Brizzle Boiz are the Pride of Bristol

Brizzle Boiz are the Pride of Bristol

Drag King duo Brizzle Boiz made an exclusive announcement to their first birthday guests – they will be taking to the Main Stage at Bristol Pride this July. 

Once known globally as ‘Gay Pride’, Pride Festival is the event of the year for the LGBTQ+ community. And 2018 will be no different. 

Roddy Jodphurs and Oliver Assets came together to form Brizzle Boiz one year ago, after meeting and performing together at drag events in and around Bristol.

The drag show producers now put on shows monthly, or at least every other month, at boutique theatre – Smoke and Mirrors.  

“We probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it to be honest, it isn’t even in the brochure yet” admitted Oliver Assets.  

Oliver Assets in his Van Gogh incarnation.
Oliver Assets in his Van Gogh incarnation. credit: Brizzle Boiz

A Brizzle Boiz night aims to challenge stereotypes of sexuality and gender, and even challenge what boundaries can be pushed for a “queer” night.  

“We’ve never wanted to say a certain type of performance isn’t allowed. But we’ve always wanted to make sure that we’re providing a stage for performers who maybe couldn’t get it elsewhere.”

“We’ve always wanted the main focus to be drag kings, but with guest performers” explained co-producer Roddy Jodphurs.  

Brizzle Boiz’ act predominantly features drag kings, though their stage is widely open to all. Typically a drag king act is performed by someone who identifies as female, but performs in drag as a man.

But these stereotypes and ‘typical’ generalisations are being challenged by people like Oliver and Roddy.  

“In the drag world, a lot of people know about drag queens. Within the drag queen world there’s a very set idea of what a drag queen performer is and should be. Kings haven’t had that preconception.”

“People come in knowing nothing of what they’re going to see. And because of that we’ve said lets have a king or a queen who’s not the type of body you would expect to see.”  

“Even within the king community I’m not the normal kind of king, whatever that might be. Peoples’ assumptions is that it’s very much about being macho, and I don’t do macho.” 

2017 was the biggest Bristol Pride festival yet, with nearly 40,000 people attending over the 11 days, making the festival one of the biggest Pride fests in the UK.  

The whole festival traditionally culminates in one grand day of celebration, which includes the traditional parade.

There will be an outdoor music festival, which last year was headlined by boyband Busted. It will be on this same Main Stage that the Brizzle Boiz will perform.  

Bristol Pride 2018 looks as though it may be even bigger than last year’s event, as the festival will now be spanning across two whole weeks.  

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Queer is a term that has come back into popular usage as the LGBTQ+ community have rehashed it to mean whatever they want it to mean; no longer a throwaway insult toward gay people.  

Queer identifying drag king performer Fruit, who met Oliver Assets at Brighton Queer Prom, performed at the Brizzle Boiz’ birthday shows; 

“For me I use the term queerness as an umbrella term for anyone who feels ‘other’. I still meet people now that when I say I do drag they go; ‘I don’t know what you mean by that.'”

“Even within the king community I’m not the normal kind of king, whatever that might be. Peoples’ assumptions is that it’s very much about being macho, and I don’t do macho.” 

Co-founder of Brizzle Boiz Roddy Jodphurs.
Co-founder of Brizzle Boiz Roddy Jodphurs. credit: Brizzle Boiz

And whilst Fruit may have found their stage now, it was a struggle getting to that stage; 

“I grew up in the 80s, queer and autistics. No one knew I was queer and autistic, neither did I.” 

After the they wanted to surprise their birthday guests with a little goodie bad to take with them. 

Stating that they are not a boyband, as many people assume from the name, Roddy and Oliver are two very separate acts who have had different paths into the world of drag.  

“I randomly entered a competition, and absolutely bombed. But then fell in love with it and it took over my whole life” stated Oliver. 

“Whereas I have come from sketch comedy” explained Roddy “and I ran a YouTube channel. I came up with Roddy. But the more I did it the more I wanted to take him out somewhere.” 

The performers at the Boithday Bash including (left to right) Sigi Moonlight, Jada Love, Benjamin Butch, Fruit, and Romeo de la Cruz.
The performers at the Boithday Bash including (left to right) Sigi Moonlight, Jada Love, Benjamin Butch, Fruit, and Romeo de la Cruz. credit: Brizzle Boiz

The Brizzle Boiz Boithday Bash comprised of two back to back shows, with eight performers taking to the stage. Topics covered across the performances included gender identity, saving the NHS, mental health and suicide, and Benjamin Butch’s act; 

“My acts usually challenge masculinity and femininity constructs, and do that through physical comedy. My act tonight was about celebrating trans and nonbinary people who menstruate.” 

Benjamin continued to explain that even in the LGBTQ+ community there can be discrimination, often toward those who identify as female or AFAB – assigned female at birth; 

“There’s an importance in allowing AFAB performers on stage. There is a lot of fem phobia within the queer community. Spaces like Brizzle Boiz really welcome fem-identifying and AFAB people and performers on stage. And we need more of that, there needs to more places, more of a safe haven for performers. And not just the ‘gay man’.” 

Bristol Pride will be taking place across July, with Pride Day on Saturday 14th July at Bristol Harbourside.

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