An Open Letter to Boy Shakira
AN OPEN LETTER TO BOY SHAKIRA, "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT" PERFORMER:
Dear Boy Shakira,
Why? Why am I so fascinated by you?
Well... I know why. Because you're a conundrum. I mean, what the hell? You are a sincere drag queen. Sincere! Drag queens are supposed to be campy and acidic, commenting on the idiot world with every flick of their world-weary eyelashes. Or else they're supposed to be RuPaul, making happy dance music and giving a performance of feminine attitude that comments on how we construct our notions of women.
But you, Boy Shakira, are none of those things. Maybe it's the way "AGT" is editing you, but you don't seem calculated. You seem like a guy who just loves to get in a halter top and lip synch. In tonight's post-performance talk with Jerry Springer, you said, "It's not about the wig or the costume. It's about entertainment. We're entertainers."
In other words, Boy Shakira, you have decided--with no apparent irony--that the best way you can entertain these folks is to dress up like Shakira and dance.
Or not even Shakira! Because tonight, Boy Shakira, you were Boy Britney! And you did a really good job with the dance moves to "...Baby One More Time!"
That's another part of the conundrum, Boy Shakritney. I have to admit that you're a talented dancer. And now that you've mixed it up and started impersonating other people, you're making it harder for me to dismiss you. I'm interested to know who you'll be next week.
I mean, you're not an A-list drag queen like Justin Bond's Kiki. Kiki is, like, the best drag identity of all time. But you're not a one-note joke like I thought you were.
And let's talk more about your sincerity. Is it possible that's the greatest weapon you've got?
Often, drag queens are fierce. Their anger gives them power, but it's a power that lets them remain feminine. That's what many gay men need to withstand the attacks of vicious people. It's like they're saying, "Oh, so I can't love men because that makes me like a woman? And being a woman is bad? Well, watch this. I'm going to turn into the hardest woman you've ever seen."
Are you making the same statement from a different direction? Just by your very existence, are you a middle finger to the people who can't handle it when a big Latin guy in drag comes out and dances his ass off, refusing to hide one inch of feminine side?
In your polite, smiling ability to make David Hasslehoff squirm in the presence of unabashed queerness, are you shouting a political battle cry? Are you saying, "Look here. You can boo me and hate me, but I will not turn callous for you. You will not rob me of my kindness or my joy or my love of my self. And? Also? I will wear the skirt you hate me for wearing, and I will dance like a crazy locomotive to boot."
Yes. I think that maybe you are saying that.
Oh, Boy Shakritney, you've got me in your web. It would be so easy to make a joke out of you, but you're not a joke. You represent something. It's just taken me a few weeks to see it.
So guess what?
I voted for you.