This week, LaGanja Estranja, the resident stoner from Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, dropped the music video for his song “Look At Me.” And although the LaGanja Estranja video involves weed (as you’d expect), it also points out that drug arrests disproportionately affect U.S. communities of color — a very real political issue. So we spoke with Estranja about the making of “Look At Me” and took a look at the politics behind it.
The LaGanja Estranja video starts off with Estranja hanging out in a car as his tattooed friend delivers some munchies. Before you can say “Cheetohs and a Slurpee,” a cop arrives and arrests his friend just for having marijuana on him.
As we enter the courtroom, we get a smattering of weed humor as the bailiff announces the Honorable Mary J. Wanna presiding over Department 420 of the Superior Court. But the jokes stop there as Estranja then turns out several sickening looks while performing alongside rapper J. Tyler.
Giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse, Estranja says, “It took only one day, 14 hours to be exact, to film my music video ‘Look At Me.’ We had seven different set ups and I had a costume change for every one.“
He continues, “There was no air conditioning on set, so my man bits were constantly sneaking out during the shoot. At one point, I was screaming for an electric fan like an insane person and my sister Gia Gunn had to calm me down.”
The LaGanja Estranja video has a sultry vibe to it, for sure, as Estranja and his backup dancers serve serious body in luxurious couture. At one point, Estranja turns out dance moves (by choreographer Derrick Schrader) in a checkered coat and unitard while working shiny red thigh-high boots. In the very next scene, he gets wet in a black bikini covered in gold accents.
It’s undeniable — he looks great.
“All the clothes were curated by myself,” Estranja says. “Dolls Kill sponsored several pieces and my designers Alex Navarro and Howie Bischoff gave me HUGE discounts on the original pieces they provided. Most of the clothes on set were Versace/Versus or contained bit of vintage Versace fabric on them.”
Estranja revealed to us that he modestly paid everyone on set — “except for six people from my team (who truly saved the day),” he adds. He paid $900 for the red convertible in the video and his crew smoked “Ill OG” blunts from LA KUSH all day long.
“One dancer almost passed out from getting too stoned, and we had to revive him back to life with pizza,” Estranja says.
Here is the LaGanja Estranja video for “Look At Me”:
But despite the glitz and glamor of the LaGanja Estranja video, he isn’t just playing around. The video shows the fate of the man arrested as its start and ends with a sobering message.
Its final screen reads, “There were 1.57 million arrests in the United States for drug violations in 2016. Approximately one drug arrest every 20 seconds. Though African-Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the United States population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015.”
Estranja dedicated “Look at Me” to all individuals and families affected by the war on drugs, especially those disproportionately affected because of racial oppression.
Considering that his drag name and brand both center around weed, it’s a shrewd and gracious move to use his video to acknowledge the unfair criminalization of cannabis.
Estranja’s fans have responded favorably to the message as well. Many YouTube commenters have expressed appreciation for raising political awareness in a well-produced music video, wishing other drag queens would do the same.