OPINION | Don't be mad at Sivanna, be mad at SA and all the brands that have refused to see you!

25 February 2021 - 07:00 By chrizelda kekana
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Actor and TV presenter Siv Ngesi's alter-ego is a drag queen named Sivanna.
Actor and TV presenter Siv Ngesi's alter-ego is a drag queen named Sivanna.
Image: Instagram/Siv Ngesi

After seeing that Siv Ngesi's alter-ego and drag queen Sivanna scored herself an Icy Park modelling gig with Adidas SA, I was happy for her and I was going to launch straight into a celebration had I not logged on to Twitter to find that the LGBTQI+ community wasn't completely celebrating her win as their win.

I'll admit, this left me confused for a good minute or two ... Why wouldn't the rainbow community celebrate being seen when they always complain about a lack of representation?

After following the chat for hours and talking to a few people, I understood better the lack of celebration on their part. I think, for people who have immersed themselves in the drag art form for years, it almost feels like drag didn't win “on merit” and that's a valid point to raise.

Now, Sivanna is a beautiful chick and as the person behind Sivanna, Siv does a brilliant job of bringing the diva to life. However, the bottom line remains that Siv — and I stand to be corrected — is a heterosexual Cishet man (someone who is both cisgender and heterosexual) and it shouldn't have taken him and his Sivanna to give the art form of drag and its people the spotlight.

Reading how many drag queens felt short-changed by Sivanna's win, I almost joined the outrage that led to Siv/Sivanna trending on Tuesday. I too am outraged that SA and the brands that operate in this country have refused to see you — for years — and not for lack of trying to be seen on your end.

The anger towards the country being “blind” to your existence is right and should continue.

I also understand that for the hunnies to whom drag has been a lifelong lifestyle, they feel they should have been the ones to shine and been the ones to spark the conversation. They rightfully feel that if they must celebrate being seen, then they really should be seen.

Again, these are valid feelings, but their blindness is not Sivanna's fault.

And, in a world and a country where that representation is really hard to come by, if anyone could stand in for them, I think Siv is perfect for the job.

Notwithstanding his sexuality, the guy is a genuine ally of the LGBTQI+ community and has proven himself in their circle for years. He has the Feathers award to show for some of his contribution in helping create awareness about the issues the community faces and has the love and adoration of many members of the community to prove his intentions aren't malicious.

Siv's “drag mother” — the legendary and formidable performer on the drag scene, Manila von Teez — helped me see the vision when she spoke about the bigger picture.

Manila does all the styling for Sivanna and also styled the Icy Park shoot that had Twitter up in arms. She helped me understand why Sivanna stirring the pot was a win for the LGBTQI+ community and drag queens in particular.

“Hey all, in response to the #Sivanna post I think everyone is not aware of the bigger picture. I've been doing this for just over 10 years, and some drag queens, even longer. Reality is that no matter how hard we worked, SA as a whole never really accepted the art form,” Manila began.

“We met Siv Ngesi a few years ago, and he has been a huge supporter of drag and especially the LGBTIQ+A Community. We had the above discussion with him, he listened, he sees the bigger picture, and through his following and connections is helping ...

“Yes, its taking a heterosexual Cishet man to get drag noticed, but we are grateful someone is listening, and finally people are talking about drag,” Manila said.

Read her full post below.

With that being said, perhaps a change of perspective on Sivanna's win can help you get your own win too.

Maybe instead of being mad, use the conversation Sivanna ignited and leverage it for your own brand, make them see you and then go out and secure your bag sis!

That seems like a win-win to me.

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