Watch: A Short Doc About America’s First Drag Queen for President
by Alex Billington
October 29, 2021
“At some point I realized that I actually made a little dent in history.” Now this is a story we haven’t heard before! And I’m glad it’s being told again, especially in this format. Meet “America’s First Drag Queen for President”! And spread the word! The Beauty President is a captivating 10-minute short doc film made by filmmaker Whitney Skauge from Breakwater Studios. In 1992, at the height of the AIDS pandemic, drag queen Joan Jett Blakk made a historic bid for the White House as an openly queer write-in candidate. So badass! “Our thing was visibility… the more visible we made ourselves, the less [any bad stuff] happened.” Today, Terence Alan Smith, the man behind the persona, reflects back on his place in gay rights history at the height of the AIDS crisis. I admire that he admits it was all about visibility, not really about winning. Even this act made a difference. And I hope this story inspires even more people to make themselves visible.
Thanks to Vimeo Staff Picks for the tip on this. Original description from Vimeo: “In 1992, at the height of the AIDS pandemic, activist Terence Alan Smith made a historic bid for president of the United States as his drag queen persona Joan Jett Blakk. Today, Smith reflects back on his seminal civil rights campaign and its place in American history.” The Beauty President is directed and edited by the up-and-coming filmmaker Whitney Skauge – you can learn details about them on the Breakwater site or follow them on Instagram @whitneyskauge. The Beauty President is a short doc film presented by Breakwater Studios, Hillman Grad Productions, and LA Times Studios. Produced by Caley Fox Shannon. Executive produced by Lena Waithe. Featuring cinematography by Haley Watson, and original score by Khamani Hagood. This film originally premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. To discover more shorts, click here. Thoughts?