Gay North America International Supreme, Miss Illinois U.S. of A. 2007, and artist, Ceduxion Carrington home to central Illinois, the now 44-year-old has performed all over the Midwest and the country.
Transcription of above micro-podcast:
Julia: “When I asked her how she defines drag, she stated that drag is accented.”
Ceduxion: “I always say drag is accented. And I tell people if you take a pen and I’ve said this for years, if you take a pen and put a dot on a piece of paper and then you put that pen back on that dot, and then move it to the left or the right all you did was accent that dot, and made it longer. You dragged it. You dragged from one point to another point and that’s what drag is.”
Julia: “When I asked her what advice she would give her younger self, she said she would not have put so much faith in certain people because not everyone had good intentions. When I asked her what she would change about drag, the drag scene or the community, she said she did not know what she would change and that she did not think that she would change anything. When I asked her what she wants people to know about or learn about drag, she said she wants people to appreciate it as an art form. So these replies are very interesting because there are endless responses for each of these questions that can be so vastly different from person to person.”
Transciption of Full Interview:
To cite this particular interview, please use the following:
Goren, Julia 2021. Interview with Ceduxion Carrington. The Art of Drag, SIUE, March 25. Available URL (https://ezratemko.com/drag/ceduxion-carrington).
Julia: Okay, it’s recording now. Alright, so we’ll go ahead and get started. When did you first hear about drag, and what was your initial reaction to it?
Ceduxion: That is the most unique question I’ve been asked. Um, so I–I halfway came out at the age of 18 as in I started telling my friends but not my family and I was sneaking off to um gay bars in Springfield, Illinois ’cause at that time you only had to be 18 to get in. So my first experience at drag show was actually really really good. Um, I met a drag queen named Krystal Night from Springfield and I wasn’t even doing drag at the time of course and she thought I was her nephew. I favored her nephew and she pulled up a picture and yeah I really did look like it. So her heart dropped when she saw me because she thought maybe her nephew was closeted and decided to come to the gay bar. Um, I didn’t really have like an opinion of it. Like I wasn’t um, I don’t really know how to even really describe it. Um, I didn’t think good or bad of it but I enjoyed it, you know? And it was me coming out and I enjoyed the show and I didn’t– at that point in time I never considered it. Um, it was just part of gay culture that I was being exposed to so that’s basically—that’s basically it. But, they were, the people that I met that night, they were all very welcoming and legendary to their area.
Julia: Excellent, that’s really cool and that’s funny about the nephew thing.
Ceduxion: Oh yeah.
Julia: That’s something that would happen to me.
Ceduxion: We were almost dead ringers so she had every right to like be worried, for a split second.
Julia: Okay, and then, so, when did you start performing as a drag artist, and why did you start performing?
Ceduxion: Oh, that’s a good one too. So, as I said, um, I hit the bars when I was 18 and the funny thing is that’s when I started performing, but not as drag. Um, in bigger areas there’s more of a performance venue. So like, if you’re a male who performs as a male you’re called a, uh, a bio-king, as in a biological king or a mister. If you’re a female who performs as a female you’re called a bio-femme or a femme fatal. So, I started out performing as a guy and I joined that family of the queen who thought I was her nephew. So I was a Knight before I was Ceduxion Carrington. So I did 3 years of that and then of course the excuse is Halloween. So one Halloween I got in drag and uh that was even before the career. That was just the first time and then, after that, my best friend, her drag name is Chanel Carrington and uh I took on Ceduxion Carrington shortly after um, the first time that I actually did it was for a same-sex abuse benefit show and then it just kinda, it didn’t carry on like immediately after that um, another prominent figure in our community named Anita Man, she was having a pageant and she needed one more contestant. And I really wasn’t about the drag life to be honest. I just kind of did it to do it as like I said the same-sex abuse was my start for it cause it was a good cause. But my Auntie Anita, as we call her, she needed a um, contestant for her pageant or she would have had to cancel it and there was like pageant promoters from all over coming down to watch this preliminary so she asked me to do it and I was like hell no I don’t even have drag. Like, I don’t have drag I just did the same-sex benefit show, um abuse benefit show. That was it and everything I had that night was loaned to me. So she was like, I got you, I will give you all the clothes and things you need blah, blah, blah, I just need another body because I can’t have a pageant with 2 contestants. There has to be a winner, a second place, and basically a loser. At that time if you didn’t have at least 3 contestants you had to cancel your pageant. It’s not so much that anymore but back then that was kind of a rule. So, she gave me all of the things that I needed. The categories were interview, evening gown, and talent. And, I’ve always been a dancer or whatever but, long story short, I won the pageant! My first time doing a pageant, my first time really doing high in drag and all that and I won. Well, she failed to tell me that by winning it was a preliminary to a bigger pageant. So, um if I wanted to step down, I had to give back the prize money and I didn’t want to do that. So, um that preliminary was to a state title which was called Miss Illinois U.S. of A. And so I fulfilled my obligations as the local bar winner and then we made it to the state pageant and I got 3rd in the state. So that’s like under a year of drag and I’m competing against veterans, you know, and I got 3rd in state. Well, from the time that I won the pageant to the time that I actually went to the state pageant, other bar owners or promoters were watching me and then they were asking me to come perform at their bar, which is known as a booking. So, I started traveling the United States. I was in different parts of Iowa every other weekend. I was in Carbondale and I was in Springfield and I was in Missouri, and so once that ball got rolling I just stuck with it. I was like– and my expenses were being, not all of ’em, but some of my expenses were being taken care of. I’m seeing different places and it just– I just stuck with it and here we are, still. 25, 26 years later.
