From the moment Nina West departed RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11, she had not only captured America’s heart (and snagged the title of Miss Congeniality for Season 11) but she slowly cornered the market as the drag queen who is bridging the gap between drag and children’s entertainment (starting with her raucously wonderful dress-up party in the “Drag Is Magic” video). In her latest video “The Drag Alphabet”, West is opening the library in her own unique and color filled way, and spelling out the alphabet in an immediately infectious way.
The track is instantly catchy, with plenty of Drag Race references that long-term fans will appreciate, along with some truly clever matches (I mean, in “The Drag Alphabet”, what else would “D” stand for other than “Divine”)? While West may have taken the seven kids in the video on an alphabetic adventure ending with a fabulous conga line, the kids selected for the video had a much deeper meaning for West. With Direction by Brad Hammer, Art Direction by Aurora Sexton, & Executive Produced by David Charpentier, Jacob Slane, Ryan Aceto, Andrew Levitt, the team has crafted an instantly track that fits perfectly with the wonderfully inclusive brand that West has crafted.
Making sure that queer youth is represented is a consistent mission for West, and “The Drag Alphabet” is no exception. In this case though, she also wanted to create safe space for another typically underrepresented group — deaf and hard of hearing people. Two of the kids featured in the video, Daniela Maucere and Ivy Alona, are deaf and spend much of the video translating what West sings into ASL. Billboard reports that West’s decision to include kids from the deaf and hard of hearing community in “The Drag Alphabet” came when a friend of hers with a deaf child expressed that they wanted to see sign language in her “Drag is Magic” video in order to show it to their kid. “I felt so dumb in the moment, like, ‘why didn’t I think of that?'” Nina says. She ultimately decided to include Daniela and Ivy in the video so that instead of relying on subtitles only, deaf kids everywhere could feel included. “It sounds trite to say it all the time, but representation matters. You can see how it affects people’s confidence and where they place themselves in the world, so it absolutely does matter for these kids to see themselves.”
“The Drag Alphabet” is available on all streaming sites now