Black ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Queens Ask The Fandom To “Treat Them Like Humans” In Anti-Racism PSA
It comes after S12 queen Widow Von'Du announced she was taking a step back from drag due to the torrents of abuse she received from 'fans'.
A group of Black drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race have filmed a show-sanctioned PSA asking that fans of the show end the unlevelled abuse that queens of colour receive.
In a black and white video shared via Drag Race‘s official social media channels, a series of de-dragged queens re-introduce themselves by their legal names, listing off facts and hobbies about their lives off the stage.
The video includes The Vixen, Latrice Royale, Mariah, Mayhem Miller, Widow Von’Du and Heidi ‘N’ Closet. It comes after Widow Von’Du, who starred on the recently aired S12 of the show, said in August she would take a step back from drag, citing the racism and abuse she received since the show began airing in March.
“Thank you to the ‘fandom’ of Drag Race!” she wrote on Twitter. “You did it! You ran another person of color away from what they love! I try to be strong but y’all done made me feel like I should hate myself and guess what you won!”
In the video, the queens provide these details of their lives to prove they are regular people. In a message spoken by all the queens, they demand an end to the racist treated of queens of colour, who have long been under-appreciated and underfollowed, if not thrown more hatred and abuse than their white counterparts.
“I am someone who has experienced injustice and racism at a very young age firsthand. And even though I’ve endured those things, I still tried to look at the positives and look at the good in people, and in the world as a whole,” they say.
“Underneath the eleganza is a human being just like you. We need to collectively stop the threats, stop the racism that is affecting this community.”
“So make a plan to be better and treat us like the human beings that we are. Pledge to spread joy and kindness to all of us. Your words have power. Let’s use them for good. Let’s do this for real, and make RuPaul’s Drag Race the example.”‘
Many BIPOC queens have spoken out about the show’s racist fanbase over the years.
In a recent episode of Drag Race spin-off documentary Werk The World, S10 finalist Asia O’Hara spoke frankly about the racism and microaggressions she receives from fans, who can confuse her for other Black queeens or ask her to step aside in meet & greets for photos with white queens.
“A lot of people say that the fanbase is racist,” she said. “I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case. It’s just that the fanbase is not made up of a lot of people that are like me. (…) A sixteen-year-old blonde girl is not going look at me the way that they look at Kameron Michaels.”
In an interview on YouTube talk show Hey Kween!, Monique Heart summed it up with a simple line: “I’m not a black drag queen, I’m a black man. And black men are not beloved in America”.
The Vixen, who appears in the PSA, has criticised not only the fanbase for racism, but the show itself — even while appearing on it. Memorably, in S10, she pointed out to Aquaria that her white tears had painted herself as the victim to The Vixen’s aggressor, and questioned the show’s narratives to produce Black villains.
In a recent long-form interview with Junkee, The Vixen talked about the unequal treatment of Black queens on the show, including how the show itself judges outfits by what skin colour they’re on.
“I think a lot of times when Black queens do things that are off kilter, it’s not seen as polished, but a white queen could come out in denim jeans and a white tank top and be seen as “All American”,” she said. “But if a Black queen has to do it, she would be seen as ghetto.”
Watch the PSA below.