- Vulture published a ranking of the most powerful drag queens in America, sorting 100 stars of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” into a top 20 among four tiers – “The Tops,” “The Upper Tier,” “Mid-Tiers,” and “The Bottoms.”
- Several prominent drag queens have criticised the list on Twitter, claiming that ranking drag queens is offensive to the drag community.
- Some drag queens also called the headshots that ran alongside the rankings “unflattering” thanks to poor lighting and a lack of retouching.
- Read more stories like this on Insider.
New York Magazine property Vulture, which publishes entertainment news, ran a ranking of 100 former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants online and in-print Monday called “The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America.”
The article, written by a team of editors, split the drag queens into the top 20 most influential performers, followed by “The Tops,” “The Upper Tier,” “The Mid-Tier,” and “The Bottoms.” The rankings ran alongside portrait-style shots of many of the drag queens.
While many reactions to the photos and rankings were positive, several high-profile drag queens included in the piece have criticised the article on Twitter.
The winner of season 7 of “Drag Race,” Violet Chachki, came in at no. 16 on the top 20 but attacked the list as “literally homophobia,” drawing specific attention to the lighting and un-retouched photos of the performers.
these publications that think photographing drag queens in poor lighting with no retouching is somehow interesting or avant- grade is literally homophobia.
— Violet Chachki (@VioletChachki) June 10, 2019
Bob The Drag Queen, who was ranked no. 8 in the top 20, tweeted that he thinks “the queer community is under attack,” in response to the tweet.
Kim Chi, the runner-up of season 8 of “Drag Race,” suggested that Vulture editors were more interested in ad revenue from the rankings than the backlash that followed it. Ranked no. 17 in the top 20, Kim Chi said she would “rank all the writers over at @vulture” but that the list would be “arbitrary” and “poorly written,” accompanied by “awful photos.”
Vulture magazine editors looking at the ad revenue generated from people checking out the drag queen rank list article not giving a damn about the backlash pic.twitter.com/H6TWa1cioK
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) June 11, 2019
Hey everyone! As someone who has never written a news article or even have any experience in journalism, I decided to rank all the writers over at @vulture. The ranks will be arbitrary and it too shall be poorly written. All I ask is someone to take awful photos these writers?
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) June 11, 2019
Multiple drag queens pointed out perceived inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the rankings, including Phi Phi O’Hara, a season 4 Drag Race contestant and a member of the “Mid-Tiers” ranking. O’Hara, who goes by his real name Jaremi Carey on Twitter, is listed as being from Chicago, but Carey tweeted that he isn’t from Chicago and hasn’t lived in the city for 8 years.
I havent lived in Chicago for 8 years……I'm not even from there.
I literally rebuilt roofs in Puerto Rico but am just left as villain. @vulture not only doesnt do their research, but have the nerve to RANK queens!? You fucking rank them and then called some THE BOTTOMS? Rude! pic.twitter.com/7dC6cYOrfJ
— Jaremi ???? (@JustJaremi) June 10, 2019
Carey also tweeted that he didn’t “get a request to be interviewed” and would like to be removed from the list. Willam Belli, who was quoted and ranked as no. 9 in the top 20, tweeted that “No one told us they were gonna be ranking us but hey press is press.”
One of “The Tops,” Monét X Change, tweeted that rankings should include the historic drag performers whose successors are “birthed on the backs of their pains.” The only drag queens included in the rankings were those who have appeared on “Drag Race.” Monét also noted that the article initially incorrectly identified Alaska Thunderfuck as a season 6 contestant.
Also I’m just seeing this goddamn list! Fuck @vulture and their rankings. If you’re gunna rank “the most powerful Drag Queens in America”…where are the Sherry Vine’s, the Jackie Beat’s, the Coco Peru’s, Bunny, Peaches!? Our successes are birthed on the backs of their pains.
— Give Us Free (@monetxchange) June 10, 2019
The article has since corrected several bios, noting that “Due to a production issue, some descriptions in the online version of the drag rankings were also incorrect.”
In a statement, a New York Media spokesperson told INSIDER, “We’re proud to have published award-winning photographer Martin Schoeller’s instantly-iconic portraits, and to have had the opportunity to make a set of pictures that celebrates and recognises the influence the ‘Drag Race’contestants have had on American culture. In terms of the rankings, the ‘power list’ is a longstanding treatment at our magazine and others, that we recognise will be debated and argued over (just as viewers might disagree with RuPaul’s decisions on Drag Race). We approached the rankings with great enthusiasm, respect, and admiration.”
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