This is simply not acceptable.

Blogger and activist Jasmyne Cannick has been on the hit list of the fans of “performance artist” Charles Knipp, who makes a living playing clubs dressed up in blackface as Shirley Q. Liquor, ( “a welfare mother with nineteen kids who guzzles malt liquor, and drives a Caddy.”)  

In fact, Knipp’s promoter’s website once posted Jasmyne’s private email and phone number on its website, prompting threats of rape and death threats because she dared to discuss the offensiveness of the act and challenge venues not to host it. This week, Jasmyne shared the latest escalation from Knipp. It’s after the jump.Jasmyne:

So I decided, after much thought, to post the photo that Charles Knipp, aka Shirley Q. Liquor, tactlessly posted on the homepage of his website last week.

Yes, that’s my face, no that’s not my body.  That body belongs to Annie Hawkins-Turner, better known as porn star Norma Stitz, get it…enormous tits.  And while, Ms. Hawkins-Turner made a name for herself with her extremely large natural breasts, 120XXX-50-60 to be exact, I make mine from my work in politics, journalism, and social justice activism.

…This is about a man, a white man, a white gay man, who dresses up in drag and blackface for other white people, mostly gay, and mimics Black women.  This is about the fact that there was a campaign launched against him in 2007 that cost him money with canceled shows.  This is about the fact that someone took the time to report on his racist blackface minstrel act and he didn’t like it.

…If Knipp is such a bad ass, why post my photo on a porn star? All he ever had to do was just name the date time and place to debate me one on one about his racist and derogatory show. I mean after all, the man obviously has no problem dressing up and imitating a Black woman, he should have no problem debating one.

I’ve posted on the Shirley Q. Liquor controversy before, and the comments have been heated and contentious. As I said to folks who saw no harm in Knipp’s act:

A lot of the opining in defense of SQL comes from people who don’t have to live down the stereotypes EVERY DAY perpetrated by acts like this.

I thank heavens every day for someone like Oprah Winfrey, an example of black women that the dominant culture can see that shatters the backwards, poisonous stereotypes that exist out there. And as we know, even she, with more money than god, still has to deal with racism based on the stereotypes.

I still encounter people surprised at my intelligence or my ability to speak English instead of Ebonics because the stereotypes precede me. This is especially true if I’ve only talked with the person over the phone (like a vendor or business colleague) and when I meet them, it’s clear from the reaction that they had a different perception of what I was supposed to look like (i.e. white). Amusing and sad at the same time.

I also noted this act might be a celebration of something, but it isn’t black women.  The stereotypes perpetrated by SQL are still applied to most black women in the absence of enough “evidence” one-on-one to convince people that they aren’t welfare queens.

I personally don’t think Knipp should be banned from performing. On the other hand, people have a right to contact venues and express their opinions about the quality of the programming that the establishment wants to be associated with.

Do not promote bigotry – Help Cancel the Shirley Q. Liquor Show in Miami Beach, Florida April 17th and 18th.

NOTE: Shirley Q. Liquor is NOT appearing at San Jose Pride.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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