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By Lourdes Zavaleta
Stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 stopped in Houston last week for their War on the Catwalk Tour, donating merchandise proceeds to the Montrose Center’s LGBTQ fund Hurricane Harvey relief fund.
Trinity Taylor, Aja, Alexis Michelle, Shea Couleé and reigning queen Sasha Velour took the stage at the House of Blues on Sept. 13. Like all drag shows, this one was filled with lip syncs, dancing and outfit reveals. But there was also a deeper message involving the humanitarian values of the drag community.
Velour, crowned the victor of RuPaul’s Emmy-winning show in June, has been using her platform to promote social justice and intersectionality. After mouthing along to Annie Lennox’s “Precious” and transforming from angel to devil, the queen told the crowd about her mission to create equity through drag.
“We need to live in a country where people are represented and respected, where America is seen as a place that has people who come from all over, speak different languages, have different religions, different gender identities and different sexualities, because that is what makes us all beautiful,” Velour said “That is the message of drag that you are all here to celebrate.”
Velour said the queens felt it was their duty to help LGBTQ Houstonians affected by Harvey.
“We can work together and make real change, beyond just imagining and dressing up and fantasizing,” Velour said. “That is why I think it’s so important when we come together like this.”
Couleé payed homage to Beyoncé and performed “Partition” in a black-and-white, studded pant-suit and Louboutin heels. She said she was going to match her merchandise sales with a cash donation to the Montrose Center fund.
The queens visited the center earlier in the day to deliver personal-care products.
“We stopped by and dropped off some toiletries, baby powder, wipes and even face masks so people could get their skin care on and feel beautiful,” Couleé said.
The show’s host, Taylor, pulled the shirt off a muscular fan named Roberto and straddled a bearded man in the front row. She also invited five men on stage for a dance battle– and used the competition to raise more money for Harvey relief.
Taylor auctioned off the last-place finisher– a single 19-year old. The winning bidder paid $100 and carried his prize off of the stage.
Michelle belted Stephen Sondheim’s “Ladies Who Lunch” with a full bottle of wine in hand. After every few verses, the queen took sips from the bottle, finishing it by the end of the song. She then addressed the city’s recent struggles and the country’s current state, and thanked fans for remaining positive.
“The world’s been in a strange place, socially, politically, and of course physically,” Michelle said. “But the energy that we have been hearing from all of you is a testament to how resilient humankind is. Thank you for letting your spirit ring loud a clear.”
The War on The Catwalk Tour’s last two shows will be held in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 18 and 19. Both cities were affected by Hurricane Irma, so there’s no doubt that the queens will use their talents and influence to assist Florida as well.