Julia: That’s amazing, I love that story.
Ceduxion: That’s a long-ass story. That’s actually—that’s still the short version.
Julia: Um, okay, so how did your family, friends, and like any other loved ones receive you becoming a drag artist?
Ceduxion: Oh man. Well, my mother is hilarious, and I’m going to tell just a hair of a backstory. When I was coming out, I was more worried about her opinion of me because my mother is the kind of lady that goes to church 75 times a week and I was like oh, here comes the Bible beating, here comes all the stuff. But I’m a mama’s boy, so any hurtful words from my mother would definitely hurt, but she definitely was not that at all. Um, I guess it’s because most coming out stories are horror stories so uh, my mom was like you know, I love you, you’re my son no matter what and then she finished that with if anybody has to move out of this house it will be your dad. So, she had my back no matter what my father may or may not think she’s willing to put her husband out for her boy. So I’ve got a great mom. Um, so I didn’t tell anybody initially but you can’t hide things from your mother. I’m on the phone with my mom one day and we’re chatting and she’s like we’re just talking and she said yeah I went to the grocery store today and I picked up some milk, and some eggs, couple loaves of bread, I know you do drag, some soda, and some chips, I said what did you say? She said I picked up some milk, some eggs, a loaf of bread, I know you do drag, some soda, I was rolling. I was like how did you find out? She’s like don’t worry about it. And then um she started going to my shows the local ones and she go to– go to my shows at night and go to church Sunday morning and uh she told her sisters and they started– they never came but they wanted to and then it got out that I did it and more and more and more my family started attending my shows. Like so I really didn’t have to tell them. They’re just like we want to go. So, I didn’t really have any obstacles. The funniest one is my brother is because he’s–he’s probably my biggest, one of my biggest supporters. But he’s a thug and so being stereotypical when he walks in the gay bar everybody like clutches their purse and their pearls and their wallets cause he’s scary at uh, and then when I perform he gets all gangster in it and it scares it scares the audience members he’ll go yeah that’s my motherfucking brother up there and it scares–like the people that who don’t know him see this dude sagging in his little beanie cap jumping up and getting all wavy they’re like what’s this guy doing but it’s just my brother getting excited cause he enjoys the show and it’s so funny because now he knows what a good show is. Like he will go to a show with me and be like yo she needs some help bro go talk to her like he knows what. It’s so funny to hear him say that shit but yeah, I’ve got I’ve got a great support system so I didn’t even have to tell him; they were already on board once I started.
Julia: That’s awesome. I love that. Okay, and then so where does your drag name come from? Like you talked a little about the Carrington part but, where did you choose like your name?
Ceduxion: Hilarious. My first drag name was Kiwi. And uh there was a drink in the 90s called Fruitopia. I don’t even know if it’s still around. And my favorite flavor was kiwi berry ruckus. So Kiwi was– my Kiwi Ruckus was my first drag name. And then I worked at a retail store called Von Mauer. Uh, doing security which was funny and uh I was in the women’s department and I saw these, this uh label of clothing called seduction and it was spelled c e d u x i o n. Well tradition in my drag mother’s family is your name has to start with C because we use the, I can’t think of the right word. Uh like Chanel the label, their emblem has two C’s back to back, so we use that to represent the house of our family so my daughter’s name is Calexus my other daughter’s name is China, Chalaya, so as long as we can use the label for Chanel, that’s the word I was looking for, the label for Chanel. The emblem, and it’s not a stickler you don’t have to have the C’s but that’s just kind of what we do. So, I decided to change my name from Kiwi to Ceduxion cause I liked how it was spelled actually.
