Credit: Jose A. Guzman Colon
Drag Story Hours have made headlines and come under fire recently. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones recently protested about one, attempting to claim that drag queens “show up and have their way with your children.”
We sat down with one of those queens, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 contestant Mrs. Kasha Davis, to get the scoop on Drag Story Hour.
MKD explained the importance of Drag Story Hour and how you can bring it to your community to help spread some light into the world.
Tell us a bit about Drag Story Hour with Mrs. Kasha Davis.
Drag Story Hour, sponsored by Blackfriars Theatre and Out Alliance, both of Rochester New York, is a unique opportunity for both children and parents to gather and celebrate uniqueness, creativity, individuality and kindness towards oneself and others who are different.
Mary Tibali Hoffman and myself and prepared a simple hour-long presentation of a selected book reading that we hope generates some conversation, music, dance, laughter and craft! Who doesn’t love a simple craft?
What made you want to read to children?
My pal Mary at Blackfriars approached me on the idea and we both thought it would not only be something great for our Rochester Community but would double as something that can be brought to any community wherever I may travel. Personally, I saw how other queens were doing these all over the country and I figured why wouldn’t Mrs. Kasha Davis gather up the kiddos and read a book and spread some positivity. RuPaul’s Drag Race has brought me followers both young and old, and it’s my duty, in my mind, to use that platform for as much good as possible.
What has the reaction been from the community?
The Rochester community has reacted in a very positive manner. Both parents and children have been all smiles and have expressed how they are looking forward to future events.
How have you handled the negative response from some individuals and conservative press? What words or wisdom do you have for them?
The only negative thing I’ve heard was that some kids had swim or music lessons at 10 am and couldn’t make it to the story hour (laughs). There have been a few comments of uninformed, misguided negativity where it was stated something like we were pushing our agenda on children. Our agenda is to celebrate uniqueness, individuality and creativity and to encourage children and adults to be kind towards oneself and others who are different. I have no idea what can be deemed negative about that.
What do you love most about reading to the children?
My favorite aspect of reading to children are the moments when I catch them with their eyes so wide open and in awe as if they were seeing Santa Claus. And, undoubtedly, their spontaneous and contagious belly laughs!
What do you hope children and families get out of these events?
We hope that the children and families not only have a moment to laugh and have some fun, but also to feel like they belong to a community that is accepting of one another no matter who they are.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
What age? I mean I could write a book! Mostly as a young boy, girl, gal-boy-fella, I felt very isolated and alone. I never realized that the more I hid my true self the lonelier I would be. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized the more I was my truest, genuine self the more love and acceptance I would gain from literally every angle of the world, including those who meant the most to me: my father, mother and siblings.
Have you had any encounters during Drag Story Hour with any children or families that have stood out to you?
My favorite moment thus far was when I was reading the amazing Ocitcorn, by Kevin Miller and Justin Lowe, and I asked if anyone knew what plankton was, expecting some to say seaweed or something, and young girl stood up, raised her hand and recited the Webster’s dictionary definition, along with pictures, slides and references. Kids are so smart today!
What makes Drag Story Hour so important to you?
Drag Story Hour is so important to me because we are living in a time when there has been so much “acceptance”” of uniqueness or difference that we expect kids to just “get it.” Programs like this offer support and patience for those who really just need to either belong or to have options to figure out where they belong. As a kid, way back in the 70’s and 80’s, I had to be like others, but today we get to be examples of happy and healthy individuals who are slightly or alarmingly different than the norm. What does that look like, sound like, act like? What are the examples that we can provide for kids and parents to build their own experience upon? Plus, you get to do a craft!
What would you like to share about Drag Story Hour that we don’t know?
What I’d like to share about Drag Story Hour that you may not know is that we would love to bring it to your community. Just contact Michael Benedetti at Executive PR and Talent and we will make it happen together! Also, admission to these events is free. If you get to come, feel free to bring a children’s book to donate to the amazing efforts at Comfort Cases. We also accept donations, at www.blackfriars.org,to help keep the program going
Finally, what can we expect next from Mrs. Kasha Davis?
What’s next for me? A jog, checking my social media, making some new video with Wednesday Westwood about how basic my makeup is and how she can make it better… but I digest [laughs]… I’m so grateful to have projects and tours coming up literally all around the world. I believe in the power of genuine and generous gratitude and verbal suggestion, so thank you to RuPaul’s Drag Race for the opportunity to have a platform to build upon and for casting me in All Stars Season 4!