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The Most Iconic Black Drag Queens

Robyn Exton

Jan 26, 2022

The Most Iconic Black Drag Queens

There are so many iconic black drag queens that have graced the screens, the stages, and of course, our hearts. At HER, we can’t seem to get enough of these incredible performers who are so unapologetically themselves. 

While drag was created for entertainment purposes, the performances are also a major form of self-expression within the LGBTQ+ community. There’s something we can learn from each queen, whether it be their sky-high confidence levels (even higher than their heels) or the way they relentlessly pursue their dreams no matter what society says. So what better time to celebrate these iconic black drag queens than Black History Month?

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Fierce Black Drag Queens You Need To Support


Who is the most famous black drag queen that you know? We’re willing to bet RuPaul was the first queen who came to mind! Although she is undeniably fabulous — and of course, we’ve included her in this list — there are other talented drag queens out there who you may not have heard of yet. As far as we’re concerned, they just aren’t talked about enough, so read on to check out these 8 fierce black drag queens you need to support!

Shea Couleé

Source: Shea Couleé on Instagram

From performing to rapping to podcasting, Shea Couleé is a non-binary queen of many talents from Chicago. Although many fans think she should have been crowned as the winner on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, that didn’t stop her from going on to win All Stars Season 5. If you can’t seem to get enough of Shea Couleé, you can listen to her talk all things America’s Next Top Model on her hit podcast Wanna Be On Top?

Peppermint

Source: Peppermint on Instagram

Miss Peppermint, or simply Peppermint, is one of the most successful drag queens in history, who also happens to be openly transgender, a singer, songwriter, and actress and from New York City. You might know her for being the runner-up in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, but we love her for her work as a black and trans activist. She even mentioned once that she’s not ruling out running for office in the future. If that’s the case, you have our vote, Peppermint!

The Vixen

Source: The Vixen on Instagram

Here’s yet another iconic drag queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Vixen, who placed 7th on Season 10. Her appearance on the show was one of the most controversial in history, stirring up endless important conversations within the black and drag community. Although she created her fair share of drama on the show, even butting heads with RuPaul herself, The Vixen performed some incredible shows with looks we’ll never forget. She also is a major activist in the drag community and doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to speaking her truth — and we can’t help but applaud her for it!

RuPaul

Source: RuPaul on Instagram

Of course, we all know RuPaul as the queen of all queens! Not only is she the host and producer of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she hands down brought drag back to queer culture and made it popular again. Not only is she a self-made television superstar, but she also has the titles of model, actor, and recording artist under her belt. Some might even go as far as calling her an iconic genius. Do you agree? Let’s face it, RuPaul even has her own chocolate bar.

Monet X Change

Source: Money X Change on Instagram

You may recognize Monet X Change from a famous Pepsi commercial with Cardi B. She was also the first black drag queen in the hall of fame. It’s no wonder fans love her — she was crowned winner in both RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars Season 4! If you want to support her, go ahead and follow her YouTube channel or podcast called Sibling Rivalry, which she hosts with her drag sister, Bob the Drag Queen. And yes, they are an absolutely hilarious duo!

Shangela

Source: Shangela on Instagram

Despite not having ever been crowned queen, that hasn’t stopped Shangela’s career from absolutely taking off since her appearance on Drag Race. If you don’t already know her name, you may have seen her in A Star is Born, where she starred as Lady Gaga’s drag mother in the major box office hit directed by Bradley Cooper. She even managed to snag the spot as the host of the GLAAD awards in 2019. One thing’s for sure — Shangela has built a huge name for herself and will continue to climb sky-high in her career. This black drag queen is unstoppable!

Latrice Royale

Source: Latrice Royale on Instagram

This gorgeous queen was raised in Compton and initially broke into the drag scene by dressing up for his friends. Later, he went on to audition for Drag Race Season 4, where he made it to fourth place as a “plus-sized queen.” Even though he didn’t win the crown, he was ultimately named “Miss Congeniality” thanks to all of his loyal fans. Since then, Latrice Royale has even made an appearance on Netflix’s hit series AJ and the Queen, alongside RuPaul.

Naomi Smalls

Source: Naomi Smalls on Instagram

Standing at 6’5”, Naomi Smalls is known throughout reality television for her long supermodel legs. Not only was this stunning African American drag queen a runner-up on Season 8 of Drag Race, but she also has her own makeup line with her drag sister KimChi, called 2 Queens in 1 Desert. If you want to support her, go check it out! She has some stunning eyeshadows and gorgeous a cheek palette that will have you turning heads like all of the queens on this list.

Ways To Cheer Them On

With the events of the last couple of years, quarantine has changed the drag community as we know it. Many of these beauties are now offering virtual shows that you can attend online, whether or not they’re currently performing in person. If you want to cheer them on, also be sure to follow their social media accounts, listen to their podcasts, and subscribe to their YouTube channels.

Celebrate Black History with HER

We hope you join us in celebrating these fabulous black drag queens for Black History Month, as well as all the other activists who continue to fight for equality within the LGBTQ+ community.  As you can see, some of these incredibly talented performers just don’t get enough recognition! We want to know — who is your top pick for the best black drag queen of all time?

And remember, while these 8 queens have become household names, don’t forget to support your local drag community as well. As RuPaul says, “We are all born naked and the rest is drag.” We’re all for supporting equality and having the freedom to express ourselves how we choose.

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Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER the world's largest brand for LGBTQ womxn & queer people. Also runs London Queer Fashion Show. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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