The Race Versus The Reality

Images courtesy of Google Search

In 2007, there was buzz around the drag community that RuPaul was shooting some kind of show in her garage for drag queens.  I remember queens like Jewels talking about it after a Sunday Brunch drag show in Long Beach at Hamburger Mary’s (although it wasn’t called that at the time it was Mick & Mack’s).  I remember thinking… “her garage?”

Fast forward to 2018 and the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race hosted by Emmy Award Winning RuPaul Charles, there is no doubt the Race has risen like a Phoenix or a penis (let’s get real, who knows about any other Phoenix than Season 3’s Phoenix O’Hara – who didn’t rise too far in the competition, unfortunately).  But never would anyone have thought the Drag would have so greatly influenced mainstream media.

The problem with this influence is the responsibility that comes with it.  A group who had previously been so looked over as “too-feminine”, “wannabe girls”, and even “trannies” had been given a stage much larger than they were used to being on.  They were put in front of potentially billions of people.  Anyone with access to a TV and eventually an internet connection could see what they said and did.  Those who identified with their favorite queens were living on every word.  “Throwing shade” “reading” “cutting a bitch’s wigs” while in a competition was the light they were seen in.

But what about the parts of drag that we don’t see?  The charitable events drag queens attend and throw to raise money for kids, or those with HIV/AIDS, or any other great cause.  The shows they put on at clubs that are near empty, but they’re up in that gig with the hopes of their event getting some exposure and gaining momentum.  The hours they spend to get ready to make tips, or if they’re lucky $50 – $100 bucks.  The messages of love, persistence, and inspiration they convey to their audience is ever present.

RuPaul calls Drag Race the “Olympics of drag” and tells the girls they need to bring their all when they’re on that show.  The thing is, some of these girls have been grinding and pushing and going through the struggle for years and years.

The girls who haven’t been on that show or even other competitive drag shows like Dragula, don’t have the luxury of booking managers, recognition, thousands of followers on social media, and whatever else we deem as “success” in drag.  In my opinion, they’ve been running a triathlon, an iron-man even, without so much as a medal at the end of the race. The Olympian has been going long before their appearance on the show.

While Drag Race, Dragula and shows like them, give the queens selected for the shows “success”, their responsibility to their audience and fans is an example of kindness, love, and caring for each other.  The title gained as a “star of the show” is not a relief of responsibilities as a leader of the community.  These queens must be mindful young people are watching, seeing mentors, role-models, and aspirations to be similar. The influence of Drag is awesome, let’s ensure the influence includes inclusivity, support, and encouragement.  Remember where we come from.

Ours is a community that has been (and still is) judged, condemned, spat on, beat up, and even bombed all for loving who we love. There are enough external forces attempting to tear us down. Value each other.  Value life. Value that people are struggling with things we cannot imagine struggling with.  Be grateful for what you do have and be encouraging because when one of us is successful, we’re all successful.

Know that your success is our success, your voice is our voice, if you’re saying bad things, we’re saying bad things.  If you’re threatening someone’s life over their opinion about your favorite drag queen, we’re threatening someone’s life. It’s not fair that we’re all judged by the actions of a few, but let’s make those actions positive ones.  If we unite, be positive, and agree to disagree when we differ, we’ll be a beacon.

 

The All Stars Are Coming The All Stars Are Coming!

That’s right, we’ve been talking about RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 since the end of All Stars 1.   From lyrics in Alaska Thunderfuck’s RuGirls to self-proclaimed reasons why April Carrion didn’t win her season, the queens have been waiting for their next chance at drag super stardom.

But who picked these queens?  Who thought these were the “All Stars” of RuPaul’s Drag Race? We’ve participated in enough online polls by drag websites, Logo TV and RuPaul’s Drag Race social media.  But were your votes heard?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like this is a very heavy Season 5 cast of Drag Race alumni. Which makes one wonder, “does it make better sense to cast those who make great TV?” After all that is what we’re doing, watching TV.  This show didn’t get it’s first official Emmy nod (other than Mathu and his makeup skills in 2015) this year. Proving that a man in a dress can still kick your ass.

All Stars 2 cast from Entertainment Weekly
All Stars 2 cast from Entertainment Weekly

But back to the casting, what if there isn’t a way to accurately calculate who’s voting more than once? What if the producers felt bad for not awarding certain runners-up the crown originally?  What about all those who cried, “but she didn’t deserve to win, [Insert your favorite queen here] did!”

