Since its 1978 release, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” has established itself as one of the quintessential gay anthems. Whether you are hearing it on a dance floor during a tea dance or watching a drag queen turn a look to it, it is one of those consistently amazing and familiar songs that we all know and love. A drag queen in Georgia though, recently put her definite “own” spin on it.
Facebook user Bryan Timbs posted the following message on Facebook last night. According to his post, Douglasville Irish Bred Pub & Restaurant in Douglasville, Georgia allowed a drag performer by the name of Robin Springs (a caucasian man named Chris Hunt) to perform in full blackface and afro wig to the strains of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”. According to the post, this performance was followed his drag mother Sandy Springs, who walked by a mutual acquaintance of the original poster and made a racial slur (which is stated in the post below).
The pictures below clearly show performer Robin Springs in both blackface and the black afro wig mentioned in the post. A picture of Springs showing her as clearly, a caucasian man, also in drag, is also below.
What makes this incident even more embarrassing for both the business that hosted it and the LGBT community in Georgia and otherwise is (brace yourselves): this was a competition and this performer won. A white man performing in blackface won a drag competition. In 2019. In the United States.
Israel Holcombe, who’s husband was in attendance at this event. stated to me exclusively that he is “sorry that the beautiful queer parts of the South are being represented so poorly” and that his husband’s drag sister, Mavis Gary, who was also in attendance, directly heard Sandy Springs make the aforementioned racial remark. Holcombe, a regular at the establishment, wanted to make it clear that “the queer community outside of the perimeter doesn’t support this”.
Following the negative backlash that the promoter, the establishment and the Springs family received, performer Chris Hunt (who performed as Robin Springs) released this statement on Facebook last night;
What makes Hunt’s post above that much more shocking is the comments under the original post. Both patrons who were at the event or others who were not and state that they “know” the performer make a myriad of excuses for the behavior, and some even are blaming the public for daring to consider this behavior “racist”.
While our the LGBT community & the amazing performers that make our community sparkle with the art of drag have helped us make great strides, we clearly have so much farther to go. The community of Douglasville, GA and the drag community as a whole both deserve better than to see behavior like this be both tolerated and celebrated.
Requests for comment to both Sandy Springs and Robin Banks from me have not been answered as of press time
All pics courtesy of Facebook