WEEKLY RUCAP | All Stars is back, henny!

Halleloo, ladies! Rupaul is back, and ready add a third queen to the Drag Race Hall of Fame.

RuPaul’s Drag Race | All Stars 4 Official Trailer


Hey kitty girls!

Rupaul is back with her new, legendary All Stars in a bombastic season premier that brought more than a few twists and turns. And despite my many fears, it seems that this season aims to not only match the legendary All Stars 2, but chisel it's own place as one of the best seasons of Drag Race we've ever seen. The queens have come to play and honestly, it's relief. This season has definitely been one of the most talked about seasons of the show's herstory - and I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to the hype.

But this premier did that.

We start the episode with the usual work-room walk-in starting with Trixie Mattel rollerblading through the work room door.

She delivers her, now iconic, "Oh hoooney," before almost falling on her face - but she recovers and even gives us an appropriately corny "And that's how I roll." She's perfectly pink, and sporting some 80s neon bodysuit realness. It was so perfectly Trixie and I lived for it. And she wouldn't be Trixie without throwing a little shade, "There's nobody in here. It's like a Morgan McMichaels meet and greet."

Then we had Season 6 club kid favorite, Milk! Serving some "denim pennochio."

It wasn't my favorite look out of the rest of the queens, but it definitely showed of Milk's ability to own any look she puts on. Plus, her opening line, "I just farted," gave me a good chuckle. And honestly, I picked up some definite diva vibes. It makes sense, Milk has seen a lot of success in her post-Drag Race career - but this is Drag Race, and it wouldn't be Drag Race without a little shade.

Then we have bayou queen, Chi Chi DeVayne!

She wears a beautifully made twist on her original entrance look - it's still trash bags, but they're yellow and they don't actually look like trash bags. She looks stunning, even if she can't keep that hat on her head. Not to mention, she brings a certain level of Southern charm that makes you just like her.

Then we have the permanently peppy Brooklyn queen, Thorgy Thor!

She is serving circus clown realness in probably one of the worst entrance looks I've ever seen. But, she makes up for it with her energy, even though she almost broke her foot on the way in.

Then of course, we have the dead bitch, Morgan McMichaels.

And she is slaying in this look! I've seen Morgan on WOWpresents, and I've seen clips of her stellar drag performances, and I am not surprised that the other queens are intimidated by her. She didn't come to play games, and she wants to make sure that every single contestant knows that.

Next is Aja, scooter-ing through in a delightfully skimpy outfit.

And I have to say it, I love her hair, and her make up shows a lot of improvement over the trainwreck that was season nine. She says she has some unfinished business, and I have to say, I was surprised to see her on the cast list. After all, she just finished Season 9 - but hey, I ain't complaining, 'cause this bitch clearly came to play.

Then there's BenDeLaCreme, wearing an atrocious repurposed dress.

Listen, I love BenDeLa, but come on - that dress looks terrible. And why did she have to do the same exact thing she did for her Season 6 entrance. I think Morgan said it well, she feels a little recycled. But, I can't really hate her, because she's too damned sweet!

Next we have one of my favorite entrances, Kennedy Davenport!

She's back, and she's here to show you that she didn't die, SHE CRYSTALLIZED! Sure, it was in a horrible dress, but I don't even care. She's perfect, she beautiful, and even if she looks like she just threw on a bunch of random stuff on a gross yellow dress.

Then we have Miss Shangela Halleloo herself, back in the world for the third time!

She enters in her iconic box, and then reveals into a very Alyssa Edwards-ian dress. I guess the drag daughter doesn't fall far from the tree. I mean, come on, you cannot tell me that you looked at that bow and didn't hear Alyssa's faint tongue-pop in the distance.

And just as the queens speculate about who the tenth queen is going to be, the sirens go off, signifying Rupaul is about to make his entrance. Everyone is confused, and then Ru enters, looking kind of funky in an all red suit, only to reveal that something seems to be wrong - there's someone missing. And after an agonizingly long wait - the mysterious tenth queen is revealed to be...


