Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Black Divaz

As part of the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, NITV an Australian TV Channel commissioned filmmaker Adrian Russell Wills to make Black Divaz. This totally exhilarating hour-long documentary followed six rather fabulous indigenous Drag Queens as they assembled to take part in the very first Miss First Nations Drag Queen competition.

This eclectic group of men, and one transwoman, from across Australia flew into Darwin during Pride week toting behind them oversized luggage bursting with outrageous costumes and enormous colorful wigs. The contestants baring exotic names such as Nova Gina, Isla Fuk Yah, Crystal Love, Josie Baker, Jojo and Shaniqua are corralled and cosseted by the two co-hosts Miss Ellaneous and Marzi Panne who are determined to make the whole event one big party that none of them will ever forget. 

As each of the contestants bares their souls on camera sharing their life experiences, you are constantly aware of the fact that they represent a community and cultures that are so neglected and overlooked most of the time by the rest of the LGBT community.  Without a single hint of bitterness,  they also relate as well as that, the struggle for understanding and acceptance within their own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is still very tough indeed.

What Wills captures in his very affectionate portrait is the camaraderie of this fierce and talented bunch of performers who with their infectious humor and high spirits care more about taking part with the ‘sisterhood’ than merely walking off with a crown.  The fact that on the final night of the competition each of them seems to end up with a winner’s sash of some kind, makes for a perfect ending for both them and us.

When they are dressed to the nines and on the small stage performing, the girls project this air of professionalism which at the same time comes over as both natural and authentic, the two qualities that get totally forgotten elsewhere in a world too obsessed with the over-glossiness (and dare we say fakeness?)  of Drag Race. 

Where Black Divaz gets screened next is a mystery to us BUT we will track it as it is a sheer joy that should be seen.

Posted by queerguru  at  10:45

Genres:  documentary, international

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