’RuPaul’s Drag Race' Contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes Regrets Blackface Post

TORONTO — The first Canadian competitor to be featured on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is owning up to a controversial photo in which the performer appears alongside another drag queen who is in blackface.

Brooke Lynn Hytes says posting the image to Instagram in 2013 was a mistake.

“It recently came to my attention that an old photo of me with another drag queen who is in blackface surfaced,” Hytes says in a message posted Monday to the Instagram account @bhytes.

“This post was irresponsible on my part; it was rooted in ignorance and came from a place of naivety and privilege.”

A poster on Reddit complained about the photo late last week, eliciting a flurry of online condemnations.

The origins of blackface date back to minstrel shows of mid-19th century, when white performers darkened their skin with polish and cork, put on tattered clothing and exaggerated their features to look stereotypically “black.” The racist practice initially mimicked enslaved Africans on Southern plantations, depicting black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual. It led to the spread of racism and racial stereotypes.

Moving past the past and reaching new Hytes

Hytes, a drag queen persona from Etobicoke, Ont., was raised as Brock Hayhoe. She began as a ballet student before gravitating to drag at Toronto bars and nightclubs.

In the years that followed he bounced between Canada and the U.S., eventually landing in Nashville after he won the 2014 Miss Continental pageant with a ballet performance of Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U.”

In her Instagram post Tuesday, Hytes said that that in the six years since the notorious post, she has grown, learned and has evolved as a person.

“Moving forward, I hope to evolve as a person and a public figure,” she wrote.

“Please let me reiterate that I do not condone any form of racism including but not limited to blackface and it saddens me to think of how I have contributed to those harmful ideals in the past.”

With files from Charmaine Noronha.

Leave a Reply