Drag Superstar Raja Turns Chola In Her New Music Video, Cholita

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Credit: Raja Official Facebook

Since winning TV talent show RuPaul’s Drag Race five years ago, supermodel Raja has dabbled in some of her own music. First ‘Diamond Crowned Queen’, then ‘Sublime’ which there is a great youtube video of, where Raja performs the song live and is joined onstage by Sharon Needles, another Drag Race winner, who decides to join in on the song after one too many beers.

“Zubi Zubi Zubi” which has a Hindu-like theme to the video was released in 2013, and now, after a couple of years wait, Raja has now released new single “Cholita.”

“Cholita” is unlike any of Raja’s other music which is what I really enjoy about her as an artist; you’re always going to be surprised and kept interested.

The “chola” or “cholita” is a term used for a Latina girl in America who is “gangster”, but according to Urban Dictionary, it’s far more common to just look like a chola, rather than act like one. The typical look is thin, arched, drawn on eyebrows, dark lip liner, lots of gold jewellery, gelled down hair, tattoos, and piercings etc. My favourite line in the song is “sharpy eyebrows and purple lip liner” which sums up the look that these girls are known for.

It’s all in good humour, and is a stereotype that I’m seeing used more and more in the drag community as a “look” to create comical effect. Another Drag Race contestant, Adore Delano, who, by being part Mexican, is often known for coming out with phrases such as “my mum’s a chola!” even created a drag character called Angel Baby who she made YouTube videos as.

If I had to compare “Cholita” to any of Raja’s other songs, it would probably be “Zubi Zubi Zubi” due to the non-Western feel of the music. Straight away “Cholita” is a song that reminded me of being on holiday and immediately made me want to dance around with a pair of maracas in my hand. Raja even performs the song in a Puerto Rican accent, portraying where the chola emanates.

The intro is typically an electronic/synth club music sound, but the style immediately changes when a Jamaican style drum beat is introduced, which I believe is actually performed by electric guitar. This is then continued by more synthesised sounds which are repeated in the chorus.

The verses are backed by a simple drum beat which again gives the song a more cultural feel. Raja’s lyrics are more spoken during the verses which then lead to a sung chorus.

The video for “Cholita”, directed and produced by Abel Soto, also features some other familiar faces:

  • Rhea Litre – Raja’s drag daughter. She’s also collaborated on tracks with Drag Race contestant Willam Belli, and is rumoured to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8.
  • Delta Work – also on season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race with Raja where they formed a friendship clique named the Heathers.
  • Vicky Vox –  member of the drag group DWV with Willam Belli and another Drag Race contestant, Detox. Vicky is also Detox’s drag daughter.

All participants in the music video sport typical “chola” looks, and Raja’s drawn on eyebrows are in the shape of a woman figure which I find fascinating.

The filming has a deliberate home-made feel, set on the streets, in a bedroom made to look like a teenagers, and at a club which makes it all quite relatable to the kind of audience who will probably watch this.

This music video demonstrates how, whilst being extremely professional, Raja doesn’t take herself too seriously which was something she was always complimented on during RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was hands on with this video, producing, art directing, in charge of wardrobe, and writing the song lyrics. Raja is multi-talented and works hard for what she achieves.

This tongue-in-cheek, feel-good song isn’t taking itself seriously, but is catchy and leaves you dancing around the room. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I personally have had it on repeat since it was released.

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