EXETER — A video posted online shows a U.K. drag queen teaching children during a story time how to twerk, a squatted dance that involves shaking one’s behind in a sexually suggestive manner.
Devon Libraries in Exeter announced on Tuesday that the performer, who goes by the name Mama G, would be appearing at the Barnstaple and Bideford libraries.
“Mama G is back in Devon this week,” it posted to twitter. “Combining panto, drag and the traditional art of storytelling, Mama G will be sharing tales that celebrate being who you are & loving who you want.”
According to an event website, Story Time with Mama G is deemed “suitable for children 3+ and their families” and features “fairy tales with a LGBTQ+ twist.” He has performed throughout the United Kingdom at libraries, bookshops and cafes, and was featured in the production of “Mother Goose” at the Brighton Fringe.
“Come and meet Mama G’s range of wonderful characters: confused horses, feuding fairies, champion twerkers — and Oprah in stories that will make the whole family think, laugh and love,” a description of his Story Time Roadshow reads.
“Let Mama G introduce your children to the world you want them to grow up in — one filled with love, equality and sequins!” it states. “There may even be a twerking competition, so get practicing!”
View a promotional video of the roadshow here. Viewer discretion is advised.
Merriam-Webster defines twerking as “sexually suggestive dancing characterized by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks especially while squatting.”
A video posted to YouTube on Wednesday shows the drag performer demonstrating to children at what appears to be a library how to twerk.
“Does anybody know any of the dances from Fortnite?” he asked. “Michael likes to twerk. Now, does anybody in this room know how to twerk?”
He then proceeds to give a demonstration on how to do so, stating that the dance is “quite important” to the story he is telling.
“What you need to do is you just stand with your feet shoulder-width apart like so. And if you crouch down until … your bum’s sticking out,” he shows those in attendance, providing a side view so they can see his rear end better.
“And then you just move your bum up and down like that,” the performer demonstrates, moving his buttocks up and down. “And that’s twerking.”
The announcement that Mama G would be performing at the Devon County libraries drew opposition, with some leaving disapproving feedback under the system’s twitter post.
“Absolutely DISGUSTING. Kids don’t need to learn to TWERK much less from a MAN pretending to be a WOMAN. What kind of message does this send to kids?! Shame on @DevonLibraries for allowing this filth to be taught to children!!!” one exclaimed.
“Have you run out of authors to read to children? Is that why you are inviting men, dressed as caricatures of women, to teach toddlers how to dance in a sexualized manner? I don’t understand your reason for this at all. Its just weird,” another wrote.
“[A] twerking competition for 3-year-olds. If a man in jeans and a t-shirt was doing this, it wouldn’t be okay. Wearing a dress and make-up doesn’t make it okay either,” a third opined.
Devon Libraries Unlimited released a statement on Wednesday in regard to the controversy, but spoke in generalities.
“Storytimes and bounce and rhyme sessions are some of our most popular events across the county, with thousands of children attending each year. We host a variety of themed storytimes and they are always a huge success,” it wrote.
“As a charity, we are committed to ensuring our libraries are welcoming, safe and inclusive places for all. We celebrate the arts, equality and diversity and are proud that our libraries offer a space for communities to come together and enjoy the power of words, reading and storytelling,” the system continued.
“At Libraries Unlimited, we take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and have a safeguarding policy that is followed by all staff across the organization. In this case, we can also confirm that the artist involved has a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.”
Ephesians 6:4 teaches that children are to be brought up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” In Matthew 18:6, Jesus also declared woe unto those who would commit offenses against children who believe in Him.