Drag Race UK's Joe Black reacts to 'furious' RuPaul's H&M meltdown: 'It did seem a bit strange'

Exclusive: The twice-eliminated queen tells Attitude that on scale of one to 10, Ru's anger during the runway was at a "17".


Words: Will Stroude

"I don't want to see any f**king H&M!"

Eight words from RuPaul that will go down in Drag Race HERstory - and ones that now two-time eliminee Joe Black won't be forgetting in a hurry, either.

Following Joe's second exit from series two of Drag Race UK on Thursday night (11 February), the Brighton queen has spilled the tea on *that* unforgettable runway on the latest episode of Attitude Tea Time, in association with TAIMI, the LGBTQ Dating, Chat and Social Network App.

For those who've yet to see episode five (and if not, WHY NOT?!) here's the 411: Despite being voted back into the competition by her fellow queens following Veronica Green's unexpected departure from the workroom following a positive coronavirus test, Joe Black quickly found himself back in the bottom two this week after failing to impress the judges during this week's Eurovision-themed pop performance challenge.

Despite blowing the judges away with an incredible wind-swept, beach-inspired runway, Joe incurred Ru's wrath after admitting to the judges that his somewhat less impressive maxi-challenge outfit was an off-the-rack number from high street shop H&M, sparking that already-iconic line from Mr Charles.

While a dressing down from RuPaul is often to be expected on the Drag Race runway, the extent to which she snapped left viewers at home - and the queens left on stage - stunned.

Questioned by Tea Time host Jodie Harsh about what it really felt like to be stood up on stage in front of Ru as he made the remarks, Joe replies: "I was thinking, 'This is very dramatic, isn't it?!'.

"I mean, I've never seen pink velvet evoke such a strong emotion in someone before. I do not know what H&M have done to RuPaul, but he was not happy."

Asked how "pissed off" Ru actually seemed in person on a scale of one to 10, Joe responds that the Emmy-winning TV host was at "a 17".

However, the 31-year-old maintains that he wasn't expecting to be judged so harshly on his maxi-challenge outfit.

Image: BBC/World of Wonder/Guy Levy

"I mean, isn't there an unspoken rule that for the challenges you just kind of look a way that's vaguely appropriate for it, and that's not judged?" says Joe.

"So, it did seem a bit, you know, strange. But I'm a reasonable human and I stood there and smiled and, you know, he said what he needed to say."

Black, who only had three weeks to prepare for a possible return to the competition before filming re-started ("I wish I'd had seven months!") admits that being asked to sashay away for a second time was "so much easier" to accept than the first. 

"It was like 'I've done this before'," he explains. "After the H&M dress fiasco, I started going: 'I'm not staying, I'm absolutely not staying - [Ru's] furious, he's absolutely furious'."

Joe adds that believes it would have "unfair" on the other queens had he stayed in the competition over someone else - and that he may have been tempted to 'pull a Ginny Lemon' had his fellow bottom two queen Tia Kofi been given the boot.

Image: BBC/World of Wonder/Guy Levy

"Being completely honest, I hadn't done episodes two, three and four - how unfair would it have been if someone who'd waited those whole seven months to go back had been eliminated in place of me?" he says.

"I'm happy to have made a guest appearance... [but] I couldn't have rightfully taken someone else's place."

Joe adds: "If Tia had gone home, a part of me would have maybe done a Ginny Lemon and gone 'You know what babe? No, you stay'."

The big question remains, of course: can we expect a Joe Black x H&M collaboration in the future?

 "I'm calling, I'm calling, I'm calling," exclaims Joe. "They're just no answering the phone!"

Subscribe to Attitude on YouTube now to ensure you don't miss your weekly dose of Tea Time in association with TAIMI.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK lands on BBC Three from 7pm every Thursday, available exclusively on BBC iPlayer.