Life's A Drag... Bollywood, Brown Drag Exists & Face Mask Fashion: Part 7!

Drag comes to us from many different cultures and places, some Drag is brown and it very much exists! Make no mistake! Something happens? Damn right, 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' had me gripped with its references and high camp! Bring on those Indian monsoon style rain showers, hitting right! Pandemic fashion? Face masks have their place on the catwalk! कुछ कुछ होता है फिल्म! 

Asifa Lahore is a British South Asian Drag trailblazer, her stance as Britain's first 'Out Muslim' queen reinforces that 'Brown Drag Exists!' Taking great inspiration from the Punjab, 'Lahore' was the perfect embodiment of Asifa's ethnic background as a fitting part to her Drag name. Asifa expressed that Lahore can be both interpreted as 'spicy' and 'sexual', aspects that she fully adores and will endorse forever more! She's living for that 'double entendre!' As South Asian royalty, her humble beginnings as a waitress in her dad's Curry House allowed her to sneak out at night to entertain the boys in London's Soho! Asifa fully celebrates everything that comes with her being British South Asian, finding her way through a sometimes complex mixture of identity. Turning tricks, Asifa Lahore had to break out from her usual stage routines to question the narrative that was being placed upon her as a 'Indian' Queen. Asifa has always said that people have too much to say, as a proud South Asian performer, she also had something to say! Go on!

Clearly her ventures within television, social media, radio and theatre continually brings her community's presence in the mainstream media and within the LGBT community. We know RuPaul's Drag Race UK hasn't crowned or neither featured a British South Asian contender yet, but would Asifa Lahore send her tape into Mama Ru? Her lips are firmly sealed on that subject matter but if she did walk into the 'Werk Room' she would be bringing every reference to British South Asian Drag that she could fit into her suitcase! Lahore didn't come to play! A trailblazer as mentioned before, Asifa Lahore believes that more South Asian people in Britain are coming out and becoming comfortable with their own sexuality. She believes that with more visibility and more public figures from the Queer Asian community in the UK, a change will come soon! Asifa Lahore isn't going anywhere, breaking down boundaries and campaigning on a daily basis! This British South Asian Drag powerhouse wants you to say her name! Asifa, who? Asifa Lahore! OK!

'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' took me on a 3 hour journey from the birth of a little girl called Anjali, to then follow a very complicated love triangle. On Anjali's 8th birthday, she found out who her namesake was. Stepping back in time, Rahul, Anjali and Tina took me on a journey that had me gripped! The 'high camp' of this 1998 film showcased an ensemble that oozed western nature with a serving of Hindi Bollywood magic at the same time! Saying 'I love you' to the wrong girl, Rahul found himself at a loose end, Anjali felt her presence wasn't needed anymore. With Tina passing away after the birth of 'little' Anjali, Rahul muddled his way through life as single father, his mother could tell that something lacked in his and Anjali's lives. How was this Drag? Where do I begin! From the lip syncs to acting that embodied everything that it had set out to and more, the characterisation had me believing these were real people. The acting and production was a true performance, it was Drag in its finest form! Setting out to portray a masterpiece of film. Go!

In the end Rahul and Anjali were reunited but before that moment of eternal bonding, a whole journey had to be had first! From elaborate high energy dance routines to larger than life acting, the pace of that 3 hour period had me gooped to know if Rahul would find his college love once again? The passion displayed was just enough, there wasn't too much on display and that gave the story and actors the mystique to leave me, the audience, wanting more! It was pure Drag throughout, paying mind to the costuming because they were some kind of pageant gowns on parade during the latter wedding scenes! Of course, lip syncing was present during the film, as Bollywood films generally have singers fill in for the actors meaning I was given a Bollywood 'Lip Sinc For Your Life!' The emotional plot came to a head during the encounter Rahul and Anjali had at the summer camp in Simla, those intense rain showers brought me back to that earlier moment at the temple during their college days. Now, show me Bollywood that isn't Drag! OK?

Lady, who? Who is Bushra? Lady Bushra of Bradford is the Muslim Aunty that knows how to have a good old time but also knows when it's time to tone it down for that narrow-minded family member. Overcooked, loud and with no self-respect to boot, Lady Bushra is the 19 year old spirited biological Bradford South Asian Vicky Pollard at our service! This Bradford icon has something to bring to the table, Bushra told me it's a bottle of the strong stuff because she can't be bothered to cook! No! Bushra? What! Booked and blessed, this British South Asian Drag personality will be taking over the UK and every single territory soon enough! 'Bushra' meaning 'Omen' in Arabic, you want to hope it's not a bad 'Omen' that she's coming for the crown in any competition! Her pronouns are 'Aunty/What/Bush' only because this South Asian Drag icon will steal your uncle if your Auntie doesn't pay attention! Bushra has competition, I saw that she's been beefing with 'Faryal Makhdoom' on Instagram? Lady B's got Mrs Amir Khan talking! Noo!

Lady Bushra of Bradford foresees a future filled with fierce South Asian Drag talent coming through! Minara El Waters should be on our radar according to Lady Bushra, she told me that 'Waters' is an energetic performer that the community will endorse no doubt! On the subject of 'RuPaul's Drag Race', Bushra was overjoyed to see Priyanka take the crown on 'Canada's Drag Race' as the first winner from the South Asian diaspora being from Indo-Guyanese heritage. Bushra doesn't know if her 'specialised character' would be appreciated on the Race but she'd never say never! As a strong contender she would back 'Waters' to bring the crown back to the South Asian community if 'Minara' ever walked into the UK 'Werk Room'. On the subject of representation, Bushra doesn't just want to tick boxes, she wants the upcoming South Asian competitor to be talented, strong and mindful to uplift the Drag scene for the community. With her Bollywood references and crass humour, Lady Bushra isn't playing! Bushra? What? What!

Face mask fashion? Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, face masks have been all the rage within East Asian popular culture. As now we have to mask up, does it seem like music and fashion movements in the west now see a certain fashionable appeal? After living in China for several years I noticed that face masks weren't wore entirely due to pollution issues but because they were a major fashion statement. Meng Jia (孟佳) showcased a troupe of masked dancers for her music video for single, Drip. Many people from East Asia and the diaspora wear masks to keep colds and the flu away from other people that they interact with, in a round about way these face aides have become ways for Asian pop-stars to shield themselves from the press and everyday folk to feel part of the fashion craze. Well before the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic, face masks have been an accessory in music videos but on the runway? I wasn't shocked to see that during this pandemic, new mask trends have boomed. Mask up, Yem! 

Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade captured above released a banger of a 'feel good' anthem as our lives stood in a COVID-19 limbo. Her Afro-Beat hit, 'True Love' saw her dance alongside a group of female dancers who were all wearing face masks to co-ordinate their blue, orange and red colourful prints. I appreciated her uplifting song, her working in of face masks brought to the event for sure! As the pandemic has raged on, we have had to incorporate face masks into our everyday outfits, some have been more elaborate than others. Their element of Drag has created a whole new fashion statement by themselves. As we now live in a world where face masks rule the roost because if we have to wear them, they ought to look sickening! Of course, dear Valentina, during her lip sync on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9, she wanted to keep that fancy red face mask firmly on her face! Travelling from China to England in February 2020, I served that same energy because I wanted to keep that mask firmly on my own face! Drag up your life! 

戴上你的口罩!... Go On, Translate That! 

Joseph Harrison 


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