Black VoicesLocal NewsNewsOutSmart at 30Pride 2023

Commercial Success

Blackberri shines again in Lizzo's YITTI ad campaign.

Blackberri (Photo by Victor Contreras)

Queer Houstonians love to see one of our own making a big splash. That’s exactly what bearded drag entertainer Blackberri did two summers ago when she was featured in a Facebook marketing campaign that first appeared during the Mount Olympus of television events: the Super Bowl.

“The [ad producers] scouted me from social media and reached out to me. They said they love my content and my drag, and they wanted me to travel to Austin to film a commercial,” she recalls about the project. “When I initially got the call, I thought it was a scam—one of those modeling things people do in the mall. But it ended up being legit, and I’m glad I answered the call.”

For her brief scenes in the commercial, the entertainer drove to Austin and filmed for nine hours. “I didn’t know when [the ad] would be released, and I didn’t know it was going to be as big as it was.”

Much to her pleasant surprise, the scope of the ad campaign was immense, and the reaction was almost instantaneous. As soon as the ad hit on Super Bowl Sunday, the messages started pouring in.

“My Facebook flooded with people tagging me in pictures and videos. It’s something you don’t expect from a Black fat bearded queen from Texas. It was an amazing opportunity, and I’m glad I got to do it. I got to showcase ‘alternative drag’ for Middle America, [where they] probably think I’m the devil,” she told OutSmart in 2021.

But the Super Bowl was only the beginning, and the ad started playing on Telemundo, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. “People were seeing it all over the place. It was kind of crazy,” she recalls.

Blackberri on the cover of OutSmart’s 2021 June Pride issue (Photo by Frank Xavier)

Blackberri already had a prominent following in the Greater Houston area, but the national recognition (and nice paycheck) she gained propelled her even further toward her drag aspirations.

“It honestly gave me a new start. I was able to buy a car and buy more costumes, and do stuff like that,” she says. “Also, the commercial elevated my drag [by providing] opportunities that I didn’t have before.”

Two years after making her national debut, Blackberri’s life has not slowed down.

“Since the ad, I’ve been traveling a lot for out-of-town gigs. Everything’s been pretty amazing,” she said.

Naming some of her notable accomplishments, the glamazon rattled off a who’s-who list of organizations and people she’s worked with recently.

“I was the first official emcee for Bunnies on the Bayou. They’ve never had an emcee for the event, so that was an amazing opportunity to help raise money for some great causes,” she recalls. “I’ve been booked to perform twice on cruise ships alongside Jimbo from RuPaul’s Drag Race Canada. I’ve opened for Miz Cracker and for Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. I’ve opened for a couple of music artists at the House of Blues, and I hosted both Serve! Legends Only drag shows at Warehouse Live.”

Through all of the success, she has not forgotten about her fans here in H-town. She performs regularly at JR’s, Hamburger Mary’s, ReBar, The Room Bar in North Houston, and occasional event bookings across the city.

As for any future projects she’s got her eye on, Blackberri remains tight-lipped but does manage to drop a few clues.

“I actually am a part of a national campaign for a popular company that will be out for Pride. I can’t say what it’s for, but it’s pretty huge. It’s just as big [as the Facebook campaign],” she hints.

Blackberri for Yitti

Update 6/5/23: The cat’s out of the bag. The advertising campaign for a nationally known brand Blackberri referenced in the interview is none other than Lizzo’s clothing line, YITTI.

“YITTI is already so much more than shapewear, reinvented. It’s a brand based on the principles of self-love, radical inner confidence, and effortless, everyday wear. With sizes from 6X to extra small, we are truly designing for and representing every single body – and it’s about damn time!,” Lizzo says via the brand’s website.

It’s a match made in Heaven. The curvaceous drag artist has previously duplicated several of Lizzo’s styles, including the iconic “100% That Bitch” garment, and often performs the singer’s music. The four-time Grammy Award-winning Lizzo is also known for her body positive lyrics and full-figured dancers.

Follow Blackberri on Facebook at facebook.com/darius.marq.

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Sam Byrd

Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to Outsmart who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture. Speaking of Houston, he's never heard a Whitney Houston song he didn't like.
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