Speculations about the mysterious tenth queen have been going on around the internet for ages. But in the end, it seems all signs pointed to Miss Benet's return. And man, what a return it was. I don't know what it is about her, but she exudes this ethereal energy that makes you feel both at ease and incredibly excited. Even though I already kind of knew it was her - I still felt my breath catch when she entered. I mean, look at her.

And the other queens were absolutely gagging - after all, she did win, how are they supposed to compete with someone who already won? We'll just have to see.

Anyway, after the dust settled, we were treated to a rather lackluster reading challenge. I don't know if everyone was just off or what, but they just didn't read very well. Especially poor Thorgy, who just couldn't seem to get a read out without spending twenty or thirty minutes taking me on some weird journey. BenDeLa ended up winning after delivering a surprisingly nasty set. But honestly, I think Kennedy's, "I hate you," towards someone (I think it was Aja) definitely deserved some sort of recognition.

After the reading challenge, Ru revealed that their first Maxi-Challenge would be another Talent Show ala All Stars 2 - and I'm not even mad. I don't know why I love the talent show idea so much - I think it's because we get to see what these queens think they can bring to the table. Ru also informed them that they would be doing the same form of elimination as last season: The winning queen gets to send one of the bottom two home.

Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. Half of the queens decided they were all going to be doing the same thing, which was a major let down after the surprisingly diverse set the previous season's queens brought. I expected the show to wind up being just boring.

Boy was I wrong. There was a lot of dancing, sure. We had Shangela provide a perfect Alyssa Edwardian dance routine, but with her own twist. Bebe did an amazing Lion King-esque dance/lip-synch that literally transported me out of my body. Kennedy slayed it, as always, but is it really all that impressive if you expect it? Yes. It is. That was a dumb question. And Aja, Jesus Christ, AJA - she did a FLAWLESS performance that ended with a death drop from the top of a huge box to the ground!

BenDeLa slayed with a parody burlesque performance that involved her ripping off bra, after bra, after bra, revealing increasingly ridiculous pasties. It was hilarious, and honestly, I expected nothing less from her. She and Aja were definitely the highlights of the evening.

Thorgy and Trixie both stood out from the crowd, with Trixie doing a beautiful song with an instrument that I cannot identify. And Thorgy blending drag and violin in a fun little performance. They were different, but unfortunately, they both fell a little flat in terms of energy - especially after Aja.

Then we have the lower end of the spectrum. Morgan tried to perform one of her own mixes, but fell flat - it wasn't that it was bad - it was just boring. Chi Chi decided she wanted to look completely busted, and decided to go out with no heels, no pads, and a wig she got from Party City. And then there was Milk, who delivered a weird and dull performance to one his own mixes that basically included him strapping cardboard dresses to himself.

I wasn't surprised to see Aja and Ben take the top, and Morgan and Chi Chi end up on the bottom. The deliberations were definitely different from the last season, with most of the cast (excluding BenDeLa) agreeing that a "group consensus" wasn't going to work.

They each come out and deliver a fun lip synch to Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda," with Aja doing a more poppy-sexy kind of move, and BenDeLa doing a perfectly shtick-y, fun routine. BenDeLa ends up taking the win and (falsely) stating that the group has come to a consensus and that means that she's going to send... Morgan home!

But, much like last season, I doubt this is the last we'll see of Morgan. After all, Rupaul has her back.

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Culture News

In Defense of Jeff Goldblum's "Stupid" Islam Comments on "Drag Race"

Unlike most Americans, Jeff Goldblum had some humility on the issue

Jeff Goldblum

Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Actor Jeff Goldblum appeared as the guest judge on Friday night's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race and got himself into some hot water.

After Iranian-American contestant Jackie Cox walked the runway in a red and white striped kaftan with a blue hijab rimmed in stars—in keeping with the episode's "Stars and Stripes" theme—Goldblum asked her if she was religious. She responded that she is not but that her outfit "represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country."

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Taylor Swift Only Sees the Glitter in LGBTQ+

While her intentions are well-meaning, the "You Need to Calm Down" video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons.

