A New Madonna Music Video Has Sparked Serious Drag Industry Drama
Great news, pop music fans: A new Madonna music video is on the way.
We’ve known for a while now that new music from Madonna is on the way, with a new album slated for this year. Back in November, the pop icon was in the “final mixes” stage of wrapping up the album, which means a new album — or at the very least a new single — is likely to drop soon.
We also know that some familiar faces to the LGBTQ community — in the form of RuPaul’s Drag Race competitors — will be appearing in a new Madonna music video. The reason we know that, interestingly enough, is due to some drama made public over the weekend, involving a company that books and manages touring drag queen shows.
The public first caught wind of the rift with an Instagram post by Murray & Peter Present, a company that is currently touring the show Haters Roast: The Shady Tour 2019 — featuring a slew of popular Drag Race queens — around the United States and Canada through the end of March.
The post, referencing the new Madonna music video and presented as “breaking news,” went as follows:
Yesterday @monetxchange arrived in Denver to appear on our show. Sometime during the afternoon, we’re told she received a phone call from @madonna with an offer to be in an upcoming music video. Monet asked MP if it would be ok to leave the tour to accept the offer. We said no because it was too short notice to replace her on Haters. Just hours before the show was to start and without telling anyone including the other queens on the Denver show, Monet left the venue and flew to LA to accept Madonna’s offer. Therefore, we have decided that Monet will no longer be on any upcoming Haters Roast dates. Tour info at DragFans.com #mppresent #apologies#disappointed
News that due to missing one gig on short notice Monét X Change would be dropped from the entire tour sparked backlash from many fans, and from Monét as well.
In a scathing post aimed at Murray & Peter Present, Monét tweeted, “The queens think you’re trash, the fans think you’re trash, and at this point…your reputation precedes ANYTHING I could ever say. May the Lord be with you,” followed by “Also, in my post drag race career … I have only had to reschedule 5 dates, and they were all due to All Stars filming obligations. I LOVE my fans/supporters and try to honor you guys as best as I can.”
In the days following news of this new Madonna music video gig and Monét’s removal from the Haters Roast tour, many other queens have stepped up to offer their two cents, largely in support of their fellow queen.
Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor, the other queen crowned during the recent All Stars 4 finale, announced on March 2 that she two would be severing ties with the Haters Roast tour, though as she tells Billboard, standing in solidarity with her fellow All Stars wasn’t the only impetus for the decision:
I had a good working relationship with MP Presents in the past since season 9. It wasn’t until the past few months of hearing things from other entertainers who have worked with them, the statements I have seen from some fans on how they were treated and also the most recent incidents including Monét and Ginger’s husband CeeJay. [Head to the Billboard article for the backstory concerning Ginger Minj and her husband.]
Regarding Trinity Taylor leaving the Haters Roast tour, Murray Hodgson, co-founder of Murray & Peter Present, told Billboard, “We have absolutely no idea why Trinity quit nor has she or her management team offered any specific reason except to say in an email to us, ‘I am so sorry about this. We will help you find a replacement if you need one.” Hodgson says he continues to “hold her in high regard” despite being “blindsided” by Taylor’s decision.
Other queens who have been vocal on social media following Monét’s removal from the tour include Phi Phi O’Hara, Laila McQueen and Bob the Drag Queen. O’Hara tweeted (accompanied by a screenshot) that despite being offered a slot on four dates of the Haters Roast tour, she would be declining the offer. “I rather my integrity over money anyways,” she said. She also claims Murray & Peter Present threatened to fire queens who expressed interest in performing at Phi Phi O’Hara’s November 2017 benefit for Puerto Rico hurricane survivors.
Laila McQueen offered up her own story about feeling unwelcome to participate in a Murray & Peter Present tour following Season 8 of Drag Race (her season).
Bob the Drag Queen, winner of Drag Race Season 8 and close friend of Monét x Change, expressed interest in queens using this incident as the spark to reconfigure how drag queen tours operate. “Dear queens. It’s time that we do our own tour. Each girl on the tour is a producer and makes money from the sales. Not a flat rate. I’m done with these shady production companies using us and spitting us out,” she tweeted out. Several other queens including Courtney Act and Violet Chachki, have supported the idea.
Going forward, contracts for lengthy tours like Haters Roast are likely to have their clauses regarding unanticipated opportunities more closely examined — and depending on the clout of the queen in question, perhaps even amended. But it’s also possible that this incident — sparked by a new Madonna music video but which has clearly uncovered months if not years of dissatisfaction in the status quo by several queens — could spark new industry standards when it comes to touring drag queen productions.
And here’s hoping that new Madonna music video is worthy of the shakeup it has created in what has become a true money-making niche for queens, their staff and the producers attempting to bring drag art to the masses.