10 Music Videos That Would Be Better as Drag King Performances

There was this one time I was watching Justin Bieber’s Believe (don’t ask) with my live-in BFF Soph and I realized I was getting really into it because I kept whispering “drag king” to myself and squinting so that I could pretend I was in a parallel universe where a lesbian wearing a tight muscle tank could fill arenas and make girls cry with possibility. Once I’d unlocked this reality-shifting mind game, I realized I could apply it to most anything I watched that was absurdly bravado in its machismo or, honestly, would just be really bangin’ if a girl was doing it. After that, we couldn’t stop doing it: we saw dag kings in music videos, drag kings in advertisements, drag kings in concert tour documentaries. And it’s been so amazing, you guys.

When you watch these videos, imagine that they are a subversive act poking fun at masculinity while simultaneously, maybe, being incredibly hot. I promise that it will make the problematic less problematic, the weird a little less weird, and the leather pants as queer as they’re supposed to be.

Bump ‘N Grind

Was really disappointed when I looked up this video on YouTube because the moaning intro of sexual frustration isn’t included, and that’s kind of the entire point. Like, if I don’t get that intro, why the fuck am I watching the video? Oh, right, because if this was happening in a lesbian bar I’d be losing my shit.

Rock Your Body

I’m pretty sure this was filmed in a gay club, so like.


I think I wore all of these outfits this week. I also secretly think that Justin Bieber actually is a drag king who will one day come out with their truths and shock the world. But that’s another story for another day. Also, never follow a girl into a dark convenience store. Pro tip.

Fuckin’ Problems

I’m sorry but like, I’m just imagining four drunk queer women in menswear awkwardly moving their arms and rapping while scantily-clad women around them drop it to the floor and I’m into that, so. Probably this would happen as a high-grade karaoke performance instead of a full-on drag king act, but a girl can dream.


Why the fuck hasn’t this been done yet. Has it. Send pictures, videos, and plane tickets to the next live performance, please. Also if you’re the human making these dreams come true for me and you need to borrow my fashion tape to make the blazer stay in place while you’re topless, hit me up.

U Don’t Have To Call

Please tell me you’ll perform it in the bathrobe.

Bye Bye Bye

I mean, why the fuck did we even watch “Darren’s Dance Grooves” as kids, anyway? Make it worth it. Make anything worth it.


Whatever, you guys are always saying how much you love Halloween and shit anyway. Get dressed up and get to work. I will gladly raise a glass to you from the back of the room while begging to every goddess who has ever existed that you don’t invite everyone at the bar to come on stage and be part of your dance troupe.

Dancing In The Dark

I’m pretty sure a few of us would sleep with you on the spot if you pulled this one off. I won’t name names. SHOW US THAT BOOTY, BOI.

Uptown Funk

Spoiler Alert: A-Camp 6.0 will forever be remembered as proof that this video is a zillion times better when performed by queer women. Also, Stef’s gonna be a killer Mark Ronson. I can feel it in my bones.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. “Gotta kiss myself, I’m so pretty”
    I’m still not totally convinced that Bruno Mars isn’t a drag king, to be honest.

  2. I have a camera and a few lenses, just get me a tripod/or stability rig, & better microphone we can film some of it this weekend.

    • let’s just start doing drag renditions of famous videos and see how fast before someone gives us all of their money

  3. Umm…why are we promoting a child rapist on this website? C’mon, Carmen.

    • Is R. Kelly the rapist? Because I saw the intro to that music video and I was not like “oh, this is hot.” It was like, “oh, this is date-rape logic.”
      I think I know why that music video does not usually have the intro. It’s because if you go from a scene with him harassing, who is very clearly not into it if you look at her face, to him singing “I know just want you want, I know just what you need,” you think that this is the beginning of an acquaintance rape situation. And its not really a sexy song at that point.

      • Yes. He wasn’t convicted but the allegations against him are numerous. He is a known predator and I too wish he had’t been included in this list. Here’s a quote from an article about his abusive actions:

        “You watch the video for which he was indicted and there is the disembodied look of the rape victim. He orders her to call him Daddy. He urinates in her mouth and instructs her at great length on how to position herself to receive his “gift.” It’s a rape that you’re watching. So we’re not talking about rock-star misbehavior, which men or women can do. We’re talking about predatory behavior.”


        • Yes, it’s true, he wasn’t convicted on that case, but he did settled on another case involving a minor in 1998.

    • i’m not really promoting him so much as wishing him away from the earth and replacing him in those wishes with a much more skilled drag king performer, thus once more allowing me to enjoy bump n grind in this lifetime without guilt, if that helps. that was my intention here.

  4. I think we need to take over the actual Cowboy Palace Saloon here in LA where Pony was shot and recreate the video! Sadly, though, the bar doesn’t actually have a mechanical bull.

    • ummmmm wait can we do this for real though like can someone plan a meet-up around this so we can do this and make all of my dreams come true

  5. Has the concept of a girl band being consistently styled like a boyband been done yet? Needs to happen if not.

  6. Carmen this post/ creepin’ on the A-Camp pics inspired me to do Uptown Funk at karaoke last night which was a FUCKING blast, thank you

    • omg omg omg omg please tell me there are pics / videos / a neverending livestream of this

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