‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Finally Taken Its Commodification of Queer Art Too Far

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John Lamparski 2022

Ahead of next week’s premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7, the franchise’s very first all-winners season, the competing queens of the cast have kicked off a whirlwind promo tour. Their first stop? Ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ—a tried and true queer pastime. Finally, someone has found an avenue where drag and exorbitantly ugly monetary wealth can intersect. Raven, we have not been looking for that!

After a quick stop in Times Square to do day drag under the unforgiving light of the morning, it was off to Hudson Yards, specifically The Vessel, New York City’s preeminent monstrosity of a tourist trap that’s now facing permanent closure after multiple suicides onsite. There’s something particularly horrific about seeing the word “SLAY” on a giant jumbotron in front of The Vessel while the Drag Race queens flash the ultra-white veneers that the original flood of prize money from the show afforded them.

But it’s useless to blame the artists just doing their contractually-obligated promotion when we could instead be looking at RuPaul and Paramount Global, the media conglomerate that owns VH1, where Drag Race airs in America. The partnership between the Supermodel of the World and a leading television corporation has transformed Drag Race from something gratifying, meaningful, and endlessly fun into a money pit that, while still a critical thread in the fabric of queer media, is a hollow husk of what it once was.

Read more at The Daily Beast.