New Film Spotlights Women in Drag

M.I., A Different Kind of Girl Shines Light On An African American LGBTQ SubCulture
By: TRIBES Entertainment Films
M.I., A Different Kind of Girl
M.I., A Different Kind of Girl
April 23, 2012 - PRLog -- As North Carolina residents prepare to head to the polls to oppose Amendment One (the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina), M.I., A Different Kind of Girl, a new riveting documentary film by NC filmmaker Leslie Cunningham, is making its debut at U.S. film festivals in an effort to present a corner of the LGBTQ world rarely seen in mainstream media.

Long a beloved character, the 'drag queen' has often shone on stage and in screen. Birdcage, Tootsie and To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Numar are but a few modern examples in a cadre of popular films that brought drag queens to mainstream America, while RuPaul remains relevant in entertainment and reality television decade after decade. Rarely, however, do we encounter drag ‘kings’ or female performers of masculine gender identity in film and on stage despite the ever-presence of women that bend the boundaries of female gender identity.

Laine Brown, a spirited and passionate male impersonator born on North Carolina's rural coast, transforms by taping down her breasts, shaving her head, and studying the masculine performances of today's most famous male entertainers- to become the incomparable NATION TYRE, show-stopper and ground-breaker for women in drag. Yet, as she pushes the bounds of female gender identity, is there room for Nation, a lone performer, to challenge the constraints at work in the African-American and LGBT community in pursuit of fame and visibility on the world stage? 

In M.I., A Different Kind of Girl, filmmakers, Leslie Cunningham and Alana Jones (Co-Producer) enter the world of new millennium drag and pick up the torch ignited by films like Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990) to investigate attitudes in the North Carolina LGBT and African-American communities about women in drag. In the process, they uncover powerful ideas about female gender identity and sexuality in not only the mainstream popular culture but also within the marginalized LGBT and African American communities where Nation has made a name for herself. 

In her fledgling years on stage, Nation's drag ‘family’, the House of Tyre from of Atlanta, GA, helped mold into a ‘super studd’, embodying a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week gender performance that rejected the “trans-” label but required a commitment to masculinity that left Nation feeling pressured to abandon the reality of her femaleness. The family, headed by Sincere Tyre, an established M.I. in his own right, wants Nation to be “harder,” and ultimately return to Atlanta where this strict and complete dedication to masculinity dominates the female drag scene and Male Illusion is more accepted in the LGBTQ community.

Nation’s fiancée and biological family, while increasingly accepting of her sexuality and career as a Male Illusionist, want her to be more feminine in life.  Ultimately, Nation is challenged by a desire to please all of those that love her. Yet ultimately, she is on a mission to generate acceptance for women like her, a rainbow of more and less masculine women and Male Illusionists, and crack the nut of pop culture as a proud ‘natural’ woman reaching for stardom from the drag stage.

Set in the American South, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl uses candid interviews, performance footage, artful b-roll, images of striking green in the Carolina Piedmont and more to bring viewers through the flashing lights into the heart of Nation Tyre. Featuring interviews with Laine Brown (Nation Tyre), The House of Tyre, Breyannah Allure, Paris Brooks, Image, First Lady, Hollywood and more, the film also features the song “Lone Ranger”. Written by female hip hop duo KIN4LIFE, the song is in response to the recent wave of media attention focused on attacks and bullying targeting LGBTQ youth. KIN4LIFE offers important commentary at the end of the film which has left audiences educated, enlightened and grateful for a look into the unique LGBTQ subculture.  

A thought-provoking film by TRIBES Entertainment Films, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl premiered in February 2012 at the Hayti Film Festival in Durham, one of the longest running festivals in the country. Upcoming screenings include the Philadelphia Black Pride Film Festival on Friday, April 27, 2012; The Triangle Black Pride Film Festival on Saturday, July 28, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

For more information about the film, M.I., A Different Kind of Girl, or to watch for upcoming film screenings, visit or

Source:TRIBES Entertainment Films
Tags:Lgbtq Documentary Films, Drag Kings, Drag Queens, African American lesbian films, Rupaul, Paris Is Burning Type Film
Location:Durham - North Carolina - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Apr 26, 2012
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