11 Things About Sweet Potato Queendom

1. The Queens are going to take over Fondren this weekend, whether you like it or not. So you might as well like it, and get out and enjoy it.

2. Women come from all over the country, and the world, to let their hair down—or put it up in a beehive, whatever strikes their fancy.

3. It is an empowerment movement more than anything else. Many of the "wannabes" found their voices for the first time, thanks to head queen Jill Conner Browne's wit and sass and southernisms.

4. There are official Wannabes and all the other wannabes who come for the event. George is the head Wannabe and is darn bossy on parade day.

5. The outfits aren't especially comfortable; nor are they designed to especially appeal to the opposite sex. They're about T&A on steroids, baby!

6. Fishnets will be in abundance. Not just on women. Deal with it.

7. You should read the first Sweet Potato Queens book ("The Book of Love") if you haven't. It's a love letter to Jackson and very funny (and edited by über-writer/editors Willie Morris and JoAnne Prichard Morris.) And that book is what turned the local marching Queens into a worldwide phenomenon.

8. The Golden Girls of Alcorn State University inspired Browne's glittery visions of the Queenly outfits. (And the butts, she says.)

9. A favorite greeting of the Queens is "Be particular." If you're from the south, you get it immediately. If you're not, read the books.

10. The Queens "hep the chirren" at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children—a cause worth wearing a padded butt for.

11. Learn everything you want to know about the SPQ phenomenon, and then some, at http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com and http://www.zddparade.com.


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