“I have a lot of friends that are drag queens that I call family,” Ross told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos. “Alyssa said it very well: we call each other our chosen family… it was something that is a big part of [LGBTQ] life.”
“Drag Race is a good go to for everything – especially from a TV perspective and watching that and having fun with it,” said Ross. “We were like, ‘what if we do this for the music video and highlight all of our queens — especially with everything taking place.”
He added, “During COVID drag queens got us through a lot of really tough times. Now things are a little bit different, which is a little bit of a shocker to see. We wanted to make a message that really stood behind people who are very close to us and important to the community. We came up with the concept of how about we highlight some of our local queens. I think that was the main part of a lot of it is we wanted to make it local.”
In addition to Alyssa Edwards, who hails from Mesquite, Texas in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, they highlighted local queens in the music video. Ross made sure the video focused on the queens. “We wanted our queens to show that they’re just great, genuine, and important people. Very, very important people.”
Ross is still cognizant of living in Texas, one of the states presenting anti-LGBTQ legislation, as a member of the community. He admits that he thinks twice about performing at a gig and playing at music festivals. He takes into consideration who the audience will be and other details that may threaten his safety.
“I want to make sure that I am putting my best foot forward as an artist – as a queer artist, and trying to break down those barriers and getting people to understand,” he explained. “We are here to watch music and love music and I’m no different than the next kind of singer when it comes down to it. Are we straight? Are we gay? That shouldn’t matter… and so it can be a little bit tough navigating through certain aspects of being gay male country singer because you’re expected to be masculine.”
With “Sway,” Ross wants to celebrate the queer community. “I think that’s a big point of what I want to get across with the music video – is to make sure that us as a community are sticking together and we’re continuing to move forward as a community.”
The queens featured in the “Sway” music video include Alyssa Edwards, Cassie Nova, Barbie Davenport Dupree, Kylee Ohara, Karina Love, Sierra LaPuerta, Rocky Tacoma, Arya Jealous, Nayda Montana, Cherise Maraschino, Dia Monte, Aaron Rey, and Celestia Moon.