King Perka $exxx rises from Atlanta’s diverse drag king scene

Art itself inspires the creation of new artists, and that’s what happened with drag performer Perka $exxx, the king scene's self-professed class clown.

The queer Long Island, N.Y., native was moved to create his persona after seeing a drag show at Atlanta Pride in 2017. It took a little time performing before an epiphany made him realize who King Perka $exxx truly was.

And now he’s a regular on the drag scene, having booked performances at the East Point Possums show, Southern Fried Queer Pride and the Gender Blender party so far this summer.

King Perka $exxx chatted with Q about the Atlanta performers who made him fall in love with drag, honoring fallen transwomen of color and what he’s got up his sleeve next. 

When did you first do drag and what made you want to do it?

I fell in love with drag during Atlanta Pride 2017. I saw a drag show during the day on one of the smaller stages and I was enchanted! I saw a bearded queen (Molly Rimswell), a black queen as Sailor Venus (Dotte Com), a performer doing a gender fuck number (Aries Alxndr), and my first AFAB queen (Paege Turner).

I never saw drag like that before, and I wanted to create something that inspires others like that show inspired me. 

My drag debut was on March 29, 2018 for the annual drag show that Kennesaw State University puts on. After gracing the stage, I realized I didn't want to wait to perform again, so I decided to try and start doing drag in Atlanta.

The first-ever Atlanta show I did was Hussy, a drag show hosted by Paege Turner, and after Hussy I just did whatever talent night or tip spot I could find.

What inspired you to create your persona?

Baby Perka $exxx was admittedly a little lost on what a drag king was and thought being a drag king was always supposed to be 100 percent sexy all the time. But after meeting and seeing other kings perform — like Hayden Fury, Mystery Meat and Viktor Grimm — I realized there is not one standard set way that kings are supposed to be.

I can do drag any way and it will still be valid. I slowly saw Perka $exxx becoming just a nerd in a suit who wants to be the class clown of the drag scene, and honestly that's more fitting to what I want to be remembered for. 

What’s your opinion of Atlanta's drag scene right now?

I think Atlanta's drag scene is very diverse and filled with unique talents in every bar. I love knowing and seeing different types of drag celebrated whether you are a dancer, a concept performer or you just like being weird on stage. 

But I am going to say what has been probably said by many before me — more kings in shows! The king scene in the past year has grown a lot and there are now a wide variety of kings that show just how much range and talent that the king community has.

I especially want to see more POC kings in the spotlight and given spots in shows, so that maybe they will inspire other POCs to start drag and to remind other POCs that they are a part of the community just as much as anyone. 

What’s your favorite performance you’ve done?

My favorite performance was my solo number for the 2019 Glitz finale. They said our solo number could be whatever we wanted it to be, and I wanted to do it about something that mattered since it was the night when the most people would be there. 

I did a number for all the transwomen of color who were murdered this year so far. As a black transgender man, I felt like not using my platform to honor these women and to bring this issue to eyes of that much of my community would be a missed opportunity I may never have again. 

What’s next for you?

I currently am one of the hosts of Cabbage Patch, a family-friendly drag show at Georgia Beer Garden that takes place the last Sunday of every month. I also am looking into competing in some newcomer-level pageants, so that I may grow as a performer and make a name for myself in the scene.

I also want to perform a lot more in new bars, new cities and even new states.

Find Perka $exxx on Instagram, and on Facebook.

This interview originally ran in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:

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