After receiving backlash for her leading role in” Legendary,” an upcoming HBO Max series featuring ballroom competitions, Jameela Jamil has come out as queer.⠀⠀
Jamil announced Tuesday on her social media that she would be one of the judges for the show, which includes other judges and hosts such as instructor Dashaun Wesley and Megan Thee Stallion.
Jamil, whose parents are Indian and Pakistani, posted a statement Wednesday in which she said she struggled for many years to “officially” come out due to fear that she wouldn’t be accepted in the South Asian community. “The Good Place” actress added a rainbow emoji to her Twitter name years ago but “kept it low.” “This is why I never officially came out as queer,” she wrote. “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.”
Many felt that despite Jamil’s comments, her place as a judge was inappropriate as voguing has its roots in the LGBTQ community. The dance style was part of drag competitions popularized by queer people of color and became entrenched in the community’s culture. Some critics felt that the actress taking the role was a direct contradiction to the brand of activism she has created for herself.
However, in response, Jamil shared her truth, all while acknowledging that her sexual status still did not qualify her for ballroom.” 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 the show, (as does the absolutely iconic Megan Thee Stallion.)”
Jamil has become increasingly popular as she has called out other celebrities and companies for perpetuating toxic body expectations and cultural insensitivity.
In the wake of the backlash, HBO Max has also released a statement, clarifying Jamil’s involvement. “Yesterday, HBO Max was excited to announce Dashaun and Jameela’s involvement in the series’ Legendary.’ For clarity, Dashaun is the series’ MC/Commentator, and Jameela heads up the panel of judges alongside Leiomy, Law, and Megan,” the statement read.
— Jameela Jamil ? (@jameelajamil) February 5, 2020