Julia: Yeah, that’s really unique and interesting. Okay, so there’s a lot of different like terms for the types and styles of drag and then like from drag queen to drag king, which you kind of touched on a little bit earlier you know. And then to glamour queen, male impersonator, comedy queen, bearded queen you know, queer artist, bio queen we talked about, camp queen among like many others you know but are there particular labels that you would use to categorize your drag and then like what kind of drag like do you do, what’s your style exactly?
Ceduxion: I’ve learnsed not stay in a box. I’m all over the place. I have never done bearded drag. But that’s just the school that I come from and it’s hard for older queens to accept bearded drag. Not–not me I’m not going to lie at first I was like what is this but immediately I dismissed it because drag is expression and if you want to keep your beard on and do your makeup that is your expression. Who am I to say that you can’t do that? A lot of older queens do have an issue with that. A lot of older queens have a lot of issues with the drag that’s going on now but you can’t forget what drag is. It is accenting something that was normal. Like that’s the whole point of putting on fake lashes. That’s the whole point of drawing your eyebrows to your hairline. Like it’s accenting something normal. So however you want to do it is fine. Um, I’ve dibbled and dabbled in almost all those categories you named. So I like to be versatile because there’s always someone in the audience at some point that I’ve never connected with and I like to try to connect with—with various people in the audience because our audi—a drag show audience is so diverse. There’s no way you can blanket the type of people that go to a drag show. So I would like to be known as a performer. I won’t say successfully do other styles but I attempt to do it and I work on my craft and I try to finesse it to make it enjoyable.
Julia: And then just like the–so, how does this really impact like your life as a drag artist with you being versatile in your style and your drag?
Ceduxion: It’s actually always been my life. I just put makeup on. Like okay so, I’m going to bring up like stereotypes. Being African-American, if I go to a certain bar and I’m singing lyrics to a song that people probably think of that I shouldn’t know but my mother raised me on country and gospel and it took me getting older to realize like all these country songs I’m singing, my mother introduced me to it. And then like my blues, and my soul and R&B is my and Jazz, maybe not really Jazz, maybe a touch of jazz was my father. My brother introduced me to some hip hop, and R&B, and rap and you know we were the only Black, at the time, we were the only Black family in a predominantly white neighborhood and that’s where I got my rock and roll and my metal and my like I have a blend of all of that. And then I did show choir and that’s probably where my my broadway and my camp from like drag, like all I’m doing is putting on makeup and being myself really, to tell you the truth like I just I have dabbled in everything. I sang, I did choir, did all that stuff and I wouldn’t change it for the world because if you can only do one type of thing, you’re limited, and I don’t feel limited. Kind of like some actors are typecasted. Like Kevin Hart plays the same role all the time. He’s limited. I’m not saying he’s not good at it, but he would never be able to play like, I don’t say never that was rude but, like people might look at him differently if he played a war veteran or something like that so this has always been me and and I like said I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Julia: So, what I’m hearing is like in regards to what or who rather has influenced your drag, you would say like that music really had a big impact because the show choir thing you know and like you– like you just said like it’s always been a part of you you’re just putting on makeup so do you have like a another way that you want me to like word like how drag has really influenced your life or is that a pretty good?
Ceduxion: Oh music is that but like I’m also a huge nerd. Um, I do cosplay and I incorporate that into my shows. I’ve been Wonder Woman, I’ve been a female Iron Man, I’ve been a female Spider-Man. I, I don’t know, so I felt this what drag is to me like this is why I tell people all the time: drag is a sum total of my life’s failures. All the things that I aspired and I wanted to be when I was younger, I’m able to convey that through drag I wanted to be an artist. I draw, I make up my own superheroes. Um that’s how much of a geek I am. And I draw, I mix my music myself, um I dance. I’ve choreographed numbers for myself and other drag queens. So like, all the things that I wanted to do was when I was little. I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be an architect, I wanted to be an actor I wanted to be a backup dancer. Um, I get to do all those through my craft. And like it though I may not be on Hollywood I still am successfully living my dream plural dreams cause there was so much I wanted to do. Cause like when you do drag you have to sell what you’re giving so I do monologues, I do parts from movies. So like I get to do all those things I wanted to do.