Were people still bothered by Tyra Sanchez winning from Season 2 and thought? Well maybe now that Tatianna and Raven have squashed their beef, we can commence her return to the RuPaul’s Drag Race runway.  Will she be saying “Thank you” or be sent home? (You know you said it in your head as you read it)

What about Miss Phi Phi O’Hara who this year has launched her 365 days (yes-she-knows-this-is-leap-year-give-her-a-day-off) campaign where she’s literally brought us looks to die for every single day! Could that be her way of saying, “Look at my work and worship me like the All Star that I am!”

And who can forget the Coco-Alyssa dance off to end all dance offs for a crown that one lost to the other because of some secret stuff no one really still understands? Bringing back memorable quotes that inspired songs like “look how orange you are girl” and of course, “back rolls”!

But really, does anyone NOT want to see what happens when RoLaskaTox is reunited? While The Heathers may have made beautiful music together (cough-ok maybe not beautiful but fun-cough), RoLaskaTox actually got in trouble by Miss Michelle Visage herself.  Was she trying to break up the playground bullies or did she just want in on the group?

Speaking of playgrounds, what about that Adore Delano? Who’s now on her sophomore album After Party, following her debut album Till Death Do Us Party after her Season 6 appearance. With her return to Drag Race it only makes sense to hear more from her.

But the newest members of the Drag Race family who were “robbed” of their crowns, Miss Congeniality herself, Ekaterina Zamolodchikova, better known as Katya the Russian import (who we later found out had no ties to “Mother Russia”) and runner-up, Ginger Minj.  Both of these queens had their time on stage with now winner Violet Chachki when we thought both may have snatched the crown.

In the end, Mama Ru knows, you can’t please all the people all the time.  So let’s hope for the best for each of these already stellar and successful queens as we watch their journey next week. Remember to play nice on social media and go out to your local drag show, you never know who’s going to be on the next season or even an All Star.

Drag The Color Lines

Recently, RuPaul posted on Social Media, “Shunned by whites for being 13315648_1261299813887643_7772192246850039997_nblack, by blacks for being gay, and by gays for being fem….”  Needless to say, someone will always be ready to judge you, perhaps the problem is not the color of your skin, or the gender of the person you love.  Perhaps it truly is as Ru says… “Ego needs to feel superior over others”

But why? What is it about judging someone that makes you feel superior? Why do we feel comfortable judging someone’s “look” and “dragging them through it” when most of us don’t have the courage to step on a stage out of costume, much less in heels wearing clothes for the “wrong gender”?

What makes anyone think that because we look at others and have an opinion, that anyone else wants to hear what we’re saying?  What makes people of different ethnic backgrounds, upbringing, countries even, think they know what the other should or should not be doing?

What if, just for one day at a time, we took a look at ourselves.  We took a really good look.  Not one of those mirror checks where you give yourself approval as you walk out the door for the club.  But a good hard look at what it is that makes you think anyone wants to hear the negative things you have to say in life?

Have you noticed, it’s a competition about who has it worse when we’re talking about things as simple as sleep?  “I got 4 hours of sleep last night….” “oh yeah, well I only got 3 hours of broken sleep.”  Why would this be a competition anyone wants to join? The “Who Has It Worse” club is definitely among those throwing a lot of shade at people doing things they don’t understand.

When you come from a place of hate and fear, your words will reflect that.  But if you have love and understanding in your heart, that will pour out. So no matter what the color of your skin, gay, bi, straight, butch, femme, whatever you identify as with your gender, sexuality, race, nationality or any of the million things that make us different, embrace the differences. Find something good and you will continue to see the good in the world.

In no way will this completely eliminate hate, but it makes for a few less bitter bitches.  And I hope you agree, we can use a few less bitter bitches…. in case you never noticed… they don’t give awards for being the biggest bitch, but they do for being the most congenial.

AND FIERCE DOES NOT EQUAL BITCH.  You can do fierce without being a bitch honey.  Embrace your beauty, embrace your strength and look for the light instead of the darkness in each day!

:::Steps of soapbox:::

Happy Birthday RuPaul!!

All the pain, all the tears and all the drama… and that’s just when she’s getting her shoes and wig on! We’d like to extend our best wishes for RuPaul on her birthday. Because of you a legion of men have scared the wits out of men and women everywhere… they’re all scared of these men in wigs stealing their men! Thank you for being a pioneer, a mentor, a friend and the dragediest drag mama in the world!

YOU BETTA WORK!

 RuPaul

Fashion Photo Ruview of Another Season 4 Challenge

Raja and Raven let the Season 4 girls have it on this episode. But its’ not their fault, to quote Raven “It’s not my fault, its yours.”

HALLELOO! All Stars Season 2!

The ultimate queen RuPaul announces that All Stars will be returning for season 2.