Well, ladies and gentlemen, today is the day that the cast of Rupaul's Drag Race Season 8 is going to be revealed to the world, and seeing as the first queen to be announced was the incredible Kim Chi, I've already seen some things that are pretty questionable amongst the RPDR fans that I thought would be perfect for me to address.
Normally, I would write this in a Facebook post for all of my Facebook friends and followers to see but I thought, maybe, since this is a drag blog, even though I usually don't talk about the tv show that often, it would be perfect for these topics to come up and maybe I can spark a discussion or change some people's minds.
Scrolling through the comments on the Rupaul's Drag Race Facebook post announcing Kim Chi for Season 8, I've been absolutely taken aback by the things some of the fanbase has said. Comments went from sweet messages congratulating her for being successful to "I don't understand why clown drag is a thing cause drag is supposed to be a man looking passable as a real woman" and also comments comparing Kim to other queens from past seasons. I understand some people don't get how some of these comments are rude, but let's sort this out for a minute.
1. Drag is art. Art has no limits.
One of the biggest things anyone should know about drag is that drag is considered an art form. When someone decides they want to be a drag performer, that person should be free to express themselves however they choose. Whether they take a more fishy approach and look like a real woman, or they do more avant garde looks, or they do bearded drag...it shouldn't matter. Everyone has their own taste, but not all drag queens should be subject to being just pretty. I have nothing against pretty queens whatsoever, but not everyone has to look that way to be a drag performer.
2. Comparing queens is one of the most rude things someone could do.
Please don't compare 2 queens and be like "this queen looks so much like -insert previous RPDR contestant's name here-". That's actually usually taken as an insult more than a compliment because most queens try to do their own thing. Every performer is different and talented in their own way and they should all be treated as individuals. Even if a performer didn't try out for the show and you're at a local drag event, treat the performers as individuals. Always.
3. Drag performers exist outside of RPDR.
This is the one thing I cannot stress enough. I became involved with drag through a queen who hasn't set foot on the show. Doing this, I've discovered so many talented and wonderful human beings who put everything they have into being a performer and sometimes struggle surviving with barely any money. Not every performer is going to do the show. Not every performer is even interested in the show. But there is so much out there, and there are some beyond talented artists out there who would kill to have your support. Go to your local drag shows, and if you are underage, find performers to follow online and buy some merchandise or share their work with your friends. RPDR is not the only source of drag talent...open your eyes and introduce yourself to some new performers. This is why I started this blog, for all these beautiful drag performers that need a chance and need some recognition for the work they put into what they do.
These things don't just apply to Kim Chi, but any performer in general. Also, when the list is announced to its entirety, it's always best to research each performer individually and get a feel for who they are because we all know the show usually ruins a few people with their editing. Let's be real. Please be mindful and respectful of artists and all the hard work they put into their craft. Drag is so beautiful and comments like the ones that have been made really aren't fun for anyone. I know performers usually don't care, but we shouldn't just be rude like that. Every year the comments get worse and people get more rude about the things they say because they feel like just by watching a tv show every week that they know everything there is to know about drag. There's history to it, and drag isn't a new thing. You think drag is just about being pretty and that it was invented by Rupaul? You're wrong. There's a whole bunch of history behind it, all you have to do is look it up. Crazy drag isn't new. We have icons like Divine who paved the way for so many of the performers you see grace the stage today. Divine didn't rest on pretty. The point of drag just being a pretty passable woman is invalid. There's a whole world out there, take advantage of it.