Entertainment

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Has Brought Us Some Serious Talent But These Are Our Favorite Latino Judges In Herstory

It’s no secret that drag and, in particular, drag queens have made their way into the mainstream. Much of their success is easily attributed to the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has helped catapult hundreds of queens into the spotlight.

The show, which is now in it’s 12 regular season (plus countless spinoffs), has one eight Emmy Awards – but above all else, it’s helped create a community for LGBTQ persons who hadn’t grown up seeing people like them on TV. So many people say that the show has helped them accept their identities. It’s also helped launch the careers of dozens of drag queens.

It’s no surprise then, that the show has also attracted some of the biggest names in entertainment – from Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga to Ricky Martin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, several high-profile judges have helped judge the completion for their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.

Mike Ruiz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Mike Ruiz was a tasty addition to the regular lineup of ‘Drag Race’ judges – having made several appearances over the course of the show. Although he hasn’t returned since season 6. He often launched the season with a photoshoot in which he had to find the perfect shot of each queen.

Maria Conchita Alonso

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Cuban-born telenovela star made her debut on Drag Race in the very first season of the show – where she helped judge the first ever ball. She made her way back to Drag Race during season 5, where she came back to coach the queens on their telenovela acting skills alongside Wilmer Valderrama. It’s obvious this two-time guest judge has a special place in her heart for drag!

Rosie Perez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

The Acadamy Award-nominated actress also made her Drag Race debut on the show’s very first season, where she helped judge the first ever girl group competition. She judged alongside Mary Wilson and the duo were definitely one of the season’s highlights.

Jessica Alba

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Jessica Alba was one of the biggest-named actresses to appear as a judge – especially in the earlier seasons. She made her debut on Drag Race in season 7, which was jam packed full of big name guest judges – Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Mel B – just to name a few.

Jessica Alba didn’t disappoint fans on her visit to the show either having fun with the queens as they shot their parody music video. The winner of the episode – Kennedy Davenport – also scored a three year supply of products from Alba’s The Honest Company.

Demi Lovato

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Another season 7 judge, Demi Lovato’s appearance on the show left the queens gagged. She appeared in the season just two episodes after Ariana Grande had been on so the queens were being treated to some of the biggest names in pop.

Demi Lovato was joined by guest judge John Waters – who’s iconic films inspired the episodes maxi-challenge, of which Ginger Minj won. For the lip synch – between Miss Fame and Pearl – the queens got to perform Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care.”

Christina Aguilera

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Getting none other than Christina Aguilera (a.k.a. Xtina) to appear in the premiere episode of season 10 (a.k.a. season X) was definitely a very clever idea. Besides, Christina Aguilera has been considered an important LGBTQ+ ally since her music video for “Beautiful,” which featured same-sex relationships during a time when this was not necessarily trendy for popstars to do.

On Drag Race, Christina Aguilera was more than willing to have fun. She even did a bit in which she pretended to be season 9 contestant Farrah Moan (who many believe looks like the singer). Overall, Xtina did not disappoint Drag Race fans!

Guillermo Díaz

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Cuban-American actor Guillermo Díaz made his Drag Race debut in season 11 on the third episode, alongside pop star Troye Sivan. The two were there to help judge one of my favorite maxi-challenges to date – the teams had to select a pop diva to worship in their TV evangelist show.

In the lip synch challenge, the bottom six queens lip synced to Jennifer Lopez’s “Waiting for Tonight” and it was everything.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

Drag Race was one of the most revolutionary shows when it first started. Here were drag artists going on national TV and performing their art form, when it was still considered extremely taboo. Times have changed, thankfully, and so much so that one of the nation’s leading politicians made a guest judge appearance on the show. Enter: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made her debut on the show during season 12, episode 7.

This episode featured by far the very best ‘rusical’ every performed on the show – honoring pop queen Madonna. AOC was very visibly into the performance and gave plenty of constructive criticism and praise to the queens. She even snuck backstage during the taping of Untucked to have more one-on-one time with the queens, and reminding them of the power of their art form and their voice.

Ricky Martin

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’ Season 5 is already a hit with fans and maybe Ricky Martin had something to do with it. Fans are loving him on the judges’ panel and didn’t hold back from expressing their love for him. The Puerto Rican singer-actor watched every performance with equal enthusiasm and awe — especially the last one where queen India Ferrah and lip-sync assassin Yvie Oddly battled it out in the elimination. 

