For 11 years, RuPaul's Drag Race and its beloved spinoff series have offered moments of levity that make audiences laugh and accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. But the competition can be vicious, and with it comes hateful rhetoric and harassment from fans—especially toward Black contestants.
On Tuesday, VH1 released a new PSA that specifically addresses the bullying and racism queens of seasons past have experienced. Starring a lineup of all-Black cast members, the clip encourages fans of the franchise to lead with love and practice kindness.
As the black-and-white video begins, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Widow Von'Du, Mariah Paris Balenciaga, The Vixen, and Heidi N Closet (looking "blessed and highly favored," as always) introduce themselves with their real names and fast facts about the qualities that make them human, not just celebrities.
"I am someone who has experienced injustices and racism at a very young age first-hand. And even though I endured those things, I still try to look at the positives and look at the good in people and in the world as a whole," Heidi says.
Together, they move on to send the following joint message: "We need to collectively stop the threats, stop the racism that is affecting this community. So make a pledge to be better and treat us like the kind human beings that we are. Pledge to spread joy and kindness to all of us."
They then share one of RuPaul's favorite catchphrases, "Everybody say love!" before the video directs viewers to The Trevor Project for mental health resources.
Of course, the PSA comes in response to the harassment that Drag Race alumni and judges have experienced. The Vixen addressed racism within the community during season 10 while Widow took to Twitter in August to explain that negative comments "made me feel like I should hate myself."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you to the “fandom” of drag race! You did it! You ran another person of color away from what they love! I try to be strong but y’all done made me feel like I should hate myself and guess what you won!</p>— Widow Von’Du (@TheWidowVonDu) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheWidowVonDu/status/1300023411779997696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 30, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Most recently, Canada's Drag Race judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman deactivated his Twitter account in reaction to harassment, prompting Drag Race production company World of Wonder to release a statement.
"While we love to see viewers stan their favourite queens and judges, letting that passion cross the boundary into harassment is letting hate overtake the conversation," the statement read. "Drag is an incredible art form, a celebration of beauty, love, and positivity, so let's use our voices on this powerful medium to uplift everyone in our community."
Hopefully, this new PSA will promote a sense of unity.