Online bullying and harassment is real. Many of the drag race queens have had to endure heinous comments and vicious attacks by folks who call themselves fans. I’ve heard several horror stories, as some queens have shared accounts of their own online experiences.
I think it was Morgan McMichaels who was told to kill herself by an angry (and irrational) fan of BenDeLaCreme in response to a disagreement the two talented queens had on drag race. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other social media platforms are often unkind and disturbing spaces.
The further you are on the margins, the more harassment and violence you are susceptible to. I struggle to imagine the experiences of Black trans disabled poor undocumented women on any of the aforementioned platforms, let alone in their lives outside the computer screen and the latest iPhone.
Again, online harassment is real- it takes the form of disgusting words and images, erasure, racism, misogyny, misogynoir, queer and trans antagonism, ableism, and all the other isms. It is sickening (not in the drag way), and a reflection of the times we live in.
As we continue to have critical conversations, it is important that we don’t conflate online harassment with the calling out of white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy which drag race is entrenched in. I feel confident that many queens are intentionally confusing the two to evade accountability, and labeling liberation seekers as attackers.
When a socially conscious fan says, “I think Trixie’s proximity to whiteness was a significant reason she won All Stars 3,” that’s not an act of bullying to Trixie- that is a critique of the violent system we live in.
When a fan says, “Milk’s disrespect of Kennedy Davenport and her drag felt much like anti-Blackness,” again, that’s not an attack on Milk- this is an attempt to hold Milk accountable for their actions, and hopefully spur a conversation that prepares us all to interrogate the ways in which anti-Blackness shows up in our lives.
We live in a system that privileges some folks, and deeply marginalizes others. Drag is not exempt from this system or this conversation; actually, RuPaul has placed drag smack dab in the heart of pop culture. Although we are all queer, that doesn’t mean violence doesn’t exist intracommunity- in particular to Black and brown trans and gender non-conforming folks.
Moreover, when a queen labels social critique as an attack, they themselves are committing violence. They are gaslighting the folks who have a legitimate concern with how the people on the margins of the margins are experiencing a system meant to extinguish their fire. Additionally, we throw away an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation on liberation and accountability.
Although difficult, it’s time for us to be honest. If we’re going to engage these critical conversations, let’s center truth(s). I am observing a lot of conversation on online harassment, and rightfully so. However, I’ve not heard any queen talk about how this toxic system infiltrates drag culture.
There is a reason why. Let’s talk.
Cody Charles is the author of Mudbound: Uncovering The Parts Of Ourselves We Sacrifice In Order To Survive, A Dream Undeterred: 10 Dreams I Want To Live Out In My Black Fat Queer Body In 2018, Our Favorite Blackity Black Quotes In Black Cinema, Engaging My Black Fat Body, Re-Imagining Black Love, You Can’t Outdo Black People, Black Joy, We Deserve It, The Night The Moonlight Caught My Eye: Not a Review but a Testimony on the Film Moonlight, 5 Tips For White Folks, As They Engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out. (No Spoilers), and What Growing Up Black And Poor Taught Me About Resiliency. Join him for more conversation on Twitter (@_codykeith_) and Facebook (Follow Cody Charles). Please visit his blog, Reclaiming Anger, to learn more about him.
Uncle Snoop Get Your Apology to Ari Lennox Ready
Apparently, everyone’s favorite uncle likes apologizing. Fresh off of his apology tour for his controversial comments towards broadcast journalists Gayle King, Snoop Dogg decided to comment on Ari Lennox’s Instagram live to instruct her to “grow your own hair.”
Yesterday, the Dreamville songbird took to Instagram Live in true Ari fashion to document her trying on a new lace front wig. Not known for wearing wigs, she struggled with figuring out how much lace to cut and securing the hair as she entertained her followers with hilarious gestures and commentary.
Eventually, a snippet of the video ended up on The Shade Room for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
Moments later, Snoop was unnecessarily commenting under the video.
In no time, women were coming to Ari’s defense, reminding the legendary rapper that his wife and daughter are no strangers to wigs.
You’d think men would know to leave their opinions to themselves when it comes to women’s hair, especially black women, but clearly, Uncle Snoop forgot to read that particular memo.
Once Ari caught wind of Snoop’s comments, she delivered a lovely little shade tree, posting a photo of Snoop wearing a blonde wig with the caption, “Uncle I just…I just thought we had an understanding….”
Following the backlash that he’s currently receiving, I can already envision the apology that’s sure to follow. Perhaps someone should remind Uncle Snoop that the best apology is changed behavior…
DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands
Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.
Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden.
During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room.
“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”
While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected.
We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that!
Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults
It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden.
Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”
In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.
Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”
Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:
The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.
Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.