Make America Fierce Again: What a Ratings Surge Tells Us About RuPaul’s Drag Race

After strutting from Logo to VH1, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s ninth season premiered Friday, March 24. Critics say it’s as fabulous as ever—with a fierce cast delivering a whole new level of charisma, nerve, and talent. Viewers agree. The season premiere drew nearly 1 million viewers, more than any other episode of Drag Race. It was the most-watched show on cable TV that night, besides the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. The divas dominated Twitter, as well, trending worldwide and garnering the highest Twitter volume in Drag Race history.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: (L-R) Eureka O'hara, Peppermint, Kimora Blac, Alexis Michelle; Trinity Taylor, Shea Coulee, Jaymes Mansfield, Nina Bo' Nina Brown, Aja, Valentina, Sasha Velour, Charlie Hides and Farrah Moan attend "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 9 Premiere Party & Meet The Queens Event at PlayStation Theater on March 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

The cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race attend Season 9 Premiere Party & Meet The Queens Event at PlayStation Theater on March 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

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Logo’s Global Ally Examines the Less Sunny Side of Jamaica

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

“Growing up, my mother was always saying that [if] any of her child become gay or lesbian, she would take them out personally,” says the unidentified man in the red tank top, his head sliced from the camera shot. “Meaning she would kill us herself.”

Facing these sorts of attitudes and resorting to clandestine behavior are the reality for the LGBT community in Jamaica, where same-sex relations are scorned by an enormous chunk of the population: more than 80 percent, according to a new video from Logo’s Global Ally campaign and the Where Love Is Illegal organization, believe that homosexuality is immoral. And while homosexuality is not illegal, “acts of gross indecency” – intimate relations between members of the same sex – are.

The video, This is Who I Am: LGBTQ Stories of Survival, is the latest in Global Ally’s year-long storytelling project that launched last year on The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biophobia to unite victims, activists and supporters of LGBT rights around the world.

The Jamaica that unfolds on the video is a brutal realm where LGBT individuals often live in constant fear of violence, exiled from their families, unemployed and uneducated because they are forever shunning public places.

In an atmosphere so tainted, why, then, would anyone come out at all?

“Our personal stories, which display our humanity, are very important, because it’s not real to Jamaican people unless they know somebody who’s part of the community,” says one man, echoing Logo’s position that increased visibility of LGBT individuals – whether in one’s personal life or the media – is the best way to diffuse homophobia.

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Viacom Lands Six GLAAD Nominations Through Unifying Storytelling

From Comedy Central’s drunken reenactment of the Stonewall riots, to Nickelodeon’s normalizing portrayal of gay parents on kids’ television, to Logo’s feature of oppressed love in war-torn Iraq, Viacom was recently pinned with six GLAAD award nominations for the 28th annual ceremony.

The annual awards strive to, “recognize and honor various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives.”

Viacom’s core values of diversity and inclusion align well with GLAAD’s mission, as our networks advocate for LGBT equality both through their programming and via initiatives such as MTV’s Transgender Awareness Week campaign and Logo’s Trailblazer Honors. Several brands united behind the LGBT community in the immediate aftermath of last year’s Orlando nightclub massacre and beyond.

Check out Viacom’s nominees below and click here for a full 2017 GLAAD Media Awards nomination list.

Outstanding Documentary

The Same DifferenceCentric

In an effort to expel stigma and keep LGBT people from discriminating against one another, The Same Difference tells personal stories of the hypocrisy and division that exist in lesbian communities due to expectations and gender roles.

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Viacom Insights: Now Also in Spanish and Portuguese

by Christian Kurz, Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

International Insights Digest: January 2017

Welcome to the January issue of the Viacom International Insights Digest, bringing you Viacom’s latest consumer insights from around the world.

This month, we are pleased to announce that our insights blog is now available in both Spanish (LatAm) and Portuguese (Brazilian). A drop-down menu in the upper right corner allows for toggling between languages.

To celebrate this launch, we’re sharing new stories from the Americas on LGBT acceptance, music, cars, and personal care.

As always, the English version of our blog is home to these stories and many more.

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If You Don’t Vote for Yourself, Then Who the Hell Gonna Vote For you?

“If you can’t love yourself,” RuPaul declares at the end of each episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, “then how in hell are you gonna love somebody else. Can I get an amen?”

No reality television show seems to have resonated with the LGBT community quite like RuPaul’s Drag Race. It encourages viewers—no matter their sexuality—to love themselves, to cherish what makes them singularly precious, and not to let anybody make them feel otherwise.

It’s fitting, then, that RuPaul made a PSA for National Voter Registration Day, urging his legions of followers to get to the polls and strut their 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th Amendments—that is, by sashaying into the voting booth.

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The Loud House is Loud and Proud

Like many other kids growing up in the 90s, I loved watching Nickelodeon. No one ever offered such unfiltered and hilarious content for kids like Nick. And Nickelodeon gave us everything, just for us: Kids’ game shows with Double Dare and Figure It Out; Nickelodeon sketch comedy with All That; the news on Nick News; and our very own awards show, Kids’ Choice, where we actually got to vote for our favorite stars.

Nickelodeon’s commitment to diversity, to being for all kids, has been a major part of the brand since day one. And they took yet another step forward recently with the new animated series, The Loud House. The Loud House is about a 10-year-old boy, Lincoln Loud, who grows up in a house with 10 sisters (and only one bathroom). It’s a classic Nickelodeon setup: a chaotic nuclear family and a protagonist who only adds to the hijinks with help from his best friend, Clyde McBride.


