I’ve got a “5 G” message for the RPDR fandom, courtesy of America’s drag auntie, Latrice Royale: “Good God girl, get a grip!”
The Emmy award-winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race has garnered a cult following in the past few years, with its induction into mainstream media through the popular TV channel, VH1.
The drag queens that make it through this competition, reaching potential stardom under Mama Ru’s wing, tend to gain a few hundred thousand die-hard fans across social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Popular queens including Alaska, Farrah Moan, Naomi Smalls and Gia Gunn are notorious for their CUNT--charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, that is--on and off the show. Being in the public eye has provided them with copious amounts of love and adoration from their supporters, as well as forcing them to come under painstaking scrutiny from the show’s toxic fanbase.
And I’m not talking about a few light-hearted reads in the comment sections of their posts, mama. These stans are known for carrying out full-fledge verbal attacks against queens they have come to despise, due to an hour-a-week depiction of their character on a reality TV show.
Perhaps the most notable collection of hate-filled fans comes from RPDR’s “diva with a heart”, Valentina. The Season 9 stand out charmed the fandom with her quirk, beauty, and fashion. She was a shoe-in for Top 3 of the season, and shook the table with her iconic exit from the show.
She didn’t know the words.
You would think that a queen who admittedly did not learn the words to a song with “a seven word chorus” would be deserving of sashaying away in the eyes of even her most dedicated fans, right?
Nina Bonina Brown, the queen that sent her home, received an overwhelming amount of hate comments from Valentina’s posse of hard-core fans for months after her elimination.
These comments didn’t just entail cute little snake emojis or cries of “she doesn’t deserve to be there.” The fans were avidly racist against Nina: leaving racial epithets, death threats, kill-yourselfs, and whatever other act of hatred you would think a 30-year-old living in his mother’s basement is capable of throwing from behind a computer screen.
This is not the only instance of an overzealous fan base attacking a cast member of the show in the name of their favorite queen.
Naomi Smalls, the self-proclaimed villain of All Stars 4, has received relentless death threats from angry fans due to her elimination of Manila Luzon. After the jaw-dropping lipstick reveal, Smalls’s Instagram and Twitter feeds were flooded with messages tearing her down, calling her untalented, and even threatening to harm her mother as a result of the drama.
It seems like the black queens of the show get exponentially higher, and more brutal, amounts of hatred from the fandom. This extremely discouraging behavior is a deplorable display of how people can take things too far.
It’s just a show, girl. Calm. The. Hell. Down.
Do you not notice when the producers use the exact same clip of a queen laughing at seven different jokes at seven different times throughout the episode? Do you not realize that these problematic storylines are pushed onto us, because they make good reality TV?
If the queens aren’t taking what happens on the show so seriously, then why are you?
A television show should not provide you the liberty to be overtly racist, transphobic and hateful against these queens, because they are people too.
Ivana Fischer is a film and media enthusiast who specializes in cultural studies. You can find her across all socials @iv.fischer