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‘Drag Race’ Alum Rock M. Sakura Reveals Sex Worker Past to Fight Asian Hate in Wake of Atlanta Shootings

By |2021-03-18T20:31:31-04:00March 18th, 2021|National, News|

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 12 contestant Rock M. Sakura (aka Bryan Bradford) has, in the wake of this week’s alleged anti-Asian Atlanta massage parlor murders, revealed in an emotional series of tweets that prior to appearing on “Drag Race” she had engaged in sex work. 

“With the violent crimes that have been affecting the Asian community as of recently and the hate crimes that were committed last night against Asian sex workers, I wanted to come out and say that I was a sex worker, specifically working with massage, until my debut on season 12,” Sakura tweeted early Thursday. 

The Atlanta shooting rampage, which happened Tuesday and left eight people from three separate spas dead, is the latest in a severe uptick of violence against Asian-Americans. The suspect, identified by authorities as Robert Aaron Long, faces multiple counts of murder and aggravated assault. Officials have yet to identify the murder spree as a hate crime; Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, 21, claimed to have a sex addiction and saw the spas as a temptation that he was seeking to eliminate. 

The crime comes at a time when the nation has seen an unprecedented amount of unprovoked violence against Asian-Americans across the country. It’s not a coincidence that as Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, ratcheted up their rhetoric around COVID-19 and actually blamed China for it, calling it a Chinese disease, the amount of anti-Asian violence increased drastically.

In her tweets, Sakura, who is Vietnamese and Filipino, admitted to distancing herself in the past because “Sakura is not Bryan” but, instead, “my vessel for expressing my love of all things cute and kawaii, fun and wild.” Now, however, she said she felt compelled to come forward because “it’s important right now to use (Sakura’s) platform to help you realize how much this means to me.” 

Urging people to #StopAsianHate and help protect LGBTQ+ Asian-Americans, Sakura added that she could’ve been among those murdered. 

“That could easily have been me, it could easily have been people you care about and love,” she wrote. “I have felt safety in the lgbt community, while I was working. I have felt strong and supported. Please, I urge you, if you are a fan of me, of of drag, and LGBTQIA+ person or ally, please help protect our community right now. Please keep Asian people safe.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.