Throwing Shade(s)

Phalaen Chang, Catherine Gudino, Imani Nahale-Salazar, Lalah Nicholson & Jackie Ramirez | USA | 2018 | 6 mins




Throwing Shade(s) Synopsis

A look at colorism and the stigmas faced by the underground drag performance community of Los Angeles, California. Throwing Shade(s) is one of four short social-impact documentaries co-produced by GlobalGirl Media + Women’s Voices Now, summer 2018.


About Throwing Shade(s) Youth Filmmakers

Phalaen Chang is in the Creative Writing Conservatory at CSArts-SGV. She is passionate about the stories people have lived. She writes as an editor-in-chief for her school paper and as a member of the Student Advisory Board in the LA Times High School Insider. Her articles have been published in the Education Essentials in the main LA Times, one of which was reposted by LA Times social media and the NY Daily News. Phalaen also enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, and was recently named an LA Youth Poet Laureate Finalist.

Her writing has been recognized by Scholastics Art and Writing Awards, the Langston Hughes Poetry Contest at the Huntington Library, and the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest. She was a semi-finalist in the Arts Matter LA Youth Promise Fund, and the NAACP ACT-SO Competitions. In addition to writing, Phalaen plays the violin and was selected as an alternate musician for the National Youth Orchestra-USA (NYO-USA) for the 2018 season.

Catherine Gudiño is a first-generation student to a single-family household. She is passionate about literature, film, history, and progressivism and hopes to be an English/Film professor as well as a media figure who uplifts the voices of those historically silenced. She is devoted to activism, advocacy work, and civic engagement, and hopes to continuously campaign for human rights, especially socially, and throughout the educational system.

Catherine currently attends Moreno Valley College, where she works as a writing consultant helping students develop their writing skills at Writing and Reading Center, as well as a Supplemental Instruction Leader in a transferable English course to enable students to transfer to a four-year University. She participated in UCR’s first annual Puente’s Writers Conference, was recently awarded Student of Distinction in English, and is a member of the Point Foundation class of 2019.

As a committed advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Catherine participates in college events such as Drag 101: Performing Gender, and creates sanctuary spaces on her campus for students to ask any questions on LGBTQ+ life to promote embracing of differences rather than toleration, indifference, or hostility. As a queer-identifying Latinx individual, Catherine hopes to mend the institutionalized gaps for those who find themselves in similar states of uncertainty for their educational goals as well as fostering the social and political consciousness encompassing the reality of our world.

Imani Nahle-Salazar is a recent graduate from Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts where she studied theatre and arts advocacy. She is thrilled to be attending UC Berkeley next fall and aims to pursue a career path in Communications and International Relations. Her artistic and mixed cultural background has given her a unique perspective of the world. Her ultimate goal is to be able to share that perspective through her work in the media industry.

Lalah Nicholson is an amateur director/screenwriter/creator/storyteller who has received multiple awards for academic excellence and has a passion for learning history, humanities, and writing. During her high school career, she served as a member of student government before starting a Black Student Union and serving as its president. She graduated with high honors in 2017 and attends the University of California, Davis as a Psychology major. She also plays volleyball, basketball, and tennis recreationally. In her free time, she enjoys reading culture-based fiction, creative writing, binge watching Netflix and baking.

Jackie Ramirez is a junior at Mount Saint Mary’s University where she is majoring in Journalism and New Media. Since high school, she has been involved with the local community newspaper, Boyle Heights Beat, as a youth reporter and is currently its Program Assistant. She also co-hosts a radio podcast, Radio Pulso, at Espacio 1839 in Boyle Heights every 4th Friday of the month.

Jacqueline has published numerous stories with the newspaper she works in and has gotten the opportunity to get training in creating audio stories. She was interviewed by KCRW on a recent radio story she produced on homeless college students. She is passionate about photography and making a difference in her community.



Film Screening Guide


  • What is your exposure to or interaction with the drag community?
  • What is your knowledge of “colorism”?
  • Why is it necessary to be aware of these issues and the challenges faced by those in the drag community and those who deal with colorism?
  • Is it necessary to have some awareness and education about the concept of gender fluidity?
  • How do you self-identify? Are you aware of your multi-layered identity and how often does your identity positively or negatively affect your experience of the world, and/or how people accept or reject you?



  • Through their discussions of complex identities, what are some of the universal, humanist messages you receive from Nubia and Jean?
  • Jean states, ”My queerness and my latinidad are intrinsically connected.” What kind of impact, both for Jean and her audience, does exploring indigenous past through drag performances have?
  • Nubia talks about the problem of colorism in drag culture and beyond. How does colorism play out in other communities and environments? Have you experienced it yourself?
  • Jean talks about the power of having an amorphous and ephemeral identity. What does that mean to you? Where does your identity come from and how do you express it?



  •  1. SHARE THIS CAMPAIGN, copy/paste:
  • On Twitter and Facebook:

    #ThrowingShades on #colorism. WATCH a short doc by #femaleyouth on being a #queen of #color in #LosAngeles, defining #identity & #inclusivity. #DefyHate, join the #empathytoactionfilmclub #womensvoicesnow #bethechange @WomensVoicesNow @globalgirlmedia

    On Instagram:

    #ThrowingShades on #colorism and #dragqueen #life, WATCH a short doc by #femaleyouth on being a #queen of #color, living and performing in #LosAngeles, defining #identity & #inclusivity. #DefyHate, join the #empathytoactionfilmclub #womensvoicesnow #bethechange @Womens_Voices_Now @GlobalGirl Media

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This film is a co-production of Women’s Voices Now and GlobalGirl Media, created in a co-produced youth summer program focused on empowering the next generation of women and femme-identifying activists, filmmakers, and feminists between the ages of 14-22 years old.

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