What does Kiki mean in drag?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

In the vibrant world of drag culture, the term “kiki” holds a special significance. It has evolved over time to encompass a variety of meanings, but at its core, it signifies having a good time, often in the context of a party or social gathering. This term gained popularity within drag communities, particularly in the 1980s drag scene in New York City, as depicted in the groundbreaking documentary “Paris is Burning.”

The word “kiki” can be traced back to this documentary, where it was used to describe the sound of laughter. It is believed to have originated from the African-American and Latino LGBTQ+ communities, who used it as a way to express joy and camaraderie. Over time, it became a part of the slang vocabulary used by drag queens and performers.

In drag culture, a kiki is not just any ordinary party; it is a celebration of self-expression, creativity, and community. It is a space where performers and enthusiasts come together to let loose, have fun, and revel in the glamour and artistry of drag. These events often involve lively performances, music, dancing, and of course, plenty of gossip and banter.

The term “kiki” has also come to represent the intimate bond and sense of belonging that exists within the drag community. It is a way for drag performers to connect with each other, share stories, and engage in witty conversations. It creates a safe and inclusive environment where individuals can be their authentic selves, free from judgment or discrimination.

Participating in a kiki allows individuals to escape from the challenges and pressures of everyday life, and immerse themselves in a world of creativity, self-expression, and laughter. It is a time to let go of inhibitions, embrace individuality, and celebrate the unique art form that is drag.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of attending drag events where the spirit of kiki was palpable. The energy in the room was infectious, with performers and audience members alike coming together to create an atmosphere of joy and acceptance. The laughter and camaraderie shared during these kikis created a sense of belonging and community that was truly special.

The term “kiki” in drag culture refers to having a good time, often at a party or social gathering. It represents the laughter, camaraderie, and celebration of self-expression that is central to the drag community. Attending a kiki allows individuals to escape, connect, and revel in the vibrant world of drag.