Watch Shea Couleé Give a Pride Month Herstory Lesson on Crystal LaBeija
RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shea Couleé is helping educate and celebrate, as Billboard Pride takes a closer look at some iconic LGBTQ heroes. In this week’s herstory lesson, Couleé breaks down who Crystal LaBeija was and why we should all know about her. If LaBeija wasn’t on your radar before, you may recognize her name from when Aja played the famous queen in “Snatch Game” on All Stars 3.
But who exactly was Crystal LaBeija? The New York queen had her breakout role in the 1968 film The Queen, in which she called out the judges, as Couleé explains, when she believed that a competition was unfair and rigged in favor of a white contestant.
The name LaBeija might also resonate as her drag daughter, Pepper LaBeija, appeared in the famous 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.
More recently, Frank Ocean sampled Crystal LaBeija on two of his tracks: “Ambience 001” and “RAF.”
Check out the video above to hear the full herstory lesson on Crystal LaBeija, and stay tuned for much more pride month content on billboard.com/pride.