The drag performer who was nearly booted from a 2009 episode of The Wendy Williams Show has officially chimed in on the controversy surrounding the talk queen’s new RuPaul’s Drag Race pre-show duties.
Entertainer Erickatoure Aviance, who rose to prominence in the late 2000’s as one of New York City’s major drag queen personalities, recently sat down with close friend and fellow LGBTQ personality Jonny McGovern for an upcoming episode of the queer comedian’s YouTube chat series, Hey Qween!, to properly detail the nearly 7-year-old incident that most have taken as the biggest affront to Williams’ current position as co-host of Fierce Fridays, VH1’s newly-minted, live Drag Race lead-in.
McGovern, who was with Ericka on that fateful day and is currently employed by World of Wonder — the Los Angeles-based entertainment conglomerate that also produces Drag Race — premiered the conversation on his YouTube channel early Wednesday morning and explained that both he and Aviance were ready and waiting to be seated on Williams’ set, when a show producer first approached them and relayed that the drag queen might not be allowed inside due to her attire, a simple black dress and a normal-looking wig.
“I had [performed] the night before,” Aviance recalled, “so I just freshened [my look] up and got in a cab [to go to Williams’ show].”
“The thing is,” she continued, “the [show invite] said ‘dress to impress’ and at that time in my life, I didn’t own a ‘boy suit,’ so when I saw ‘dress to impress,’ I [thought], ‘okay, you’re getting Ericka, not Erick.'”
“It was not a crazy drag look,” McGovern interjected, “and we thought [Wendy] would get a kick out of it and even allow Ericka to [open up the show],” as it was an early norm of the talk show host to allow audience members to do so.
As the two waited to be checked in by Wendy’s staffers, an older white man who was one of Williams’ supposed show producers, allegedly pulled the pair out of line and relayed to Aviance and McGovern that the former had broken a “no costumes” edict that higher-ups installed as a way to halt people from making a mockery of the former radio DJ in her then-new role.
“At first, they were trying to figure out if I was [transgender],” Ericka went on, “because that would’ve caused a huge incident, but I wasn’t and I didn’t pretend [that I was], but I could tell where they were getting at.”
A post shared by Erickatoure Aviance (@erickatoure) on
Following a private conversation with the producer, Aviance was ultimately allowed inside, but was ostracized by staffers once again and told that she could not appear on-camera during taping.
“They moved us [twice],” McGovern mentioned, “and at that time, I [went] on social media [to share] what happened. [That’s when] the story got picked up by [the media], the ACLU and all sorts of other people.”
“It turned into this huge [thing],” Aviance added, “and I guess that didn’t reflect such a great light on everybody, so months later, I got a call from [Williams’ producers] to come back.”
The amended offering, as it turned out, was for Ericka to return to the show as a guest for Wendy’s then-upcoming Halloween-themed episode; an outcome first noted by the Inquisitr this past Tuesday by way of Adam Joseph, a musician and close confidante of both Ericka & Jonny.
Albeit understandably offended, Aviance accepted the olive branch under the condition that the matter had been wholly resolved.
“He left me a long [voice] message,” she remarked, “and said that I could come back anytime I wanted [after that], dressed in any way that I felt comfortable.”
McGovern, also under the impression that the dust has settled between Erickatoure and The Wendy Williams Show after “numerous conversations,” then reached out to producers to inquire about returning for a third time with Aviance and cast members of his former comedy series, The Big Gay Sketch Show (which also featured a then somewhat unknown Kate McKinnon of Saturday Night Live fame), which they purportedly agreed to.
Nonetheless, when a dragged-up Ericka turned up at the third taping, she was said to have been turned away once more.
“We were about to [film],” Jonny said, “and the [same] producer comes up [to me] and says, ‘your friend, Erick, is back here again in drag and we can’t let him sit in the audience.'”
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephMusic) March 28, 2017
Clearly defeated, neither Jonny nor Erickatoure stuck around for the taping.
“I was very sure [that we settled everything],” Aviance stated, “but I was dead-a** wrong.”
Incidentally, just one year after Ericka’s first attempt, the top-three finalists of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2 were allowed to open up an episode of The Wendy Williams Show, as TV.com reported.
Reps for Wendy Williams have yet to comment on the Drag Race/Fierce Fridays controversy.
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images and Santiago Felipe/Stringer/Getty Images]