RuPaul Charles was probably on a high after he picked up his sixth Emmy for the long-running reality show which bears his name and with good reason! This was the biggest night in television! He was so excited, in fact, that before heading to the stage he kissed his husband.. But that excitement was likely tempered by a question in the press room after his win was announced.
“Hey Ru, so I have a question for you about the hot button term ‘diversity,’” Danielle Young from Essence asked the competition show host. “That always gets thrown around, and here looking at your team, I don’t see a lot of diversity. I’m curious about how you feel, especially someone who represents so strongly for the LGBT community —”
“And the BLT community,” Ru interrupted, in jest.
“But do you feel like it’s important for that to be supported, behind the scenes as well, for a show like yours, that is so diverse?” Young asked.
Possibly unbeknownst to Young, other people were posing similar questions and cracking jokes on social media. Most of it was sparked by the World of Wonder team joining Charles on stage for the win. The vast majority of the staff with him seemed to be white.
“First of all, the host of our show is Black, gay, and a drag queen,” Charles responded in the press room. “So check, check, and check. But no, we’re pretty diverse. Yes, there are lots of different types of people here.”
“Is it important?” Charles continued. “Absolutely! You know, I grew up … I had to fight … I feel like I’m about to quote a movie right now.”
“All my life I had to fight,” a few in the room offered, quoting a well-known line from the 1982 film, The Color Purple.
“Yeah, yeah!” Charles confirmed. “It wasn’t easy getting here. You know what I had to do!”
“Work twice as hard, yeah,” Young confirmed.
“And some of the things … I’m not going to repeat what I had to do,” Charles ended. “But, yeah I think we got it.”
He went on to reference the recent death of co-executive producer Jacqueline Wilson, whose contributions he has previously called “invaluable.”
The response has not been well received on Twitter, where some say the star of the upcoming Netflix show Aj and the Queen “skirted” the question. Young addressed it on her feed, enumerating her problems into four points, starting with the “BLT community” comment.
“1. When I said he reps the LGBT community, he said also the BLT community,” Young wrote, expressing her resulting sentiment with a side eye emoji. “2. He thinks bc he is Black, gay & a drag queen, that somehow is diversity quota is met. 3. He couldn’t quote The Color Purple. 4. Look at the ‘diversity.’”
Young attached a photo of the team on the red carpet with the post.