Lifestyle & Culture

Dolly Parton and Drag Star Nina West Team Up to Support LGBTQ+ Youth

Sales of ‘Kindness is Queen’ clothes and accessories will support Parton’s reading charity and the Nina West Foundation.

08.07.2020 | by Christy Romer
Dolly Parton and Nina West. Photo on Hollywood Reporter
Dolly Parton and Nina West. Photo on Hollywood Reporter

There are few people in the US more worthy of the title national treasure than country singer Dolly Parton.

Across her 50+ year career, she’s written countless iconic songs (among them “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You”). She’s won 10 Grammy Awards and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Perhaps most importantly, she’s earned a reputation as a great unifier—someone whose crowds bring together “everyone from drag queens to evangelical Christians to hipsters,” as radio host Jad Abumrad puts it. She’s a feminist who connects with people that reject the term.

As someone with the appeal to bring together fans from all walks of life, Parton’s latest awareness-raising venture has become all the more important: a collaboration with popular drag queen Nina West to support young LGBTQ+ people.

Reports in Entertainment Weekly reveal Parton and West have joined together for a clothing and accessory range, including a tote bag, T-shirt and enamel pin, dubbed “Kindness is Queen.”

 

Money from sales will go towards Parton’s Imagination Library, which gives free books to children, and the Nina West Foundation, supporting services and organisations that support LGBTQ+ youth.

“When I approached Dolly with the idea for a collaboration between the Nina West Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, I was looking for an opportunity to continue to spread my message of kindness while building on the work I’ve done through my foundation supporting youth and families,” West told EW.

“Dolly is the Ultimate Queen of Kindness, and I am so thrilled that she agreed to this collaboration! We both want to spread the message that ‘Kindness is Queen,’ and that being kind is something that is desperately needed in our world right now!”

West, the stage name of Andrew Levitt, is a high-profile champion of and fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ community. Praised by figures as diverse as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and reportedly Rihanna, the ex-Ru Paul’s Drag Race star set up the Nina West fund in 2015, raising $2 million for causes such as HIV testing, marriage equality, trans rights and the largest LGBTQ+ youth center in West’s native Ohio.

The two had previously collaborated on the season 12 finale of Drag Race, when Parton appeared to crown West as “Miss Congeniality.”

On West’s website, listing the new products, the drag star explains that the “two queens of kindness have teamed up for the Dolly x Nina Collection in an effort to support kindness and hope.”

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