BY: Kelli Green
The nominations for this year’s Primetime Emmy awards were released on Thursday, July 24th. The Emmys celebrate achievement and excellence in television. The nomination for famous multi-talented drag queen, RuPaul for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program seemed to come as a surprise to many. RuPaul’s show, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been on for eight seasons. This series, in which RuPaul and a collection of judges choose America’s Next Drag Superstar, has been on the receiving end for a few great awards already, but the Emmy, to many is one of the most coveted awards, alongside the Oscar,Tony and Grammy.
When I heard about RuPaul’s nomination I was excited for many reasons; first of all, RuPaul is very talented and deserving of accolades, but Drag Race is more than just your ordinary show. It’s unique subject matter of finding America’s Next Drag Superstar offers representation for a group of people that are at many times under represented. The contestants tend to be a part of the LGBT community.
A while ago I was watching a film titled, Paris is Burning. The film takes a look at 1980’s New York drag culture and the lives of several people in the LGBT community. The movie is full of drag performers and other members of the LGBT community with huge dreams. They wanted to be famous and what’s more they wanted to be accepted. Things in society sure aren’t perfect today, but RuPaul is doing something that the performers from that film dreamed of. Some of the Queens in the film had more or less come to terms with the fact that their art wasn’t going to be accepted by mainstream culture, but this nomination proves that it is at least a possibility.
Not only is RuPaul himself an unconventional superstar, but he’s sharing the wealth. RuPaul’s Drag Race is breaking the mold. Plenty of drag queens are now a household name in places other than the drag houses of New York City and the shows out in Vegas. Boys and girls from all walks of life, LGBT identifying and not, are death dropping, vogueing, screaming, “Reading is fundamental” and “Yes Gawd”. An interest that was peaked by a few who were paying attention all along to Paris is Burning and the rest of the drag scene -before and after- is now even stronger. RuPaul’s Drag Race gives Queens a very public platform on primetime television which is something we haven’t seen before. These Queens demand attention and Ru has given them the bullhorn in a sense.
I have friends who had no real clue what drag queens even were, that are now mega fans of Drag Race. Of course all credit doesn’t belong to RuPaul because drag isn’t new. But I don’t believe any other drag queen has received as much attention from hollywood as RuPaul has. He has a massive audience and is holding on strong. Between his songs, appearances, old talk show, fashion items and of course his hosting gigs, Ru is both the hardest working man and woman in show business.