I’ve been called every name in the book,” reveals Kelly Mantle. “One person tweeted ‘Kelly Mantle is so ugly. She looks like a burn victim going through chemo.'”
It’s no lie that words can hurt. In the age of the Internet, cyberbullying is rampant. Why? Because it’s so much easier to be mean to someone when you can hide behind your computer screen. Unfortunately, this anonymity leads to harsher abuse…abuse that all too often has led people to suicide.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Six’s Kelly Mantle is no stranger to cyberbullying. Eliminated in the first episode for her flower-inspired dress the judges thought looked more like bacon, Mantle received a great deal of criticism for her style of drag. Not one to let something like being eliminated get her down, Mantle followed her elimination with, well a song titled “Elimination.”
Kelly’s next full album (she’s released three before), Duality, will be released in early 2016. Her first single from the album, “Keyboard Courage,” however, was a song which needed to be released straight away. An upbeat pop anthem with an 80’s flare, “Keyboard Courage,” not only references actual bullying Kelly has received, but calls out those bullies for the cowards they are. Oh and the music itself? Yeah, that’s actually Kelly playing. This is a queen who is talented on multiple fronts.
The video itself maintains that 80’s style. It’s elegant in its simplicity, allowing the song to send its powerful message loud and clear. And while the interlude regarding Madonna and the criticism she receives is likely meant to tie in the element of celebrity and the negative comments they receive, it ends up more closely resembling the infamous “Leave Britany Alone” video by Chris Crocker, though turned down several notches. It’s a stray off course which would have been better served in a song of its own.
Despite the random Madonna runoff, the video does have some visually strong moments. Especially poignant are the scenes where Kelly dons a dress emblazoned with the insults she has received online. Seeing the words written clearly on a form-fitting black dress, sends a very strong message. These words can hurt. More importantly, those words have no bearing on who you are as a person.