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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Reunion Put A Spotlight On The Show’s Race Problem

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Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

And caused The Vixen to walk out

Last night, VH1 aired the Season 10 reunion episode for RuPaul's Drag Race. However, the episode drew criticism for the way it illuminated the show's oftentimes questionable handling of race.

At the center of this conversation was The Vixen, the Chicago-based queen who sparked very necessary conversations about black queer identity and how it informs her political drag. One of the most divisive queens to ever appear on Drag Race, Vixen's presence proved timely and necessary—lending an important perspective to a show that often glosses over intersectional identity politics. In fact, speaking her truth and sharing her feelings was considered so offensive to some in the fandom that she apparently received death threats after a brief argument with fan favorite Aquaria trying to explain the nuances of calling a black person "aggressive."

This all came to a head at last night's reunion after RuPaul engaged The Vixen in a heated back-and-forth about the way she interacted with the other queens this season—hinting that she was a major drama instigator. This led to The Vixen walking off stage after she felt, as she told INTO, like RuPaul was "trying to redirect the story to make sure I was at fault," despite being there as the moderator. “It felt like I was talking to a Reddit troll,” The Vixen said about the conversation. “It was like, with her being a person in the public eye, you think that she would understand that I had more layers than that." She also discussed how the show appears to be "trying to follow the narrative that I’m this uncontrollable angry person... and now it’s like assumed that I’m always at this angry level." 

The Vixen also commented on the fact that RuPaul told her several times that she had a choice to be silent, calling it "a horrible message to people of color who want to be on the show, people of color who watch the show." She continued by explaining that this makes people feel like "their only option is to be silent or to be persecuted." Following Vixen's exit, RuPaul also got into a vehement argument with Season 10 finalist Asia O'Hara. After O'Hara tried to defend The Vixen's exit, RuPaul began shouting at a crying Asia

This has led many to criticize the show's, and particularly RuPaul's, handling of race, with viewers calling out the host for seeming to prioritize respectability politics over acknowledging The Vixen's argument.

Some even extended the conversation, noting that it was an unfortunate example of something that affects the gay community at large.

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According to The Vixen, after the reunion, many of her castmates were supportive, especially Miz Cracker and O'Hara who both sought her out. 

Read Vixen's entire interview here.

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."

Her Smell | OFFICIAL TRAILER HD www.youtube.com

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."