And pretty much all of Twitter agreed that Ricky Martin has only gotten better with age – calling him the ultimate trade of ‘All Stars’ Season 5.

Did we miss any of your favorite judges? Or who would you like to see make a guest appearance on Drag Race?

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The Number Of Latinos In The U.S Killed By Covid-19 Surpasses 44,500 With No Signs Of Slowing Down

Things That Matter

The Number Of Latinos In The U.S Killed By Covid-19 Surpasses 44,500 With No Signs Of Slowing Down

Wilfredo Lee / Getty Images

For months we have heard stories from our neighbors and our friends of people losing loved ones to Covid-19. It seems that with each passing day the degrees of separation from ourselves and the virus gets smaller and smaller.

Although this is true for all demographics, it’s particularly true for the Latino community. New data shows that although Latinos make up about 19% of the national population, we account for nearly a third of all deaths. These numbers are staggering and experts are warning that entire communities are being decimated by the pandemic.

More than 44,500 Latinos have died of Covid-19 in the United States.

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus has ravaged our community but now we have concrete numbers that show just how bad the pandemic has been among Latinos. According to new data from the COVID Tracking Project, over 44,500 of the nearly 211,000 people in the U.S. killed by the Coronavirus to date are Latino.

While Latinos are under 19 percent of the U.S. population, we make up almost one-third of Coronavirus deaths nationwide, according to CDC data analyzed by Salud America, a health research institute in San Antonio. Among some age groups, like those 35 to 44, the distribution of Latino Covid deaths is almost 50 percent; among Latinos ages 45-54, it’s almost 44 percent.

Experts say several factors account for higher COVID-19 death and infection rates among Latinos versus whites, including poverty, health care disparities, the prevalence of serious underlying medical conditions, and greater exposure to the virus at work because of the kinds of working-class, essential jobs many Latinos have.

Many Latinos who have been infected or died of the Coronavirus are front-line or essential workers.

Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Getty Images

So many of our family members and neighbors work jobs that are now considered “essential.” From building cleaning services, to restaurant workers, grocery store employees, nurses, and farm workers, our community is on the front lines more than any other community in this fight against the pandemic.

In fact, 41.2 percent of all front-line workers are Black, Hispanic or Asian-American/Pacific Islander, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, an economic policy think tank. Hispanics are especially overrepresented in building cleaning services (40.2 percent of workers).

Latinos also have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., according to the Department of Health and Human Services. All of these factors add up to a dangerous and deadly combination that has resulted in the outsized number of deaths among Latinos.

Some are saying that the virus is causing the ‘historic decimation’ of Latinos.

Speaking at a virtual Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting last week, a global health expert warned that the Coronavirus is causing “the historic decimation” of the Latino community, ravaging generations of loved ones in Hispanic families.

To illustrate his point, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, read off descriptions of people who died on Aug. 13 in Houston alone.

“Hispanic male, Hispanic male, Hispanic male, black male, Hispanic male, black male, Hispanic male, Hispanic female, black female, black male, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic, Hispanic” Hotez said, adding that many are people in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

“This virus is taking away a whole generation of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, you know, who are young kids, teenage kids. And it occurred to me that what we’re seeing really is the historic decimation among the Hispanic community by the virus,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci – a popular figure in the fight against Coronavirus – has also raised the alarm.

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave a recent update on the impact on the Latino community. He pointed out that hospitalizations among Latinos 359 per 100,000 compared to 78 in whites. Deaths related to Covid-19 are 61 per 100,000 in the Latino population compared to 40 in whites, and Latinos represent 45 percent of deaths of people younger than 21, Fauci said.

Fauci said the country can begin to address this “extraordinary problem” now by making sure the community gets adequate testing and immediate access to care. But he said this is not a one-shot resolution.

“This must now reset and re-shine a light on this disparity related to social determinants of health that are experienced by the Latinx community — the fact that they have a higher incidence of co-morbidities, which put you at risk,” Fauci said.

Fauci also urged the Latino congressional members on the call to get their Latino constituents to consider enrolling in vaccination trials so they can be proven to be safe in everyone, including African Americans and Latinos.

“We need to get a diverse representation of the population in the clinical trials,” he said.