Just when Taylor Swift gives us hope, she lets us down.

Her latest music video features almost every mainstream queer celebrity you could imagine. While her intentions are well-meaning, the video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons. Instead of throwing a trans flag at Laverne Cox, Swift could center the video on the activist and her perspective rather than on her own.

The Todrick Hall production capitalized solely on the culture of the LGBTQ+ community— celebrating it and taking the song a bit too literally. But uplifting these voices means more than a feature in a video or tagging them on social media.

The music video highlights the visual aesthetic that "signifies" gay culture. There are rainbows and dancing and glitter. We follow a white cis, straight woman parade around with her LGBTQ+ friends. It's a party, a celebration of being yourself, fighting against "barbaric" homophobes with love and positivity. Yet, here, the biggest takeaway from this video is that at last, pop's biggest feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry is over. They embrace in the video— which will be sure to cause conversation. It overshadows the video's intent. It's also marketing genius.

The video ends with an image of text advocating for the Equality Act. The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives but now sits idle in the Senate. The law would extend civil rights protections to people of any sexual orientation and gender identity. Swift urged supporters to sign her petition asking for Senate support. The petition already has over 200,000 signatures, converting the single's success into political support for LGBTQ+ issues.

While Taylor Swift has contributed to the LGTBQ+ community through donations and recent political support, she's misinterpreted what an ally should be. Leading up to the video's release, Swift addressed a rumor that she would share a kiss with Perry:

"That is ABSOLUTELY false. To be an ally is to understand the difference between advocating and baiting. Anyone trying to twist this positivity into something it isn't needs to calm down. It costs zero dollars to not step on our gowns."

It's difficult to forget the days when Taylor Swift refused to comment on politics, to the point she threatened to sue over white supremacy allegations. Now, she's attempting to be a part of the conversation while lacking the language to be effective. What Swift cannot seem to grasp is that advocating for and offering a platform to the LBGTQ+ community should be greater than featuring them in a music video. Uplifting their stories and normalizing their experiences goes a lot further than a straight woman's celebration of pride. Expecting an immediate embrace from LGBTQ+ members after years of silence and quiet donations is asking for more credit than she deserves. It takes time to earn the trust of queer people, and just maybe, Taylor Swift should take several seats and listen.


Vulture Dehumanizes Drag Queens with Random Ranking

Unfortunately, New York Magazine overlooked the depth of those underneath the makeup, even dwindling some down to a footnote.

When New York Magazine began releasing photos of international drag sensations, many fans were excited to read profiles on the artistic geniuses.

Unfortunately, Vulture's coverage reminded many that a RuPaul's Drag Race bubble exists and not everyone respects the Queens for the artists they are. Instead of treating the magazine's cover stars like those prior, the publication ranked the performers, classifying them as either Top Tier or Bottom Tier. The reductive representation offered no further insight on the fascinating queens—who they are beyond surface level accomplishments or individual placements on the show. While Drag Race is a launchpad for hundreds of queens, Vulture failed to appreciate the profundity of the new generation of Instagram and reality TV celebrities.

The lives of drag performers tend to be disregarded, with fans favoring the spectacle and on-stage characters. This is a reminder that queens embody a type of expression that both embraces and rejects gender to cultivate a new narrative and understanding of personhood. Drag culture is a celebration of self and the ability we have to truly be ourselves. Unfortunately, Vulture overlooked the depth of those underneath the makeup, even dwindling some down to a dehumanizing footnote.

Queens photographed for the publication reacted swiftly, taking to Twitter to criticize the written content and the photos' lighting.

Although Martin Schoeller is known for his up close, unedited style, the article did not match the quality of the photos. Willam Belli (of Drag Race and television fame) called out the journalistic integrity of Vulture's editors, claiming none of the subjects were informed they would be ranked.

