I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the near complete news blackout related to the performance of Chuck Knipp aka Shirley Q. Liquor here in Chicago [ recently ] . I happened to find mention of Mr. Knipp's visit to the Windy City myself through the Chicago Reader. As a Black same-gender-loving male, I am deeply offended that such a person should be invited to perform his offensive act in a city that is close to 40% African American.
Mr. Knipp, who describes his show as a tribute to Black women of the south, appears to know very little of the culture for which he claims to represent and honor. As a Southerner, I am quite familiar with the Black women that Mr. Knipp has decided to ridicule in his act. These were the women in my family, friends and people in my community. They were women who worked hard, devoted lives to their families and communities while asking for very little in return. It is extremely disappointing to me that a group which has found itself on the receiving end of behavior by the dominant society whose sole purpose was to humiliate and shame should then actively engage in similar treatment of another marginalized group. I have learned to steel myself over the years to the slights, erasure, and disdain directed at myself and other people of color when moving within the White-dominated Gay subculture, but refuse to sit in silence while such an attack is directed at individuals because they are Black and women.
Mr. Knipp displays a hatred and contempt for Black people in general and Black women in particular bordering on the pathological. His use and misuse of pop icon Ru Paul is especially disturbing. It appears in order to degrade an entire class of people one needs only to hide behind the skirts of a confused Black transvestite. This is an old trick that has been used effectively against Gays and Lesbians but appears be just as potent today. I would hope that my letter and Chuck Knipp's visit generates some much-needed discussion on the issues of racism, sexism, and class elitism within the 'Gay Community.'
Sylvester L. Scott, Evanston