RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4: FBQ Countdown-Continued

The Queen has been so preoccupied these last few days, that he’s been shirking his Queenly duties: the throne hasn’t been Pledge’d and the scepter has a few cobwebs. Please forgive. However with the start of Drag Race drawing so near (this Monday), why don’t we continue counting down the bitches contestants?

DiDa Ritz

DiDa Ritz seems to have a nice personality. She’s articulate and bubbly without being nauseating. She still has that beauty pageant vibe–but I am a sucker for a realist: she acknowledges the fact that there are other talented people around. Still, as my friend and I were kee kee’ing about earlier today, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about her. It seems as if all of these girls think that simply being pretty is enough to start a mega career. Being pretty may get you in the door, but unless you have actual talent and a real media savvy, you’ll simply end up as an extra in the next John Waters movie.





Kenya Michaels

If Alexis Mateo and Yara Sofia have a love-child, it would be Kenya Michaels. I am in awe of the girls that come from Puerto Rico. It takes some major cojones (which they tuck very well) to compete in a contest that’s not in your native tongue. The divas from PR are usually smart and talented. Unfortunately there is often a slight disconnect between the queens and American Culture which hurts them in using their smarts to make the best choices during challenges. Often I fear that they are trying too hard to be “American” instead of capitalizing on their unique Puerto Rican sensibilities. Instead of looking to artists like the gorgeous Columbian, Sofia Vergara, and playing to their accent and heritage, they try to blend in.


Lashauwn Beyond

From the way Lashuawn Beyond comes off in her video, she seems like someone the Queen would like to have over for tea. Get your minds out of the gutter, Miss Things. I mean actual TEA. Smart, poised and down to earth. Possibly a little bit too down to earth. I wonder if she’s going to be ready for the cutthroat world of Drag Race. One has to be slightly nuts to put themselves out there for this kind of televised competition. I wonder if Ms. Beyond will be up to that particular type of challenge?





Milan

This bitch might just be a contender. She’s an actor, so there’s already a strong sense of how to bring out personality and play to the camera in a much more natural way. She’s comfortable in the spotlight and it actually feels as if she’s talking instead of “performing.” She’s media savvy enough to have an easily remembered name that rolls off of your tongue; and she knows her body and takes fierce picture. But I’m wondering if like Shangela–another actor–she’ll get tired of “playing” a Drag Queen, and simply use RPDR as a means to getting mainstream television work? It will be interesting to see how smart she is in playing the game.


Alisa Summers

I’m getting a real Tatianna vibe from this one. He seems to be a boy in a dress. A very pretty boy, but a boy nevertheless. Too much talk about his “beauty.” Once again a lady boy that doesn’t seem to understand that with a pair of false eyelashes, some spackle and a good make-up coach almost ANY dude can be beautiful. There’s a very “butch queen” energy about him that could make for some aggressive testosterone-filled moments in the work room. But, that said, there is still something engaging about his candor and infectious exuberance. He is definitely giving body. Hope he makes enough to get his laptop fixed.





I’ll get to the rest of these men in high-heels tomorrow. Will you be watching on Monday?

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4: FBQ Countdown

When the Queen was a young monarch-in-training, navigating through post-college life, he got his first real taste of Drag through the eyes of one of his most beloved friends. Suddenly swept up into the world of Paris Is Burning; “Houses” “Balls” and “Realness” became common words in our new lexicon. The two of us worked by day on Wall Street(unbeknownst to us at the time, actually embodying a personae that most of our contemporaries only dreamed of), and I watched my very good friend transform at night into “Bianca.” It was an out-of-body experience watching him “walk” a ball his First Time in Drag. Viewing from the sidelines, the New York Balls and the people they attracted were reminiscent of everything from High School with it’s cliques and cultures to the manufactured glitz and glam of Hollywood. I experienced everything from the High Art of celebrating the Feminine Mystique, to the low and often misogynistic objectification of women.

Why the hell am I telling you all of this?

Because I often experience a similar feeling/reaction while watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. I am both fascinated and appalled, charmed and horrified–kind of like looking at my face first thing in the morning. I want to give the show and contestants the dignity and respect I would want, and at the same time rip into each one of those bitches with the ferociousness of a hungry panther.

So, in blogging about RPDRS4, I will work hard to walk that line between a Black Man respecting the work of his brothers, and a Fierce Black Queen accepting no less than Diva Realness from men in dresses.

That said, let’s look at a couple of them bitches.

Jiggly Caliente

Maybe I’m just an Old Queen. But when I saw young Miss Thing’s video bio, the first thing I thought was “Stop playing with your hair. It’s not sexy, it’s tacky.” He (My pronouns will be person specific: if the contestant elicits an auto-response from me, I’ll go with it. This one seems like a boy in a dress.) seems sweet and smart enough, but there’s nothing that stands out about him. Except that he’s already contradicted himself. On on hand he says that being a big girl is one of the things that makes him special. On the other, he’s worried about the camera adding ten pounds to his frame. Pick a side of the street girlfriend, and stay on it. Otherwise the only thing jiggly about you may be your tenure on the show.

Phi Phi O’Hara

“…I’m a force NOT to be reckoned with.

Well, darling. That lovely silk Freudian Slip you stepped into in your video intro, just about says it all.

Pretty enough (reminds me a little of a young Phyllis Hyman), and personable in that Pageant Queen sort of way. I just don’t think that these lady-boys get that being an entertainment personality is more than just desire. While I abhor Ru’s acronym for what he’s looking for in a Drag Race winner, it nevertheless is absolutely spot on. Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent really DO need to be evident from the jump. As lovely a person as she seems to be, there is just nothing that I see that is very unique. I think what the show needs is an on set Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent Coach to help these girls find that one thing that sets them apart from the others. Give these bitches a dose of Media Reality, and whip them into shape.

And RuPaul? If you’re reading, I’d be more than happy to take the job.

Latrice Royale

That is a WHOLE LOT of Drag Queen.

Ooooh Girl. Would not be my choice of styling. But Drag is over the top. And there is something about her patter and bravado that makes me sit up and take notice. It really will be interesting to see if these big queens can be versatile enough to encompass a range of looks. I think zaftig divas get pigeonholed much quicker than smaller contestants, and need to showcase their diversity right out of the gate. I have a feeling Miss Royale will be better able to do that OUT of drag, than in. Good luck diamond lips.

Well, three down. I’ll get to all of the divas before the January 30th premiere. I’m just starting with the FBQ. And honestly, there are a couple queens of other ethnicities that I’m much more excited about. I’ve also asked my fabulous aforementioned friend to weigh in from time to time. Even though he’s put his Bianca togs aside, he is still one of the fiercest black queens I know and MUCH better able to objectively assess these Mascara Men than I.

Until then, I leave you with a true FBQ…