The Shade Report: Dragonomics

Our favorite queens are back this week with a new episode of Fusion’s Shade: Queens of NYC and boy was it a good one. In this episode, we watched Jasmine Rice LaBeija struggled to find a balance between her spirituality and drag, while Brita Filter and Holly Box-Springs tried to tackle their financial woes.

Jasmine’s struggle to find herself in a church setting was a key focus of the episode. We got to learn more about her background in the church. Jasmine’s family is heavily intertwined with religion, and she has always felt a connection to Jesus Christ. Like most of us, the weight the church puts on heterosexuality led to judgment, making her feel like an outcast in her place of worship. She shared her need for a religious community to Marti Gould Cummings and Tina Burner at a diner post-drag show. Marti offered to take her to her church, the Fourth Universalist Society. Marti found her own community within the church, mentioning how it was a judgment-free environment. Jasmine agrees to join her and the group says a quick prayer, but not before Tina made it clear that she “only prays to Jack Daniels. “Me too sis, me too.”

Jasmine and Marti met with Rev. Vogel of Fourth Universalist Society so Jasmine could get some background on the beliefs of the church. Rev. Vogel shares how revolutionary the Universalist religion is. The church is based on the idea that God would save everyone, and each service is a bit different. Sometimes the teachings are focused on Christianity, other times its foundation is in Buddhist teachings. The Universalist faith is all-inclusive, just like Jasmine was hoping to find, but she found a disconnect when she asked if Rev. Vogel was a Christian, to which he answered no.

Later in the week, Jasmine and Marti met back up for some coffee to address how Jasmine felt about the church. She told Marti more about the disconnect she felt, stating she needed a place of worship that was centered in Jesus Christ. Marti absolutely understood, and lend her some advice on how to find the community she was searching for, and how to include her family in it as well. Jasmine came out when she was sixteen, and it wasn’t an easy journey with her family and the church. I really felt for Jasmine as I watched her share her story and need for community. You can really sense how much her religion means to her, and I am certain she will find the sense of community she is looking for. I think it’s truly admirable how candid Jasmine was in this episode dealing with such a touchy subject like religion. I really appreciated how open she was about her faith. Also, that lipsynch number to her own singing in that church? Incredible!

Back on a bit of a lighter note; Brita, Chelsea Piers, and Holly started out the episode shopping for typical drag needs- wigs, pantyhose, the whole nine yards. Brita checked her bank account to find that she was in the negative. In that moment I felt like I checked my banking app and saw the same thing Brita did. We’ve all been there, don’t lie, you felt it too! Holly also told the girls how much she spent on her first look for So You Think You Can Drag, which was more than the prize money was. FOR JUST THE FIRST LOOK! This part of the episode really gave those of us who do not do drag a clear understanding of just how expensive drag is, especially when you do it full time. Chelsea, aside from being the absolute sweetest offering to buy Brita whatever she needed, suggested the pair go visit Paige Turner for some financial advice.

Brita and Holly arrived at Paige’s place and Paige was everything but impressed by their financial organization skills. Even though Brita and Holly are working the most they ever have, they’re spending more than they’re making. Brita puts her booking fees into her bank account, then keeps her tips as spending money. I was watching this episode thinking she was doing the right thing, but then they got into specifics when it came to drag expenses. The amount each queen puts into costumes, makeup, transportation to and from the gigs, paired with basic living expenses is A LOT. I have so much more respect for the financial burden drag queens are faced with after seeing it so candidly in this episode. Paige offers the girls some great advice, and they decide to do a drag swap to get some new looks!

Brita, Paige, Holly, Marti, and Chelsea all met up at Paige’s place to do a drag swap. The girls had AMAZING costumes and wigs they passed down to one another. Brita was shortchanged a bit, only receiving a bright yellow wig (AKA the ET wig. My personal favorite part of the episode). The girls vowed to invite queens of all sizes and have more shoes, jewelry, and hair for the next swap. What a great idea to get some new costumes for free!

Though this week dealt with some heavy real-world issues, it was still lighthearted and fun. What was your favorite part of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!

Be sure to tune into Shade: Queens of NYC Thursday’s at 10:30 PM on FusionTV or on

About Haley Van Horn 42 Articles
One small brushfire away from completing the Serial Killer Triad, Haley is a hell-raising college student and sports journalist. Calling the suburbs of the gayest city in America home, she's sure to bring it to you every ball.

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