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The ‘Queer Eye’ Cast Selects Five Fab Songs for LGBTQ Pride Month

Just how many Strokes T-shirts does Antoni Porowski own?

'Queer Eye' Cast Selects Five Fab Songs for LGBTQ Pride Month

The stars of Netflix's 'Queer Eye' – Bobby, Karamo, Tan, Antoni and Jonathan – select five of their favorite empowering songs.

Throughout the mid-2000s, Emmy Award-winning makeover show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy enriched the lives of many a slovenly New York resident. Yet over a decade since its final season, the show got a more flexible reboot in the 2018 series Queer Eye, which debuted this Feburary on Netflix. Now set in the lush state of Georgia, a new generation of pals with roots in Middle America are dispatched to alter the lives (and outlooks) of Southerners, their families and communities. The updated Fab Five comprises interior design maven Bobby Berk; culture guru Karamo Brown, sartorialist Tan France; foodie Antoni Porowski and groom master Jonathan Van Ness. In the second season, which dropped this month on Netflix, the Fab Five return to the Dirty South with lessons to impart – and this time, lessons to learn for themselves.

“Our roles got a little reversed this time, which was really nice and special,” Bobby Berk tells Rolling Stone. “The first episode, we actually get to help our first woman. And it’s very transformative because, not only do we help her, but she helps us as well. We also help our first trans guy, which we’re all very proud of. Even though we’re part of the LGBTQ-plus community, we don’t really know all the struggles that individual groups go through. And it was really nice that we were all able to help Skyler, but also get a little education and knowledge from him and in turn share that with the world – in hopes that our trans brothers and sisters have a little less struggle. Because, when people are educated about things, they are more apt to accept them.”

On Thursday night, the Queer Eye crew dropped a bonus episode set in rural Australia – that is, literally, a town named Yass – in which they help a single father and rancher get his groove back. Tune in via Netflix to catch some tear-jerking, teachable moments, Antoni’s indie rock T-shirt collection, plus a bluegrass-disco remix of the original Queer Eye theme.

Destiny’s Child, “So Good”

Bobby Berk: “A song that is inspirational, and iconic to me from Destiny’s Child, and it’s called “So Good.” A lot of us growing up have those haters; the haters who told us that we wouldn’t make it, that we weren’t going to do anything good. The song starts out with: “This is for you haters who said I wouldn’t make it/now I’m selling platinum and now you can’t take it.” It gets back at those haters – I just want to remind people not to believe the haters! Stay positive and keep trucking along, work hard and you’ll prove them all wrong.”

Britney Spears, “Work B**ch”

Karamo Brown: “My pick is by the iconic Britney Spears, and the song is “Work B—” – I don’t want to say that! But what I love about that song, is first of all, it’s Britney. And as much as people hate on Britney, I am just like that guy in that closet years ago – the one who made the viral video ‘Leave Britney Alone.’ Chris Crocker? I mean, in all sincerity, he was saying to have empathy for somebody because you don’t know what they’re going through. And I think that’s what’s special about that video – it’s Britney’s comeback. She’s saying whatever you want in life – if you work at it, you can get it. And not just materialistic things – even though she describes materialistic things, I think about the times in my life where I wanted to be happier, I wanted to surround myself with a family that loved me. All you have to do is put in the work, and have faith, and it will happen. Sitting at home complaining is not ever going to help. And Britney – she worked it out, and now she’s flipping her hair in Vegas. I have seen that show, and yes, I loved it.”

Beyoncé, “Freedom”

“Mine is Beyoncé’s “Freedom.” When I’m on that treadmill at the gym, that’s the song that gives me the extra boost, but it represents so much. It’s for anybody who feels like they’ve been oppressed in their lives, who are being oppressed – and they want to fight for more, they want to fight for equality. That’s how I feel when I listen to that song. I know that the album came out a couple years ago, but I still listen to it every week, when I’m at the gym. And I’m not one of those people who can just run. I need to feel pumped, I need to feel like I’m on a mission. When we’re running three miles every day, it makes me want to push harder and really break down those boundaries.”

Jazmine Sullivan, “Dream Big”

Jonathan Van Ness: “I am all about Jazmine Sullivan! One thing I love about her in general is that she speaks to things that are going on, and she makes it relevant through amazing music. You know, like, ‘We’ve got to fight against this culture!’ But a song that’s really come full circle for me right now, is “Dream Big” from her first album, Fearless. That song came out when I was moving from Arizona to L.A. for the first time. I was becoming an assistant [at the Sally Hershberger Salon] and was just like, handling those “becoming assistant” vibes. There were some really big names there; I was working super long hours, and – moving to a big city was so scary! It was all very challenging, but taught me how to do a quality level of hair that got me to where I am now. That album is still so relevant for me, I go back to it all the time. But lately that song will turn me into a blubbering mess, even though she’s also really empowering to me!”

Richard Ashcroft, “Science of Silence”

Antoni Porowski: “Um, continuing with the trend of the female pop stars [laughs], I’m choosing Richard Ashcroft! He’s a British icon. This song’s off his album Human Conditions; it was the second single, “Science of Silence.” I probably discovered the song a couple years before my first relationship with a man. I think it’s a song about the process of self-discovery. And there’s a line in there that I really love: “I need no words to define myself.” And it’s just about figuring out the process, how it all sort of starts as an inside job. And then finding love in another person and sort of evolving by falling for somebody. By falling for a man, and being in love with a man, I was able to accept the fact that I was gay, and it made it okay – because it was someone that I really loved and respected. I don’t think that’s what Richard Ashcroft had in mind when he wrote the song, but that’s how I interpreted it. It’s a very psychological song, which is very much on par with my inclinations.”

BONUS QUESTION: How many Strokes T-shirts do you own?
“I actually own five, but I’ve given away three of them. When we [started] the show, my style was jeans and T-shirts, and we wanted to spice it up a little bit … I wanted to promote some bands I love, like the National, whose shirt I wear in Season Two. And I love the Strokes, I’m obsessed with them, so our stylist contacted [The Strokes]’ manager to let the band know – and apparently they were, like, familiar with the show and were super supportive! They sent actual T-shirts that I got to wear – which was the closest I’ve ever gotten to Julian Casablancas, minus the three times I’ve seen him in concert.”