RuPaul wins his third Emmy for Drag Race – is drag mainstream now?

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At the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday night, RuPaul’s Drag Race picked up four awards. In addition to awards for costumes and directing, Delta Work (born Gabriel Villarreal), a contestant on season three of the show, won for hairdressing along with Hector Pocasangre. Mama Ru got his third statue for Outstanding Reality Show Host, which he definitely deserved. We have yet to find out if Drag Race will take home the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Show, but we’ll find out Monday night.

The success of Drag Race is a positive step towards diversity and LGBTQIA+ representation in the media. This year’s Emmys also recognized Queer Eye, Samira Wiley for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale and Yance Ford, director of the Netflix documentary Strong Island, who is the first transgender man and first black trans person to win an Emmy Award. When describing the show’s ascendance to pop culture dominance, E! opines.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when RuPaul’s Drag Race made the leap from queer cult favorite and straight into the zeitgeist, but made the leap it has. While Mama Ru has been known to downplay the potential for drag culture to ever truly go mainstream, it’s harder still to argue against the idea that a show that’s been around for nine seasons and counting, launched two spin-offs, an aftershow and a yearly fan convention, had one of its more entertaining elements ripped off on another reality show, been parodied on Saturday Night Live and introduced the country to a lexicon previously unheard outside of a gay bar hasn’t done just that.

[From E!]

In his acceptance speech, Ru said he was honored to be among such greats as Carol Burnett (future Drag Race judge?) and said, “Our show is about love and the tenacity of the human spirit,” adding, “We are so happy to present all these queens to the world.” After the awards, Ru talked about the show’s relevance and positivity in today’s politically charged times, stating,

“The divisiveness is new to you, to the white folks. But for outsiders, for us, the gay, black — we have survived and thrived in this kind of atmosphere all of our lives. At Drag Race we’ve always done what we do, and we will continue to do what we do. It’s really about looking at life as a big choice and you can see the glass as half-full, or half-empty — one choice is correct and the other choice will be painful. I choose joy — that’s why our show is so successful.”

[From Deadline]

I was delighted to see the show recognized by the Emmys and as a Drag Race fangirl (I even auditioned for Drag U, but that’s a story for another time), I’m so happy for Ru. He has really done a lot to increase the visibility of the LBGTQIA+ community and I’m so here for it. I’m also happy that so many other shows and entertainers were recognized. I hope Pose takes home all the Emmys next year.

Side note: If you want to relive the past ten seasons from a fresh (insider) perspective, I highly recommend the Race Chaser podcast, hosted by DragRace alums Alaska and Willam. They just wrapped up their review of the show’s first season, with guest appearances from Ongina, Shannel and Tammie Brown. It’s easy to forget how groundbreaking the series was when it made its debut back in 2009 – especially because the first season was shot on a budget of what appears to be ten bucks and, due to music rights, is hard to track down.

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True legend Carol Burnett. #emmys2018

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Sir Tim Rice & The Lord Lloyd-Webber. #emmys2018

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Creative Arts Emmy Awards Day 2 Arrivals

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10 Responses to “RuPaul wins his third Emmy for Drag Race – is drag mainstream now?”

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  1. BigGirl says:

    LBTQ is simply a fact of life. It’s a good show.

    • Aang says:

      Too bad Ru has some issues with the T part. There is not a small amount of transphobia in the community and Ru has been part of that. At least this is the info I get from my trans son and his partner, they no longer watch Drag Race because of this.

      • Michel says:

        He has explained his thinking. No offense to you or your son but I feel they’re being a tad over-sensitive.

  2. Astrid says:

    I’m digging the suit

  3. Rescue Cat says:

    Yes it is. And apparently conservatism is the new counter culture.

    • Veronica S. says:

      lol, I crack up every time I hear conservatism touted as counter culture. You can’t be a counter if your ultimate goal is to maintain the social power status quo.

  4. prissa says:

    Love Ru and am so happy for him.

    And how awesome does Carole Burnett look?? She is 85!!! AMAZING!

  5. Veronica S. says:

    Not really, IMO. Being entertained by “the gays” is not at all the same thing as accepting them as part of society. I’d be very careful not to conflate those ideas.

  6. Cupcake says:

    VH1 is pretty mainstream, no?

  7. Nikki says:

    My gay son was really happy I watched Ru Paul with him and liked it; he actually said it made him happy I wanted to learn more about gay culture!! I told him I didn’t know it was different from hetero culture, except preferences, but he explained it is, and he wants his family to know and accept it. So now it’s my homework assignment! I enjoy it, except I have to pay $3 a show since I’m cheap and don’t get cable!! 🙂