The Loud House is mixing things up on Nickelodeon. Photo courtesy of

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Love, Family, and Pride: What Viacom Employee Lottery Winner Joseph Stefan Learned From the Trailblazer Honors

Viacom is holding a series of employee lotteries for our summer award shows. The first winner, Shannon Griffith, flew from California to Tennessee for the CMT Awards, and was enamored with Nashville’s festive atmosphere, as well as the unpredictable ceremony.

Our next show, Logo’s annual Trailblazer Honors, celebrated harbingers of social change in the LGBT community. This year’s ceremony followed an unprecedented, incomprehensible attack on the LGBT community. Logo honored the 49 victims of Orlando’s massacre throughout its ceremony, and reaffirmed its commitment to fighting intolerance.

Our latest winner, Viacom’s coordinator for content distribution sales and business development, Joseph Stefan, witnessed the momentous occasion at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I spoke to Stefan about the powerful experience.

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Singer Rachel Platten being interviewed before the Trailblazer Honors. Read More

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Stefan and Snooki bonded over memories of the Jersey Shore. Read More

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They even took a selfie together. Read More

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Celebrity stylist, Carson Kressley, and Joseph Stefan. Read More

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The cathedral of St. John the Divine was a breathtaking location for the ceremony. Read More

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Guests mingling before the ceremony. Read More

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Love for All Fankind: How Viacom and the Rest of the World United for Pride

On June 28, 1970, thousands of LGBT New Yorkers marched from Greenwich Village to Central Park to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was a gallant acknowledgment of the brutal treatment of LGBT citizens; an assertion of their human rights. The years of living a clandestine lifestyle were over—they were out, and they were proud.

Gay Rights March 1970'S. (Photo By Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

The original Pride Parade in 1970. Photo courtesy of Getty.

Since then, the LGBT community has rallied around its darkest times, including the assassination of Harvey Milk and the AIDS epidemic. Homophobic legislation, job discrimination, and repeated acts of violence have only served to fortify the movement.

Now in its 46th year, Pride marches on after the LGBT community experienced yet another devastating attack—the deadliest mass shooting in American history. On Sunday, June 26, throngs of supporters filled the streets of New York from Midtown to Greenwich Village with rainbow flags and glitter—ever the flamboyant festival, but with a somber undertone.

Photographs of the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting are laid out prior to the start of the 46th annual Gay Pride march June 26, 2016 in New York. New York kicked off June 26 what organizers hope will be the city's largest ever Gay Pride march, honoring the 49 people killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre and celebrate tolerance. / AFP / the 46th / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Photographs of the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting are laid out prior to the start of the 46th annual Gay Pride march June 26, 2016 in New York. Photo courtesy of Getty.

“This year is going to be a lot more significant, a lot more important,” said New York Pride March Director Julian Sanjivan. “It’s painful, but at the same time, we want to show it’s all about love, it’s all about equality. We’re not going to cave to fear.”

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Logo Trailblazers Make Powerful Statement on LGBT Rights in the Aftermath of Orlando Nightclub Massacre

Every year, Logo celebrates the pioneers of the LGBT community with the Trailblazer Honors. This year’s ceremony aired on June 25, barely a week after It was a night of LGBT pride, comedic interludes, and speeches by legendary honorees—but the real honorees were the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting.

The event was held in Manhattan’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, where passionate, emphatic voices resonated against the high ceilings of the stately, gothic basilica. The speakers did not plea for equal rights, they demanded them, using the platform of the Trailblazer Honors to reinforce the urgent need for LGBT protections and respect.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars Alyssa Edwards, Alaska Thunderfvck, Ginger Minj, Tatiana and Phi Phi O'Hara perform at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Alyssa Edwards, Alaska Thunderfvck, Ginger Minj, Tatiana and Phi Phi O’Hara perform at the 2016 Logo’s Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)

In addition to venerating trailblazers of the LGBT community, the Trailblazer Honors eclipsed standards in the world of broadcast communications by simulcasting with VH1—making it the largest televised LGBT Pride event in history. Thanks to this widespread coverage, Logo’s message of equality, love, and solidarity impacted a vast, worldwide audience. The Trailblazer Honors embraced the spirit of Pride with its inclusivity.

Below are some of the night’s most evocative moments.

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MTV Public Affairs Wins Golden Beacon Award for Transgender Awareness Week Campaign

Last week, the Association of Cable Communications (ACC) held their annual Beacon Awards in New York City, honoring excellence in cable communications and public affairs. On a celebratory night of inspiring programming and noteworthy wins, MTV’s Look Different Campaign: Gender Bent won the Public Service Announcement category, while MTV and Logo’s work on Transgender Awareness Week took both the Events/Observances External prize and the Golden Beacon Award.

The Golden Beacon Award win was especially noteworthy, given that it is the ACC’s highest honor, given to an initiative that makes an impact while enhancing cable’s image nationwide.

MTV’s Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo’s Rich Ferraro accepted the Golden Beacon, ascending the stage to speak more on the network’s involvement with Transgender Awareness Week and thank the ACC for the honor.

MTV Public Affairs Senior Manager Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo Senior Director of Communications Rich Ferraro accept the Association of Cable Communications Golden Beacon Award for the networks' efforts around Transgender Awareness Week.

MTV Public Affairs Senior Manager Casey Acierno and MTV and Logo Senior Director of Communications Rich Ferraro accept the Association of Cable Communications Golden Beacon Award for the networks’ efforts around Transgender Awareness Week.

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