PRIDE! Kent brings unique performances in annual drag show

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Professional drag queen Angel Safyre performs in the Kent State goverance chambers Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Quaylyn Hairston

Colorful wigs, shiny jewelry and flashy outfits were all part of the intricate wardrobes of the drag queens who performed at PRIDE! Kent’s annual drag show.

Several professional drag queens from Akron’s Interbelt performed Thursday night in the Student Center Governance Chambers. Arista Adams, Sonnshine Larray, Angel Safyre, Angelica Arkett and Nicole Canova all came together to put on a show for the community, free of judgement, to promote acceptance of all people.

Kasey Willener, vice president of PRIDE! Kent, said drag is one of the biggest art forms in the community and has recently started to become more mainstream. 

A tiara was given to the winner, Grant Beatty, a sophomore geology major also known as “Gigi Fontaine.” Beatty has performed in drag for the last three years.

“It’s an electric energy,” Beatty said. “It’s immediate fire.”

While lip syncing to their song of choice, the queens strolled around the room, between audience members, as they were tipped for their catchy moves and funky personalities.

“Building the fan base for the queens between the students is a great positive experience,” said Kyle Dunn, a senior communication studies major and marketing director of PRIDE! Kent.

Dunn said seeing how excited everyone is to see the queens is his favorite part of the process. Dunn also likes being able to provide Kent with a good learning experience.

PRIDE! Kent, which stands for “People Respecting Identity Diversity and Equality,” has “made a very important impact not only to the LGBTQ community, but to its board members as well,” Willener said.

Twirling around, striking poses and giving kisses on the cheeks to audience members, the queens performed to Kelly Clarkson and Megan Trainor songs, among other popular tunes. The room was filled with smiling faces and clapping hands throughout the evening.

Jacqueline Knutti, a junior sociology major and secretary of PRIDE! Kent, said having the drag show is “like having a direct connection to the LGBTQ community; it’s super cool to be connected.”

Quaylyn Hairston is an entertainment reporter, contact her at [email protected]