RuPaul: "I choose projects that excite me."

During #PrideMonth, we thought it only fitting to celebrate some of our very best content spotlighting the LGBTQ+ experience.

RuPaul is widely regarded globally as a bold voice of change and authenticity, and we are sharing a bit more on his film from the 90's Red Ribbon Blues.

If you are hoping for a full drag, over the top dance sequence starring RuPaul in all his fabulousness, please watch his eight time Emmy winning Rupaul's Drag Race or To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, which incidentally came out the same year. No pun.

Red Ribbon Blues is an action dramedy about four friends who take to ripping off pharmacies so they can procure impossibly expensive HIV medication in an attempt to distribute it to those who can't afford it. Like most people!

RuPaul is Duke, an L.A. art gallery owner whose partner is starting to slip in to dementia due to complications around HIV. They start contemplating all kinds of illegal activity in order to get the drugs they need to save lives!

With RuPaul playing lookout, he and his friends start a crime spree. They leave red HIV ribbons behind at the crime scene as the media calls them the “Red Ribbon Bandits” and “the Robin Hood of the ’90s.” Their social action inspires others to protest the unfair drug pricing. It's strong social commentary represents a time when HIV drug policies created were wildly discriminatory.

The commentary here is as relevant as ever. Even in 1996, gainfully employed high income earning HIV-positive people did not pay for their HIV meds with their employer’s insurance for fear retaliation or being outed at work. The irony here is not lost as even today, discrimination in the workplace runs rampant despite the laws and the progress. Just yesterday RuPaul tweets his desire to "empower members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community to bring their authentic selves to work."

Years ago RuPaul also commented on the work he does and his approach:

"What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn't change what I decide to do. I don't choose projects so people don't see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system."

The world of work has changed far less than progress has pushed for and we just hope this little slice of nostalgia helps remind us of the progress we HAVE made but how much further we have to go.

Red Ribbon Blues stars RuPaul and Debi Mazar and has just been fully restored to beautiful 4K. We hope you enjoy.

Stream more free, 4K, LGBTQ+ content on TheArchive's Roku channel.

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