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Ohio State drag show stands up to LGBT bullying

Professional drag queens Anisa Love (Corey Williams), Virginia West, Natasha West (Michael Kramb) and Sandy Von Lipshitz (Matt Erhard) judge amateur performers at the 7th Annual OSU Divalicious Drag Show, which took place April 20 in the Ohio Union’s East Archie Griffin Ballroom.

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A few males got some laughs as they frolicked around in heels and a dress, innocently blowing kisses and batting their eyelashes toward onlookers.

But when they upped their game with lap dances and faked sexual favors, a mix of expressions spread across more than 600 faces at the 7th Annual Amateur OSU Divalicious Drag Show Friday.

The show, which was held in the Ohio Union’s East Archie Griffin Ballroom and commemorated those bullied in the LGBT community, featured acts by four professional drag queens and 10 performances made of amateur drag queens or kings, who were Ohio State students.

Sixth-year host Natasha West, whose real name is Michael Kramb, a 2009 OSU alumnus, kicked off the event with a lip synch and dance performance to Britney Spears’ “Stronger.” Flirting with random males in the crowd, she broke the ice with by describing how she tucked her genitals and was walking in heels.

West kept up the vulgarity for the remainder of the show.

“When you come to this event a lot of people don’t realize that you’re about to have a conversation about this, whether you’re actively participating or not,” said Grace Raderstorf, event coordinator and third-year in Italian and speech and hearing sciences.

Professional performances by West and co-hosts Virgina West, Anisa Love and Sandy Von Lipshitz intertwined amateur performances that featured lip syncing and dancing to songs such as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” to name a few.

Love, whose real name is Corey Williams, a 2000 OSU alumnus, prompted the most reactions from the crowd as she mentioned of wanting to eat Waffle House, Catfish Biff’s and cheeseburgers and repeatedly offered to take boys backstage, specifically “white boys.”

“Put that in The Lantern. Interracial love welcome!” Love, who is black, shouted.

Virgina West, who is Natasha West’s drag mom, did splits, kissed a man on the lips and later pulled another man onstage to grind his head between her legs.

Von Lipshitz, whose real name is Matt Erhard, did a high kick for every dollar audience members gave her.

Professionals judged the amateur acts on crowd response and chose two finalists to face off in “suicide drag” at the end of the show, Natasha West said. Suicide drag is when performers are given random songs to sing and dance to and is also judged by crowd response.

Vanavia Weatherly, second-year in journalism and speech and hearing science who went by the stage name M.V. and #Drag, which was comprised of seven male performers, were chosen as the two finalists.

Weatherly initially beatboxed to Usher’s “There Goes My baby” and #Drag performed “Dreamgirls” with a kick line at the end.

Weatherly, who has beatboxed since she was 11 years old and appeared in a YouTube video with OSU student rapper Cal Scruby, was deemed drag king after receiving a louder crowd response than her opponent in the suicide drag round.

Amid interruptions of hugs and congratulations at the end of the night, Weatherly said she’d never experienced drag before the Divalicious Drag Show, but the night had a lasting impact on her.

“I think it was for a great cause. I will always, as much as I can, be involved,” she said.

The show first started on the tables of Kennedy Commons with a boombox seven years ago and is put on annually by the Mack Hall Council. This year’s show took place on the National Night of Noise, which followed the National Day of Silence.

The National Night of Noise is a celebration for those in the LGBT community to voice their sexuality. The National Day of Silence is a movement by supporters in the LGBT community who take a vow of silence for those afraid of revealing their sexuality due to bullying, Raderstorf said.

On a more serious note, after closing out the evening with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Natasha West shared her thoughts on the importance of drag.

“It’s a huge tool of just breaking down those everyday barriers,” Natasha West said. “Maybe some people thought to do it as a joke, but at the end of the day, they were a part of something huge and I guarantee you each one of them now has a different perspective, had a lot of fun and just has a whole totally different outlook on a lot of things that has to do with gay people, society and just the overarching theme of bullying.”

Allison Sant, a first-year in psychology who performed Soulja Boy Tell Em’s “Crank That” with Bros Not Hoes, said she participated in the show to take a stand against prejudice. She added, “How many other times in my life am I going to be in a drag show?”

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