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Drag Race stars defend show after RuPaul gets called out for lack of diversity

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Stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race have been forced to defend the show after a reporter called out the host for the production crew’s apparent lack of diversity.

After winning his sixth Emmy on Sunday, September 22, for Best Reality-Competition Program, RuPaul faced an awkward question from Essence writer Danielle Young.

“I have a question about the hot-button term diversity that always gets thrown around. We’re looking at your team and I don’t see a lot of diversity,” she said.

But previous winners Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change were quick to jump to the show’s defence.

RuPaul and the team behind RuPaul's Drag Race pose with awards for Outstanding Competition Program in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

RuPaul and the team behind RuPaul’s Drag Race pose with awards for Outstanding Competition Program in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Drag Race stars defend RuPaul

Season eight victor Bob said: “As someone who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race there are several people of colour working on that show.”

She went on to list a number of people of colour who have worked on the show as producers.

“Michelle Mills, Rupaul, Mandy Salangsang, Jamala Gaither, Alicia Gargaro-Magaña, Swaga Deb, San, and the late Jacqualine Wilson (who passed weeks before the Emmy Awards).”

She added: “Plus 74%of the cast.The truth is the truth no matter who knows it.”

Bob finished by criticising “white people chiming in on POC representation”, and arguing that: “Questioning someone’s blackness doesn’t make you more black, it makes you problematic.”

Monet X Change also criticised the reporter’s line of questioning.

The All Stars 4 winner posted a screenshot of Drag Race producer Michele Mill’s Facebook post, which argued the debate was contributing to: “The ERASURE of the important role that 2 women of colour play on the show.”

She then tweeted that the: “Women on camera crew, and the MANY women/women of colour behind the scenes who take care of us, lotion is, corset is, take us to the bathroom on the DAILY when filming [sic]” were “true f*****g heroes.”

The star then praised RuPaul’s Drag Race for its history of representing: “Queer people/POC.”

Others have less confidence in RuPaul’s defence.

Outspoken Drag Race alumni The Vixen posted a cryptic tweet the day after the Emmys that many believe refers to the debate.

The season ten queen said: “I think it’s important that as we see more POC and disenfranchised group given the spotlight that they are also given the opportunity to change the system and not just become a part of it.”

“Uncle Tom has too many nephews,” she added.

Young clarified she raised the issue only after being surprised by the lack of visible diversity, and said she wanted to give RuPaul the space to address it.

She added that RuPaul’s response – “the host of our show is black, gay, and a drag queen”- was not satisfactory.

Some fans also chimed in, with Twitter user Z referring to a picture of production crew lacking in visible diversity.

Despite the furore, Drag Race is continuing its expansion into a global franchise.

Drag Race Canada, which will count season 11 runner-up Brook Lynn Heights among its judges, will join Drag Race’s in Thailand, UK and the two US versions.

An Australian Drag Race is set to begin in 2020.

Drag Race UK premiers Friday October 3 on BBC iPlayer. 









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