Emmy Winner RuPaul Attacked For Having White Team: I’m Not Going To Repeat What I Had To Do To Make It In Hollyweird

Written by Staff
RuPaul
RuPaul and the cast and crew of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” accept the award for outstanding competition program at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 22, 2019. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” reality TV show won an Emmy on Sunday night for outstanding competition program, drawing praise but also criticism after the team that walked onstage to accept the Emmy appeared to be mostly white.

Many noticed that the team behind RuPaul Charles’ show looks very different from the community it centers on, The Cheat Sheet reported. They tweeted about it during the show.

“…so HE’S the diversity. Got it,” one person tweeted. Another tweeted, “Every single person behind Rupaul on that stage is white. On. Brand.”

The Emmy award-winning series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” started in 2009. A cast of drag queens compete for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar and a cash prize of $100,000. RuPaul acts as judge along and final sayer along with a revolving group of judges that have included Lena Dunham, Kumail Nanjian, Lady Gaga and Demi Lovato. The show has also had spinoffs.

In the press room on Sunday after he accepted the Emmy award, RuPaul was asked by Essence reporter Danielle Young to address the diversity or lack of it behind the scenes on his show.

“I asked about diversity on @RuPaulsDragRace’s staff bc it honestly caught me off guard to see so many white men behind Ru in the press room,” Young later tweeted. “His show centers diversity & the staff seemingly doesn’t. As a journalist, I wanted to give him the space to address that.”

Young asked RuPaul if it was important to have diversity on the staff behind the scenes. RuPaul answered, “Well, first of all the host of our show is Black, gay, and a drag queen so check, check, and check! But we’re pretty diverse, there’s lots of different types of people here.”

Then RuPaul continued, “Is it important? Absolutely!” Finally, he added, “It wasn’t easy getting here. You know what I had to do.”

RuPaul referred to the famous quote, “All my life I had to fight” from The Color Purple — but got the quote wrong — Shadow & Act reported.

“It wasn’t easy getting here,” RuPaul said. “You know what I had to do. And some of the things, I’m not even going to repeat that I had to do.”

In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, RuPaul said nearly every person on the show had overcome adversity or prejudice from family members, peers or the outside world to perfect their art.

He said his show is about “the tenacity of the human spirit, which each of us watching relates to. And we root for them. I think that is what is so captivating about it, seeing how these beautiful creatures have managed to prevail.

“We’re dealing with people who have been shunned by society and have made a life regardless of what anyone else thinks of them have decided.”

Young tweeted a list of things that she said bothered her about RuPaul’s response:

  1. When I said he reps the LGBT community, he said also the BLT community. 😒
  2. He thinks bc he is Black, gay & a drag queen, that somehow is diversity quota is met.
  3. He couldn’t quote The Color Purple.
  4. Look at the “diversity.”

RuPaul has built a multi-million-dollar, decades-long show business empire and a non-stop singing career. In 2017, he was listed on Time Inc.’s Most Influential People list. He produced and starred in “Drag Tots!” and published his third book “GuRu” (Dey Street Books) in 2018. He was the first drag artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 16, 2018 and described it as “absolutely the most important moment in my professional career.”

Drag, according to RuPaul, applies to us all, regardless of gender, race or social background. It’s how we choose to show ourselves to the world, what personas we adopt as we move through life, Biography reported.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is not afraid to tackle issues of race and gender in the queer community that would otherwise go uninvestigated, wrote Vanity Fair writer Richard Lawson.