Last week, Left Bank Magazine premiered Arkansas native Johnny Darlin’s first music video. This video turned out to be a timely piece of queer-art with the casting of Arkansas drag queen (and Miss Gay Arkansas) Chloe Jacobs. Not only is the video set in a church; it also features Jacobs reading the Bible during ‘children’s church,’ a nod to the controversy that arose when two Republican Senators from the State, Sen. Jason Rapert (District 35) and Sen.Bob Ballinger (District 5) pushed back against the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith hosting a ‘Drag Queen Story-Hour’ featuring Jacobs.
Senator Ballinger said, “I think it really is an effort to desensitize people from the norms of what would be traditional values and ideas that is fundamental to making our country great." Johnny Darlin says, “The idea behind the music video is to combine the two most holy places he's ever known, the church and the gay club, to show that the true message of both is love, and thus, the two spaces can exist together in radical ways we've not yet considered.”
Johnny Darlin is the alter-ego of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and pop musician Michael Doshier. Growing up queer in the conservative suburbs of Arkansas, Michael took refuge in expressing his feelings through his writing, singing, and piano. This manifested itself in performances in local bands, musical productions, and church choirs. He moved to New York at eighteen with a handful of songs, and immediately started ironing out solo material which would form the foundation of Johnny Darlin.
The Arkansas Times did a Q&A with Doshier about Way With Words. Doshier said, “It doesn't take much to see the innocence and fun in "Drag Queen Story Time." I think it takes way more effort to see it as anything more sinister.”
This feels like a potent message to throw into the world at the moment, given the recent Methodist Church decision to maintain their position on homosexuality, as well as the current administration’s ban on transgendered people serving in the military.