Bob the Drag Queen Calls on Straight Black Celebs to Say "Trans Lives Matter"

The We're Here star also condemned Dave Chappelle for "doubling down on this idea that trans people are a joke."

By Allison Crist 22 Jul, 2020 11:37 PMTags

Bob the Drag Queen wants anyone with a platform to make a declaration: trans lives matter. 

The RuPaul's Drag Race winner and star of HBO's We're Here (which was recently renewed for a second season!) spoke to E! host Justin Sylvester on the latest episode of his Just the Sip podcast, where the two discussed the important role allies play in the fight for both LGBTQ+ rights and racial equality. 

"Trans lives are being affected by what's going on," Justin said on the podcast.

Bob agreed, adding, "I do think the issue with trans lives—especially in the Black community—doesn't necessarily lie within racism, but it does lie within prejudice and misogyny, specifically trans-misogyny."

He continued, "And this is not just something for just the trans people to address, or just the queer people to address. Like, we need, in this world, cisgender, straight, Black men to stand up and say 'trans lives matter.'"

Bob specifically called on Black celebrities, "not just Black academics like Barack Obama and Angela Davis," to speak up on behalf of the trans community, including Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Wiz Khalifa and Waka Flocka Flame.

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While Bob was trying to think of another performer's name, Justin Sylvester asked if it was Dave Chappelle he was thinking of. 

"Don't even get me started at Dave Chappelle," Bob responded. "This is a real blow to my system because, like, Dave Chappelle is someone that I've always looked up to, and his comedy is so...lately he's been really doubling down on this idea that trans people are a joke, or that trans' existence is funny or that trans people just living their lives is funny to him."

"And then when Dave Chappelle—who's one of the most respected Black people in comedy and entertainment—goes on TV or when Netflix gives him money to say 'I can't stop laughing at trans people, they're just so funny!' then it validates that idea for other people, and then other people double down and agree with him," Bob added.

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Instead, he continued, Dave could've "used his voice to say, 'Trans people are valid.'"

"And he could also still be funny within [the] context of these things," Bob said. "You don't have to punch down. Like, you're Dave Chappelle—all of your content leading up to this year, you didn't have any trans-misogynistic jokes in any of that stuff. You don't need that stuff."

Justin echoed Bob's sentiments, explaining, "If you're gonna put me down and use me as a punchline of a joke, at least validate my existence and let people know that I am here and I am human."

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On the Just the Sip episode, Justin and Bob also discussed the latter's continued success. Season 1 of We're Here premiered in late April, and audiences were captivated watching him and his fellow former RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Eureka O'Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley as they made their way to small towns around the country. 

Once there, the trio would recruit and train local residents to participate in a one-night-only drag performance.

In total, the group hit Gettysburg, PA; Twin Falls, ID; Branson, MO; Farmington, NM; and Ruston, LA. 

The drag queens also traveled to Spartanburg, SC, but production was ultimately shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bob told Justin he'd love to go back there for season 2 and "finish what we started."

"I also wanna go to my hometown or Shangela's hometown or Eureka's hometown," he revealed.

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Bob added that while having his face displayed on a multi-story building on Sunset Boulevard was admittedly cool, he hasn't let things like that distract him from making even bigger plans for the future.

"For me, success doesn't feel weird; it feels right. When I wasn't on TV, I was like, this is the weird part," Bob said. "When I auditioned for RuPaul's Drag Race, I said I'm gonna get on RuPaul's Drag Race, I'm gonna win it and it won't be the most impressive thing I've ever done. And I still feel that way being on We're Here."