Brittani’s Video Party: Drag Queens, Janelle Monae, and a Lesbian Gardner Play Ender’s Game

Greetings. This is Brittani’s Video Party, where I bring some of the “best” videos from all over my internet together so we can clap, cry or deconstruct. Have you ever gotten to a video and it already has 33 million views and you wonder where the heck have you been? Well I’m here to help you so that you see it when it only has 32 million views. Aim low, world. Aim low.

Header by Rory Midhani


RuPaul’s Drag Race is a thing people are obsessed with. Robin and Carly are a thing I’m obsessed with. Mix those two things together and add some drag queens and you get this video that Carly Usdin directed. Detox, Willam Belli, and Vicky Vox are in this video for “Silicone” which borrows the melody from “Dancing On My Own.”

If I’m not mistaken, Ender’s Game is a sci-fi novel everyone but me read in junior high. This leads me to believe that the movie is going to be a gigantic hit and the trailer an exciting life event for lots of people. Along with dudes, the movie will star Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), Viola Davis (The Help), and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).

Crystal already told you about the new Janelle Monae song featuring Erykah Badu and now the video for Q.U.E.E.N. is here. I’d only listened to the song once before Rachel mentioned that some of the lyrics are super gay. Maybe we should all look a little closer together.

Am I a freak because I love watching Mary?
Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?
Say will your God accept me in my black and white?
Will he approve the way I’m made?

The 3 Bits is a web series (or three depending on how you see the world) about three siblings: Henry (gay), Roman (gay) and Madison Bits. All of Henry’s episodes are out already and the first about his older sister, Roman, is out right now. Roman is a former weed dealer that’s currently working as a gardner. Things get a little complicated when her girlfriend isn’t too fond of her new goodie two-shoes persona and members of her old crew’s rival operation aren’t really buying it. There are boobies in this episode so it’s NSFW. But on the upside, boobies?

If you have a video you think everyone should see, tweet it to @bishilarious for consideration. And of course feel free to post your favorite videos from the week below.

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. I would suggest not watching Ender’s Game because Orson Scott Card (who wrote the novel) is a hugely outspoken homophobe.

    • From what I’ve heard Summit have been trying to distance the film from Card and are hugely embarrassed by his views. He is a repulsive human being.

      • Yeah I’m going to find a way to watch the movie without paying for it. I don’t want any of my money going to Orson Scott Card.

    • Sometimes ugly people make beautiful art. We just have to find a way to enjoy the art without supporting the person.

    • Could anyone who knows things about Hollywood weigh in?

      I’m guessing that the book and the screenplay were optioned, Card has already been paid, and that’s it (and the rest of the proceedings will go to the studio, etc). But I don’t know exactly how this works. I’m just assuming that he doesn’t have the movie rights and therefore will not get the movie money. So I’m gonna see it because that book has meant a lot to me over the years, and also the movie looks like it could be really amazing.

      As for his books, I buy them used on principle because I don’t like where his money goes (NOM).

      • Sorry to ruin it for you but, I’m pretty sure the way it works is that he gets royalties for the movie (this is how, for example, J.K. Rowling is not just rich, but super crazy rich). When the book is optioned, they just get a small amount of money (compared to royalties) because a ton of books get optioned, but few are actually turned into movies.

        I was just thinking about this this morning on the way to work. I don’t want to give any money to Card for the above mentioned reasons. And it totally sucks to miss out on awesome media because its made by anti-gay people. But on the bright side, there’s way more media made by pro-gay people, so on the gay issue, along with just being awesome and totally right, we also get way more cool movies.

        • Damn. Yeah, it looks like it can go either way depending on the situation, but he would probably get some royalties.

          A lot of that comes from DVD sales, soooo maybe don’t buy the DVD, kids. I will probably still go see it as a $5 matinee once.

      • I worked in publishing and a bit in the film industry for three years and it’s very likely he only saw a percentage of the option and will get no (or extremely miniscule) royalties from the film. It’s usually built into film options that the author has nothing to do with the film. They’re lucky if they get a set visit.

        JK Rowling was a *huge* exception and a pioneer in authors rights everywhere. She built her involvement in film editions of her books into her contract from her first indie press and, because of how iconic Harry Potter was, the studio was forced to work with her or not make the films. This is, again *incredibly* rare. Orson Scott Card likely has already made everything he will from the film. The big money for authors from films is the increase in book sales.

        • Oh cool. That makes me feel better about this movie, but worse in general about movies.