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These Latinx ‘Drag Race’ Queens Are Reuniting For ‘Dragueando’ And It’s About Time

Entertainment

These Latinx ‘Drag Race’ Queens Are Reuniting For ‘Dragueando’ And It’s About Time

Miss_Alexis_Mateo / Instagram

It’s no secret that drag and, in particular, drag queens have made their way into the mainstream. Much of their success is easily attributed to the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has helped catapult hundreds of queens into the spotlight.

However, according to many iconic queens from the series, not all are equally represented on the show. In fact, Alexis Mateo – one of the most popular queens from the series – has long spoken out regarding the treatment of its Latinx talent.

So it should be no surprise that three of the shows top Latinx drag queens have come together to launch Dragueando – a YouTube special all about Latina queens.

Three of ‘Drag Race’s’ top Latina queens have come together for a Latinx drag experience.

I’m not complaining at all but it seems like 2020 has come with a new season or spin-off of Drag Race every few weeks. First, we had the latest installment of All Stars, a special spinoff called Secret Celebrity Drag Race, then came Drag Race: Season 12, followed by Drag Race Canada and now Drag Race Holland is airing.

Like I said, I’m not complaining. But that’s a lot of drag. Thankfully, it’s not over yet. Three of the franchises top Latinx queens have banded together to create a new spin-off – Dragueando. Alexis Mateo, Jessica Wild, and Cynthia Lee Fontaine have teamed up to bring us the new special on YouTube and although there’s only been one episode so far, we can’t wait for whats next.

In addition to talking about all things Puerto Rican and drag, the YouTube special also sees the queens discuss Latinidad and drag. Later in the episode, Mateo congratulated the recent winners of the Drag Race series and spin-offs: Jaida Essence Hall, Shea Couleé, and Priyanka. She also paid tribute to season eight icon Chi Chi Devayne, who sadly passed away last month.

On Mateo’s YouTube channel, episode one of Dragueando is also titled “pilot,” so let’s hope there will be more where that came from. Maybe next time more of our favorite Latinx drag queens from Drag Race will be able to stop by.

The three queens involved in the new show are iconic veterans of the hit drag competition.

Credit: Miss_Alexis_Mateo / Instagram

All three of the queens involved in Dragueando have earned their spot in Drag Race herstory. The three queens, all Boricuas, have helped shine a light on Puerto Rico and its rich drag traditions.

Alexis Mateo is perhaps the most well-known of the three. She’s been a competitor on three seasons of Drag Race: season three, All-Stars 1, and All-Stars 5. During her latest run on the series, she made headlines for her incredible impression of astrology icon Walter Mercado during the show’s “Snatch Game” episode.

Fontaine, the self-proclaimed queen of “cucu” and the Miss Congeniality of Drag Race season eight, hosts the “Leida Educacional” section. For this first installment, she breaks down the history of five Latin American countries that celebrate their independence near Sept. 15: Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Fontaine does this all while throwing a little shade at British drag queen Charlie Hides.

Wild, who was voted onto season two of Drag Race by massive fan demand, hosted the “Dandolo Todo” section. And she gave her all in learning a dance routine with Puerto Rican choreographers Prodigy Duo.

Alexis Mateo has long been outspoken about the need for better Latinx representation.

Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race / VH1 / World of Wonder

Shortly after Alexis Mateo was booted off All Stars 5, a video resurfaced where the 40-year-old Puerto Rican queen was speaking out about the mistreatment of Latina queens on the show.

In the clip, Alexis cites her fellow latin sisters Nina Flowers (who she says should’ve won over Bebe Zahara Benet), Yara Sofia, and Jessica Wild, all who performed well throughout their seasons, and were still not given the opportunity to go all the way.

She also slammed other queens of Latin descent who were celebrated and well-loved despite not actually speaking Spanish or alluding to their heritage at all during their time on the show. She didn’t mention anyone in particular, but fans think it could’ve been in reference to Bianca Del Rio, who won season six. 

“I don’t care who your great-grandfather is,” she said. “For me, if you don’t speak Spanish, you’re not a Latino. Period, end of discussion. These roots are very important.”

Speaking of her rocky relationships on All Stars, she added: “For those of you who are at home celebrating Miz Cracker, stop being sell-outs. What we need is Latino support.

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