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Is Manila Luzon's Barbra Streisand Impression Anti-Semitic? Alexis Michelle Weighs In

Is Manila's Barbra Impression Anti-Semitic? Alexis Michelle Weighs In

Is Manila's Barbra Impression Anti-Semitic? Alexis Michelle Weighs In

The All Stars 4 snatch game performance caused quite a stir in the Jewish community.

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Impersonation was the name of the game on last week's episode of RuPaul's Drag RaceAll Stars 4. The Snatch Game episode has become a staple in the reality competition series, where the queens dress up as famous female celebrities for a hilarious improvisational battle of wits.

While drag queens are known for their boundary-pushing, especially in comedy, the show as a whole occasionaly slips into insensitive and offensive minefields. "Snatch Game of Love" ignited several debates online about the portrayals of two queens in particular.

Many thought Gia Gunn's impression of Cardi B's nail stylist Jenny Bui was stereotypical and borderline racist, including Bui herself. "I’m honored to be featured on last nights episode of @Rupaulofficial," she wrote on Instagram. "Unfortunately that’s not my accent, and the only thing off the boat is the 'fresh' tilapia that you are allegedly serving."

Manila Luzon also caused a stir in the Jewish community with her impersonation of music legend Barbra Streisand, complete with a large prosthetic nose. Alma, an online publication for "ladies with chutzpah," calls Luzon's prosthetic "the kind of nose that’s often associated negatively with Jews," as well as pointing out her affected "Coffee Talk voice that doesn’t sound like Barbra at all. It’s just how people make fun of Jews.”

Twitter users also had issues with the prosthetic. "As a Jew, I can't ignore this," said one tweeter. "If the nose actually looked anything like Barbra's, I wouldn't have minded as much. It was so much bigger, so much more beak-like, and reminded me of a Merchant of Venice caricature." Another commenter called it a "lazy, non-funny costume bad idea with a depressing history that is the opposite of celebratory."

Drag Race season 9 alum Alexis Michelle chimed in on the conversation earlier today on Facebook. 

I was asked about this yesterday so here’s what I have to say.

I didn’t find Manila Luzon' portrayal of Barbra to be anti-Semitic, at all.

First off let me say, I’m the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, and rather sensitive to anti-semitism. I was recently at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem, where I was reminded of the exaggerated illustrated propaganda used against Jews before and during the Second World War.

To the specific point of the nose, I myself have dressed as Barbra a few times and always struggle to find the right way to achieve her most iconic feature. There isn’t a prosthetic out there that accurately captures her beautiful nose, trust I’ve looked. The best way to achieve it in my experience is a combination of an Aquiline nose prosthetic and some additional nose/scar wax to achieve Barbra’s signature bridge. It’s not easy! It takes time, climate control and precision...three things that you rarely are afforded on drag race. Manila needed something she could just pop on and be immediately identifiable, which she was.

To her portrayal. It was broad, stereotypical and COMEDIC. Did it look like real, life-like Barbra? No. But we instantly knew who she was. Stereotypes are funny because they’re based on truths. I considered doing Barbra for Snatch Game but knew she’d be hard to make funny without going big and caricature like. I can’t say how mine would have fared but it wouldn’t have been as big as Manila’s and for that I applaud her. Go big or go home right?!

It’s not for me to say what others should or shouldn’t find offensive, I just wanted to raise my Jewish voice and say I didn’t mind it and I could see Manila’s love of the one and only Streisand in her portrayal.

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!