          • Writing and film (and the arts in general, I think) are harsh on the creators. Most of the money goes to the publishers/producers. For example, a standard publication contract at a major press gives authors a 4%-7% royalty and any advance must be earned back in book sales in the first three years or the author has to pay back the difference. Film is similarly tough for authors (which is why you get so many films that the author hates/deviate in huge ways from the book. The author usually has no creative say and, if they try to assert themselves, the studio just says “fine then, we’ll slap a “based on a story by” label on the film and you’ll have no say at all.”

            The good news, of course, is that book sales boom with film releases and an author usually makes a nice chunk of change from options (studios pay a *ton* of money for options whethee the film is made or not) and, sadly, in the case of Enders Game the film has been optioned a few times, so Card probably made a nice chunk of change. Still, you probably won’t be giving him much at all if you see the film.

        • You’re no doubt right about Card having made most of his money for this deal up front and what’s done is done. But… assume the film is fabulously successful (or even moderately so) it will still impact his future book options and deals and, in essence, say the filmgoing public doesn’t have a problem with your views so you, Card, and producers/publishers can ignore the criticism of his nasty statements and go for the gold. The worst thing we can do as a society is to normalize hate or bigotry and pretending it’s business as usual does exactly that.

        • Thanks for the info. I guess he’s co-producing it too, so I don’t know what that means in terms of money.

          This is going to make me feel really squicked out no matter what. I wish OSC wasn’t a jerk. I really love (some of) his writing (some is crap). And the film has high potential to be awesome and Viola Davis is great and the kid who plays Ender is impressive and I want to support them and this is just weird and awkward.

          That being said, I think no matter what, this won’t have much of an impact on Card’s career. He’s noted as a homophobe and his quality of writing has decreased markedly. He’ll never have problems getting a book publisher because he wrote Ender’s Game, but other projects (like the Superman comics) may not fly.

  2. “Say is it weird to like the way she wears her tights” super gay
    Love the song, love the video

  3. Yeah, yeah, it’s supposed to be pfunny and all, but having 3 men doing drag making light about pumping silicone isn’t really all that humorous. Several days ago a 19-year old trans Latina from near Sacramento died from it… and there are a number of such deaths each year and many more who die from ‘pneumonia’ (which is what happens when the silicone migrates through the body and lodges in the lungs).

    • Agreed – frankly, I’m surprised Autostraddle even posted this. Why is making fun of people who are desperate enough to get black-market plastic surgery is considered funny? These people deserve proper health care (including gender-affirming surgeries, if needed), not mockery. At its best, drag is a creative and empowering art form. At its worst, however, it is highly disrespectful of women. This is an example of the latter. A video of gay men making fun of low-income trans* women does not belong in a feminist space.

      • I guh… d–… wha?

        Oh wow. Good to see our pain is still a huge fucking joke to everyone. I had forgotten for, like, seven seconds.

  4. Roman is ridiculously goodlooking. Is it cliche to also mention that my girlfriend once shaved her head, refuses to fight other people, and pays for dinner? Just sayin =)

  5. I loved the music video, when I first heard the song I wasn’t so into it, but having the visual made it a lot better.

  6. Yeah I agree. While watching that video I was thinking how transphobic it was, and was cringing at the lyrics.

  7. I really liked the Drag Race music video. I watch Drag Race and Carly and Robin are the best. Of course I understand that Drag Humour, much like any other form of humour operates within the rules of pre-established boundaries. I doubt it was anyone’s intention to trivialize or bring attention to the use of plastic surgery as it applies to trans* individuals at all. Of course I have privilege, but I also have a great sense of humour. Everything is not political, meant to offend, or meant be taken seriously.

    • I understand that it’s not meant to be taken seriously. It is however, a serious issue, so excuse me if I’m not laughing. I don’t think that Carly or the featured performers had any negative intentions, and I don’t think they’re bad people. I do think this video is incredibly problematic, and it shouldn’t get a pass just because it came out of the queer community.

      If this video was made by trans* women maybe I’d feel differently – after all, sometimes humor is the best way to deal with difficult issues. Poking fun at your own community is one thing, but it is women (trans* and cis), not men, who suffer most of the consequences of illegal plastic surgery. People have died; others have suffered painful and disfiguring injuries.* The performers sing “I’m not a girl, you should have known” – and no, they are not girls. They’ve never felt compelled to inject their bodies with industrial grade silicone. And they shouldn’t be joking about it.

      • Lanie, just to clarify, WIllam Belli (the one on the left), does not ID as trans and lives as a gay man, has made previous trans women-themed videos which, like this one, are marketed for showing at gay bars (one was making big laffs about trans women getting SRS). He’s well aware of how potentially offensive his “humor” can be for many trans women. Drag has its bright stars and performers but it also provides a willing setting for racism, misogyny and even transphobia which is supposed to be excused because “it’s all meant in fun.”

