Watch: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Faves Band Together for Anti-Racism PSA

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 24, 2020

Trevien Anthonie Cheek (a.k.a. Heidi N Closet)
Trevien Anthonie Cheek (a.k.a. Heidi N Closet)  (Source:Screen shot / RuPaul's Drag Race / YouTube)

Half a dozen past contestants from the long-running reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" have come together in a PSA aimed at countering racist abuse from the show's fans,Variety reports.

Underscoring the message that the show's contestants are real people beneath the "eleganza" of drag's gowns and glitter - and introducing themselves by their legal names, rather than using the names of their drag personae - Trevien Anthonie Cheek (a.k.a. Heidi N Closet), Timothy Wilcots (a.k.a. Latrice Royale), Elijah Kelly (a.k.a. Mariah Paris Balenciaga), Dequan Johnson (a.k.a. Mayhem Miller), Anthony Taylor (a.k.a. The Vixen), and Ray Fry (a.k.a. Widow Von'Du) "talk about their lives outside of drag as husbands and aunties, hair stylists and people who enjoy pineapple on their pizzas and getting tattoos," Variety reports.

The spot, titled "Everybody Say Love!," is presented by "RuPaul's Drag Race" in conjunction with The Trevor Project, an organization that combats suicide among LGBTQ youth.

"We need to collectively stop the threats, stop the racism that is affecting this community," Fry says.

"Make a pledge to be better," Johnson encourages viewers, "and treat us like the human beings that we are."

Cheek challenges "Drag Race" fans to make the show "the example" of fandom rejecting racist abuse.

Entertainment Tonight also reported on the spot, and referenced an earlier article on the performers of "RuPaul's Drag Race: Vegas Review," in which the publication took notice of the fact that five recent "Drag Race" winners have been people of color.

Naomi Smalls told ET in that article, "I'm hoping with the political climate, we can really appreciate people for who they are instead of the color of their skin."

Added Smalls: "As long as your foundation matches, like, that's what I'm impressed by."

Noting that "Queens of color on the show have received death threats and racial slurs from fans while on the show," the Variety article noted that the new video PSA follows a similar video that another former contestant, Honey Davenport, posted to Instagram this past summer.

Pointing out that there exists a "hierarchy of queens" among "Drag Race" fans, Davenport lamented that "Queens of color come right at the bottom."

In the course of its 12 seasons so far, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has garnered a record-breaking 19 Emmy Awards in the reality competition show category, Variety recalled. The series has already completed production on its upcoming 13th season.

Watch the PSA below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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