TV

Twitter Has a LOT of Feelings About HBO Max’s New Ballroom Show

Queer celebs and ball icons voiced their concerns after Jameela Jamil was announced as the "MC and judge" of "Legendary."

The history of the mainstream [read: straight, cis, and white] media appropriating ball culture is as long and complex as an Elektra Abundance high ponytail. The latest example is the upcoming HBO Max show Legendary, which certainly sounds promising:

Legendary turns modern-day ball culture into a competition, featuring divas battling on teams called “Houses” in challenges involving fashion, dance, and voguing. Each house is comprised of five performers and a leader. The nine-episode series features the teams facing off against one another for a trophy and cash prize. Each episode features a different themed ball and extensive footage of the competitors preparing behind the scenes.

So it’s basically like RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Pose. First thoughts? Here for it. Already DVR-ing it. Signed up for Season 2.

Of course, when doing a show that is so clearly beholden to the culture of a community that has historically been maligned, success and just plain fairness are determined by the inclusion and representation of its members.

HBO Max, a new standalone streaming service (because we really need more of those), has announced that Legendary’s MC and judge will be Jameela Jamil of The Good Place (R.I.P.).

Other judges include Megan Thee Stallion, Law Roach, and ball legend Leiomy Maldonado, alongside a weekly rotating guest judge, and we’ll get commentary from dancer and MC Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Jameela Jamil. Tahani Al-Jamil is a gay icon, as she would probably tell you.

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But should she be hosting a show about voguing, ballroom, and houses? The internet—most notably Queens Serving Face Angelica Ross, Trace Lysette, and Amiyah Scott, among others—thinks not.

Jamil responded to the backlash by clarifying that she is just one of the judges, blaming an incorrect press release:

And Indya Moore came out to defend the show after speaking with Jamil:

So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this turns out when HBO Max launches in May.

Still, regardless of who’s the host or MC or what-have-you, we’re excited to see legendary up-and-coming kids and their houses get a chance to snatch the spotlight. They’re the real draw—and the real stars—of the show anyway.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat