Meet the groundbreaking South African drag king troupe that’s fighting homophobia

Drag king

‘Saint Dude,’ center, flanked by admiring ladies.

BY GLENNISHA MORGAN
Huffington Post Gay Voices

In South Africa, a diverse drag king troupe titled “Bros B4 Hos” is challenging misogyny, homophobia and gender norms in their work, performing original numbers, renditions of popular songs and entertaining their community.

Bros B4 Hos is a groundbreaking first ever drag king troupe that has released a documentary sharing the same title. In the candid film, the members each express how they got started with the troupe and how they embody their masculine personas, as GLAAD points out.

Read more at Huffington Post Gay Voices

Watch the documentary on Lesbian.com

9 Responses to “Meet the groundbreaking South African drag king troupe that’s fighting homophobia”

  1. Jodi

    So explain to me how “Cole” being a “ladies’ man” who “likes to sweet-talk girls” is challenging misogyny? Further, even if being used as irony, Bros B4 Hos as a title is just plain insulting and….uh….misogynist. Acting it out in drag doesn’t challenge anything; it’s just re-playing it. We all suffer from misogyny, why do we need to see it acted out again when it’s acted upon us on a daily basis?

    Reply
  2. Mary Moses

    Respectfully, replaying disrespectful masculine stereotypes is disrespectful to lesbians. this does nothing to take apart homophobia and in fact reinforces this with tired replay of bad behavior…..Also, why is this, a sister portraying a man of color, so stereotypical? Why does she look like ” Lil Wayne” with his hoes……what are you saying here? Nothing….more replays of bad behavior……Women are harmed by these images. Why can’t we just be ourselves to fight homophobia? Being our authentic selves is the most effective way to end homophobia……….

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  3. tallon

    Is the name of their troupe supposed to be satirical, because I’m failing to see how they could be engaged in fighting misogyny, homophobia, and gender norms, if the name of their group is so sexist. :/

    Reply
  4. Emma Hamer

    Groundbreaking? Really? To emulate/copy the worst kind of “guys” – the ones we have to deal with on a daily basis? How in hell is that “challenging misogyny”? Lesbians – actual, real, female homosexuals have NO NEED to pretend they’re males. We don’t find males attractive in any way, shape or form. If this bunch of wannabe males thinks they’re helping the cause, they are sorely mistaken. They’re not helping the LESBIAN cause, for sure.

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  5. Nico

    Bros before… what? What’s groundbreaking about calling women sexualities slurs? It’s not challenging anything. And to promote it without at least commenting or calling it out? C’mon.

    Reply
  6. Lesbian.com

    This article is excerpted from Huffington Post Gay Voices, and the documentary was posted by GLAAD, both undeniably reputable sources of LGBTQ positive and affirming information. We understand, and agree, that they have chosen a name that is associated with things we consider misogynistic — but we also ask that you take a few minutes to understand what this troupe is all about. South Africa held its first free elections post-Apartheid less than 20 years ago. Despite having a number of laws that support LGBT-rights, “corrective rape” of lesbians in the country is still common enough to warrant international attention. To bridge racial gaps and bend gender publicly is brave in South Africa — no matter how progressive things seem from afar. At Lesbian.com, we support the full empowerment of women and lesbians. Genuine misogyny is absolutely not part of that picture… but drag is over the top. It’s supposed to be. It takes masculinity and femininity to extremes, toys with stereotypes, offends the sensitive, and intentionally rocks the boat. Do we think “Bros B4 Hos” is a nice name? Not so much. Do we think that a group of queer women commanding their gender expression, sexuality and performance art in ways that we in privileged and progressive areas take for granted is a big deal? Yes. We encourage you to dig a little deeper to understand where these women are coming from — and why GLAAD, HuffPostGay and Lesbian.com all thought it was worth talking about.

    Reply
  7. FeistyAmazon

    Feisty Amazon “Now in South Africa, a diverse drag king troupe titled “Bros B4 Ho’s” is similarly challenging misogyny, homophobia and gender norms in their work, performing original numbers, renditions of popular songs and entertaining their community.”

    They are not challenging EITHER misogyny, homophobia OR gender norms, rather THEY ARE ENFORCING THEM, within the community, and it still reinforces the Butch/Femme stereotype, and leaves out those of us who are Butch on Butch(cuz then we’d be a ‘fag’ to them or it seen as gross), or those who are Femme/Femme or any other combination outside of Butch/Femme and the denigration of Femmes as tools to be used….they just don’t GET by taking on that title, instead they are reinforcing the hetero MALE stereotypes that continue to oppress them and EVERY OTHER DYKE AND WOMON!!! And it further invisibilizes Lesbians and Butch WOMEN

    Reply
  8. Jodi

    Dear Lesbian.com:
    Thank you for your response. With all due respect, though, I think you fail to see the point I (and others here) are making. And, if I was from South Africa, I’d actually be offended by what you say. Regardless of “corrective rape” (which happens all over the world, even in good ole USA) and being a relatively young post-apartheid democracy, you intimate with these examples that South Africans therefore can’t think intellectually about misogyny, homophobia and gender norms? WHAT? The two don’t go together. And, by the way, South African is MUCH better about race than we are in the US. They call it out, they claim it, they have great techniques for bridging racial gaps than we can ever hope to achieve. How offensive that you characterize the country as “behind” ours in these ways. Bottom line: performing misogyny is NOT a critique of misogyny; it merely re-plays it. How different is it to be called or treated like a “Ho” by a performance troupe than to be called or treated like one walking by a construction site or called or treated like one as we’re being assaulted? Where’s the critique, exactly?

    Congrats that they’re the first drag king troupe to come out of South Africa. No one is denying that as an interesting news item. But we challenge the people performing in this troupe to think about their message and their claims and to be thinking performers–artists only get better when they critically examine their practice and we respectfully ask “Bros B4 Hos” to do the same.

    And, just as a point of reference, HuffPo Gay Voices and GLAAD, while great organizations that do good work, are not always affirming of ALL aspects of LGBTQ life. In this case, they promoted a group that demeans women and since lesbians are women, then not all aspects of LGBTQ people were affirmed. I would hope lesbian.com would be interested in de-constructing misogyny and promoting ways that we can battle the intense sexism we all experience all over the world, every day.

    And, for the record, I did dig deeper. I watched the documentary, I watched other performances of theirs, I read interviews. I researched South Africa as well as talked to the numerous colleagues I have from the country. And I’m very familiar with the role of camp and parody in drag, as someone who researches and teaches in LGBT Studies and yes, drag has a particular purpose and old drag did mostly accomplish those purposes. And despite all that, I maintain my point: there is nothing critical about misogyny, homophobia or gender roles in their performances (as well as their name). They put on a good show, but I see that every day on TV and in music videos, so where exactly, is the critique?

    Reply

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