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Twenty years ago today, one helluva glamazon had just one thing to say: "You betta werk." Rupaul Charles' debut album, Supermodel Of The World, was a surprising hit, charting well and nabbing Ru a place in '90s pop culture. The album wasn't just impressive for the dance jams (of which there are many), but it was the first time mainstream America — or at least the MTV generation — had a real, honest look at the culture of drag.
Today, Ru helms one of the best reality TV series' on the tube, RuPaul's Drag Race, where she puts young queens in the spotlight, helping them to launch their careers. The show isn't just a tribute to contest-based fare like Project Runway; it's also a moment in which individuals who have spent most of their lives being called "freaks" are praised, noticed, and promoted for their sense of self. Ru himself knows the power of drag, having participated in the '80s era of crossdressing called "genderf**k," where mixing and blurring male/female was not just style, but a statement.
Though we weren't "little black girls growing up in the Brewster Projects of Detroit, Michigan," the self-empowerment of RuPaul's first album has set the tone for his entire career. Oh, and if you think that Ru's a one-hit wonder, you clearly have never heard Glamazon. Or Champion. Because those are sickening.