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Chappell Roan's Fierce Persona Liberates the Queer Community

Chappell Roan’s Fierce Persona Liberates the Queer Community

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“I’m your favorite artist’s favorite artist,” Chappell Roan proclaimed from the Coachella main stage in April, performing under the intense California desert heat. She elaborated on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in June, explaining that the phrase was inspired by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 15 winner Sasha Colby, who once declared, “I’m your favorite drag queen’s favorite drag queen.” This resonated deeply with Roan.

At 26, Chappell Roan is a rising music star whose music, aesthetic, and fashion are profoundly inspired by drag culture. Her 2023 album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” is described by Roan as “just daydreams in drag.”

Roan, openly queer, is quickly climbing the ladder of pop stardom, a trajectory she herself hadn’t anticipated. Her viral performances at Coachella and the Governors Ball Music Festival, paired with emotionally powerful songs, have captivated audiences, prompting curiosity about the artist behind the music.

During the Governors Ball in New York City, Roan took to the stage adorned in a rusty lime green dress, a crown atop her long green wig, wielding a torch and a blunt. She embodied a twist on Lady Liberty, rejecting an invitation from the White House to perform for Pride and passionately advocating for the rights of various marginalized groups.

“I am in drag of the biggest queen of all, but in case you had forgotten what’s etched on my pretty little toes: ‘Give me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ That means freedom and trans rights. That means freedom and women’s rights, and it especially means freedom for all oppressed people in occupied territories,” she declared.

Roan’s fervor for drag and outspoken progressive views have endeared her to the LGBTQ+ community. Salon noted how Denver drag artist and co-chair of Black Pride in Denver, Juiccy Misdemeanor, was invited to open for Roan’s tour and described encountering an overwhelmingly welcoming energy from the crowd.

The performance that left the most significant impact on Juiccy was at the Governors Ball. “That look made so many statements,” Juiccy said. “For you to dress as the Statue of Liberty, support LGBTQ, and confront the White House — it’s beautiful. Roan uses her platform to build something meaningful for the community.”

When asked about opening for Roan, Juiccy expressed awe at the experience, especially highlighting how thoughtful and genuine Roan is. Juiccy also admired Roan’s homage to Divine, describing it as intuitive and on-brand, reflecting her deep connection to the LGBTQ community and her use of music and fashion as forms of protest.

Roan’s impact extends beyond performance; she deeply influences the queer community, encouraging young drag artists to pursue their passion. Divine, for instance, serves as an inspiration to many, representing unapologetic self-expression and inclusivity.

Drag, for Juiccy, is about storytelling through fashion and makeup. It transforms performers into different personas and conveys their unique tales. Juiccy describes her style as influenced by old-school Southern Belle pageantry drag, which helps define and convey her identity.

Roan’s fashion and makeup tell a story of avant-garde, her looks complementing her outgoing and inclusive nature. Inviting the audience to join in her performance creates a sense of unity and celebration.

Roan has been quoted saying “I’m your favorite artists’ favorite artist,” crediting it to her favorite drag queen Sasha Colby. For Juiccy, paying homage to those who came before is about respect for the origins of drag, recognizing its roots and the culture it stems from.

When Roan performed dressed as the Statue of Liberty at the Governors Ball, she called the statue a queen representing universal liberation. Juiccy praised the look for its powerful political statement and advocacy for LGBTQ rights.

Juiccy explained that drag is liberating, creating a sense of community and belonging. Roan’s speech calling for the rights of women and trans people resonates deeply with her.

Roan’s decision to reject a White House invitation due to anti-war, transphobia, and women’s reproductive health issues highlights her commitment to using her visibility for advocacy.

Juiccy, a co-founder of Black Pride Colorado, emphasized the importance of holding space for diverse communities. She reflects on Colorado’s first Black Pride Day as a significant achievement, acknowledging the ongoing need for community recognition and celebration.

Roan’s music resonates with queer individuals, especially those who feel isolated. Juiccy encourages young people to seek camaraderie and community not only during Pride but every day.

Through her music and activism, Roan inspires and empowers her fans, fostering a sense of belonging and advocating for the rights of marginalized communities.

Source: People Magazine, Salon