​muslim drag queens is being remade by white men

The female PoC journalist who initiated the story, Kieran Yates, has taken to twitter to denounce the unethical practice of Channel 4.

by Charlotte Gush
31 July 2015, 12:27am

"This First Cut documentary from director Marcus Plowright allows unprecedented insight into the clandestine gay Asian or 'Gaysian' community in the UK," a press release from Channel 4 said yesterday, of their upcoming programme Muslim Drag Queens. Sounds great, right? Except that the documentary has already been made, by Kieran Yates, a woman of colour, who worked with Marcus Plowright on her original documentary, also titled Muslim Drag Queens, that i-D wrote about back in January.

"Really great that Channel 4/Swan are doing such original content (focusing on two of the queens from my film)," Yates posted on Twitter after the release came out, explaining that, "After taking my idea (and title) the director has made the point that although this was my story, and he was brought on after the idea was commissioned, I wasn't needed to help tell the rest of the stories, despite giving access, doing interviews, and producing the film."

Yates claims that Channel 4 were aware of this, something she describes as "unethical practice" and she made them aware of her conviction that minority voices should tell minority stories. She says they responded by, "hiring a team of white men to tell this story, and Ian McKellen to do the voiceover." 

Way back in March, Yates was tweeting about this very issue in the abstract; her words are all the more poignant now: "There is a huge problem with minorities being left out of stories that they have found/developed. This is unacceptable practice," Yates said after a talk at the Southbank's Woman of the World (WOW) Festival. "It is unacceptable that 'minorities' are used for their insight and first hand experience into worlds which the mainstream can't access," she explained, adding that, "This is why it's crucial that we see structural change across institutions so that POC can contribute to how stories about them are told."

"My career has been about sending a msg that disenfranchised ppl have a voice worth hearing - rioters, grime MCs, drag queens, young w/c etc," Yates tweeted, clarifying that she is "re-upping the fact that solidarity is crucial, because lack of representation isn't just bad for individuals, it's bad for society".

Channel 4
Kieran Yates
muslim drag queens