Lushious Massacr, a drag queen, beauty guru and YouTuber living in Brownsville, Texas, recently posted a “Get Ready With Me” video at the border wall. In the video, which has gotten close to 30,000 views since it dropped on February 21, Lushious uses makeup as a form of protest against Donald Trump’s national state of emergency and the treatment of immigrants seeking asylum at the border.
Lushious explained to his subscribers what the wall means to him as a Latinx, while casually applying his eyeshadow and making light of what might be to come under the Trump administration.
“He is calling this a national emergency, but where is the emergency,” Lushious said. “He is making up all of these lies of a huge border crisis and makes it seem like we are living in these times of war. There was nothing going on at the border. I was hanging out doing my makeup.”
Unlike other YouTube beauty gurus, Lushious does not shy away from politics, his sexuality and stance on controversy in the beauty community. Through his channel, he hopes to not only raise awareness about injustice, but promote positivity and use his platform to normalize men of color in beauty.
“It’s about the platform and trying to normalize my existence on this planet so other people who see like me, think like me, look like me, can see a little bit of themselves out there,” Lushious told Latino Rebels.
Throughout the video, he reminded his followers that despite headlines of Trump’s border wall, there is already a border wall in South Texas, where his home is only a few blocks away.
“It feels weird not because it’s unsafe, it just feels like a police state,” Lushious said. “If anything, I feel the U.S. government is what scares us because we see them patrolling and helicopters.”
Even though Trump emphasizes the need for a wall in order increase security and prevent crossings, the wall in Brownsville leaves homes and residents isolated between Mexico and the United States. Lushious’ experience living on the U.S. side of the wall, while reading stories of migrants refused entry, inspired him to confront Trump’s politics.
“They think eventually they will be able to get rid of us,” Lushious explained. “The more you oppress us, the stronger we become. In the end, we are survivors. Latinos have been called illegal aliens, deported and demonized while coming to this country seeking refuge for years.”
Lushious remembers reading about Aurora, also known as Camila, a transgender woman, deported after she traveled to the U.S. seeking asylum. In early February, Camila was murdered in her home country, El Salvador, causing outrage among LGBTQ activists and prompting Lushious’ GRWM video at the border wall.
The video received positive feedback from subscribers, but it did not gain the attention from the larger influencers Lushious hoped for, the same influencers he said praised his most recent Bratz doll makeup tutorial.
“It feels like they don’t want to be involved or anywhere near it because it’s politics,” Lushious said. “It’s unfortunate. I think everyone thinks it’s a popularity contest. People are scared to speak on certain things and going into the beauty community. I don’t want to sacrifice that side of myself. I really do want to be fearless.”
Lushious attributes his fearlessness to being a Latinx drag queen. For him, it is much more than the performing and makeup, but as a drag queen standing against all injustices.
“The way the system is unfair and the way society is unfair, whenever I see people being treated [unfairly], I always try to speak up,” Lushious said. “It’s the drag queen in me and I can’t just focus on the surface. As drag queens, we put on a wig, we put on heels and that really is our business suit. We have to show up and do the work The gay rights movement started off the backs of queens who were the first one’s to be oppressed and attacked, but they fought back.”
For Lushious, this lifestyle includes resisting against any and all types of oppression even if not everyone is accepting of who he is. He sees drag queens as leading by example and standing up against all injustices, but at the end leaving his followers with a positive takeaway.
“At the end of the day, there is a strong possibility this wall is going up and if it does, it’s not the end of the world,” Lushious said. “We are going to keep moving. We are not going to allow this to destroy our whole outlook, we get to fight another day and protest another day peacefully.”
Gabrielle Rivas is a journalist. She has a BA in Communication Studies and Sociology. Gabrielle tweets from @gabr_5.