Prizm News / October 1, 2018 / By Staley Munroe
Malik Jackson / Kardi Redd Diamond
Identifies As: Gay
When he’s onstage as Kardi Redd Diamond in Cleveland, Canton, Akron, Youngstown and beyond, Malik Jackson is thinking of four things.
“It means I’m changing lives, I’m living my dreams, following my heart and achieving my goals,” says the 24-year-old Canton resident whose stage is expanding now beyond Ohio’s borders.
Jackson, who’s inspired by queens near and far—Nina West of Columbus and Amaya Sexton of Dayton, LA’s Sasha Colby, and Pittsburgh’s Lola LeCroix are role models—has words of advice whether you’re doing death drops on a stage or just trying to survive brunch with your best friends/worst enemies/same difference:
“Don’t worry about the haters and the bashers because you’re beautiful and if they are talking, you’re doing something right.”
Oh, and one more thing…
“Miss Thing, You Betta Weerrrkkk!”
What’s the story of Kardi? What’s she all about?
Kardi is definitely the rebel side of me. She is feisty and fierce! And she can dance a hole in any stage!
When I discovered Kardi, I felt like I got my life back. I felt so defeated and alone before Kardi came along and showed me my worth.”
What is drag to you?
Drag to me is an art form, a way of expression. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Drag means I can be whoever I want to be on stage in that moment, and nobody can tell me I’m not.
Drag has saved people’s lives, including mine. Being Kardi stopped me from making some decisions that I wasn’t proud of even thinking about. Also being onstage, I’ve inspired so many people to follow their dreams.
One common misconception that people have about drag is that it’s not a job. Drag is very hard to do, and it’s hard work! We’re not just women and men dressing up and jumping onstage. Drag performers are art pieces, and it takes blood, sweat and tears to make it possible.
What advice would you give for queens just getting started?
• Be yourself!
• “Drag Race” is not our only form of drag! • Find your own niche and be your own star.
To see more of Kardi Redd Diamond performing onstage, visit her YouTube Channel: The Kardi Redd Diamond.
One of Us is a monthly photo portrait celebrating the diversity of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community. If you’d like to suggest someone for a future feature, contact Creative Director Staley Munroe at firstname.lastname@example.org.