When news broadcasters proclaim nuclear apocalypse, globArt has and will always be a spear header of social enlightenment, and the art of drag aptly stands as the poster child of today’s queer renaissance. There’s something fundamentally wholesome about an art form that makes the human body its canvas and the rainbow colors of the imagination its paint stroke. Yet Drag was not always perceived this way. In what feels like ages ago, but sadly dates back just a few years, drag was constricted to the underbelly of queer culture – a derelict dive-bar’s vaudevillian act discarded by most of its queer peers and gawked at with toxic curiosity by heterosexuals with a knack for deviance.
At the time, I had already been exposed to drag in the Middle East by means of Bassem Feghali, a popular Lebanese television personality who performed in drag but who was presented as a comedian/prodigy rather than as a drag queen, and understandably so. How else could a drag queen sore in a society where strict gender roles were cemented by fervent religious beliefs and rampant conservatism? It is only in 2005, when I attended my first drag show in Montreal that I truly witnessed the magic of drag and felt like I was given a glimpse of what was not only to be the future, but a future I wanted to be a part of.
Well that future is now, courtesy of the illustrious RuPaul. Although Rupaul comes with many trailblazing predecessors, she is solely responsible for elevating the art of drag to worldwide pop-phenomenon status. Celebrated for her multi-award winning reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul now stands as a powerful ambassador of inclusivity, freedom and open-mindedness - and it’s about time. She has been brazenly championing the cause for decades, challenging gender constructs and preaching the importance of acceptance and self-love to people too overtaken by the Glamazonian oddity before them to even register her words. Her journey has helped create a world now willing to listen and to embrace change – a very noble reward for RuPaul to reap.
Having RuPaul on our cover is a new benchmark for Plastik, but also a reaffirmation that our mission to continue painting our dire world in rainbow bright colors is vital. When asked what advice she had for Plastik’s ten year-old self, she replied “Your gift to the world is beauty, color, magic and imagination. That gift is more important today than ever before. Never forget that”. That is a promise we vow to keep.