Talking Point: Dips, Shablams and Deathdrops - this thing has herstory

Talking Point: Dips, Shablams and Deathdrops - this thing has herstory

Last week, we got schooled.

We've been calling them Death Drops, Vanessa Hudgens called it a Shablam, apparently some folks call it a 5000, and others a Dip. You know the move I mean: that heart-stopping, ever-impressive, not-everyone-can-do-this-actually move that sets the Queens ahead of the Princesses and can make a boy in a dress seem like a contender. And in last week's podcast (Death Drops and Face Plants with Michal Czopczyc), we even started a RPDR A3 seasonal tally (4, if you're keeping track: Aja - 2, Kennedy and Shangela have 1 each).

But then last Thursday, Mikelle Street published some T in Hornet: this dance move has history, and it has a name, and Mikelle says it should be called a Dip. In the article, he goes on to tell us the origin of the name, its tie to the ballroom scene, and the importance of using correct terms especially when the straight world is watching and learning.

Aja performs the move in question

At DragCenter, it’s a priority for us to have open and candid discussions about all topics, especially those around drag and its various influences and aesthetics. Drag Queens have long been the keepers of our shared LGBT history, albeit not exclusively. Where I come from -- St. Louis, MO -- I remember standing in awe while Drag Queen (with a capital Q) Michelle McCausland told her herstory of repeated run-ins with the STL Police Departments when they harassed her for being in drag, how that story and others like it helped to galvanize the fledgling STL LGBT community, much like with Stonewall. In the end, she fought the law, and won in court! Michelle’s story and so many like it continue to have impact on our community. Those stories matter and we can (and should) respect and honor the individuals involved who paved the way by simply remembering our shared past.

Michelle McCausland and Tumara Mahorning perform in St. Louis, MO - circa 1986.

So herstory is important, and frankly when someone says something like, "Look, x has a backstory and we call it this name because of that significant history"...well, you should just pay attention. Mikelle did that last week in the Hornet article.

So back to Mikelle, and the Dip/Death Drop/Shablam issue: the herstory of this amazing move is important! Where I come from, we like to call the move a Death Drop, it seems like others do too, so we will continue to call it Death Drop here at DragCenter. But at the same time, we want to tip a hat and add our thanks to those that created this amazing move that has brought so much awe and joy to so many of us for so long! And special thanks to Mikelle, and Michelle, and the ever so many others, for helping us learn our own herstory so that we understand who we are and how we got here. 

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