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The Harlem drag ball scene

Posted By Jacqueline Guerra On May 9, 2015 @ 3:48 pm In Folk speech | Comments Disabled

JG describes lingo used within the gay community that arised in the 1980s but wasn’t mainstream until more recently:

JG: “A lot of the terms you will see on RuPaul’s Drag Race. One is called “executive realness” which is when the men are supposed to dress in drag that looks like a business woman. So you’d be giving “executive realness” if you look like a business woman in charge. Another one is “throwing shade”. This is when you say something “shady” or bitchy. Like if I said I thought Jenny was a slut then I’d be throwing shade at Jenny. They are terms usually used in the gay community but I think they are spread outwards by shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race where people who have never seen a drag queen in real life can learn their lingo”

Do you know where these words came from?

JG: “They came from the underground drag ball scene in the 1980s. The only reason I know that is from the documentary “Paris is Burning”. Basically the terms have been around for a long time but it was avant guard back then cause the drag scene was more underground. It was big in the downtown gay club scene but didn’t make its way into the mainstream until 20 or 20 years later.”


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