Written by Brontë Taylor
Miz Cracker is a well known drag queen from New York, most known from Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On February 12th she came to Cambridge and gave a talk at Emmanuel College Chapel and then later in the evening (much later in the evening) performed at Cambridge’s Vinyl nightclub.
The ‘In Discussion with Miz Cracker’ talk was hosted by Emmanuel College Chapel but wasn’t largely promoted as it was booked very last minute. But if you happened to find it as an event on Facebook like I did and had ZERO plans for the day, then you would have turned up to a really insightful and educated talk by a drag queen. On entrance to Emmanuel College Chapel, Miz Cracker was standing at the centre, all attention on her. She was wearing an elegant, figure hugging dress with a powerful working woman vibe and elbow length leather gloves and started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.
She started her talk by self title-ing it “A Wig of One’s Own”, before she delved into the history of drag and how this might shape the future.
She stated that drag is currently reaching a tipping point, where drag was previously hidden in the shadows but now is most definitely in the spotlight. After the success of RuPauls Drag Race, attracting 4 million viewers in its last season, drag carries a lot of potential to make money and a lot of people are trying to exploit this. As a result, Miz Cracker suggested that the core values of what Drag is, is being lost. She later spoke about how new drag queens, who are just starting out, aren’t aware of the history of drag but stated that she did not care because young queens should be able to create in any way they want but the history is forgotten by most queens. For those not performing drag, there is nobody studying the current stage of drag, there are no academic essays that are current, most previous academic essays are 30 to 40 years old and so people aren’t being given a well rounded education of what drag truly is.
Miz Cracker spoke about the history of drag and how there is a broad misconception that Drag is age old, however she believes that drag is only about 100 years old. Cracker mentioned that she believes that drag truly came from New York (although she may be a little biased) during what she called ’the pansy craze’ where straight people would go out to see people dressed in drag at speak-easys.
Her overall narrative stated that drag is a way of empowerment and it is okay for gay men to share drag so that women can feel empowered, strong and be able to be anything that they want to be as well! Miz Cracker spoke very eloquently throughout her talk and tackled every question that was asked with great insight and care for what she was saying.
Miz Cracker later performed at Vinyl and I was privileged enough to meet her. Although our meeting was short, she was very humbled and grateful to her fans while, of course, maintaining her witty banter. Miz Cracker was enthusiastically received by everyone in the club as she took to the stage (if you can call it a stage, it’s more like a step) and lip synced to Rehab by Amy Winehouse. To get the crowd going she then invited people on stage to take part in a dance battle.
I was very privileged to be able to not only see Miz Cracker perform but also hear her speak about what she does. Miz Cracker opened my eyes to what drag truly is and the power it has for people. The main message I took away from it is exactly what she wanted me to, empowerment! Whether it’s through being dressed in drag or just watching it, drag can be empowering to everyone to show them that they can be whoever they want to be.