Although she’s been a major staple within the LGBTQ+ community for a number of years, Ts Madison is finally being recognised as a “voice and a global phenomenon”.
Recently, the TV personality and actress has been catapulted into the pop culture zeitgeist as a recurring judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, with a role in the acclaimed black comedy Zola and as the host of The Ts Madison Experience, for which she made history as the first Black trans woman to star in and executive produce her own reality series.
This year alone, Madison will star in Billy Eichner’s historic gay comedy Bros, Gabrielle Union’s Netflix film The Perfect Find and AMC’s upcoming series Hush. Her iconic viral video, Bitch I’m Black, was also sampled on Beyoncé’s track Cozy. With its debut on the Billboard Hot 100, Madison and producer Honey Dijon became the first Black trans women to land a top 40 hit.
“As much as I go viral and I’m intertwined and contribute to the world by just being me, people still try to overlook me,” Madison says in the new issue of GAY TIMES. “For me, Beyoncé is the Michael Jackson of our time, honey.
“And for her to take a piece of my voice from a video that I used to combat racism and transphobia, it solidified me as a voice and a global phenomenon. […] I feel like I’m growing into RuPaul status.”
Renaissance has been lauded as one of Beyoncé’s finest albums to date, with fans and critics applauding the pop icon’s homage to the Black and queer pioneers of music and ballroom. Madison, who was unaware of Bitch I’m Black’s inclusion on Renaissance until two days before its release, says she “cried” when the album dropped.
“It meant so much to me that my voice was used in a statement piece like Cozy. I know Beyoncé watched me because there are things that I’ve done, like in the words she says, ‘Dancing in the mirror, kiss my scars because I love what they made,'” she explains.
“There’s videos of me dancing, talking about myself as a trans person with scars on my body. It’s like she took her time and she understood the voice she was using, and the statement she was making in this song, and she sang about our flag. I was overwhelmed with emotions. I thank her immensely for choosing me.”
Madison is continuing to make history with her role in Bros, which has been billed as the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio featuring an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast. Alongside Eichner and Madison, the film stars Bowen Yang, Guillermo Díaz, Ts Madison, Miss Lawrence, Harvey Fierstien, Symone and Benito Skinner.
“Bros is speaking to the straights; we are here, we are queer honey,” says Madison. “We have love stories and we look out for our own. What I like about the movie was that they made sure to cast every person in the film of the LGBTQIA realm, even playing the straight roles. That is important because Hollywood creates stories using cis-het people.”
Written by Eichner, with Nick Stoller, who also directed the film, Bros follows Bobby Lieber (Eichner), a museum curator who is hired to write a romantic comedy about a gay couple. He eventually meets and falls in love with Aaron (Macfarlane), a macho lawyer who is described as the “gay Tom Brady”.
Madison plays a Black trans woman called Angela, who is – as Beyoncé sings on Cozy – “comfortable in her skin”. The star adds: “She’s smart. She’s witty. She talks with her eyes and her face. She’s a spunky character and basically Ts Madison as a board member. I’m funny, even when I’m silent!”
Bros is due for release 28 October in the UK.
You can read our full interview with Ts Madison from 16 September via the GAY TIMES app, Apple News+, Readly, and Flipster.
The brand new issue of GAY TIMES also features interviews with rapper/singer Dréya Mac and Queerpiphany’s chaotic duo Munroe Bergdorf and Tayce, as well as features on the wonderful world of the UK ballroom scene and a British history of Black queer spaces over the past few decades.