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World’s biggest drag queen Pabllo Vittar launches blistering attack on Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of coronavirus

Reiss Smith April 17, 2020
Pabllo Vittar

Pabllo Vittar spoke to PinkNews about her new album 111. (Getty)

Pabllo Vittar tells PinkNews about her new album 111, her cancelled Coachella set and how she’s handling the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s been a wild six years since gender fluid drag performer Pabllo Vittar exploded onto the scene, wide-eyed and fully-beat, singing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” on a local TV show.

Since then she’s become arguably the most popular drag queen in the world, with twice as many Instagram followers as RuPaul, more than 1 billion views on YouTube, and a pair of heavily-streamed, bop-filled albums.

Her unstoppable ascent to drag superstardom, in many ways, been symbiotic with the rise of the far-right in her native Brazil.

From the moment the proudly homophobic Jair Bolsonaro launched his bid to become president in 2018, Vittar emerged as one of his most vocal opponents.

During his campaign she took a firm stance against his hatred, cutting ties with companies that supported him, ending concerts by screaming the protest slogan “ele nao” (not him) and using her wildly popular Instagram to spread the same message.

This isn’t to say that Vittar is popular solely because of her activism. Her success is also down to the sheer star power she possesses, a muscle she’s currently flexing with the release of her third album 111.

A trilingual effort (it contains Spanish, Portuguese and English lyrics, often on the same song), the album exudes joy, sexuality and celebration throughout its nine tracks.

“I wanted to create a birthday playlist,” she explains to PinkNews.

“I don’t know how it goes outside of Brazil but in here we usually start the your birthday with your whole family and friends, together with a light playlist.

‘That’s why I started the album with ‘Parabéns’ [‘Happy Birthday’ in Portuguese]. Then your older family goes do sleep and you keep partying with your friends until you got a super electronic party, and that’s why it ends with ‘Rajadão’.”

Above all else Vittar wants people “to dance, to be happy” when they hear the album – something which, given the current circumstances – is desperately needed.

Pabllo Vittar
Pabllo Vittar has unleashed her third album, 111. (Pabllo Vittar)

Pabllo Vittar says Jair Bolsonaro is creating a dangerous situation in Brazil.

111 arrives with the world facing an unprecedented pandemic. The situation feels even more grave in Vittar’s homeland, Brazil, where the president is trying his best to downplay the threat of coronavirus.

Bolsonaro’s mishandling of the pandemic is, of course, something that’s weighing heavy on Vittar’s mind.

Because of his actions, she says, “part of Brazil isn’t aware of what’s going on with the coronavirus and that’s a dangerous thing”.

“I’m spending my time at home in my town and I can see that it is already coming back to ‘normal life’, which gets me worried.

Pabllo Vittar
Pabllo Vittar is a vocal critic of Jair Bolsonaro. (Getty)

“We have two different problems here and the federal government is not helping as it should.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, most of the population don’t have enough money or support to have food or basic conditions to live, so they have to come back to work, and that’s a sad thing.

“There’s a lot of people trying to help as they can, but it is still not enough and we don’t have the support we need to.

It’s definitely not a government to be proud of.

A silver lining for the 25-year-old is the free time being under lockdown has afforded her.

She had planned “an amazing show” for Coachella, which would have taken place a few weekends ago in April but has been postponed until October.

Vittar was naturally disappointed, but is using the downtime “to create even more cool things to present at the festival”.

“This will be my first performance there and I want it to show how excited and grateful I am to be a part of this line-up, that it is a dream come true to me.

“We will have to wait a little longer, but I promise I will work even more and give my best.”

Drag megastar thinks lockdown can teach us a lesson about Pride.

She’s also enjoying having more time to spend on social media, interacting with fans.

“That’s a thing I couldn’t do with the busy touring schedule,” she explains.

“And I’ve created a routine to keep me busy, so I am working out a lot; writing new songs for future projects; spending some quality time with my family [she lives with her mother, two sisters and a nephew]; trying new make up techniques; watching a lot of movies, animes and series; researching new music; reading a little and playing a lot of video games.”

Part of that busy tour schedule would have included her usual Pride appearances.

With physical celebrations largely cancelled around the world, she teases that she hopes to still do something special, but is keeping the details close to her chest.

Ever the optimist, she says that these cancellations should only serve to remind us that “we should be proud everyday and always”.

“We get ‘our month’ to celebrate but it shouldn’t be only then.

“So maybe that’s one thing we can learn: respect yourself, be proud of yourself, your gender, your sexual identity, your race and all about you everyday and always!”

More: 111, Brazil, Coronavirus, drag, Jair Bolsonaro, pabllo vittar, Pride

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