America’s First Drag Queen President

“A presidential campaign is like a drag show.”

Joan Jett Blakk

In 1992, there was another candidate against Bush, and her name? Joan Jett Blakk.

For Pride month, Media Burn is highlighting and celebrating the work of queer activists of the past. Blakk was the drag persona of performer Terence Smith, who was a performer and leader of Chicago Queer Nation in the 70s. In the 1990s, Blakk campaigned for various political positions, such as mayor of Chicago, President (as shown here), and the mayor of San Francisco. It was both theater and activism, as Blakk wanted to draw attention to homophobia and the AIDS crisis in the U.S. Recently, Blakk’s political journey was the subject of a 2019 Steppenwolf play, titled “Ms. Blakk for President.”

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This first video is only a snippet of a longer video shot by Bill Stamets, who was recording material for The 90’s Election Specials. It was Blakk’s 35th birthday celebration as well as her presidential campaign announcement. Blakk touches on serious issues like abortion and the AIDS/HIV epidemic, but wields her weapon of brilliant humor throughout.

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This video is cut from Stamets’ interview with Blakk about her campaign’s platforms. It is short and snappy, but certainly very effective.

 

View the whole unedited videos in our archives here: 

Streaming now: Joan Jett Blakk for President

Joan Jett Blakk: Queer Nation’s Candidate for President, 1992

 

 

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