How ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Upped The Game For Pop Culture

RuPaul Charles at the 2022 Creative Arts Emmy AwardsPhoto by Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage

When RuPaul’s Drag Race first graced the television, several were repulsed by the way it challenged societal standards. People didn’t get the art form that drag is, let alone the story of each drag queen. Yet today, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a pop culture mother, an Emmy-winning show, and undeniably an international phenomenon.


RuPaul’s Drag Race Has Dominated Pop Culture Like No Other

Back in 2009, Drag Race had a quiet debut in a queer-focused cable network, Logo TV. Season one clearly premiered as a low-cost project, with poor quality lighting and filters. Despite so, it brought forth the drag culture on screen, which other shows failed to do at the time. It pioneered uncomfortable conversations about drag and gradually made people aware of the genuine artistry behind the reality show.

When it made a switch to VH1 in 2017, Drag Race has gained new audience, surprisingly outside of the queer community. The reality show turned out to be a refreshing program for people of all demographics, reaching viewers of almost all generations. RuPaul‘s creation quickly became a pop culture reference from witty vocabulary to funny meme contents.

Today, people may not know Drag Race as a reality show but may have already spoken the lingo the show invented. Famous slang expressions like “Ooh, shade,” “Yaaaas, queen,” and “Spill the tea, sis!” are just some of the influences drag culture has had on mainstream pop culture. Season by season, RuPaul and her drag queens introduce new words to the queer culture, eventually crossing over to the internet. Indeed, Drag Race has been one of the cultural touchstones that’s ever happened on television.


The Show Gives Drag Queens a Place to Express Themselves

On the surface, the reality show may be about lip sync performances and glamorous costumes, but Drag Race is more than just that. Drag Race is a safe space for divas to show who and what they really are, free from the harsh judgment of the world they grew up in. This show isn’t just about them strutting the runway, it’s a platform to take pride of their biggest dreams and truest identity.

Because of Drag Race, the gay community has had a groundbreaking representation. From the United States mother franchise up until its numerous versions and spin-off series abroad, the show has indisputably made the world a better place.

In the coming years, we expect RuPaul’s Drag Race to lead the revolution of pop culture once more. As the show continues to deliver shade, tea, and drama, the cast hopes for the society to respect the queer community that deserves no less than love and acceptance.


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