RuPaul has been an international phenomenon for well over 20 years. Her music, style, voice, songs, fashion, and opinions have been gracing the runways and magazines ever since. She was the first drag super model, and inspires a legion of fans and up and coming drag performers on her highly successful show: RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now a cult culture phenomenon itself, if you’re not already a loyal follower, here are the essential things you need to know about Drag Race.
Now in its 10thseason with two additional All-Star seasons, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a force to be reckoned with. Before moving to network TV on VH1, Drag Race started on the queer only network Logo. In a post-marriage equality era when queer people have felt the need to fit in and be like their straight counterparts in order to gain wider spread acceptance from the straight community, RuPaul’s Drag Race champions queer people and is the only show on television where all cast members and the host are LGBT.
RuPaul’s Drag Race has become an institution for many gay people, turning Thursday nights into weekly viewing nights in living rooms and bars across the world. The show has spun more cultural key phrases and perpetuated queer slang more than any program before it. “Shantee, you stay”, “Henny”, “Yes Gawd”, “Sashay away”, “Not today Satan”, “Beat for the gods”, “herstory”, “salty bitch”, and of course “Miss Vangee… Miss Vangee” are just some of the now common phrases used in every day gay vernacular thanks solely to Drag Race. The show has spun huge stars like Bianca del Rio, Courtney Act, Alaska, Raja, Pandora Boxx, Shangela, Valentina, Manila Luzon, and more.
Drag Race has helped initiate a tidal wave of acceptance of gay people and queer life. Drag queens across the globe are getting gigs right and left becoming an intricate part of the community. The program has produced many straight loyal fans that there is a list of straight A-list celebrity allies that want to appear on Drag Race to guest judge. RuPaul is the back to back Emmy Award recipient for best reality show host. Effeminate men are finally being treated as equals throughout the gay community.
If RuPaul’s Drag Race has put a real-life face on what it means to be queer and the joy and love mixed with the hardships that come with it. Bullying, drugs, sex addiction, sex work, AIDS/HIV…all are topics that have been regularly discussed on Drag Race, crushing the stigma that goes along with these once taboo topics.
Though he is still considered highly controversial with his primitive opinions about the trans community, through his show, RuPaul has shown a spotlight on the LGBT community with humor, grace, and wit. The cultural impact off this program on society has yet to be measured, but you can all say a big “Halleloo” that queer people have this platform thanks to an important gay culture TV show called RuPaul’s Drag Race.