I first learned of RuPaul when I was a teenager. It was late 1992 and her hit single, Supermodel, finally hit middle America. The song connected with me.
For years, I kept an ear out for Ru’s other projects. In 2010, I began to watch the show, Drag Race. In the show, she evaluates contestants’ “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent” (or cunt.) Ru’s love your pussy ethos is a big part of the show. It is also a part of her music. RuPaul’s music encourages the listener to have the cuntfidence to be who they really are.
The bold assertions of RuPaul continue to inspire me. Today, I will share my favorite RuPaul catch phrases and music. For more information about Ru, check out the interview that Vanity Fair did with her.
From the first moment I heard Supermodel, I knew that Ru was my type of musician. The song resonated with the frivolous young person that I was. Her fun, club beats were danceable and easy to sing along. I was hooked.
Since 1992, RuPaul’s music has continued to have the same sing-along power and dance beats. It is positively fun. And, most of her music has powerful messages. For example, her song “Sissy That Walk” contains a great turn of phrase that reminds the listener to be true to themselves. “Mama said, people talking since the beginning of time. Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.” That’s bold. Do not listen to the haters, she says. I could not agree more.
For my favorite collection of RuPaul songs, check out my Pandora playlist Power Pussy.
“If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Another thing that I love about RuPaul is the moments of wisdom she shares with her followers. One of my favorites happens every episode. At the end of each Drag Race episode, Ru reminds the contestants of the importance of self love with the sage words above.
These might be some of the most important words said on television. In our world, we are taught that finding love is everything. We are also taught that we are complete only when we have another person at your side. But that is not true.
To be happy, to be fulfilled, to be able to give ourself to another, we must love the people that we are. To feel sympathy or compassion for another person we must be able to give those things to ourselves. Without loving the entire person that we are, how can we love all the good and bad of another person. We cannot. Not really.
“When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”
This is another of RuPaul’s mantras that I love. Everything around us changes whether we want it to or not. In fact, this mantra harkens for me a quote from Confucius, “you cannot step in the same river twice.”
This idea is true. Every day, we are bombarded with new ideas, new information. Each new idea or information changes our worldview. And, unless a person is committed to being stagnant, they are also changing.
What I like about Ru’s mantra is that it reminds us that change can be intentional and that intentionality is what becomes reinvention. I think this should be the mantra of the new decade. And, I think we should reinvent ourselves into a world where equality and justice are not just reserved for the elite.
“We’re born naked and the rest is just drag.”
We get to my final favorite RuPaulism. This is one of Ru’s most powerful ideas. It reminds me that the world is an illusion. The individuals we present to the world are how we want to be seen. It is not necessarily the truth about what is or who we are.
This statement reminds me of William Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances….”
So, if indeed the rest is just drag, then we have the liberty to determine the drag we wish to present to the world. We can choose to be the version of ourselves that pleases the self. Or, we can choose to be what others expect from us. The choice lies within.