by B.Michael Peterson.

Recently I watched a video interview with a group of activists and protesters in response to Sharon Needles’ Nazi performance in Atlanta on June 27, 2012. These protesters raised questions of racism to this spooktacular drag queen and performance artist, Sharon Needles. Realizing the anguish, pain and impeding inner thoughts racing through Sharon’s mind, it got me to thinking about two sides to society: artists and everyone else, aka the repressed.

Sharon Needles is a queen of shock, keeper of torment and a performer that causes us to think, to be educated, to experience a side of the conversation on the other side; a different perspective. She is not just a drag queen or a performer, Sharon Needles is an artiste who is doing her rightful job and social responsibility to society by educating, cultivating, probing and enticing the general public to think about a different perspective. Call me crazy, but I do believe that’s what well-oiled playwrights, directors, actors and any other artists do everyday.

People all over the maps refer to Needles as a racist, and it has been suggested by a few to hang her from a tree. I ask “why” exactly? For decades, artists have poked and probed so many issues to their peers, so that they could reconsider and reelvauate their stand, opinion or outlook. The art of being an artiste is not meant for everyone, and especially not if you think it’s a joy ride. When you hear someone say, “Everyone’s got a story so what’s your story”, what they really are meaning to ask you is, “What’s your perspective?” Through my eyes I observe everyone trying to live their life as an artiste, without the knowledge of computing some essential elements of artiste-hood.

In short, drag queens like Sharon Needles are not just drag queens. Needles is a performance artiste and if it’s something you don’t like, then don’t condone it…but perhaps also sit back and let the magic of performance art open your eyes to a world you just might not understand.

(More at New Queer On The Block)

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