Mthr Trsa, a 26-year-old local queen who performed on the first night of the festival, used the Bushwig stage to critique this arrangement.
While she strutted the runway in a skintight nude minidress and shot imperious looks at the crowd, a flashing screen behind her cycled through the words “GASLIGHT,” “GATEKEEP” and “GIRLBOSS,” before reading: “PAY ME.” (“Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” is a viral phrase that mocks capitalist feminism.)
After the festival was over, she made her position even more clear on Instagram.
“Congratulations bushwig on not paying local talent for the 10th year,” she wrote in the caption of a post. “This festival was built on local drag talent, yet here we are spending the money on headliners who made some performers so uncomfortable that they had to drop out.” (Two of the headliners — the rapper Azealia Banks and the YouTuber Nikita Dragun — have strained relationships to gay and trans communities because they have each posted offensive comments on social media.)
“It was really shocking,” said Laurel Charleston, 25, who performed on the first night. “The fact that you’re forced to choose between an ultimatum of going one day and getting a measly $60 — which doesn’t even pay for safe transportation to and from the event — and going the other day to support and see your friends is really not OK.
“A lot of these performers are trans people and transfems, and having transportation when they come in drag is really just for safety. So to know that you’re already in the hole because you had to make an outfit, you had to buy makeup, but then you’re in the hole again for transportation is disappointing.”
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/25/style/bushwig-drag-brooklyn.html