Jameela Jamil comes out after being criticized for her role as a judge on HBO's new voguing competition show, "Legendary."
On Wednesday, actress Jameela Jamil came out as queer on Twitter, after receiving plenty of backlash following the announcement that she would serve as a judge on HBO's new voguing competition show, Legendary. Jameela shared a statement to her Twitter account, revealing that she identifies as queer but that this is "not how I wanted it to come out."
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"Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer," Jameela wrote. "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. I didn't come from a family with *anyone* openly out. It's also scary as an actor openly admit your sexuality, especially when you're already a brown female in your thirties."
Jameela, who is well-known for her outspoken views on body positivity, goes on to note that she will be taking a break from Twitter. "I'm jumping off this hell app for a while because I don't want to read mean comments dismissing this. You can keep your thoughts." However, she wanted to first acknowledge the criticism she's received over her gig on Legendary, in which she will be judging eight different ballroom houses as they compete for a trophy and a cash prize. Many expressed their concerns that she was taking up undeserved space by getting hired on the show, as the ballroom scene is a predominately black and Latino subculture of the LGBTQ community. Many felt that her role should have been given to a person with a background in voguing, or at least someone within the LGBTQ community.
"I know that my being queer doesn't qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show, (as does the absolutely iconic Megan Thee Stallion,) and it's beautiful contestants and ballroom hosts," Jameela explained. "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. I'm not the MC. I'm not the main host. I'm just a lead judge due to my 11 years of hosting experience, being fully impartial, a newcomer to ballroom (like much of the audience will be) and therefore a window in for people who are just discovering it now, and being a long time ally of the lgbtq community."
Legendary starts shooting on Thursday, and will air on HBO Max later this year. As Jameela mentioned, Megan Thee Stallion will also serve as a judge on the panel, along with stylist and former America’s Next Top Model judge Law Roach, and ballroom legend Leiomy Maldonado. Ballroom veteran Dashaun Wesley will provide commentary and DJ MikeQ will handle the turntable. "I hope you don't let a few castings designed to help the show get off the ground stop you from supporting the talent from Ballroom on this show," Jameela concluded. "They really are f*cking amazing and I'm really honoured to work with them."