RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Pearl said she was going for a Y2K tan and came out with Blackface instead.
There’s camp, there’s cosplay, and then there’s wearing things that blatantly cause disrespect. Unfortunately, Pearl chose the latter of the three when the drag performer posted a set of images of a “character” with blonde hair, blues, exaggeratedly full lips and hips, and noticeably dark skin.
Not a good look. Pearl has since deleted the post, issuing a statement via her Instagram feed. The Drag Race season 3 contestant stated that her character “was not meant to resemble any other background other than her own” and that she’s meant to have a “2000’s Britney-esque tan”, referring to the pop icon Britney Spears’ skin during that time.
A quick look at Spears through the years will tell you that Pearl’s look wasn’t remotely in the ballpark.
The now deleted post sent fans and fellow Drag Race alums into a rightful frenzy. Drag Race season 10 and All Stars season 5 competitor Mayhem Miller called out Pearl’s “reckless” actions.
“I don’t have to say it cuz clearly many here aren’t tone deaf and have loudly vocalized that this is not ok,” commented Mayhem on the post. “You know d*** well how this looks and how it would be perceived.”
Fellow Drag Race season 10 alum The Vixen shared some thoughtful words on social media that resonated with fans disapproving of Pearl’s actions.
“White people paint their skin the shade of people who have to defend their skin shade and their [sic] surprised they have to defend their choice,” The Vixen posted.
From Luxx Noir London to Megan The Stallion to Sha’carri Richardson, being THAT girl in a chauvinist society has its consequences.
Blackface has a horrible past within the United States. Started in shows by white performers in 1830s New York, Blackface was originally a form of makeup used to portray a caricature of Black people and Black culture during a minstrel show.
What was intended to be “humorous” for white performers and audiences was actually (and still is) incredibly racist, demeaning, and, hurtful to Black people. Unfortunately, donning another race’s complexion and caricaturing their culture continues to show up today in Halloween costumes, films, TV shows, and apparently on the social media accounts of drag performers with over a million followers.
Pearl has since issued another apology online. With an outdoor image of what looks like a Southwestern terrain, the drag performer stated that “it was not her intention to do Blackface” and that “there was no Black-influence going on” in her mind. She also stated she felt “creatively stumped”, that her characters “just aren’t aging well”, and that she’ll look at this as an “opportunity to grow”.
Looks like she has a lot of growing to do.