As part of the 2023 Fall Theme Semester: Arts & Resistance, the U-M Arts Initiative presented Drag as Resistance: Conversation & Performance feat. Monét X Change; local panelists & performers Jadein Black, Pinball McQueen, Riley Poppyseed; moderated by Larry La Fountain-Stokes; and emceed by Perry Dox.

This program was presented by Necto, the U-M Arts Initiative and Spectrum Center. The event was open to the public and held at Necto Nightclub, an inarguably essential establishment and home for the local Queer community, and presented in conjunction with U-M’s Arts & Resistance Theme Semester. This event brought communities together to delve into the history, cultural significance, and personal experiences with one of the most attacked, yet celebrated art forms of our time: the art of drag.

View photos from the event.

Monét X Change

Born and bred in New York City, Monét X Change is an entertainment spitfire and the first double crown winner from RuPaul’s Drag Race having earned the title Miss Congeniality on Season 10 and becoming the first queen of color inducted into the hall of fame after winning All-Stars 4. Known for delivering energetic and show-stopping performances, Monét’s showmanship is a reflection of a tireless work ethic to cultivate and perfect her immaculate lip-syncing skills, comedic chops, and (mostly) pitch-perfect live singing skills. Combining her passion for the art of drag with her uniquely fresh spin on it, Monét has traveled the globe with her one-woman show, Call Me by Monét, as well as hosting and performing in the Werq the World tour. Monét also released her first EP, Unapologetically, co-writing the project and conceiving the accompanying visual album. Monét is currently focusing her hilarious and oftentimes sociopolitical humor as the host of her own talk show, the X Change Rate, airing on Build Series by Yahoo and co-hosting the Sibling Rivalry podcast and tour with Bob the Drag Queen.

Jadein Black

Drag queen extraordinaire all the way from Michigan – of all places! As a former educator in public schools Jadein Black is making her way back in the schools as the ms/hs librarian. Yes, the Drag Queen is going to be the librarian. Jadein Black has been on multiple tours around the United States and Canada. She has been performing for over a decade and made top-ten at the prestigious National Entertainer of the Year competition! Her entertainment and hosting abilities are very unique; she knows how to draw audiences in making them want more. You can see her on regular tours in New Orleans, LA and Fort Lauderdale, FL. Jadein Black also Hosts and Performs at many universities around the country. She hosts bingo, prides, nightclub events, universities, divorce parties, family friendly events, storytime, weddings, and more! She performs 100’s of shows a year! Her bigger passion in life, making a difference in her community and to help create safe spaces for everyone wherever he goes. Additionally, she is a Show Host and the Entertainment Director of Ann Arbor Pride. Jadein uses her drag to raise money for local charities, causes and nonprofits and loves every minute of it.

Pinball McQueen

Pinball McQueen considers themselves a drag nuisance rather than a drag king or queen. They’re a chaotic mix of pop punk princess, demon from a b-movie, and a former theatre kid covered in eyeliner and glitter. Pinball had appeared at Dyke Drag, Wharped Whore, and is one of the founding members of the Chroma Drag Collectives. They are also the Mx Walgreen Lobby Pageant for Basement Arts.

Riley Poppyseed

Riley Poppyseed has won numerous drag competitions in Ohio, including “So You Think You Can Do Drag” hosted and created by Nina West from Season 11 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, has been a headliner for The Austin International Drag Festival and Cleveland Drag Showcase. He’s the first and current Mx. Ohio Gay Pride 2023, he’s the first Black drag king AND the first Black AFAB individual to compete on any drag competition tv show, and finally, he placed 2nd on Season 5 of Camp Wannakiki. If you like what he does, feel free to follow him on Instagram at @RileyPoppyseed

Perry Dox

Hailing from the lush lands of Flint; a mix of sugar, spice, some hazardous chemicals, & everything nice, Perry Dox is known as the glamorous clown in our state. For 8 years, drag has been my calling & has led me to places far & even as the house queen at Necto in Ann Arbor. With a couple titles on my belt I am safe to say I will be doing this for a long time after. As long as the moment I step on a stage I make even one person laugh, my job is done.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is Professor and Chair of the Department of American Culture and former director and core faculty member of the Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is also Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Women’s and Gender Studies. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he received his AB from Harvard (1991) and his MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia (1999). He is author of Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), Escenas transcaribeñas: Ensayos sobre teatro, performance y cultura (Isla Negra Editores, 2018), and Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2021), published as part of the Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance series. Translocas received the 2021 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from CLAGS, the Center for LGBTQ Studies at the City University of New York; the 2022 Frank Bonilla Book Award (Honorable Mention) from the Puerto Rican Studies Association; and the 2023 University of Michigan Press Book Award. He coedited Keywords for Latina/o Studies (New York University Press, 2017) with Deborah R. Vargas and Nancy Raquel Mirabal and has coedited queer issues of CENTRO JournalSargassoLatinx Talk, and Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana. His books of fiction include Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails (Bilingual Press, 2009) and Abolición del pato (Terranova, 2013). Larry performs in drag as Lola von Miramar since 2010 and has appeared in several episodes of the YouTube series Cooking with Drag Queens. He is currently writing a book on contemporary Puerto Rican performance.