Peppermint's Music Video for "Civil War"
Why We Need to Talk About Peppermint’s New Music Video
NYC favorite and drag legend, Peppermint (who you may know from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9) has officially released her newest music video.
It’s not a new concept for drag queens to release pop singles and dance tracks shortly after appearing on the television phenomenon. These songs usually consist of drag parodies, synthesized beats, and a flashy gimmick of some sort. None of which are EVER a bad thing (at least not in my opinion). Every now and then however, it’s nice to take little break from your usual run of drag hits. As this genre of music expands, more and more sounds are blending the lines between the world of drag and music; Adore Delano and recently, Trixie Mattel are pushing the boundaries of what is possible to produce within the genre (You can find After Party by Adore Delano and Two Birds by Trixie Mattel on iTunes and Spotify).
But the queen we need to talk about today is none other than the legend of the NYC drag scene, Peppermint. While Peppermint has only recently been seen on the drag juggernaut that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, she has been a veteran in the world of Drag for longer than most. As a transgender drag queen (and the only trans queen on drag race to be out the entire time) she reflects on the difficult political and social atmosphere surrounding issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
“Civil War,” Peppermint’s latest release, does away with the flashy visuals that we’ve come to expect from our Drag Race alums and instead puts herself and her message at the forefront of the video. Her lyrics, “Caught in the middle / of society’s riddle / who I’m supposed to be,” rise above the music as she sits in front of a mirror applying her makeup. As the song progresses, Peppermint’s face and body are at the forefront of every shot, showing her process of drag transformation. As she dons her wigs and golden shoulder piece, her lyrics sing out, “All this armor for protection is weighing me down, suffocating me,” perhaps a reference to rigid gender roles that society imposes on us, the gender roles we are told to follow if we want to “feel safe.”
As Peppermint makes her way down the streets of New York City, passerbys dismantle her outfit piece by piece as they walk past her, hardly acknowledging her presence. Throughout this scene, images of a Molotov cocktail weave their way into the video, possibly as a reference to the transgender women who incited the Stonewall Riots in 1969. When her wig and top are snatched off, she is left nearly naked in the NYC rain. Instead of this scene taking a sad turn, Peppermint stands in the rain, free of performative gender and strong in her womanhood.