Bebe Zahara Benet, born Nea Marshall Kudi Ngwa, hails from France by way of West Africa’s Republic of Cameroon. As a child in Cameroon, Marshall realized that the roles of males and females were predefined and there was no mixing the two. His affinity towards make-up, clothes and hair were considered taboo. There was no drag culture in Cameroon.
Marshall made his way from Cameroon to the runways of France. When one of the female models failed to arrive, Marshall stepped out of his trousers and into an elegant evening gown then walked the runway impersonating a female. It was at that moment when the gorgeously-graceful, creatively-elegant, Bebe Zahara Benet was born.
Coming to the United States, Bebe was disappointed to see many of the same issues she faced in Cameroon. The disappointment turned into a passion and since she has arrived, she has delighted audiences by bringing a strong, bold, beautiful and entertaining character. BeBe was the winner of the inaugural season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and has gone on to release two dance hits.
BeBe has used her platform as America’s Drag Superstar to educate individuals on the pride and dignity found in the art of drag and sharing the message that dressing up for a living does not make him less of a man. She challenges people to stand tall and find excitement in what they do.
“I never use the word tolerance when it comes to talking about diversity. Tolerance is when you deal with people because you have to. We are not here to tolerate each other. We are here to accept and work with our differences and similarities. Acceptance, respect and encouragement is what diversity means to me. We must move beyond tolerance. Until we do, the hate crimes, bullying and suicides will continue.”