Drag Race runner-up Gigi Goode wants to use her platform to say things that matter: ‘Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter’
Gigi Goode, the season 12 runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race, doesn’t want to use her newfound fame just to net brand deals and prime performance slots.
As she told the Advocate, in the midst of a two-pronged crisis paralysing America – the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matters protests – she refuses to be someone who remains silent.
“If I’m just standing up here with this big title and not saying things that matter,” she said, “not saying Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter… then what am I using it for?”
The 22-year-old narrowly lost the crown to Jaida Essence Hall in the finale. But Goode reflected on what the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar means to her.
Gigi Goode: Drag can ‘offer relief’ to people in this time of panic.
It comes after Goode weathered criticism May 27 after tweeting “I cannot breathe”. While in relation to a feeling of excitement towards the airing of the finale, the words have gained new meaning.
“I can’t breathe” were the words sputtered by George Floyd, a 48-year-old Black man who died after a white officer pinned him down by the neck with his knee in Minneapolis.
Explosive footage recorded by a bystander quickly went viral May 25, erupting into a week-long protest against white supremacy and police brutality.
Protesters have rumbled with police, as chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe” echo off canyons of skyscrapers and boarded-up businesses in major American cities, from Los Angeles to New York. Officers have cowed demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas.
But I guess, at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that I now take the time to develop my voice. Not just creatively, but politically and socially as well.
I can’t help but think back to the ending of one of my favorite movies
— the “e” is silent (@thegigigoode) May 27, 2020
As a result, Goode vowed to “take the time to develop my voice”, a sentiment that carried on into her interview with Advocate.
“I’m right there with those fans who had that fear, and it took until recently to understand that there’s no excuse to be afraid, you can have these feelings and they’re OK, but you should use them as fuel to the fire rather than a form of shelter,” she said.
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“On the other hand, I think it’s really important to keep drag on the front line of everything that’s going on because we are able to not only help with the situation, but we’re able to just like offer relief and use our voices to say things that matter.”
‘I think it is the responsibility [of Drag Race stars] to help.’
Moreover, Goode described how Drag Race – airing in the midst of COVID-19 – has offered viewers an escape.
She said: “This art form, this television show, what we’re doing, what we’re bringing to the table is just offering relief.
“It’s offering relief, but it’s also bringing awareness to certain situations, and I’m really happy to be on the front lines of offering this kind of relief, and it’s been very rewarding.”
While Goode never did win, she described what she would have done with her platform if she did. Explaining that she would have divided up the prize fund to her mother as well as her local queer community and Black Lives Matter fundraisers.
“There’s a lot going on right now in the country that if you’re able to help,” she said, “I think it is our responsibility to help because otherwise, it’s just being a bystander.”