Since she took home the crown on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race back in 2017, Sasha Velour hasn’t been one of those queens who releases a single or two, maybe a music video, and tours the world to rake in some cash. Nah, Velour has used her platform to fight for greater queer visibility in all aspects of culture. And that hard work has paid off, as come December she’ll be heading to Washington, D.C., for a Sasha Velour Smithsonian event that will tackle the global impact of drag.
Sasha Velour will be one of 30 people coming to speak at the Smithsonian for “The Long Conversation” on Dec. 7, an event that’s all about “imagining the future.” It’s been called “an epic creative marathon between artists, scientists and other big thinkers where they converge for a lively eight-hour relay race of surprising conversations around the best ideas on the horizon. No moderators. No slides. All chemistry.”
Among those joining the drag superstar are actress Alfre Woodard, New York Times columnist David Brooks, NASA’s head of the mission to Jupiter and one of the world’s leading cancer surgeons.
This Sasha Velour Smithsonian moment sounds like it was meant for her.
And it’s not like Velour is just sitting around the house these days, either. She’s been quite the busy queen. Sasha Velour cranked out a collabo with Opening Ceremony back in September, became the face of watch brand Swatch, brought her popular drag showcase Nightgowns to London and Los Angeles and recently announced she’ll be releasing a hardcover art book later this month.
About the Sasha Velour Smithsonian appearance, at which she’ll discuss drag’s global impact, she says:
I’ve gotten to experience first-hand the way that drag has become a global phenomenon, uniting queer people and their allies in conversations about identity and representation that ripple across the entire world. In a sense, it’s hard not to be hopeful when you spend every night at a drag show!
The act of performing drag, or for that matter just cheering it on, unleashes a kind of irresistible and deeply inclusive energy. … That being said, the ripples and implications of drag go even deeper than the surface. Drag is inherently critical of the status quo, pushing for a radical politics of self-determination, while still remaining answerable to a deeply intersectional and close-knit community.
Even under brutal conditions, queer people have always gravitated to drag to create joy, not just for themselves, but for entire communities. And not just joy … but success!
As drag becomes more a part of mainstream pop-culture, we get to share our unique structures of business and our fabulous brand of world-building with an ever expanding audience. I’m so excited to be a part of that, and to share what I know and love about drag with thought leaders in a variety of industries and backgrounds. Most of all, though, I’m excited to hear what they have to say! We need every bit of hope (and plan of action) we can muster!