Julia: That’s really cool, thank you. Do you consider drag to be political and then why or why not?
Ceduxion: As in community-wise like political I mean to a degree like definitely there’s like drag politics in pageants and I’m sure like in RuPaul’s Drag Race I’m sure there’s some politics like I get looked at funny cause I’ve never watched a single episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race and I do drag and people are like are you kidding me. And yeah of course I’ve seen clips, I’ve seen the memes, I know tons of the girls. Like, I knew a lot I always know who’s on what season or whatever but there’s so many girls that I met before they’re on there you know. I just I don’t watch it so I always get in trouble for that but I’m sure that there is sounds like things are political. Like, fan-favorites and sometimes, I hear from my friends that has been on the show things are some things are already predetermined on how the outcomes are going to be. And I have to be okay with it. So definitely that, I’ve seen it in pageants. So, you know I’ve seen girls win pageants based on their name and not give it the effort that they should have or maybe a new girl did better than a veteran girl but they don’t want to give it to the new girl. So it’s– there’s definitely that kind of politics involved.
Julia: Okay, um, and then how often do you perform and like where do you perform I guess the most?
Cedxion: Oh, often. Woo! Not much now. Good ole COVID. Um we’re just now getting the ball rolling. I mean the most is my central Illinois being cause that’s where I’m based so Decatur, Springfield, Champaign, Bloomington, Peoria. The gay bar in Champaign did close after 4 years ago so not so much is there. I call us homeless drag people. We should hold signs saying will do drag for food because Champaign had its gay bar for 35 years and like literally we don’t–it’s like we don’t know what to do. It’s hard. I mean we do it at a lot of straight venues or whatever but like we don’t have home. So, but I still travel mostly Central Illinois. There’s a point in time where I was in Indiana every weekend. I was in Iowa at the begin– a lot in the beginning of my drag career. I’ve been to Texas, I’ve been Virginia, Missouri, Wisconsin. That’s where actually, I actually won a national title so I, nobody can take that away from me that I went, kind of like a Miss America Pageant so I went National and I am known as Gay North America International Supreme. That’s a long title but, that’s mine. Um, so I’m trying to think of where else I’ve been. I’ve traveled quite a few places. Not as much as I like but, but Central Illinois is my, is my home base. Yeah, that’s pretty much, pretty much it that I can think of on the fly.
Julia: And then, what all goes into like getting ready for a performance? I’m sure there’s tons of things but, if you want to give like a brief overview of all that goes into it, then that would be great.
Ceduxion: I can do that! Number one in my opinion, is the venue. Um and that breaks down into whether I’m familiar with the venue or if I’ve never been there before. But if I’m familiar with the venue, I’m familiar with the people so then I tend to know what to bring and then it depends on the music selection and then the combination of the outfit, the jewelry, and um, the hair, and then how much of the performance you want to give. And that sounds kind of bad to say but like, if it’s a restricted area, I’m not bringing a lot of stuff. Like some, of course, I, you don’t need me to tell you, some venues are bigger or smaller than the other, some dressing rooms are bigger and smaller, um and also depends on how the show is ran. Cause sometimes you have time to do elaborate costumes or sometimes the shows move at such a high pace that you have better be able to throw something on quick and still look nice and maybe request the assistance of someone else but, not a whole lot. But if you got like four entertainers between you then you can do more elaborate costumes between them. Sometimes and it depends if they take a break in the show or if it’s a straight through. Yeah, so those are the things that I that I factory in when getting ready for a show.
Julia: And then what are some of the biggest challenges to do in drag and being a drag artist in general?
Ceduxion: Right now, just being 44 years old. I always got ideas in the end and brainstorming. I always got that going but, executing executing them is getting a little harder. I’m known as a dancer, the–my high kicks are–are now middle to low kicks so that’s just getting old and it kind of sucks but I always I compare drag to being in a professional sport you know, everybody’s going to be on top for–people are, you’re gonna be on top for a while but then there’s rising stars and then you get older so I mean you just got to you know roll with your time and when your time sets do it gracefully or whatever but I’m still pushing through.
Julia: Uh, is there like uh anything unique to the drag scene where like you live compared to the other places that you’ve traveled to?
