CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A group of drag performers said an event they had planned to have was canceled by a department store, in what they believe may be a case of a corporation caving to backlash from other groups over LGBTQ issues.
The performer known as Nova Stella said that the Pride Month Showcase event, set to take place around the MAC counter at the Belk at Northlake Mall in Charlotte, was given the initial approval.
“Everything was good to go,” said Nova Stella. “We were prepared for this, and within less than two weeks, it changed. It turned to anger.”
Organizers said the event was one part drag show, one part makeup demonstration, and one part meet-and-greet with the performers, and also noted the event also took place in 2022 with no issues.
Corporations have come to recognize Pride Month in recent years with special events and merchandise. Accompanied by other heritage months highlighting other minority communities, it is seen as a conscious effort to attract more diverse communities.
However, with that marketing towards the LGBTQ community, there has been pushback from some groups — primarily those who claim that exposing children to drag performers is harmful or a form of abuse, despite decades of exposure within various parts of popular culture.
“It’s unusual,” said Queen City News Marketwatch Reporter Jane King, who is a veteran financial journalist. “I’ve never seen this before, but the backlash has been much bigger this year.”
King noted that companies are consciously trying to walk a fine line with the public, much of it falling along generational lines.
“Companies used to say, ‘We have a duty, we follow the law, we provide a great product, we charge a reasonable price for it, we make a profit, we serve our customer,’ and that’s it,” said King. “But Millennials started pushing the whole, ‘You’ve got to have a product you believe in,’ and businesses have responded to that.”
Belk recently had to deal with backlash over LGBTQ apparel for children.
Belk has yet to respond to repeated requests for comment to Queen City News about this story.