Drag Race royalty Jaida Essence Hall doesn’t know ‘a single Black queen’ who hasn’t experienced racism from fans
Drag Race season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall said she doesn’t know a “single Black queen” who hasn’t suffered racism at the hands of so-called fans.
Jaida talked candidly about discrimination, the Black Lives Matter movement and growing up queer in a new interview with Attitude magazine.
When asked about the racism Black queens experience from Drag Race viewers, she admitted: “You know, I don’t know a single Black queen who’s not been through this sort of thing.
“The thing is, so many of us don’t talk about it, because, sadly, a lot of people just assume that we are complaining or not working hard enough, or simply ‘not deserving’, and the reality is that we are some of the most trailblazing, creative queens out there.
“We all deserve the same amount of respect. Art is art and the colour of your skin should not determine the value of that art.”
Jaida was crowned the winner of Drag Race season 12 just days after the murder of George Floyd, whose death triggered an unprecedented Black Lives Matter uprising.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin queen said that since then, “I have been making sure that I use my voice as much as I can throughout all of this to support any and everyone going through this”.
She added: “It’s a really crazy time, between COVID-19 and the events happening around the world. With the two taking place at the same time, it can make it very difficult for so many people to [attend] and physically show support.
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“But I want people to know that there’s multiple ways of showing support, especially for this cause, and always using your voice as much as possible is the biggest way that we can help make a change.”
Looking back to her youth, Jaida said she was thankful to have a family who have always accepted her for who she is.
“Growing up queer, [homophobia is] sadly one of those things we all experience, especially when your queerness is seen in all that you do,” she said.
“Being different from what people normally saw, or what they thought men should be, made me a target for people.
“I’m thankful that I had a family who understood that I was different, but never made me feel bad about it, or judged — that gave me the confidence to be who I am and love it. Sometimes it’s still a struggle, but every day I’m learning to love myself more and more.”
Jaida covers the October issue of Attitude, out Thursday (August 13).