Ceduxion: Oh, um, I want to start by saying this. When I travel out of town I expect higher standards, better drag than my area, and it’s not putting down the queens in my area. It’s like I’m out of town, I’m ready to be wowed by some out-of-town drag. Um, so I say that’s about a 50/50. There are similarities and then there there are differences. The further away you go, the more you see um, females performing as females, males performing as males and there’s even pageantry systems to–to those who perform in that manner or that style but it’s it’s like it’s it’s 50/50. Sometimes I see a lot of what I see at home and sometimes I’ll be like oh they don’t do that back at home so.
Julia: And then, what has this pandemic like meant for your life as a drag artist?
Ceduxion: Well when it initially hit it was a financial slap in the face because I had so many shows lined up. I perform at all, almost all the major universities in the central Illinois area. College shows are amazing, and they’re fun, and it’s great energy, and I’ve been doing it for years, like double-digit years so that hurt. But, it also gave me time to sit and reflect. I enjoyed the time off, when we couldn’t do anything. I did not do anything from my home, I know some girls did, um, I just I had my own opinion about that. I just wanted to sit and relax I don’t feel like that I should I like people miss me but I didn’t feel like I should do it from my home for the simple fact that you know times are hard so I don’t want to, I–this is my personal opinion, I didn’t want to set up a Venmo and be like tip me while I perform at home. Like a lot of people are questioning where their next dollar comes from. Now what I did do with my drag granddaughters is like we performed once on TV, not on TV but, you know I mean live on cam for people’s enjoyment. Like we didn’t put Venmo’s up. We did it for the passion of the art to inspire people to make people be lightened up during times like this, for people who have lost their jobs or can’t work or like here we’re here to give you entertainment we don’t have our hands out asking for tips. We want you to enjoy what we do. Now that’s not disrespecting any queen that did put a Venmo up. That’s that was just my personal feel about it. I–I didn’t feel right doing it but I also know a lot of queens do drag for a living and when that pandemic happened you can’t get unemployment. I had two jobs so I was able to get unemployment, you know, but people who do drag as their source of income and the pandemic hit, I understand why they were performing and putting Venmo’s up because they’re what their source of income.
Julia: And then, how do you identify in terms of like sex, gender identity, and gender expression outside of drag?
Ceduxion: Um like I have a rotting, rotted eyelash on but, I identify as transgender. I dress every day. Like what I do every day, my makeup that I do every day is totally different from my stage makeup. And yes Marcus is around just not as often. Um, not necessarily questioning um, my my identity but taking my time to make sure. I know people who have went from male to transgen–transsexual female and then went back to male. So, like I don’t want to be that person to transition and then undo it. I know somebody who has done that three or four times like and I’m, that’s not my place to say what are you going to do but like that’s got to get expensive.
Julia: So, what pronouns do you use in and outside of drag then?
Ceduxion: Um depends on who speaking to me. If it’s someone who doesn’t know me, um, I prefer they say she while I’m a transgender. If I’m not in face, um, definitely he but, people that grew up with I know sometimes it’s hard I don’t get bent out of shape about it you know it just, it really just depends on who’s talking to me. And I, and if I feel that they’re being disrespectful I’ll let them know but I, like I said, I know some people who like I went to high school with they’re not in the culture, it may be hard for them to adapt or they only see me as Marcus and then if if it gets to be too much, I’ll say hey, so I mean I’m pretty lenient and I know some people very tight wound about that. Everybody, just everybody’s different.
Julia: Um, how did drag influence your sex and gender identity?
Ceduxion: Oh, I was very anti. I used to run and take it off soon as I started. Um, then this this comfort just set in and that’s about the best way that I can describe it. I just got comfortable and then I like to dress like the way I dress. I like putting my outfits together better when I’m a female. Like everyday outfits, like my little body dresses, I like all that better than just putting on jeans and a t-shirt or whatever, I don’t know. It just, a comfort set in that wasn’t there before and so I rolled with it. I mean I don’t I don’t think you should question it. I think if it feels good then do it, you know. That’s the only way you’re going to see.
Julia: And then how did drag influence how you think about gender?
