NB: This article will refer to the queens with she/her pronoun.
Celebrating its tenth year of fabulousness, RuPaul’s Drag Race has officially broken into the mainstream and become a staple of the gay community. Its loved for its catchphrases, tongue pops, lingo (shade, Henny, okurrrrr), and of course the countless death drop memes. The show’s popularity has increased expodentially, leading to a more diverse and wider spread fan base. Unfortunately, a growing level of popularity can lead to further scrutiny, and bring the uglier side of things out. And I don’t mean the declining quality of Ru’s hair (all T no shade) – although mother still looks absolutely stunning lately. I’m talking about something that makes everyone squirm and cringes in their seats.
That’s right folks, it’s time to pull the race card.
The incident that ignited and shone a light on this awkward yet necessary discussion point was a recent episode of Untucked where basically everyone was fighting/reasoning with Aquaria over her shitty attitude when dealing with other queens. And then, the moment came.
She started to cry.
Like, full on sobbing into her hands, shoulders heaving, long sighs. It was quite theatrical and extremely impressive considering she had no visible tears on her face and her eyes were not red at all, considering how heavy she was crying.
That’s when things got interesting. The Vixen, another queen, took absolutely no shit from her and without missing a beat, pointed at the giant, glittery, pink elephant in the room.
“You say something, I say something, you start crying. You have created the narrative that I am an angry black woman who has scared off the little white girl.”
Does she have a point?
The problem here isn’t with the queens themselves; several of them have publically spoken out against the racism they see their colored sisters endure during and especially after their time on the show. Even Aquaria has expressed her dismay towards racist fans sending death threats to The Vixen after the episode aired.
It’s quite disheartening to see an art form that should be all about inclusivity and celebrating diversity become the tool for something as ugly and horrible as racism. It is no doubt that white queens on RPDR are much better received than their colored counterparts. That isn’t to say that only white queens are getting love over black or Asian queens, it’s just that they could get away with more simply because of their skin color.
Kennedy Davenport is an amazing dancer, being able to do high kicks, jumps and splits – yet she has people openly doubting her talent, and she is not making as much from her art as other queens who do the same act, or even do it on a more mediocre level (I’m looking at you Pearl). Nina Bo’Nina Brown was basically painted as a negative nancy and received flak for openly talking about her paranoia and depression yet when Katya talks about her self-doubt and whatnot, she’s praised for being brave and received absolutely.
Before you think I’m coming for any of these queens, take several seats and don’t come for me, I love all these queens so much, but it’s important for someone to point out the discrepancy between how colored queens are treated compared to how white queens are treated.