Drag Race alum Shea Couleé has shared that she was asked to perform a drag number as a slave for Black History Month. When she refused, she claims she was blacklisted from the Chicago drag scene.
Couleé, who currently appears on Drag Race All-Stars, went public with the story during a Chicago Black Drag Council event on Twitch. During the conversation, which included the Chicago-based drag queen T Rex, real name Benjamin Bradshaw, Couleé accused Bradshaw of making a joke while the two worked together on a drag show. Couleé was the only black member of the cast.
“You had made a joke,” she said to Bradshaw, “that for Black History Month it would be funny as a number, as a cast, if we performed to Britney Spears’ ‘Slave 4 U’ with me dressed as a slave while the rest of you whipped me.”
actually fuming pic.twitter.com/8SyZKFYEjI
— martin (@OOOOOVERTURE) June 21, 2020
Bradshaw admitted to making the remark.
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“I want you to know that experience has stayed with me a very long time,” Couleé said. “You were somebody I considered a friend.”
“At times, when you felt as if I was being too bold, you used that and weaponized that against me, to try to blacklist me and stop me from working,” Couleé confessed. “You directly attacked my livelihood, which is an act of violence.”
Couleé then accused Bradshaw of having her blacklisted in Chicago, and that her drag career suffered until her stint on Drag Race. Since her appearance on the show, she has landed product endorsements, appeared in several music videos, and toured the world as a drag performer.
As a result of the exchange, Chicago’s popular bar Roscoe’s released a statement announcing it has terminated its relationship with Bradshaw, effective immediately. “We look forward to working with the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically those in the black and genderqueer communities, to take the necessary steps to ensure that all performers at Roscoe’s Tavern are treated fairly, equally and shown respect for their individual art form,” the statement read in part.
— Roscoes Tavern (@Roscoestavern) June 22, 2020
‘Slave 4 U’ has always been my least favorite Britney song. I hate it even more now.
Bradshaw came for Shea’s employment, and now Shea returned the favor. People need to be careful when they think they’re on top because that can change and people will remember.
Glad Shae had the chance to speak about that wrong and correct it.
Drag is essentially tasteless. I’m exhausted with all the recrimination. I’m confident no one was trying to glorify slavery. It was a tasteless number that was supposed to be funny, like almost every drag number out there. So, yet another person lost their job…it’s what you guys do these days.
What kind of crack are you on? A number where a bunch of white queens whip the ONLY black performer in the line-up during BLACK HISTORY MONTH goes beyond tasteless. Not to mention Trex/Benjamin Bradshaw basically blacklisting Shea just because Shea wouldn’t go along with every dumb idea Bradshaw had…. even if it somehow wasn’t racially charged, that’s way too much power for one dumb bitch to have. And this is all just a small bit of Trex’s aggressions.
@hellblazer96 Honey, you obviously do not go to local drag shows, but you do have the indignation and pearl clutching down. The things I have seen on stage… As far as the blacklisting goes, who knows what actually happened. I don’t believe they blacklisted her because she did not agree to do a number. Doesn’t make sense now does it? Makes for a great victimization story though. Not buying it, but you go ahead and believe. And as far as being in charge of the drag shows at Roscoe’s, well that part time gig certainly isn’t the high powered-position that you think it is. Exactly what is it that you do know? I’m at a loss.
Heck, Shea has done some really tasteless stuff on her own. Nasty. Worse, just not entertaining. I’ve sat through drag shows where the performers were so nasty to people in the audience, vicious mockery. Over the top nasty. Part of their thing. I guess I could be offended. I choose to understand not everything is funny or good. Maybe I should try to get them fired.
You’re saying you aren’t buying it, but the other queen TRex admitted saying it, and in his apology admitted to screening queens out of his shows. So what exactly aren’t you buying?
I absolutely love tasteless humor, but I certainly realize it’s not for everyone and unless I know for sure that a person would find it funny, in going to err on the side of caution.
CLEARLY T Rex and Shea did not have the kind of relationship where she could make slave jokes to Shea. Just because it’s a joke doesn’t make it ok. Just because it’s drag doesn’t make it ok. Just because Shea has done tasteless humor in the past doesn’t make it ok.
I don’t think it’s setting the bar too high to expect white people not to make slave jokes to black people.
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