Ceduxion: Totally expression, I just had actually, this sounds funny, but I had this conversation with my Verizon rep. cause he was asking about gender identity and he and he was talking about his son. And you know his son identifies as a boy but, he was like I don’t know what I would do if he said daddy I identify as a girl. I said well then you just be there for him. I said you have lived your life. Times are different now from when you grew up. I said it’s about expression. You don’t know how someone feels on the inside, you just know your perception. You see what you believed to be a little boy and that’s how he should identify. So, you don’t know what’s going on inside. So, I believe drag has allowed people to express not just what people see on the outside but, you get to see who the person is on the inside as well, and I think it has accelerated in the past couple years and it’s good that people are finally living their lives for themselves instead of you know conforming all the time.
Julia: And then how did drag impact and change your life?
Ceduxion: I’m sorry say it again.
Julia: How has drag impacted or changed your life?
Ceduxion: Oh man. I am overwhelmed by how people receive me. Like, I may not be famous with Brad Pitt but I’m definitely somewhat of a celebrity and like people get excited and run in place and scream and hug me and I’m like it’s just me. But, they like, like drag definitely is a form of celebrity, most definitely. Like so I kind of was popular– I was popular in high school. Drag has taken that to a whole nother level. And like also drag has like, I realize what it does for people. It’s not just entertainment. Case in point there’s a a girl that came up to me couple years ago and said I want to thank you and I was like for what? And she’s like well, you’re one of my favorite drag queens. I said like thank you. She said but I come to every show that you are at. And I said, I appreciate your support. And she goes no, you don’t understand, your entertainment makes me so happy and when you’re on the microphone it makes me happy, it makes me laugh he she says you provide my escapism and I don’t use drugs. And she was addicted to heroin. So, there was a time in Champaign cause we had shows every week, she was coming to Champaign every week to the shows and that’s how long she was clean. She looked forward to going to the shows. My performance for whatever reason and that was the first time I actually had interacted with her. I hadn’t hadn’t interacted with her previously but for whatever reason whatever I did on the microphone, whatever I was doing, kept her from using drugs and you never would think as a performer that you are doing more for someone than just performing until they say that. And I’ve had other people come up to me, not as deep as that, be like you know, I was having a bad day but, watching you today got rid of that. So, that’s why I think Queens needs to appreciate the art more than just for the money.
Julia: Wow, wow. Um, so did drag impact your confidence as a person, uh and like did like even when you’re outside of drag does that still like impact your confidence?
Ceduxion: I probably would, I don’t want to say boosted it cause I never was like not confident but it definitely I guess enhanced and boosted at the same time but, I don’t want to seem like that I was a shy or or introverted person, cause I never was that. Um, but I just, I say if you’re in drag you can get away with more things for sure. People just like you slap someone on the butt and they be like hahaha and if I wasn’t in drag they may not. It might not go over so well. Um, but it definitely makes life more fun. [phone ringing] Sorry about that.
Julia: That’s good. That’s good. Okay, so if you could go back in time like to the beginning of your drag career, what advice would you give your younger self?
Ceduxion: Oh, well everything is a learning process. Um, it sounds bad to say but some of the people I associated with I think that’s in everybody’s past whether it’s drag or not. Some people you associated with you kind of wish you hadn’t. So, like I definitely would have done, not put so much faith in certain people because there’s a saying that all advice is not good advice and some people will help you and some people will help you fail. So, like you have to question people’s intentions which is really bad to say but in retrospect I see that a lot of people when I started drag didn’t have my, didn’t have good intentions, so I definitely would have dodged that bullet.
Julia: So, I’m curious if all your social identities have impacted your experience of drag or vice versa how drag has impacted your identities. I was wondering if you could share a little about how one or more of your social identities such as like you know your gender, race, class, age, geography even, religion, sexuality, or anything else you know and the interaction of the social identities even have impacted your experience of drag or how has drug impacted your experience of the social identity. So I know we talked a little bit about gender already but if you want to touch on any of the other identities or any I didn’t mention.
