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Gay Iconography: RuPaul's Race To Stardom

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From Ru’s rise to prominence in the early ‘90s to the multimedia brand he’s become today, RuPaul Andre Charles has become a subversive pop-culture institution, a guide to learning to love yourself and one of the most iconic bastions of all things glam. From film to television to music and makeup, Ru has broken barriers and, seemingly against all odds, bent mainstream culture to his will.

Prior to the empire though, RuPaul was just a punk kid in 1980s Atlanta. From the underground scene, Ru first began with gender-fuck before evolving his drag look into the striking beauty we know today. After his single “Supermodel (You Better Work)” became a hit on MTV, the Ru-volution was in full effect. A talk show, film appearances and several more dance albums followed, but they didn’t capture the same success. The real ru-surgence (I swear that’s my last one) came in 2009 with the launch of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the most brilliant reality-TV competitions of all time and the cornerstone of the Logo Network.

While critically-lauded and a winner of a GLAAD Media Award, the show did run into some controversy last season. The show has weathered criticisms for using transphobic language, and Ru, adored for his warmth and sensitivity, pushed back in interviews. He shared his feelings following Lance Bass’ apology for using the word "tranny" in a 2011 interview with the Huffington Post: "I love the word 'tranny'...And I hate the fact that he's apologized. I wish he would have said, 'F-you, you tranny jerk!'" It was a stance seemingly at odds with the show’s open embrace of trans contestants like Sonique, Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverly Hillz during and after the competition. However, it was a segment called “female or she-male” that finally forced the show’s hand. Outcry over the mini-challenge led to the pulling of the episode and the loss of the recurring “She-Mail” bit.

With season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race just around the corner, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite RuPaul moments, AFTER THE JUMP

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Yahoo Livestreaming RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle Of The Seasons From Chicago On Feb. 19 - VIDEO

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Yahoo Live is live streaming RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons show from the House of Blues in Chicago on Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. CT reports out.com. Sharon Needles, Raja, Manila Luzon, Alaska "Thunderf***" 5000, Bendela Creme, Ivy Winters and Jinkx Monsoon are taking to the Blues’ stage to strut their stuff and participate in an epic, live Snatch Game for the ages as Michelle Visage hosts.

Past Yahoo Live concerts include the final show of Lady Gaga’s ArtRave tour from Paris and Imagine Dragon’s concert with Metric in Los Angeles at The Mayan.

Watch a teaser from 2014's Battle of the Seasons in Vancouver, AFTER THE JUMP...

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RuPaul's Drag Race Schools Mary Cheney with a Fierce Crash Course in Drag Herstory 101: VIDEO

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The ladies of RuPaul's Drag Race are serving up a fierce herstory lesson to Mary Cheney, who on Thursday questioned why it's "socially acceptable" for drag queens to imitate female stereotypes but it's not okay for a white person to wear blackface.

Watch the drag 101 explainer, AFTER THE JUMP...

[h/t jmg]

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FIRST LOOK: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Ru-Turns For Season 7

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Get ready, hunties, RuPaul's Drag Race is coming back for its 7th season and it promises to be the the most 'raggedy' season ever according to Ru. This year Ross Matthews and Carson Kressley will be joining as judges on the show. The 7th season will also see Jessica Alba, Ariana Grande, Kathy Griffin, Demi Lovato, Olivia Newton-John, Alyssa Milano, Jordin Sparks, Kat Dennings, Mel B and John Waters guest judge, according to People.com.

Watch the preview for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

Season 7 kicks off Monday, March 2, at 9 P.M. ET on Logo.

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Rob Fusari's 'Cary NoKey' Opening For RuPaul's Drag Race's 'Battle Of The Seasons' 2015 Condragulations Tour: VIDEO

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Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.46.30 PMRob Fusari, the award winning songwriter behind No. 1 hits with several artists including Destiny's Child, Lady Gaga and Whitney Houston, is joining RuPaul's Drag Race's Battle of the Seasons 2015 Condragulations Tour as the show's opening act. The show is hosted by Michelle Visage and features several notable drag queens including recent winner Bianca Del Rio, Sharon Needles, Courtney Act, Raja, Adore Delano, Manila Luzon, Detox, Pandora Boxx and Darienne Lake among several others. Fusari, who wrote hit songs like Paparazzi, Love That Man, and Beautiful, Dirty, Rich segued out of the music industry machine and decided to start writing songs for himself that led him to develop Cary NoKey.

Said Fusari:

"On the outside it seemed like I had everything but I was never able to understand or accept certain elements that existed within me.

"Cary NoKey was always there inside. I simply needed to embrace my glam American Dream."

Cary NoKey's opening setlist includes cover songs and eight original songs from Cary NoKey's full-length debut album, Journal 8, set to release in early March. NoKey is set to debut his new single Do Ya? in the opening act and perform his recent single American Dream live. NoKey's American Dream, which has a music video on YouTube featuring trans actresses Trace Lysette, Dina Marie, Victoria Beltran and Bailey Jay, details the fall of the American dream and how trans people are becoming the true face of the American dream in a recent press release.

Said Fusari:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 2.48.50 PM"The Pollyanna ideas of work hard, follow the rules, pay your taxes and ask not what your country has done for you but what you can do for your country have fallen into the abyss.

"Today's American Dream isn't about achieving goals. It's about doing what you got to do to get by. No one wants to earn anything anymore. We expect everything to be handed to us. The new American dream is a lottery ticket.

"Transsexuals (sic) represent the larger idea that the American dream is something within. Like when Glinda the Good Witch says to Dorothy after she clicks her ruby slippers, 'You've always had the power'. Pre-transitional transsexuals (sic) know they have to fight to release the truth that hides beneath the uniform the world forces them to wear. The moment we each find our own personal 'I have to' is when life really begins."

The Condragulations Tour officially starts in Las Vegas on Feb. 1, touring throughout North America and ending in Europe with its last show on April 16 in London. The lineup of participating drag queens varies by city and dates. You can watch Cary NoKey's vision of the American Dream, in the music video for the single AFTER THE JUMP...

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RuPaul Dishes on Tim Cook, Facebook, and the Queerer Parts of Silicon Valley

RupaulIt’s not often that one thinks of RuPaul as being jacked into the tech-bubble, but the reigning queen of all things drag recently sat down with Engadget’s Joseph Volpe to gab about some of the queerer parts of Silicon Valley. More broadly RuPaul shared his thoughts Facebook’s algorithmic deletion of drag queens, ‘Drag Race’s' dependence on online streaming, and the significance of Tim Cook’s coming out.

“You know, people talk about equality in our culture, and it's based on a kindergarten primary idea of what fairness and equality is,” RuPaul said of Cook’s recent announcement. “But it doesn't get updated as we get older.”

Ru continued:

“You know, [if] somebody who's straight behaves a certain way, nobody bats an eyelash. But if a gay person does the exact same thing, people are like, "Oh my god. It's revolutionary!" [But] it's the exact same thing! And the same is true in any business. Gender plays a huge role in how we see people, how we interpret what they say, whether we know it or not. Most people don't know it. So I applaud him. I think, "Right on!"

Ru also shared his thoughts on "gaymers," and his new mobile game Dragopolis. You can check out the full interview here


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