        I’m glad you have a great sense of humor but can you imagine there might be topics closer to your life which might not seem as funny if it involved joking about something which resulted in the death of someone you know?

      • “They’ve never felt compelled with industrial grade silicone.” Yes, Detox, the primary queen singing, has and that’s the joke. Many of the lines like, “huge scar on my forehead” apply directly to her. Detox has had a number of procedures done, especially after being involved in a horrific car accident.

        “No, they’re not girls” – You’re right, they’re not. But, when in drag, it’s common for queen to refer to themselves as girls and other queens as “she”, and who are we to deny someone their gender pronoun of choice?

        I don’t think that they intended to poke fun at trans women, rather, I think that this was Detox making fun of herself.

        • OK, this is my last comment on this subject. Detox may have had plastic surgery, but I doubt it was in a back room somewhere. Having cosmetic surgery after an accident is a far cry from what they are portraying in this video, which appears to be making fun of people for thinking that they could ever look look female.

          And yes, I’m aware that drag queens generally use female pronouns while in drag – I totally respect that and will refer any anyone in whichever way they prefer. However, drag queens do not typically get breast implants, since they are not female identified, and generally live as gay men. This video doesn’t look like it’s making fun of drag queens, it looks like it’s making fun of trans women. Maybe that wasn’t the intention, but its problematic nonetheless.

    • If it wasn’t meant to trivialize the use of unlicensed plastic surgery (specifically silicone-pumping) by trans women, then–excuse me for saying so–but I’m not even sure what the joke is. It seems like it doesn’t work as humor if it isn’t in reference to that phenomenon.

      Also, the “it wasn’t intended to trivialize” and “not everything is political” defenses are bullshit defenses when applied to any offensive behavior. I’m frankly disgusted that you would raise them as excuses here. Do you maybe think your “great sense of humor,” as you see it, proceeds directly from the privilege that allows you not to be hurt by something that isn’t making fun of you?

  8. Who is Blueberry Mary, Janelle? And what does Q.U.E.E.N. stand for? Inquiring (in-queer-ing?) minds want to know!

  9. I know nothing about Ender’s Game, but I just hope that it is amazing and that Viola Davis is amazing in it so that she can be ‘known’ for something other than The Help.

    In the meantime, I shall continue worshiping Janelle Monae

  10. God damn, the rap at the end of Q.U.E.E.N. gives me chills. As someone whose first introduction to her music is this music video, does anyone know if she raps on other tracks?

    • Not really, actually. That was the first time I personally remember her rapping for an extended period of time.

      But still, she’s AWESOME. Get “ArchAndroid,” listen from start to finish, and you will probably not be disappointed.

    • Janelle raps on Dance or Die, Neon Valley Street, and Tightrope Wondamix.

      But, yes, Janelle. Watching Mary do what, exactly?

  11. JesusHolyMotherofMaryandJospeh that was the first time I’ve seen a Janelle Monae video- I’ve seen her in photos and stuff but I’d never actually watched her stuff till now because CLEARLY I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR ME. THE OUTFITS. THE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. GOOD LORD. YES. YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE.

    • Haha, you are me when I watched Janelle sing at Coachella (on YouTube), I just fell in instalove. *goes to watch Q.U.E.E.N*

  12. I’ve been a huge fandroid of Janelle’s from the very beginning. To anyone just getting into her music, don’t hesitate to get her earlier material. Her cd, “The Audition,” is amazing and the stuff she did with for the “Idlewild” soundtrack was great as well. Her android anthology starts with “Metropolis” and continues with “The ArchAndroid” and both are just breathtaking. I’m talking real music here, people, not all synthetic jive we might be use to!

    Anyway, I’m not sure we can completely loop her material into “gay” content, only because her music is so very themed and it takes so much to think through all she says in songs. BUT, in the song “Mushroom & Roses,” we find out about Mary (Blueberry Mary to be specific) and she visits at a club named, mushrooms and roses, which seems to be exotic in nature or at least dreamscape-esque. That part of the cd is from the perspective of the Janelle’s female android, Cyndi Mayweather, so it can be assumed Cyndi and Mary visits together __________ (fill in the blank for what they did during the visits if you like). Also, that same song talks of “loving without fear.” So it’s very well possible she is hinting at lesbian themes between this song and “Q.U.E.E.N.” Really the whole song can be analyzed to death, much like all of her cds. Final note: JUST GET ALL OF HER STUFF, SHE’S GREAT!

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