HRL to host drag show

Andrew Henderson

Housing and Residence Life is opening up the stage this weekend to let students strut their stuff to the beats of modern music. 

HRL will be hosting an on-campus drag show on Saturday. Blair Jensen, assistant director for HRL, said the decision to host a drag show was purely for fun. Jensen reached out to the WKU community to find interested students and students answered the call.

“The response was overwhelming. We had a great group of students respond,” she said. 

Auditions were held and 10 students are set to perform in the show. Jensen said she sees the drag show as a great opportunity to educate students about the history of drag, drag culture and how it impacts gender identity and gender expression. 

“We are reaching out to a portion of our student population and campus community to show support and to provide an outlet for them to express themselves,” she said. 

Before the drag show, students will have also had the opportunity to attend the fifth annual gender and communication conference, Gender Crossroads: Intersectionalities of You.

Jensen said she thought the drag show would be a good end to the conference, as a majority of that day will have been spent talking about the intertwining of gender identities and how it relates to communication.  

Jarred Johnson, junior from Somerset,  will be one of the students performing in the show. Johnson said while he’s had no prior drag experience he is more than ready to try this experience.

“I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race over winter break and toyed with the idea of trying for myself,” Johnson said in an email. “The event was my impetus.”

Johnson said as a gay male, he’s already breaking the normative ideals of what it means to be male. As an artist who enjoys dancing and performing, he sees the drag show as a natural step.

He will be lip-sync  “You Know You Like It” by AlunaGeorge and DJ Snake.

“I don’t think a lot of people think about the idea of drag being an art form, but I absolutely think it is,” Johnson said.   

Amira Bryant, senior from Killeen, Texas, will be one of the performers in the show. Bryant said her hall director texted her about performing in the show, as the hall director knew Bryant had prior drag experience. 

“She was like, ‘HRL is thinking about putting on a show and we wanted to know if you were interested. It would be really awesome if you could help out,’ and I was like, ‘hell yeah, I’d love to help out,’” Bryant said. 

Bryant said during her freshman year, a friend of her’s persuaded her into doing drag. Bryant said she would shave her head and wear wigs, so it was easy to pull off looking like a boy. She said pulling off the look of being a male is like a whole other form of entertainment.

“It’s like you joke around about genders switching up, I don’t know, but then to like actually perform it, impress other people around you and entertain other people around you can be really fun. It can be a lot of fun,” she said. 

Bryant will be performing “Cake” by Trey Songz. She said it’s a very sexual, sensual song, and it should be interesting to perform to it. She hopes with this being HRL’s first drag show it receives praise and success. 

“I think it’s going to be really fun. I hope it’s a great turnout since it’s going to be their first show,” Bryant said. 

Jensen said the drag show is meant to be a kind of social activity that will also show support for those identifying as LGBTQIA and provide a safe environment for self-expression. She said the show doesn’t serve to change anyone’s view point, but rather open up more discussion.

“I’m hoping that kind of an outcome of the drag show will be that students are more comfortable engaging in dialogue about gender issues and gender expression,” Jensen said. 

The WKU Drag Show will be at 8 p.m. on the third floor of Downing Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.