The Q.U.E.E.N. has arrived — lastly! RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 formally added singer and actor Janelle Monae to the pantheon of legendary visitor judges with Episode 5, “House of Fashion.” Dressed in her signature black and white, Monae made certain to let Emmy-winning host RuPaul know precisely how they felt about being included within the Drag Race household: “I am honored to be right here. I love all the things you stand for and all the things this present stands for.” SPOILERS forward.
For this week’s Maxi Challenge, the 13 remaining queens have been divided into three groups — or vogue homes — and tasked with ransacking a room themed after one of the three common judges for supplies with which to make a cohesive assortment of seems. Considering that Monae is well known as one of probably the most modern people on Earth, whether or not they’re performing on stage or strolling the purple carpet for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, this problem was tailor made for them.
The 13 queens took to the runway to point out off collections impressed by the vibes of Michelle Visage (animal print and New Jersey), Carson Kressley (plaid and nation), and Ross Mathews (floral and Palm Springs). Monae received in a couple of good witty remarks throughout the runway (a practice on Drag Race), together with, “J. Lo higher lay low” in response to Sasha Colby’s beautiful handmade riff on Jennifer Lopez’s inexperienced Versace gown. And when it got here time for judging, they knew a winner once they noticed one: Luxx Noir London. “I felt the ancestors, I felt Erykah Badu,” mentioned Monae of London’s regal purple cape and head wrap and hanging zebra-print trousers. Then Monae paid the Drag Race
As is commonly the case when a musician seems because the visitor decide, the underside two queens — Amethyst and Salina EsTitties — carried out a lip sync duel to Monae’s “Q.U.E.E.N.” from 2013’s The Electric Lady. Following the high-energy quantity, Monae exclaimed, “Oh my god, I actually may cry.”
Monae additionally paid a go to backstage throughout the present’s half hour companion sequence RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked. “I’m so comfortable and honored to be right here,” Monae informed the queens, including, “I’ve been blown away by all people’s creative expressions. As an artist, I am so impressed. You don’t know what it seems like for me to observe you guys embrace your uniqueness. It’s simply lovely to observe you blooming and be an element of historical past being made, as a result of that is historical past — or the longer term, as a result of so many individuals will probably be impressed. They’ll be like, ‘Because of you i had the heart to rise up and do my factor.’”
When requested about coping with individuals who don’t perceive their aesthetic (a query requested by Marcia Marcia Marcia, a queen having that very expertise with the judges proper now), Monae mentioned, “Can’t no one inform me about me greater than I can inform myself about me, and [I’ve learned] to permit my voice to be the loudest voice within the room… That got here from my therapist, so…”
Regarding their profession, which concerned mixing the subject of Afrofuturism with a combination of R&B, quaint soul, hip hop, and just about whichever style they wished to dabble in, Monae mentioned, “When I first began out, individuals didn’t get that I wished to speak about science fiction and androids and the way the android represented the opposite, represented blackness, represented queerness, represented minorities who’re ignored, and I knew that there was a neighborhood of individuals who appear like me who wished to show that we’re not monolithic. Who we’re is a spectrum. Some of us weren’t leaving room for nuance, [but] I can do that, I will be that, creating not a blueprint however a you print.”
While this was Monae’s first look on Drag Race, their presence has been felt on the sequence for a really very long time. Monae’s “Make Me Feel” was the final lip sync of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5, which was the lip sync that gave Shea Couleé the crown. And earlier than that, Season 4 contestant Milan paid homage to Monae for the Dress to Impress runway class by pulling out a tuxedo look instantly impressed by Monae’s “Tightrope” period. Considering all of the long-lasting seems Monae has turned of their profession, may we at some point see a Night of 1000 Janelle Monae runway class? Fingers crossed.
New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 premiere on MTV at 8 p.m. ET, adopted by new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked at 10 p.m. ET.