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Drag Queen’s Baby Shark Rendition For Toddler Goes Viral, Sparks Praise and Controversy

Marti Gould Cummings performs "Baby Shark" at toddler's request in New Jersey. (Photo via Marti Gould Cummings)
Marti Gould Cummings performs "Baby Shark" at toddler's request in New Jersey. (Photo via Marti Gould Cummings)

“Anyone who thinks drag isn’t for children is wrong. Drag is expression, and children are such judgment-free beings; they don’t really care what you’re wearing, just what you’re performing.”

Drag performer Marti Gould Cummings is using their new platform to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues—however, some disagree with their use of a popular children’s song.

It all began last week when a video of Cummings lip-syncing to the popular children’s song “Baby Shark,” went viral.

In the video, a two-year-old boy requested the performance during brunch at restaurant, Talde, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Cummings obliged, and performed to the delight of the boy and his family.

Cummings, a staple of the New York drag scene for more than a decade and goes by the pronouns “they/them/theirs”, posted footage of the performance on Twitter and Instagram, where it has been viewed more than 787,000 times total.

Unsurprisingly, the video polarized viewers, with some questioning whether a drag performance was appropriate for children.

This prompted Cummings to release a colorful, full-length music video of “Baby Shark” on Thursday.

The video featured Cummings dancing against an aquatic-themed background, joined by local drag personalities Desmond is Amazing—an 11-year old drag performer—and Jan Sport. The famous Seaglass Carousel in Manhattan’s Battery Park also appears in the clip.

The video then concludes with links to the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBTQ Youth and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, another LGBTQ youth advocacy organization.

Cummings included these to “educate the grown-ups” who may have disapproved of the initial viral video.

As of Sunday, the new clip has been viewed over 18,000 times on Youtube.

Additionally, Cummings insisted the two videos prove “drag is for everyone.”

“Anyone who thinks drag isn’t for children is wrong,” Cummings told NBC News last week. “Drag is expression, and children are such judgment-free beings; they don’t really care what you’re wearing, just what you’re performing.”

It could be argued that young children—such as the two-year old in the original viral video—may not even be able to discern that the performer is a (biological man) dressed in traditional women’s clothing.

However, if a child is old enough to make the distinction, it could lead to a challenging conversation with parents who will have to explain the situation at hand. This may be the primary issue of detractors.

The second video also features a famous 11-year old drag performer, Desmond is Amazing, which will only fuel opposition from viewers who feel that exposure to (drag performers) is inappropriate for impressionable young children, and may influence or confuse them.

Certainly, viewing these videos boils down to choice. If viewers disagree with the content, they simply don’t have to watch. Parodies/online versions of popular songs are also nothing new in our viral culture. The only distinction for “Baby Shark” is that it’s a popular children’s song, therefore it may catch the attention of children who are seeking it online, and discover this new version of it.

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