Many fans took to Twitter with critical thoughts once the news broke Jameela Jamil would be judging on the upcoming voguing show, Legendary. Jamil responded by coming out in a tweet, and fans have responded with mixed opinions.
“Girl bye! You never walked any balls, never did anything for the ballroom community,” one person wrote. “So therefore you along with @theestallion should NOT be judging a Voguing competition. Give this to the Vogue legends!”
For more context, Deadline released a statement announcing Jamil, Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach, and Leiomy Maldonado would consist of the judges for the show, set to air with HBO Max.
Some of the confusion lies with the report’s initial error stating Jamil would MC the show instead of being one of the judges on the panel, yet even with the correction, people are still complaining Jamil does not have the voguing experience to judge a show like this.
Voguing, for all those who aren’t familiar, is a competition where individuals walk a catwalk displaying their fashion style and physicality. Voguing can include spins, cat-walking, high kicks, and many other moves the person brings to the stage. Vogue balls and ballrooms showcase contestants, many from the LGBTQ+ community, who walk the catwalk in a competitive arena for a crowd and judges who grade them on their performance.
With the negative reaction to the news she would judge such a competition, Jamil took to Twitter and came out in a statement addressing her sexual orientation. Her message dived into her sexuality plus her fear of openly admitting who she is. She wrote the message in the iPhone notes app and posted the screenshots to Twitter for followers to see.
“Twitter is brutal,” she wrote. “This is why I never officially came out as queer. I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter. But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping.”
It seems as though many people on Twitter are accusing her of just that: bandwagon jumping.
“Here you go, Twitter falls for it,” India Willoughby said in response to Jamila’s tweet. “SHE’S GOT A BOYFRIEND. You don’t think it’s odd she comes out as ‘queer’ after being criticized for possibly taking a gay person’s place on a show? #Mugs #Coincidence #Gayface.”
“Queer people can have a boyfriend,” one fan wrote in Jamil’s defense. “Also. That’s some sick bi erasure right there. And do I buy it? Of course I buy it; I have been following Jameela for a couple of years and always had my suspicions. But more importantly; a WOC has no reason to pretend to be gay. She is already marginalized enough.”
While another commenter wrote, “1) Congrats on coming out and I’m sorry it had to be like this. But 2) ‘it wouldn’t sell with more marginalized people so I’m going to take a place that should have belonged to them’ is a terrible response.”
The commenter, of course, was referring to Jamil’s text in her post when she said, “Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”
Jamil continued by defending her place as a host on the show, stressing her eleven years of hosting experience and how being fully impartial would enable her to judge a competition of this nature very unbiasedly.
Trace Lysette, of Hustlers and Transparent, remarked to the news by addressing how she’d interviewed for the gig, too.
“As the mother of a house for nearly a decade, it’s kind of kind [mind] blowing when ppl with no connection to our culture gets the gig,” Lysette wrote. “This is not shade towards Jameela, I love all that she stands for. If anything I question the decision makers.”
“Hey trace,” Jamil responded. “I think you auditioned to be one of the house mothers. I’m just one of the judges. Not a house mother. We weren’t up for the same thing.”
“A queer woman of color who is also a great activist,” someone responded to the negative post. “Vogueing competition have celeb judges all the time! This outrage is ridiculous and literally make no sense. But I guess it’s twitter.”
“I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom,” Jamil continued in her post. “But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show.”
For now, we wait for more news about when the show releases. HBO Max hasn’t given us an official date yet. Despite the mixed response on Twitter, many wait with anticipation for Legendary’s arrival.
About The Author:
Rachel Goodman is a Los Angeles based actress, host, and writer originally from a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. In college, Rachel wrote for the Penn State Abington Literary Review and was an editorialist for The Lion’s Roar and The Montgomery County Ticket.
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