned their place on Drag Race

BY EMMA FLINT, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM @pecsdragkings

The stroke of midnight on New Years Eve didn’t just mark the end of a tough year – it marked the start of a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Okay, so technically the show didn’t start at that exact moment, but all fans knew that RuPaul would be gracing our screens later that day with a glittering cast of 13 brand new queens. If that wasn’t enough to get your engine going, season two of Drag Race UK also drops this week. After such turbulent times, to say people see this as a beacon of hope is an understatement — now more than ever we need the glamour, the drama, the wigs. We need it all! 

But if waiting a whole week for a new episode is agonising, let me tell you a little secret: there is more to drag than Ru and his girls. In fact, right now, in the palm of your hand, is a link to a thriving drag scene that few outside queer culture know about… 

Drag kings. 

That’s right. There is no end of talented folx strutting their stuff while stuffing their trousers. In fact, one of the silver linings of lockdown is the number of drag kings lighting up our living rooms, so much so that when I think of drag now I tend to think of kings as opposed to the queens we’ve become so accustomed to. 

Readers of DIVA are not strangers to a drag king, and for years we’ve celebrated the kings and performers of this scene. But while we all appreciate how fine these folx are, they’re still not getting the recognition they rightly deserve. At least, not on a larger scale. 

Take Beau Jangles, a London-based king who for those in the know needs no introduction. This dashingly dapper chap has plenty of us swooning every time he takes to the stage, having performed at a variety of shows, including one of Woof Cabaret’s digital drag shows that aired back in April 2020. Every time we see him, we’re in awe of both his talent but also the amazing suits he wears. Such style! 

Then there’s Baron LaVey, who is arguably becoming the king of kings. Based in Newcastle, they provide us with a fluid interpretation of what a drag king is, serving us both masculinity and femininity in a gender-bending experience that leaves us hungry for more. Unlike some of their fellow kings, LaVey doesn’t have a fixed aesthetic that they’re known for. Instead, they wow with their chameleon-like charms; we know whatever their look for a show, they’re going to kill it. 

Of course, we have to give a little love to Mark Anthony. Having won awards for his performances, it would be downright offensive to not praise their rugged daddy aesthetic, and the fact that they’ve given a voice to plus size kings. In a society where only specific bodies are promoted, this king reminds us that weight and size has no bearing on how incredibly skilled and sexy a performer can be. 

No shade to the queens of Drag Race, but what I wouldn’t give for a TV lineup that includes Beau Jangles, Baron Lavey, Mark Anthony, Prinx SilverMajic Dyke, Georgeous Michael and Carlos Al Dick, to name but a few. In fact, there are so many talented kings out, we could easily make 13 series featuring drag kings alone. 

Can we just appreciate how fantastic some of these names are?! Seriously, just them alone would have me tuning into a drag show. They all sound exciting, entertaining, and above all, they offer another means of interacting with a part of the LGBTQI community that isn’t popularised by mainstream media. 

So come on telly executives, what are you waiting for? Give our kings the platform they so rightly deserve!

Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.

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