There’s no denying that shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag Den Philippines are among the many driving forces of drag entertainment and culture in the mainstream media. They bring excitement, joy, and — like what we’re about to see — spark debates on important social issues too. But is there a line that should not be crossed when creating shows like these? Should drag queens keep mum about politics and focus on the competition instead?
After a long wait, Drag Den Philippines is ~*finally*~ here to become a Thursday night ritual for our beautiful queer community. And how can you not love the show? It has everything — from stellar production design and fierce judges to a powerhouse cast of drag queens vying to become the first-ever Filipino drag supreme!
Aside from the awesome visuals and laughs the first few episodes graced us with, it quickly became apparent that Drag Den PH isn’t going to be another drag competition. They aren’t afraid to tackle social issues, especially delve into politics. Just check out Drag Lord Manila Luzon’s closing spiel:
But it seems like not everyone is happy with the reality TV show’s political undertones.
“Ako lang ba, or is #DragDenPH too political?”
— lewis 🌷 (@chaks_1980) December 14, 2022
One Twitter user expressed their thoughts about the show’s frequent mention of politics. “Ako lang ba or #DragDenPh is too political? I love this show, and I’m aware that drag is indeed political – yet somehow, I feel they’re pushing it too hard and too early,” they said.
The tweet was reacting to a teaser for the competition’s second episode where the queens are tasked to work on a comedy sketch inspired by Philippine politics. It looks like Manila Luzon’s closing spiel was just a taste of what is to come.
Netizens say otherwise
Pinoys on Twitter gave their two cents on the tweet that has garnered nearly 2k likes. Some threw a question back: How should one define “too political”?
How do you define too political?
Until now di parin law ang SOGIE bill, wala paring same sex union and madami paring LGBTQIA+ members ang binabastos at dinidiscriminate just because they’re gay.
Wala naman masama if they’re too political and they should be.
— Clyydddeee (@Clyddeeennnniis) December 15, 2022
“Until now di parin law ang SOGIE bill, wala paring same sex union and madami paring LGBTQIA+ members ang binabastos at dinidiscriminate just because they’re gay. Wala naman masama if they’re too political and they should be,” read a tweet.
Another reply pointed out that viewers should be happy that shows like Drag Den Philippines could still express their political views, considering many Filipinos still suffer under the hands of corrupt politicians.
Di ba dapat matuwa pa tayo na may ganitong bahagi ang palabas lalo’t madaming Pilipinong hinahayaang maghirap ng mga tiwaling opisyal ng pamahalaan lalo ngayong lugmok ang ekonomiya?
Sis, di seasonal ang pagiging mulat sa madilim na katotohanan. Usong lumabas sa privilege bubble
— Haraya (@Kathang_Haraya) December 15, 2022
Meanwhile, others love that the show is “disturbing the comfortable.”
It feels like dragden is disturbing the comfortable…I love the show! It is working! 😍 @dragdenph
— Denver (@DenverTrinidad6) December 15, 2022
But to settle the discussion, here’s what Drag Den PH’s resident Drag Runner Sassa Gurl has to say…
Too political? everything is political. https://t.co/H8ET99oqOA
— Sassa Gurl 🏳️🌈 (@Itssassagurl) December 15, 2022
“Too political? Everything is political,” simply said the TikTok star.
Beyond glamorous outfits, impeccable make-up artistry, and show-stopping performances, drag is also an art form rooted in activism. It’s a protest against gender and glaring hetero-norms. In fact, there are drag queens who were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots. Drag is here to stay, and it will never stop criticizing the abuses and discrimination in our society, no matter how uncomfortable one may feel.
How did Drag Den Philippines start?
Drag Den Philippines creator Director Rod Singh said the show was inspired by the “Drag Cartel” event at Nectar Nightclub in Taguig. Despite the hurdles of creating the Pinoy drag reality show, she shares Drag Den Philippines is a show that’s more than entertainment.
“I did Drag Den ‘cause I want to tell the stories of Filipina drag queens. I want to entertain and make a point,” she said. “I want to do a commentary about the Philippine queer community, our current political landscape, and all that.”
Singh adds that she wants to inspire more queers: “We need to be here, we need to be more. We need to dream more.”