If journalists bothered to look beyond the accessible information on a drag queen's career, each artist's influence on our cultural consciousness would be more recognized. In turn, they could become championed members of our society, surpassing Pride coverage and queer-oriented events (ahem Met Gala). Uplifting their stories year round (outside of the reality show format) would increase the number of pivotal voices allowed to transform our culture. If it wasn't obvious enough, these entertainers have contributed to a shift in Western society and impacted younger generations for good: Gen Y and Z are more inclusive and expressive than past generations, which will inform the future, with or without journalistic appreciation. Vulture should know better.


7 Films and TV Shows to Celebrate Pride Month

Queer representation means more than just a queer character plopped in a plot line.


Photo by Margaux Bellott on Unsplash

Pride month is here and Drag Race is over, and unfortunately, it's hard to find many other shows for queer people by queer people. Supporting and celebrating pride month isn't just buying a rainbow shirt from Target; it's buying directly from queer artists and giving back to the culture. With representation more important than ever, these TV shows and films place queer characters right in the center where they belong. Here are some to look out for and catch up on.

Now Apocalypse(Starz)

Gregg Araki, known for his great contributions to the New Queer Cinema Movement, is at it again with this bizarre new show. Avan Jogia (of Victorious and Twisted fame) stars as Ulysses, a gay man who has disturbing, premonitory dreams that the world is ending. Ulysses's romantic and platonic relationships are explored with consideration for sexuality and fame in Los Angeles. Now Apocalypse takes LGBTQIA representation to the absurd and it couldn't be more fun. All episodes are now available for streaming on Starz.

Pose (FX)

Ryan Murphy's latest phenomenon is back for its second season on June 10th. The show centers on POC queer, cis and trans men and women as they navigate different NYC scenes and find purpose through the African American and Latinx ball culture. The show also investigates each character's place in society during the AIDs crisis, reclaiming the narrative and the hysteria of the era. If you're not caught up yet, the FX show is now on Netflix.


Executive produced by Elton John himself, Rocketman was released last weekend to a surprisingly solid first weekend. Bohemian Rhapsody's fill-in director, Dexter Fletcher, captures the life of a queer icon. Besides Rocketman being the first major Hollywood studio production to show a gay sex scene, the film does what Bohemian Rhapsody wanted to do but Queen would not allow: put a global icon's sexuality on display, explore the creative depths of a genius, and feature a lead actor that actually sings. Sing along and enjoy the breadth of great performances and direction.

Queer Eye(Netflix)

Ok, this is an obvious one, but season 3 only premiered in March! If you haven't already watched the fantastic makeovers and heart-warming stories that have come out of the reboot, you're missing out. Celebrate love and life by embracing those who are transformed by the Fab Five. While you're at it, preorder Tan France's book, Naturally Tan: A Memoir


Not many know what this show is actually about, but the trailer seems to center on the complicated lives of youth today. Sexual and gender identities are at the forefront of conversation today, especially from adolescents aware of their pertinence in a way previous generations were not. LGBTQ activist and trans woman, Hunter Shafer, will star as a trans girl who befriends Zendaya's character and their relationship potentially becomes something more. Down the rabbit hole viewers will go! Premiering on June 16th, Euphoria gives everyone a reason to keep their HBO subscription.


White feminism aside, Booksmart is an important film because of its lesbian representation. Beanie Feldstein, break-out star of Lady Bird, explained how important her co-star's character is to her and society, "For me in my life, it is a part of who I am but it is not at all my defining feature. It doesn't mean I don't love my girlfriend, it's just part of who I am. And [the character]'s the same way. To see that in Amy and how beautifully Kaitlyn plays her and how beautifully Katie [Silberman, screenwriter] and Olivia [Wilde, director] crafted her, it's gonna change a lot of people's lives." Booksmart is still in theaters nationwide.

One Day at A Time (Netflix, for now)

The 70s sitcom reboot came with reevaluations. The showrunners, Kellet and Royce, decided to change the two daughters to a daughter and son. One of the main characters, the daughter Elena, did not start off as a gay character. It wasn't until Royce's real-life daughter came out that he realized he needed to tell this story. His writer's room invested their own experiences to shape a character and an on-going storyline that provided insight into a coming-out story and its realities in a fresh, familial context. It's done beautifully and truthfully. While Netflix has canceled the show, the creators are fighting to revive it on another platform or channel. #SaveODAT!


