Strange Fruit
10:36 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Strange Fruit: Poodle Assassin Cosmetics' Brandie Ford ; Violence Against Trans Women

Brandie Ford, founder and CEO of Poodle Assassin Cosmetic company, grew up in the ball scene. "It's always been a part of my life," she explains, and says she started walking the runway in hair shows when she was eight years old, for an uncle who did hair. "You get your life! You get to feel like whoever it is you think you want to be right then."

Brandie's love of drag pageantry, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit ("I always knew I was going to be in business for myself," she says) lead her to start her own company: Poodle Assassin Cosmetics. What got our attention about the company was its strong focus on trans women, both as consumers and in prominent spokesmodel positions. Trans women of color are the faces of Brandie's marketing material. 

Jai and Doc with Brandie Ford
  "It's important to me for so many reasons," she says. "Most of my closer girlfriends are, and have been trans women, and I've had the luxury of watching these butch queens flourish into who they really want to be." We speak with Brandie this week about her company, and also dig into deeper issues about violence against trans women, and how rarely their attackers are brought to justice. "It's kind of a personal thing for me," explains Brandie, who has lost trans friends to violence. "They're like an endangered species. They die, and the police just kind of brush everything under the rug." Dr. Story is in California this week, so we'll catch up with her about the exciting work she's doing as a panelist on The Pleasure Principle: A Post Hip-Hop Search for a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure, at Stanford University. While Doc is away, Jai's friend Yana Boo (stage name: Sparklez) sat in with us for Juicy Fruit, and talked about why, as a trans woman of color, she's not a fan of RuPaul (a sentiment shared by our Auntie Monica). Ru has made some serious missteps regarding race—specifically in supporting racist drag acts like Shirley Q. Liquor, and allowing blackface performances by Drag Race contestants. Our guest Yana had a run-in of her own with one former Drag Race winner Sharon Needles, which she shares during this week's Juicy Fruit segment.

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