Ceduxion: Um, I mean I have like I get asked like what is it like to be, for lack of a better word, gay, and I say all the ignorances that plagued heterosexual society plague homosexual society. Cause like some of the stereotypes are in both societies. Like, so I identify as pansexual and that blows a lot of people’s minds and even some other–like and I get from straight people I get it from other LGBT–LGBT– LGBT members and then my drag granddaughter said something to me cause my drag granddaughter now has a trans man husband and the only reason that my granddaughter has that is because of something I said. And it was because I was like why do I have to limit my menu. I said my menu is determined by my peers and I don’t like that cause I don’t like what I like and I don’t like the fact that I have to justify it to anyone and cause he was blown away that I was still sleeping with women. And then after I said that I don’t know how many years later he starts dating a trans man and he comes up to me he says “I would have never done this if I would have never heard you say that” and I said you only got one chance on this Earth and I’m not even living my life to full capacity– nobody is—but I am glad that I’ve been able to break down the barriers and the walls that have been implemented by society and live my life for myself. So, I get stereotyped for still being Black and then as a Black queen that stereotype. Like I’d like I get I don’t like I get judged on if I decide to do Britney Spears but I tell people music is not label. You think I shouldn’t do Britney Spears because I guess she’s not Whitney Houston or whatever I do whatever music I want to. I don’t have to be in a box and that drag has– by me being that bold and that loud other people have kind of it kinda has helped other people have the smoke clear. I just went through this conversation with my, I have a lot of drag kids but another granddaughter that was like I want to do Jill Scott but I don’t feel like I should because I’m a skinny white girl. I was like music is for everyone nobody says that’s Black people music that’s why people made it. Yeah, but I don’t want people to be mad at me in the audience to think that. I was like you’re not being disrespectful because you like the song or you like the artist. I said if somebody has a generic– but drag is like being a DJ you’re never going to be able to please everybody in the audience all you can do is try. There’s always going to be somebody doesn’t like what you do, what will you play. I was like do Jill Scott so now they’re going to do Jill Scott. So, like there’s just all the societal pressures exist within the community, LGBT community as well, I guess people expect because we’re trying to get others to be open-minded that there’s not close mined people in our community which there totally is.
Julia: So then how do you define drag?
Ceduxion: Oh, I always say drag is accented. And I tell people if you take a pen and I’ve said this for years, if you take a pen and put a dot on a piece of paper and then you put that pen back on that dot, and then move it to the left or the right all you did was accent that dot, and made it longer. You dragged it. You dragged from one point to another point and that’s what drag is. It, the minute you put on lashes, the minute you put on ponytail your accenting something from its normal state and that’s all drag it to me. As in, well not that’s all but, but of course like I said, expression but that’s how I define it and I say the only time the only time how your drag matters is if you’re in a competition. Other than that, express yourself when you enter competitions there’s guidelines, there’s boxes, in each check, and then it does matter how you look, perform, convey. But if you’re not doing that, it doesn’t really matter what my opinion is or the next person’s opinion is. Express yourself, drag how you want to.
Julia: And then, what do you think the purpose of drag is?
Ceduxion: Well ,definitely like I said, expression is number one but it’s kind of have changed over the years. Mentalities have changed and now it now I’m feeling like, if I’m being honest I feel like drag has become a commodity. Like now straight venues are seeing that drag is a cash flow and um, so now it’s a it’s a business venture. Um, I’ve said for years that drag is about entertainment not orientation and I probably, I think I was the first queen in my hometown to do a drag show not at a designated gay bar and continue to do so across my city. So, I was like you guys, Las Vegas figured this out years ago. Las Vegas had drag queens, hosted shows and events a long time ago. They weren’t in gay bars. They understand that it was entertainment. Now the rest of the country starting to catch on with what Las Vegas has been doing for years. So, drag is turned into a business venture as well. Um, but like I said expression first most definitely.
Julia: Do you think that drag is like sexual and if you do like how, or really in like what way do you think it’s sexual and also like why?
Ceduxion: In, in a performance, depending on your performance I like, I mean, if you see a queen perform Rihanna S&M it’s not going to be in a ball gown, you know? So I mean, I think it depends on the song that you do but I don’t believe that there is sexual gratification or that they’re turned on by doing it but, I can’t speak for everyone. I know that I’m not. It’s just basically trying to– I mean like do what most of the world does and sell sex you know. Um, but maybe someone may enjoy it more than just a performance. I, but I can’t say that I’ve met someone who was turned on by it.
Julia: So, you mentioned that you’d never seen episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but that you have seen clips and you know a lot of the girls. Um, but how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race? I mean I guess even though you haven’t seen, it how do you feel about it?
Ceduxion: Oh, it’s catch-22. I know I know it’s on, if it’s on TV, it’s about ratings. I already know that. Um, I’m not going to say this person’s name but one of my friends that was on it was kind of hurt because they prompted her to act a certain way and she became unpopular on the show and she is 0% not that person that they had her portray on TV. So, I know, I know it’s about ratings. But, I feel it’s a, it’s good that it allows drag to enter everyday people’s homes I guess but it’s bad because if you’ve never been around drag then people are going to assume that that’s how all drag is you know. So, that’s, it’s a catch-22.
