Sultry, uninhibited, and endlessly inventive, Laganja Estranja is known for her bright drag aesthetic, death drops and love of cannabis. She released a music video for her new sex-positive track “Daddy” on November 30. Laganja Estranja sat down with Honeysuckle to discuss filming the music video, breaking taboos, sexual exploration, cannabis, and creativity in quarantine.
Sex Positivity and Breaking Taboos: Filming “Daddy”
Lingerie, chains, cannabis smoking and, of course, a sea of attractive daddies surround Estranja while she raps about sex, independence and entrepreneurship. The video is a thrilling look into the mind of Estranja and pushes sexual pleasure to its forefront.
“We are so often forced, especially in the current era that we’re in with our president and BLM [the Black Lives Matter movement], to be focused on, matters that are serious. I wanted to just take a moment away to let people have their freak flag fly and have some fun,” Estranja said.
This isn’t Estranja’s first steamy track, though. The “So You Think You Can Dance” star released a 2015 song “Legs” that dubbed itself the “new pre-sex anthem” in its opening sequence. “Daddy,” a song two years in the making, follows up in both artistic direction and sexual exploration.
“If “Legs” was your pre-sex, this is the full on intercourse,” said Estranja. “The main meal, honey.”
The video has accumulated more than 62,000 views on Youtube since its debut.
Longtime collaborative partner and friend since Estranja’s departure from “Drag Race” in 2014, Robert Hayman, directed and was responsible for the video’s production design, art direction and styling. “Daddy” is a four-minute sojourn into the sexual fantasies and imaginings of Estranja and Hayman.
“Working with Robert has been probably one of the highlights of my life. I feel like there is something about him that I’ve never found with another artist, which is being resourceful.”
Turning trash into couture is a unique qualification for many queens and performers. The pandemic has pushed artists to rely on that resourcefulness to reach their audiences in virtual spaces.
Drag and Creativity in the Pandemic
Estranja’s last music video, “Look at Me,” a club anthem released in 2018, was made for $15,000. “Daddy” was made for $3,000. COVID-19 testing alone cost $1,000 for the two-day shoot, the costs of which were covered by Maven Genetics, a cannabis retailer based in California.
The pandemic has pushed drag performers from clubs and into creative virtual outlets to both connect with their fan bases and earn their living. For Estranja, quarantine has been an opportunity to step back from regular turns at clubs across the world to more creatively fulfilling pursuits, like playwriting, starting a production company and creating more music.
“Before [COVID-19], I was so worried about the gig life and working in nightclubs and making my money that way. Quarantine really allowed me to kind of slow down and focus on what it is I really want to do to make money. So I’ve been able to be much more creative with my drag than I’ve ever been as a drag artist in the last six years.”
During quarantine, Estranja has embraced the opportunity to be creative beyond her usual nightlife gigs. She wrote a play called “Up in Smoke” that Hayman and his partner Hector Flores III were involved in and has leaned into pursuits that are more artistically fulfilling.
“That’s something I’ve learned during quarantine by being so creative and stepping outside of the normal confines of a drag queen. I wrote a play, I became a technical director and learned how to work lights. I’m a production company now. I have fans and silks and poles, and I mean, you name it. I’ve got a whole kit now really, to move forward in my life as a creative so I’m excited.”
Destigmatization of Cannabis Through Art
“Daddy” is laden with imagery of Estranja smoking cannabis whether it’s her smoking a blunt between two glittery red lips or adorning pink pasties in the shape of a marijuana leaf. Estranja has never been shy about her love for cannabis and given her name it’s no surprise that she has adopted cannabis advocacy as her main platform.
“I’m trying to break the stigma. I’m trying to show people what a successful stoner looks like, and to show people that this is medicine and really needs to be seen as such.”
Estranja’s last music video “Look at Me,” directed by Assad Yacoub, explored racial profiling and white privilege among cannabis users. Because cannabis use has led to disproportionate arrests and incarceration among Black and Latinx people, Estranja stresses that there can be no legal recreational use until discriminatory policing and imprisonment is addressed.
“Before we go recreational I really want there to be a federal recognition that this plant is medicine, before we start allowing businesses to come in, buy it out, forget the whole message of it, and forget the whole fact that we need to be freeing our brothers and sisters of color who are in jail for cannabis right now.”
Looking ahead, Estranja promised new projects on the horizon. A Christmas special episode of her Youtube show “Muse Me” will be released around Christmas that chronicles the making of the “Daddy” from its conception to final music video product.
Estranja also teased upcoming music projects including two new singles set to release early next year and her debut album titled “Highconic” that will drop in the summer of 2021.
“Daddy” is available to stream on all platforms.