Hattiesdrag, hosted by the Spectrum Center, strutted on the stage of Front Street Bar April 20 with about 100 in attendance. The show featured local queens—as well as out-of-towners—dancing and lip-synching to pop songs while generally being extremely provocative.
“Ladies and gentlemen, freaks and geeks, how the [expletive] are you?” Brandon Hayes, known as Niko Z onstage, yelled. “I want to thank you all for coming here and being the rowdiest [expletive] you are.”
James Clingan, known as Lola Pop, said he was fairly new to drag shows. He said he has only performed two times prior to this show but thoroughly enjoys performing and expressing himself through drag.
“I just wanted to express my art, express something that’s not just James and step out of my bubble,” Clingan said. “I was nervous at first, but once you get comfortable with it, it’s so much fun.”
Clingan said that though many other queens put on personas with their costumes, he generally stays within his actual personality. Clingan said some people confuse drag queens and transgender people.
“The two [in and out of drag] kind of go together,” Clingan said. “Most drag queens enjoy being a man just as much as they enjoy being in drag.”
Board president of the Spectrum Center and Southern Miss alum Keenan Walker said the Spectrum Center is a non-profit group that was founded in 2014 and hosts a plethora of events and meetings for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Among their many events are the Trans Summit coming April 27 which will have educational sessions on communicating properly, taking body measurements and doing hair and makeup. They also host Pine Belt Pride every year.
“We try to make sure things are affordable. Right now [Hattiesdrag] is the only thing we have that has a cover and all of these [events] are fundraisers for the Center,” Walker said.
Walker said most of the events the Center hosts are free, but Hattiesdrag was $10. Audience members gave dollar bills to the queens as they danced, which also went to fundraising for the center.
Rebecca Chandler was the DJ for the show. This was the first time she played music for the drag shows hosted by the center.
“It is just fun to see everyone get excited. I like to watch a good performance, and the drag queens always do a really good job,” Chandler said.