A Brooklyn Drag Show Celebrates Arab Queens


SURFACING

At a brand new cabaret, queens and L.G.B.T.Q. Arabs can celebration freely.

After she moved to the United States for college, Ana discovered “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and realized she had found her calling. But it would take time to get onstage and shed the paranoia and shame she had carried.

When she finally made her drag debut last summer, she felt like an outsider among the other queens working in New York City. Her performances are “inspired by a completely different set of cultural influences,” she said. She envisioned a North African and Middle Eastern cabaret that would celebrate diversity and fuse her love of drag with her love of Egyptian culture. It would also be a place where people like her could feel safe in their own skin.

During a break, the D.J. took over; one woman plays along to the music on a darbuka, a goblet-shaped hand drum that’s popular across the Middle East. Every few minutes someone ululates; others dip into the backyard to smoke. A handful of people form a chain to do dabke, a traditional line dance from the Levant.

To wrap up the night, the queens gathered onstage for a group photo while the audience cheered them on and snapped pictures of their own. Ana promised they would be back: She hopes to make the show a monthly event — the next one is June 22.

“I want to create drag for our people,” she said.



Source link Nytimes.com

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