How Black Drag Queens Invented Camp: An Incomplete History of Lena Waithe’s Jacket

Camp was created by marginalized communities, in part to avoid traditional confines of language, and particularly, to escape restrictions of gender, sexuality, and the kind of power and wealth that funds the Metropolitan Museum of Art and puts on its star-studded gala each year.

Billy Porter Gets Dressed - Vogue


When Lena Waithe stepped out wearing a jacket that read, Black Queers Invented Camp, she was making a decidedly pointed statement.

Lena Waithe - E! Insidervia

Sunday's Met Gala boasted thousands of designers' takes on the theme of camp, an elusive and complex term usually linked to Susan Sontag's essay, Notes on Camp. However, there is no one set definition of camp, and in fact, camp is partially defined by the fact that there is no precise record of where or why it was invented.

We do know that it was created—somewhere, at some point—by marginalized communities, in part to avoid traditional confines of language, to evade scrutiny, and particularly, to escape restrictions of gender, sexuality, racism, and the kind of power and wealth that funds the Metropolitan Museum of Art and puts on its star-studded gala each year.

The Secret Language of Queers: Reading Into Lena Waithe's Jacket

Lena Waithe's Met Gala jacket—emblazoned with the words Black Drag Queens Inventend Camp—made a powerful tribute to camp's roots in queer black subcultures. "Pepper LaBeija, Benny Ninja, RuPaul, all these pioneers . . . I really wanted to pay tribute to them and all that they did for the culture," Waithe explained. "They started this whole 'camp' thing by being over-the-top." Her jacket was also emblazoned with lyrics from traditional drag queen anthems, like Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and "I'm Coming Out."

Even the misspelling of "Invented" was purposeful. "First there was "Periodt," Waithe tweeted, "and Kerby and I wanted to give y'all another one 'Inventend' — which we take to mean a heavy emphasis on the 'D.'" By purposefully misspelling and reinterpreting a word to support her own community, Waithe was operating in the old traditions of secret queer languages and other dialects and styles used to express solidarity between marginalized groups. That extra D in the Invented might mean a lot of things—but it's definitely a fuck-you to heteronormative ways of doing things, and a shoutout to people who break from dominant traditions.

Camp has always been connected to secret languages of queerness. According to John M. Wolf, "Camp is a queer sense‐making practice that subverts dominant gender norms and heteronormative practices and institutions." Essentially, camp is a way of existing as a queer person within a heteronormative culture—a way of using exaggerated performances to both celebrate one's identity and to critique and reclaim the mainstream.

The word camp actually originated as a queer slang term, part of a secret language called Polari that gay people have used for centuries. Polari has roots in secret languages of sailors and theatrical performers in the 18th century. In 20th century Britain, it soon evolved to function as a street language that contained many euphemisms for police as well as homosexual relationships and was eventually largely left behind as queer culture became more publicly acceptable.

Camp and Black Queer Culture: An Interconnected Relationship

Black queer people, in particular, have to contend with the intersection of racism and homophobia and have had to invent their own languages and performance styles within these systems. True to form, the history and language of camp and black queerness is not a linear or easily readable one, especially for those who are not part of those communities.

According to Myles E. Johnson's Afropunk article, "The Met Gala Turned Drag into Deities," "To truly understand camp as it concerns the Black queer person in America in 2019, you'd have to wrestle with history. Not necessarily knock it out, but slightly strangle it until it can't fight the investigation of its body; leaving you to discover through excavation the source (usually racist) of the things we find pleasure in as a culture and what we perform."

The article goes on to cite some early examples of black people performing camp and making it into what it is today. Black performers like Bert Williams and George Walker, who brought the first African American blackface minstrel theatre to the stage in the early 1900s, used minstrelsy—a format traditionally used to marginalize black culture—to reclaim their own identity through a self-aware performance of racial stereotypes. Camp is not merely a performance of exaggeration; it involves a level of critical self-awareness and humor. These early African American minstrel shows were, in a way, examples of early camp.

