One might be surprised to find out that one of the most famous drag queens at the moment has no relation to the success from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Pabllo Vittar is a Brazilian drag queen who is gaining more popularity by the day. She’s had a lot of success in her native Brazil, appearing on TV shows and releasing a Portuguese version the Major Lazer song “Lean On” entitled “Open Bar”.
The success of the song and her exposure lead to more international attention. Western audiences may recognize Vittar from the Major Lazer song “Sua Cara” which featured Vittar and fellow Brazilian artist Anitta that came out last summer. The collaboration blew up as the music video gained millions views in one day and currently has more than 380 millions views. Vittar has made quick friends with Diplo, working with his group Major Lazer and has collaborated with him for the song “Então Vai” from Vittar’s debut album Via Passar Mal.
The success of Vittar’s debut album is unprecedented for a drag queen and has resulted in her being signed by a major record label. We can expect a second full length album from Vittar later this year. The album’s singles that recieved video treatment have reached massive success in regards to streams and views.
Vittar’s reach and popularity cannot be understated. She is the most followed drag queen on Instagram with over 7 million followers and has the type crossover appeal that broadens the scope of opportunities she has going forward. Vittar was a special guest for Fergie last year at the Rock In Rio music festival, think Brazil’s version of Lollapalooza or Coachella, and received a huge roar from the crowd. To be recognized by mainstream artists in America is a huge accomplishment as it shows the value Vittar has. And the success in only more impressive since Vittar work is almost exclusively out of Brazil which is not the LGBTQ+ friendly country.
Although Brazil hosts one of the biggest pride parades the murders and deaths of LGBTQ+ identified people in Brazil are very high. Murder and suicide rates high, due to homophobia and transphobia being very present in the country. Nonetheless, Vittar is openly gay and performs in drag. He uses his reach to help the LGBTQ+ community. Vittar is using her platform to help the community as well, with the music video for “Corpo Sensual” promoting safe sex.
Vittar is helping to lead the charge and challenge the heteronormativity and homophobia present in Brazil’s music and entertainment fields. Vittar has discussed her displeasure with how Brazil treats its LGBTQ+ community. And going forward hopes to shift that perception in a positive light and strive for equality.