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Yas queen: definition and where it comes from

Tijen Butler November 20, 2018
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Glam queen

(Rochelle Brown / Unsplash)

Yas queen—or YAAASSSSS QUEEN!—as many put it, is all over the internet. But what does it actually mean and where did the phrase originate?

The phrase “yas queen/kween” is plastered all over the internet. You’ve probably even received these kinds of comment on your latest Instagram selfies.

But what does it mean, exactly?

“Yas queen” is a term you say in response to someone fabulous. It’s the equivalent of saying, “fierce,” “YES” or “you do you!”

You’re practically celebrating someone for what they’re doing, how they look, or for what they’ve said.

Of course, you cannot simply say “Yas queen,” you must elongate the As and Ss to show real enthusiasm. In fact, you may use as many AAAs and SSSs as you wish. (The more the better.)

Now, after me—YAAAAASSSSSSS QUEEN!

But what does it actually mean and where does the saying originate?

Sayings don’t come out of thin air, they all have an origin, and “yas queen” is no different.

Yas queen is a type of urban gay slang that has become mainstream in recent years.

“Yas” originated from ball culture in the 1980s, according to The Huffington Post. Ball culture was an underground sub-culture for the LGBT community in the United States, with performers, drag shows and prizes.

It was during these balls when “yas” started to be used, as audience members would shout it out to encourage fellow performers.

“Yas Gaga” viral video makes the saying more popular today


In 2013, a video went viral featuring Lady Gaga walking out the building. An excited fan shouts “YAAASSS GAGA.”

“Queen,” on the other hand, was once an insult for gay people but the LGBT community turned it into a term of endearment.

Over time, the two LGBT terms were then combined to make this popular slang phrase, “yas queen” (or yas kween, as some people type).

How did “yas queen” become so popular and mainstream?

Like most sayings, “yas queen” became popular from the media. When movies and TV shows started using the phrase, people around the world, especially in the United States, started using it on social media (which then circulated the phrase even more).

One of the first TV shows to use it iconically was Broad CityWhile they didn’t coin the phrase, some would argue that they made it what it is today, as they’ve mentioned it several times in their lines since 2015.

Other popular TV shows from RuPaul’s Drag Race to The Real Housewives of Atlanta also use the term, reaching audiences of millions.

Rupaul Drag Race
The finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10. (Netflix)

Referring to the similar phrase “Yas Brish,” Nicki Minaj discussed how that saying became so popular. She said, “I guess drag queens started that whole little lingo.

“When I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, I live for the way they speak. I think that derives from the way that world speaks. Females, we adopted it and it makes us feel very cocky and sexy and feminine.”

We definitely thank the queer community for bringing the term as alive as it is today. “Yas queen” is a term of colour, vibrance and enthusiasm. If you hear it, you know you’re doing great.

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