Black RuPaul’s Drag Race legends plead with fans to ‘treat us like the human beings we are’
Drag Race icons spoke their truth on racism, harassment and bullying in a heartfelt and emotional new video posted to the RuPaul’s Drag Race YouTube channel on Tuesday (22 September).
Heidi N Closet, Mayhem Miller, Widow Von’Du, Mariah Paris Balenciaga, Latrice Royale and The Vixen came together out of drag to tell their stories in a powerful and significant way.
The queens spoke about what makes them just like everybody else, whether they be fans of Drag Race or people who have never seen an episode.
From being husbands, brothers and sons to being the few people that actually like pineapple on their pizza, they discussed what makes them people who live life the way others do.
They also spoke of how they have been dehumanised through social media or in television, as people see them simply as entertainers with no feelings and boundaries.
Drag Race star Widow Von’Du: ‘We need to collectively stop the threats and stop the racism.’
Latrice Royale said in the video: “Behind the make-up is a human – just like you.”
“I am someone who has experienced injustices and racism at a very young age firsthand,” says Heidi N Closet.
“And even though I endured those things, I still try to look at the positives and look at the good in people and the world as a whole.”
These forms of discrimination surround Drag Race as well as the fandom – in this case, online trolls.
Widow Von’Du said: “We need to collectively stop the threats and stop the racism that is affecting this community.”
Von’Du left social media in August and was ultimately pushed to almost leave her drag career altogether due to the negative response she received from fans. The star wrote on Twitter at the time: “You did it! You ran another person of colour 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.”
This sparked an outpour of love and support for the star by fans and past contestants of the show, including from season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall, who condemned the “toxic fans”.
“This is unacceptable,” Jaida wrote. “This is one of the most talented people I know and for her to feel like this is so bad.”
Von’Du later returned to Twitter saying: “I can feel the love and it’s giving me hope that things will be better.”
However, this was not the first and undoubtedly not the last time a Black queen has faced racism and bullying on social media.
The Vixen sat down in an interview with All Stars 5 winner, Shea Couleé, in which Couleé stated that The Vixen has: “Lifted the veil in how queens of colour are treated on the show by the fandom.”
The Vixen responded: “There was a bartender who said that ‘Southside Trash’ ruined gay Pride in Chicago – for people who don’t know, the Southside of Chicago is predominantly Black.
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“So what the guy was really saying was that black people aren’t welcome at gay Pride.
“I grew up as a young, Black gay boy who only felt safe expressing himself in the Northside at Pride. It was sad because that was the only place we had to go to, to be Black and gay.”