RuPaul is usually the picture of composure on “Drag Race,” but one contestant’s antics proved too disrespectful even for him. For the Season 10 reunion Thursday, RuPaul gathered all the contestants to rehash the season’s highlights before the final four lip sync for the crown next week. The group was shocked when 27-year-old The Vixen, the undisputed instigator of the season, walked off the set when asked to account for one of her most bombastic confrontations.
“Okay, so I came here to thank my fans for the love and support that they gave me, for all the wonderful people who relate to me, understand me, appreciate me, and now that I’ve done that, y’all can have a good night,” she said, turning dramatically and sashaying off camera. In The Vixen’s absence, RuPaul took issue with Asia O’Hara, a finalist who said she thought there was more everyone could have done to keep The Vixen from walking off.
“There was nothing anyone could do to stop her,” RuPaul said. He then referenced a heart-to-heart between Asia O’Hara and The Vixen, where the two seemed to really connect. “We saw you have a lovely discussion with her, where we actually got to see the sweetness in him, and I saw the fear, and I saw all of that. And I understood why that wall was put up, because I have that wall. You have it, you have it, we all have it. And it’s coming from a hurt place. It is. But I can’t teach her that. I can teach her through my own example… Can you explain to someone who cannot be spoken to?”
Asia answered: “No, I don’t expect you to do that–“
“But look at me, look at me, goddamnit! I come from the same goddamn place she comes from! And here I am! You see me walkin’ out? No, I’m not walking out. I fucking learned how to act around people and how to deal with shit. I’m not fucking walking out and saying, ‘Fuck all y’all!’ That’s disrespectful. To each of you,” RuPaul said, as the camera panned to the other queens — some stunned, some nodding earnestly.
He then got very personal, in one of the most real moments of the season.
“Let me tell you something: I have been discriminated against by white people for being black, by black people for being gay, by gay people for being too femme,” he said. “Did I let that stop me from getting to this chair? No, I had to separate what I feel or what my impression of the situation is to put my focus on the goal. You can’t just make excuses for bad behavior or for inconsiderate behavior.”
To close out, he hinted at the real reason he was so upset, which has to do with The Vixen’s lack of respect for the enormous opportunity afforded by an appearance on the show: “I invited each of you back here to my house, into my home. And if I’m invited to someone’s home, I’m not gonna disrespect their home. I’m not gonna disrespect the invitation.” Without missing a beat, he then pivoted into the next segment, which detailed a few of the queens’ struggles to gain acceptance from their religious families.
A consummate professional, RuPaul threaded the needle ever so carefully. It was a powerful moment, chock full of wisdom and peppered with enough passion to make people pay attention. It’s reminiscent of Tyra Banks’ infamous “We were all rooting for you!” moment from Season 4 of “America’s Next Top Model.” The similarities are obvious: A successful black entertainer reprimanding a younger black contestant for disrespecting a show they have worked so hard to create, their passion enhanced by the fact that they produce these shows in order to create more opportunities for people who look like them.
But unlike Banks, RuPaul remained measured and thoughtful throughout his speech, ensuring his moment will not be remembered for its laughs but for its wisdom.