Since then, black drag queens have long utilized exaggerated, stylized performances to carve out spaces of freedom for themselves. Unable to fit into dominant, white traditions of femininity even through drag, "black gay feminine men took the rejection of black women from the femme canon and created a coded language that allowed them to not only exist in the world but also, for those who understood the language, express their true selves," Mikelle Street writes in her article "Do Not Erase Black Femmes in Your History of Gay Slang" for PAPER Magazine. This intersectionality—between gender roles, sexual orientation, and racial politics—created a need for secret modes of expression and celebration that brought modern radical black camp into being.

Camp arose in part as a way for drag queens to access and transcend ideas of wealth, opulence, and mainstream fame that, in a white supremacist, heteronormative world, was difficult for them to attain. This is seen in the film Paris is Burning, which tells the story of a group of drag queens desperately pursuing a dream—"to live for a brief, dazzling moment in a fantasy world of high fashion, status, and acceptance," as Steven P. Schatt writes. Somehow, through this desire and the fantasy needed to access it, the fantasy became the desire, and camp became the end goal of many drag performances. Ultimately, the artifice became the celebration.

Even so, camp cannot be used to define all drag performances. Violet Chachki, the winner of the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race and a Met Gala attendee, explained that although "to the fashion world, a man in a dress will always be camp," in the world of drag there are different categories—and camp drag queens perform in a way that's specifically humorous and-self aware, in a way that "alludes to the artifice of everything."

Attending the met gala - Violet Chackivia

Ultimately, though black artists did not necessarily solely create camp as a term, they have been instrumental in making it into what it is today. Some black artists who have helped make camp into a mainstream phenomenon include the inimitable, ever-changing persona that is Beyoncé, the gender-bending theatrics of Prince, Nicki Minaj with her alter-egos, and even Titus Andromedon in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. All of these performers resist constrictive gender roles and propose the possibility of a world beyond them. They constantly change, while celebrating themselves as they are.

Modern Camp: Still Subversive or Totally Commodified?

Waithe cited RuPaul as an example of a modern forerunner in the world of camp, and certainly, RuPaul has been instrumental in bringing camp to the mainstream. However, this may not be a total triumph. Just like black culture has been packaged and commodified, camp culture has also been capitalized on—and not only by Anna Wintour. RuPaul's Drag Race has been called an example of camp and queerness made palatable and profitable for the straight consumer.

RuPaul - Voguevia

Similarly, Cristy Turner cites Sex and the City as a show that has capitalized on 'fabulousness'—aka style, color, and radical independence—another term that originated with drag queens of color. Basically, through this lens, styles like modern camp developed as queer modes of survival and communication, but now that they've been brought to the fore of mainstream capitalist culture—aka the Met Gala and Sex and the City—they no longer have the subversive potential they once did.

But even this commodification can swivel back around on itself, creating spaces for the people it was originally meant for and allowing them to express themselves and find joy. "The term's subversive origins as a form of cultural capital, most notably among drag queens of color, allows audiences to disidentify with a level of status specifically meant for the rich, white, largely straight characters on the show," Turner writes, essentially arguing that although Sex and the City has taken advantage of an idea created by black drag queens, audience members who cannot access the show's stars' kind of money-driven fabulousness can still relate to fabulousness as a way of resisting homophobic or racist cultures. Basically, although camp might've been capitalized on, that doesn't mean that the people who it was created by and for can't celebrate it.

It's particularly gratifying, though, to see camp performed in its original spirit. Few people embodied this true radical spirit of black, queer camp at the Met Gala better than Billy Porter, who was carried aloft onto the red carpet by fishnet-clad men, his entrance becoming an instant self-care meme. "I am a theatre baby, and I do understand camp," said Porter. "I am camp."

Before the Met Gala, Porter was asked what camp meant to him. "Camp means as hugely over-the-top and grand and what some may feel is ridiculous and silly, and embracing all of those creative impulses inside us that very often are squelched," he explained. When all is said and done, that's one way of understanding the spirit of camp—real, true, uncritical, and unapologetically joyful.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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