If you, like me, spent the last week watching the latest season of Netflix’s Queer Eye — the makeover reality show commonly positioned as a heartwarming bridge between people of all sexualities, backgrounds, and ideologies — in a desperate attempt to stumble into 2022 with a brain that’s been blissfully switched off, you may be familiar with the colorful “heroes” who receive the Fab Five’s attention during their whirlwind Texas tour. There’s Angel, the kind-hearted powerlifter who rocks purple highlights and 250-pound weights. There’s Josh, the conservative cattle rancher who, within minutes of meeting a group of queer people, suggests that they might do strange sexual things together in bunk beds.
And then there’s Terri White, who teaches two-step at her family’s honky-tonk, the legendary Broken Spoke in Austin. On Queer Eye, White’s journey is one of learning to communicate with her daughter so that she can better take care of her grandson. She gets vulnerable on screen. She mourns the loss of her father, the proprietor of the Broken Spoke. She tells Jonathan that she would turn gay for the hairstylist. It’s all very touching, good TV, as well as great marketing for the family business.
The Broken Spoke could maybe use it, judging from some of the reviews of the establishment and White’s dance instruction. Across Yelp, Google Reviews, and TripAdvisor, there are accusations of racism, homophobia, slutshaming, manhandling, and other unpleasant behaviors (h/t this Reddit post for surfacing some of these). Granted, there are plenty of other positive reviews, but still, something to think about:
(^ I believe this review is referring to an incident in October 2016 when a same-sex couple was reportedly asked by White’s mother, Broken Spoke co-proprietor Annetta White, to stop kissing in the venue. One of the women said that the owner approached her “after I leaned across the booth to kiss my partner and proceeded to yell at us that we could do that outside or elsewhere, but not in her bar.” Co-proprietor James White — Terri White’s father — said at the time that all couples, regardless of sexuality, are asked to stop kissing if the display is too “passionate.”)