Keeping Drag Snatch in a Time of Coronavirus

With cultural institutions scaling up their digital efforts almost overnight, Brooklyn Public Library has been releasing an array of digital resources for New Yorkers to participate in over the next few weeks, including its’ newest addition – a virtual Drag Queen Story Hour. 

Intended to be a fun educational experience for children and teens to learn about gender fluidity, the 45-minute Story Hour became Brooklyn Public Libraries’ newest addition, with Miz Jade, a Bushwick native, hosting her first live-streamed session over Facebook and Instagram.

Smiling into the camera in her flamboyant makeup and tall orange wig, Miz Jade launched into the storytelling session, touching on some more sensitive topics like bullying and also using the opportunity to teach about proper hygiene amidst the coronavirus.

Tops and bottoms, tops and bottoms,” sang Miz Jade to the tune of Frère Jacques, “in-between, in between, scrub them all together, scrub them all together, now they’re clean, squeaky clean.”

Davon Chance, who performs as Miz Jade, gave a dynamic performance over the live stream,  asking questions to those watching at home behind their screens and doing activities that required participation from the viewers, but Chance told KCP that the transition to a virtual platform was definitely something she has to get used to.  

“Drag is essentially a performance,” she said, “that’s what we love to do – get out and perform! So it’s something we definitely miss.”

Performers all over the state now find themselves without a job due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s enforced shutdown of all non-essential businesses two weeks ago, leaving fans of late-night entertainment like comedy or drag shows missing out on their favorite performances. 

But it’s been even harder on the drag queens and kings who can’t go out and do what they love, explained Chance, which is why many drag performers have been embracing the online space as a way to connect to their audience in spite of not being able to see them face to face.

“I have friends calling me and telling me how depressed they are because they can’t go out and do drag,” said Miz Jade, “but I’ve also been receiving so much love for putting my performances online so it’s something I’m going to continue doing.”  

For a listing of other Brooklyn Public Library Virtual Story Times Click Here.

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