Scarlet Adams confronted about blackface images on Down Under

Drag Race tackles Down Under blackface scandal

In its latest episode, Drag Race Down Under aired an intense conversation about racism. RuPaul confronted Perth queen Scarlet Adams after images resurfaced of her in blackface performances.

After Drag Race Down Under promos released earlier this year, photos re-emerged of Scarlet Adams in blackface. Indigenous queen Felicia Foxx was the first to share them on her Instagram.

The photos include incidents of blackface and cultural appropriation. Some including a costume featuring an Aboriginal flag t-shirt and blacked-out teeth.

While RuPaul said that he had no interest in “canceling” Scarlet, he instead saw this episode as a teaching moment.

“I’m sure there are people that would want me to cancel you right here right now. But I’d rather this be a lesson in humility and accountability, and I pray that all of us can learn and grow from our mistakes.”

In response to the recent backlash, Scarlet Adams reposted an apology from 2020 to his Instagram. He also posted a new one addressing their time on Drag Race.

“Despite this being a story I am deeply ashamed of and something I had tried to forget. I’ve come to realise in recent years that taking responsibility and admitting my mistakes is an important learning experience … there is no way to sugar-coat it, when I was a teenager roughly eight years ago I performed in blackface/cultural appropriation. I was young and ignorant. I am no longer this person.”

The drag queen reaffirmed these feelings on the show. Specifically, saying that they had changed, had made mistakes as a younger person, and regretted their actions. They also took the time to point out that she had done blackface and cultural appropriation — along with “many other queens.”

Fellow Down Under contestants also shared their thoughts on the matter.

“I’ve never looked at something like Blackface and even thought that could be an honest mistake," said Ecterea Ecterea after Scarlet revealed her past.

Art Simone added that, "It's strange to use someone’s culture to make a joke of it.”

“I didn’t know any better, not that that’s an excuse,” Scarlet continued. “It’s hard to unlearn things that are ingrained into you as a child.” But Maxi Shield shared her experiences of the "awful" things she saw and heard growing up in central Queensland.

However, Ecterea wasn't having it. She explained that “casual racism in conversation is very different to painting your face in Blackface and performing a number for money.” In the end, she felt Scarlet needed to take "steps of reparations" to atone for her actions.

Be sure to check out Drag Society's curated boxes full of exclusive drag queen merch!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.