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Kelsea Ballerini Brought Out Drag Race Queens During CMT Awards In Lieu Of Tennessee Drag Ban

Kelsea Ballerini took a page out of Madonna's handbook and brought out Drag Race queens Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux and Kennedy Davenport during last night's CMT Awards, as an act of protest to the recent drag ban in Tennessee.

via: Uproxx

Last week, Madonna added a December 22 Nashville stop to her Celebration Tour (featuring special guest Bob The Drag Queen) with plans to protest “the oppression of the LGBTQ+” community and Tennessee’s proposed ban on drag performances. (US District Judge Thomas Parker temporarily blocked the law last Friday, March 31.)

The 2023 CMT Music Awards were held in Austin, Texas, but the setting doesn’t matter when protesting against oppression, especially given that Nashville is universally accepted as country music’s home base. Ballerini served as the evening’s co-host alongside Kane Brown and took the stage to perform “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too).” Her backing dancers were drag queens: Kennedy Davenport, Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, and Olivia Lux.

“Just like all these amazing country music artists, we drag queens are also artists,” Luzon told Entertainment Tonight. “And we deserve a space to be ourselves, express ourselves, and create something wonderful for everyone to enjoy.”

Lux added, “Kelsea made it really clear in the rehearsal room … she was like, take up that space, you know, this is your time as well, and amplify the fact that you’re here. Even the song, if you’re going down, I’m going down, too — it is about the celebration of being a community. I think that’s what we did on stage tonight, and I really hope that transcended some people as well. It felt like it did.”

Ballerini emotionally opened the CMT Music Awards by honoring the six victims of The Covenant School shooting in Nashville last Monday, March 27, and condemned “the 130 mass shootings in the US this year alone.”

“I wanted to personally stand up here and share this moment because on August 21, 2008, I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central High School, lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria,” she said. “Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses, and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence.”

She continued, “I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel through the next few hours of music can soon turn into action — like, real action — that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones.”

Watch Ballerini’s “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)” performance above, and watch her sobering opening monologue below.

I know you snowflakes are more bothered by drag queens when the real issue in our country is the rise of gun violence and domestic terrorism conducted by angry young white men, but I hate to break it to you - queer artistry and queer performers - hell, queer people aren't going anywhere.


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