RuPaul is a pioneer for LGBTQ+ acceptance and empowerment


David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0 | Wikimedia Commons

Philip Watson

In the past decade, there has been one polarizing figure in the media, who not only knocked on the entertainment world’s doors but kicked them off the hinges.

That figure is RuPaul Charles, now better known as simply RuPaul.

RuPaul was the spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics in 1995, becoming not only the first man to be the front for a cosmetics campaign but the first spokesperson for the company in general. As the face of MAC’s Viva Glam campaign, which used all of its profits to donate to multiple organizations in combating HIV/AIDS, he paved the way for LGBTQ+ acceptance.

Since the late 1990s, RuPaul has been a media juggernaut in the United States and first broke into national television by hosting a talk show called The RuPaul Show, which premiered in 1996.

This was the first time an openly gay Black man hosted a talk show. The show would go on to run on the VH1 channel until 1998.

RuPaul’s talent and personality persevered through hard work and determination when he landed the hit competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race on the Logo channel in 2009. This was after already breaking into the music scene and making a name for himself.

This television show helped launch the careers of 120 drag queens, and put the art of drag into the spotlight, empowering the LGBTQ+ community by his promotion of self-love and acceptance. His sign-off each Drag Race episode, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else,” is a direct reflection of RuPaul and the message he conveys to the community.

Drag Race launched RuPaul into superstardom, with Emmy nominations and awards. But, he said in an interview with Vulture “he’d rather get an enema than an Emmy,” since the show wasn’t meant for mainstream appeal — he was just proud the show had created a platform for many artists that deserved recognition.

“But, ultimately, all of that really does fade away, and what you’re left with is what you did to be of service to human beings on this planet. And I feel I’ve been a part of something that has been of service to humans on this planet because of our show,” RuPaul said, according to Vulture.

With such a storied career that RuPaul has, it is only fitting that he is the first drag queen to ever receive a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

Now, RuPaul has one name icon status such as that of Madonna and Cher, except with a lot more sass and stilettos. Besides Drag Race, RuPaul had a podcast until March 2020 called RuPaul: What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage that explored pop culture and a behind-the-scenes look at Drag Race.

As an author, musician and larger-than-life personality, with his ideals on celebrating all- inclusiveness and self-acceptance, RuPaul will always remain a pioneer that paved the way for many artists in the LGBTQ+ community.

As RuPaul famously once said on Oprah, “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”