Julia: If you could change one thing about like drag, or the drag scene, or the community even what would it be and why?
Ceduxion: Man, I don’t know what I would change. That’s a very good question. I don’t think that I would change anything. I think, I think growth is is key and you have to go through experiences to grow. So, I wouldn’t change cause you have, cause some of the obstacles we encounter is going to make us stronger. I mean, I don’t think I would change anything. Um, yeah I don’t have it I don’t I don’t have an answer other than I probably wouldn’t. Like I appreciate what I have went through with drag. I appreciate the–the barriers that I have knocked down. I wouldn’t want to be easy because that contributes to me breaking down those barriers, has opened doors for others, you know what I mean? You have to acknowledge the struggle, most definitely.
Julia: What do you think are misconceptions that people have about drag?
Ceduxion: That all of us are bitches. And then RuPaul’s Drag Race doesn’t help that either. Um, that every drag queen wants to be a woman. And it’s kind of popular like it’s kind of popular now to date a drag queen but when I started like and this is before I even dressed everyday like if I talk to a guy and then I told him that I did drag, he didn’t want to talk to me. Like if I talked to a gay guy and and say hey yeah I do drag, they’d stop talking to me. So, it’s not quite, so, the mentality has changed, so that’s good. But, yeah I think that’s just a really big misconception that most people assume that you want to be a woman or that we’re going to be bitchy.
Julia: Where do you think that those come from?
Ceduxion: Oh, well, stereotypes are in place because there are people out there that fit that mold and that’s–that’s what, the stereotype is pushed more than the–the contradictory people, you know what I mean, so like I just think that that’s always just kind of like when it came to two men dating it the feminine one was automatically the bottom and then masculine was automatically a top and that’s kind of the 80’s 90’s thinking. And then or if two lesbians dated and both of them were of masculine nature then then definitely they shouldn’t be together. And that wasn’t just heterosexual society, that was the LGBT society too, but things have changed but like I said, the world we live in will push stereotypes much much harder than they’ll be like hey, not all people are this way, you know. So, I think I think that’s why I think that’s why that’s out there.
Julia: What do you think would help to change this, like these stereotypes?
Ceduxion: Ah, oh I always say that about any and everything is life’s experience. Like you can go on TV and say not all queens are bitchy but people are going to pay attention to the bitchy queen. Cause a bitchy queen is going to get the most attention. You can go out there and say you know, say all country people are not racist but then the racist country guy spoutin all the slurs is going to get the most attention versus the guy that saying, that’s talking peace you know. Um, so life’s experiences, and let’s just hope that people don’t adhere to those stereotypes and meet a queen that’s not bitchy or or catty like that.
Julia: So last question, uh, if you chose one thing you want people to know about or learn about drag what would it be?
Ceduxion: Please appreciate it as an art form. Cause a lot of work goes into it. From picking the songs, from picking the songs, picking the songs, outfits, the costumes to uh, I like one of my one of my biggest hindrances is when I get on stage I fall into this box and I like–and when I perform I kind of sort of do the same moves and then when the show’s over and I dance around I do these moves and I’ll be like why didn’t I do that during my performance? But when you do drag and you’re performing, you have to remember to lip-sync, you have to look for tips, you have to make sure your earring didn’t fall off, you have to make sure that your hair doesn’t fall off. Like so you got all these things going on while you’re trying to entertain and then if you feel a bobby pin get loose or jewelry starting to slip, then you’re like uh oh, I’m about to lose a earring. So, then you’re trying to keep a calm face on stage and be aware of everything that’s going on with you at the same time. It’s a lot. ddThat is multi-tasking. They say people don’t multitask but, trying to make sure you lip-sync and dance at the same time, get your tips, make sure your hair stays on, and your ear, like it’s a whole lot. A whole lot, so definitely appreciate drag as an art.
Julia: Yes, for sure. Well thank you so much for your time today. Again, I really, really appreciate it. I loved hearing your story and learning all about your drag and your community. I’m very honored to have spoken to you today.
Ceduxion: Thank you. I’m glad we finally got—I’m glad the Zoom went good.
Julia: Yeah, me too. Well have a great rest of your night. Thank you so much.
Ceduxion: Hey, please let me know how it goes, and if you need anything else just send me an email.
Julia: I will. Thank you so much.
Ceduxion: Thank you Julia, have a good day.