In the early 1980s, a punk, anti-glam drag queen used to slay the poorly lit stage a small club in New York’s East Village wearing oversized rubber boots over leopard-print tights. She didn’t know this then, but in a few years RuPaul would change the world. With her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent Mama Ru became the first true crossover cross-dressing artist and helped to spread the gospel gay throughout the entire Runiverse.
A true phenomenon, the first supermodel the world made the subversive art drag — the essence queer underground culture — available to anyone with access to basic cable or an internet connection. She continues to be a major source inspiration for queer people everywhere and a constant reminder that if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?
Here are our 8 favorite songs from the drag icon that celebrate the LGBTQ community
“Supermodel (You Better Work)”
Category is: world domination extravaganza! RuPaul released this dance floor anthem in 1993, as a single from her Supermodel the World album. The song, which was an unexpected mainstream hit peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — and gave the world its first taste Ru’s signature catchphrase “You better work!”
“Hey Kitty Girl”
One her many self-empowerment anthems, the second single f Ru’s 2017 album American is a reminder that you are the “boogie-body-rockin’ queen” and that you are ready to take over the world. “Know you're sexy and keep slaying the game, Make the world remember your name!” The song was the theme for the epic final challenge All Stars 3, where Shangela, BeBe Zahara Benet, Kennedy Davenport and Trixie Mattel had to write new verses for the track and then perform in a single-take music video.
“Call Me Mother”
“None these bitches is fuckin' with Ru,” Rupaul sings in her latest single. Well, Azealia Banks is certainly trying. In a series nasty tweets earlier this month, the rapper read Mother for filth, accusing Ru ripping f her music. Ru’s children were not having it, and a messy and passionate defense on social media followed.
Electro pop-meets-cheerleading squad for this tragically overlooked Pride anthem. “LGBT” is a reminder to all the “boys, girls and in-between” to always be true to themselves. Every queen is a star, and L-O-V-E is what happens when “you do you, I do me.”
The lead single from her 2011 Glamazon album, this self-empowerment song is a Drag Race classic. The message is simple and to the point: when you fall down, pick yourself up and make it happen. When you do, “everyone will see what you were meant to be.” Ask Miss Vanjie how that worked out for her.
“Sissy That Walk”
This catchy Drag Race classic encapsulates Ru’s message self-love and respect, as she sings one her classic mottos: “Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind.” The mantra clearly works. Openly gay olympic ice skater Adam Rippon used “Sissy that Walk” as his first dance at Dancing With the Stars, and ended up winning the crown. The video for the song features the last queens standing from season 6: Courtney Act, Adore Delano, Bianca Del Rio and Darienne Lake.
“You're a champion, and you'll always be a hero!” The song that every queen on the show wants to hear on finale night reminds us that in order to win, we need to think big, and we have to be fearless. The video features Drag Race royalty Raja, Manila Luzon and Alexis Mateo. Bam!
“The Beginning” is a song about realizing your true potential and living your life as the real you. “You decide, change your mind. Miracles happen everyday.” It’s self-help dressed in sickening clothes. The video features Drag Race season 5 finalists Jinkx Monsoon, Roxxxy Andrews and Alaska.