Press release: Leeds LGBTQ community rejects racist and homophobic drag act, Queens of Pop

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, 30th July, 2013

Protest group ‘Leeds Pussy Riot’ plan flash demonstration outside Viaduct Show Bar on Lower Brigate against ‘racist’ and ‘homophobic’ drag act.

Tonight, the group Leeds Pussy Riot have called a protest as controversial gay drag act are scheduled to play in Leeds Viaduct gay bar. Drag act Queens of Pop are booked to play tonight at Viaduct Show Bar in Leeds city centre’s gay quarter. The act’s performers are Manchester based Ged and James Weir who have achieved notoriety on social media for their parodies of pop icon’s such as Kerry Katona and Beyonce. The protest group hope that the bar’s management will cancel the performance.

The duo have been criticised by London based racial and LGBTQ justice organisation, ‘UK Black Pride’ for basing their portrayal on racist and homophobic stereotypes [1]. In particular their recent video parody of Will.i.am’s song ‘Bang Bang’ features both performers in black make-up, otherwise known as ‘black face’. The two brothers deliver a stream of racial and homophobic stereotypes, which portray Will.i.am as a lascivious black gay man who talks about sexually assaulting other men and taking delight in spreading AIDS.

Dr. Kate Dossett, Senior Lecturer in American History at the University of Leeds, commented on the act’s use of ‘black face’. She said: ‘the continuation of such a denigrating tradition by groups like Queens of Pop (and their planned performance in Leeds) suggests we still do not take seriously the power of culture to enforce and perpetuate racial inequalities.’

Although previously booked to play at Manchester [1] and Leeds Gay Prides [2], due to outcry from both LGBT and racial justice organisations [3], the Queens of Pop performances have since been cancelled.

In their letter to the organisers of Manchester Pride, UK Black Pride write, ‘It is plain old-fashioned homophobia, mixed with some of the oldest and most pernicious forms of racism using the mask of ‘ironic entertainment’ as a cover’.

Louie, a member of Leeds Pussy Riot, said: ‘as members of Leeds LGBTQ community, we directly oppose providing a platform for ‘Queens of Pop’. The comedy they present is racist, homophobic and sexist. Viaduct must not allow the performance to go ahead’.

The protesters say that if the performance continues as scheduled, they will hold a demonstration outside of the bar and organise a boycott of the venue.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leeds-Pussy-Riot/459639050736810

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Viaduct Show Bar, Lower Brigate, 10pm, 30/07/13

Notes to Editors

[1] http://bit.ly/1aUMphS

[2] http://bit.ly/12BUGas

[3] http://bit.ly/18KX6ms

The Queens of Pop parody of Will.i.am is viewable here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slz3s_dZHrc

Screen shots of the above video: http://angrywomenofcolorunited.tumblr.com/post/56848749202/fyeahcracker-tw-blackface-grrlyman