Shirley Q. Liquor Celebrates Racism and Gets (Gay) Applause

February 27, 2008 at 9:48 am 12 comments

White gay men talk a good game about how much they love strong Black women like Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige and Janet Jackson. But when it really comes down to it white gay men consider the lives of Black women spectacle to entertain themselves with and in the case of the white man in blackface known as Shirley Q. Liquor to denigrate, humiliate and profit from. Shirley Q. Liquor is in the words of the self-described “forty-five-year-old, fat, gay white man” who created the character “a welfare mother with nineteen kids who guzzles malt liquor, and drives a Caddy.”

I had not thought much about Shirley Q. Liquor until blogger/activist Jasmyne Cannick brought him to my attention with her post My Apologies to Black Women for Gay America and Charles Knipp. Knipp is the “forty-five-year-old, fat, gay white man” who created Shirley Q. Liquor. He likes to justify his “comedy” by saying that his performances are about “lancing the boil of institutionized racism.” I guess that’s why he gave Shirley Q. Liquor nineteen kids with names like Cheeto, Orangello, Chlamydia, and Kmartina. Because performing a character in blackface based on Ronald Reagan’s grotesque image of a “welfare queen” and having her name her kids after STDs is really how to break down racist stereotypes and prejudices.

I have never been under the illusion that white GLBT people had nearly as much respect for racial and ethnic diversity as they claim. Just look at virtually any non-people of color specific gay media and you would think with all of the snow that we had descended into a permanent ice age. But, the fact that this kind of obviously racist drivel is celebrated by white gays even as they get in a hissy fit over the white gay teens on As the World Turns not being able to kiss makes my stomach churn.

Where is the kind outrage that white gays expressed justifiably expressed over Donnie McClurkin’s appearance at a Obama campaign event over Charles Knipp’s exploitative and offensive performances?

Jasmyne has more, much more on Shirley Q. Liquor and her white gay following.

Entry filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Hypocrites, LGBT, Pop Culture, Race, Video, YouTube. Tags: , , , , , .

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeremy/ G-A-Y  |  February 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Michael: Let’s just please be careful about lumping white LGBT people into one box. This white gay man could not be more supportive of Jasmyne’s efforts on this, yet the generalizations about how I supposedly view the problem of racism within our community almost makes me feel like I’m not welcome to join her fight.

  • 2. How You Durrrren? « Maxine’s House of Ill Repute  |  February 28, 2008 at 7:43 am

    […] our friend, Michael Crawford, over at the Bloggernista, wrote a scathing editorial about Miss Shirley Q. Liquor and how indicative her act is of racism in the gay […]

  • 3. Michael Crawford  |  February 28, 2008 at 8:39 am


    You are most welcomed as a white gay man in joining efforts to challenge racism.

    It is definitely true that not all white gays are amused by Charles Knipp’s “comedy” and nor are all white gays racist.

    It boggles my mind that some gay people can laugh at, support and celebrate something that is so obviously racist and hurtful. That has to be challenged and I appreciate the work that you do to help.

  • 4. Jeremy/ G-A-Y  |  February 28, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Well that’s the thing — I know that you (and Jasmyne) know that not all white gays are supportive of Liquor (or liquor , for that matter), and that not all white gays are racist. That’s exactly why I don’t want to see this effort turned unnecessarily divisive because some interpret it as painting gay white men in an unfair box.

    I say this in part because I was in a discussion forum yesterday where someone had posted Jasmyne’s article. At least 75% of the ensuing replies were along the lines of “How dare she be so unfair to white gays?” which prevented rational discussion of the actual issue at hand.

  • 5. Cocokirby03  |  February 28, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t think anyone is trying to foster divisiveness in this conversation or in this empowerment movement. It seems to me that people just want to make people accountable for their actions. The group most responsible for racism in the gay community is white gay people… I don’t think anyone is despiting that. When the source is called out, I think it has a much greater effect on everyone. Even anger on the part of the oppressor is part of a change.

    In my experience as a man and as a growing ally to women, it has been really empowering for women around me and liberating for me to hear that men are perpetrating most of the violence against women, that we are the oppressor. It makes clear my role in societal change – question my behavior, listen to women, educate other men, and address overt/covert and personal/institutional oppression as I can.

    In calling out the white gay community, I believe that is the intention. Make people aware of the dynamics at play so they can figure out their role in change.

  • 6. Cocokirby03  |  February 28, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    A post I wrote a while back about blackface…hmmm

  • 7. Michael Crawford  |  February 29, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Well said Cocokirby03.

  • 8. invisiblewoman  |  March 1, 2008 at 5:32 am

    GREAT point cocokirby03.

  • 9. My Ignunce « Maxine’s House of Ill Repute  |  March 7, 2008 at 4:18 am

    […] my apologies to Bloggernista.  I get it, […]

  • 10. Mr. Wack  |  June 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    “(some) white gay men consider the lives of Black women spectacle to entertain themselves with”

    Absolutely. I cannot tell you how many times I have been around this kind of attitude. It is more than infuriating to hear the liberty with which people who have this bizarre attitude perpetuate racist memes and stereotypes.

    From the finger-snapping and catch-phrasing to “booty-dancing” and botched ebonics, I have become more and more aware of this phenomenon among some in the white gay community. And it is NOT ok.

    “He likes to justify his ‘comedy’ by saying that his performances are about ‘lancing the boil of institutionized racism.’

    What? Since when was blackface ever empowering? Since when was ridiculing black women empowering? This is horrible. I think he is fortunate that his performances and identity are kept within the gay community, because if he DARED to do any shows where black people were present, I don’t think he would be doing it any more.

    This exposes the privilege enjoyed by the white gay community. This is evidence that race is definitely NOT the same thing as sexual orientation or class.

    Also, this makes me sick to my stomach as a human being.

  • 11. Christian  |  June 17, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Based upon both my own experiences and encounters that I’ve witnessed during the last 26 years in San Francisco, I can attest to the fact that racism permeates the white gay community, as well as the white straight community. I am puzzled by the assumption that many white gay men embrace that given their own status as oppressed within this society, it is not possible for them to hold racist views. As evidenced by the rapturous reception given to Shirley Q. Liquor by predominately white gay audiences throughout the country, and the pitched battles necessary to ensure that non-whites could enter such gay establishments as Badlands without producing multiple pieces of ID, this falsehood must be vociferously rejected. At the same time, I’ve repeatedly seen no doubt sincere attempts on the behalf of white gay men and lesbians to address this racism rejected out of hand by gay men and lesbians of color, who insisted that the Anglo brothers and sisters were simply attempting to assuage their guilt over the treatment of non-whites in this country. (At the same time, the self-righteousness of many so-called “white anti-racist activists” drives me up the wall). Racism is a very tangled psychic, social and political web in this country, and perhaps all of us should cut each other a little slack and engage in honest, respectful dialogue with one another. Only in this manner can we ultimately defeat racism and relate to one another on the basis of mutual respect and love.

  • 12. haha  |  November 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm



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