Jameela Jamil Responded To Backlash Against Her Joining New LGBT Show As Judge

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
News of Jameela Jamil's gig as a judge on new HBO Max show Legendary was met with almost immediately scepticism. The unscripted show plans to showcase the art of voguing and ball culture, a competitive modern dance style that incorporations both fashion and choreography. Most importantly, voguing and ball culture grew exclusively from the LGBT community and communities of colour, who often formed competing houses of their chosen families. Many felt Jamil's casting as judge, versus someone actually familiar with the culture, was a slap in the face to those roots.
Jamil will be joined by fellow judges Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach, and Leiomy Maldonado, as well as a rotating guest judge and commentary from ballroom pros Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ. Shortly after the announcement, actress Trace Lysette revealed that she had interviewed for a judge role but, despite actually hailing from the voguing community, was overlooked.
"As the mother of a house for nearly a decade it’s kind of kind blowing when ppl with no connection to our culture gets the gig," she wrote. "This is not shade towards Jameela, I love all that she stands for. If anything I question the decision makers."
As Twitter grew more heated, Jamil finally decided to speak her piece on the controversy, revealing she herself is queer.
“Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer,” she wrote in a screenshotted notes app. “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, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid.”
She also acknowledged that her queerness alone doesn't make her part of the voguing and ballroom community, but that she hopes her inexperience with the art can act as a gateway for others who are first learning about the culture.
"I have privilege and power and a large following to bring this show," she wrote, later adding, "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 said she won't be speaking further on the controversy and will be spending some time away from the internet.
Legendary reportedly begins filming in the next few days, but its exact release date is unknown. HBO Max launches this spring.

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