Surprise! Jameela Jamil’s messed up again, here’s everything you need to know
People are NOT happy with her
Happy Thursday! J*meela J*mil is back in the headlines for a series of oopsies only she could manage to find herself at the centre of.
For context, the former T4 presenter was due to begin a gig on Legendary, a reality TV show which will see aspiring ballroom performers vogueing against each other for supremacy. (Think RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Pose.) A lot of people were quite peeved she ever got the gig in the first place, given she has no obvious connection to the world of ballroom, but the saga doesn’t stop there and Jameela has been steadily digging her way deeper into the hole of controversy, one deleted tweet at a time.
You might have seen hot takes flying about on Twitter about how or where exactly she’s fucked up here, but there are a lot of moving parts to this story. Here’s a condensed explainer of everything that’s gone down in this week’s episode of Jameela Jamil gets it wrong:
Jameela Jamil is announced as MC and judge of Legendary
When a show like Legendary drops, so too does a press release – a condensed explainer of the show’s key elements designed to make it easier for journalists to report (and more importantly publicise) the release.
According to Out, the document sent to members of the press read: “HBO Max announced today that actress, activist and host Jameela Jamil will MC and judge Legendary, the 9-episode unscripted voguing competition series from Scout Productions.”
The panel was also reported to feature Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado. DJ MikeQ was slated as the DJ, and Dashaun Wesley would be on commentary duties. HBO Max’s communications team tweeted this, reaffirming Jameela’s role as “MC and judge.” The story was picked up widely.
“I’m *so* excited to be a tiny part of bringing ballroom further into the mainstream where it belongs,” Jameela later tweeted. “I’m here to celebrate some of the coolest, most talented people on the planet who deserve centre stage. I’m honoured to join these brilliant artists.”
Queer people of colour criticise the choice of Jameela, claiming she’s ‘taking up space’
Whether she was the host or not, people were not happy that an apparently cis-gender heterosexual woman had been given a spot on a show which owes its identity to queer people of colour.
“So many queer black and brown queer creatives and ballroom house members could have used this type of platform,” said non-binary award-winning writer George M Johnson. “Especially one centred in our culture.”
The epitome of "taking up space". https://t.co/eYl0JfgSET
— Uncle Jayce (@JayceBaron) February 4, 2020
Trace Lysette, a veteran mother with almost 10 years’ experience, said: “I interviewed for this gig. It’s kind of mind-blowing when people with no connection to our culture get the gig.
“This is not shade towards Jameela, I love all that she stands for. If anything I question the decision makers.”
Jameela responded to Trace, claiming the two had not been up for the same role.
“I think you auditioned to be one of the house mothers,” she said. “I’m just one of the judges. Not a house mother. We weren’t up for the same thing.”
Trace denied this version of events, replying: “I don’t have audition to be a house mother… I am one.
“I remember the convo well. It was a convo in regards to be a host/producer. At least that’s what my manager at the time worked out. I never heard back. I send you love too. But I will always speak my truth.”
Jameela accuses magazines of false reporting, saying she’s ‘just a judge’ of the show
In the heat of the backlash, Jameela claimed online magazine Deadline had falsely reported that she was MC of Legendary, which she did by tweeting a screenshot of a different website’s article.
View this post on Instagram
Some articles about this got it wrong and thought I’m the MC of this show. I am NOT. I’m honoured to say I’m one of the judges on LEGENDARY as well as an executive producer. Other judges are @theestallion @luxurylaw @wond3rwoman1 and we have @dashaunwesley and @theonlymikeq as commentators/MCs. I am just trying to use my platform and privilege to make sure important stories are told about groups that society needs to know about/accept/celebrate. I had concerns at first about joining as on-camera talent, as I’m not from the world of Ballroom. But to get these shows about minorities made, sometimes you need mainstream names that can bring their followers to watch and support shows. That is what Megan Thee Stallion and I hope to bring to the ballroom community. Support, love, respect and allyship. I’m really really excited. We start shooting tomorrow and I can’t wait to show you all of the talent we are bringing to your screens soon. It’s the real ballroom community and I’m excited to share their stories and beauty with you. When this show airs this summer I hope you all love it and support this community with us. ❤️
“Deadline says I am the MC of this show!” she wrote. “I am not. I am just one of the judges. The brilliant Dashaun Wesley is.”
According to Out, the press release live on HBO’s press room that day still listed her as MC.
Jameela comes out as queer in a Twitter post and says her role in the show is necessary to get Legendary ‘off the ground’
Earlier today, Jameela posted a series of notes to her twitter announcing she is queer.
“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,” she said.
“It’s scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties.”
She adds: “I know that my being queer doesn’t quality me as ballroom, but I have a privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show, (as does the absolutely iconic Megan Thee Stallion). Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”
Despite her coming out, people still reckon she shouldn’t be on the show
Queer or not, those in Jameela’s mentions still argue the latter wasn’t the right choice for Legendary over house mothers like Trace.
“Congrats to you for sharing your truth, and welcome to community!” One user wrote. “You are still not at all right for this show, and you should step down.”
Girl bye! You never walked any balls, never did anything for the ballroom community so therefore you along with @theestallion should NOT be judging a Voguing competition. Give this to the Vogue legends!
— Bobby James (@BoomBol1) February 5, 2020
Another said: “Congrats on coming out and I’m sorry it had to be like this. But ‘it wouldn’t sell with more marginalised people so I’m going to take a place that should have belonged to them’ is a terrible response.”
Jameela’s original note says she will be taking a break from Twitter.
“We start shooting tomorrow,” she said. “To the press, I really don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just focus on the contestants of the show until it’s out.”