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Blackface Drag Queen Set To Perform in Northern California

NOTE FROM PAM:I can't believe this guy Charles Knipp, who performs in blackface as Shirley Q. Liquor, an “inarticulate black welfare mother with 19 children,” has an audience. We've covered this horrorshow before. Knipp has the right to perform of course; but he just can't expect a supportive environment as he reinforces negative stereotypes of black women in order to make a living.

Please sign our petition to the Russian River Resort in Guernville to cancel blackface drag queen Shirley Q. Liquor.

Shirley Q. Liquor is a drag persona played by Charles Knipp. Knipp performs in blackface as an exagerated stereotype of a black “welfare queen.”  There is no point to this performance other than to get cheap laughs. While we can support intelligent comedic analysis of oppression, racism, and race relations we cannot and will not support this modern day minstrel show.

To have a blackface performer at an event called “hurricane” weekend on Juneteenth (June 19, 2010) is offensive and racist. Also tell Russian River Resort what you think on their facebook page!



October 28, 2002

Earlier this month the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force joined a New York coalition of organizations in condemning the racist drag performances of “Shirley Q. Liquor”. Chuck Knipp is a gay white man who performs in blackface as the drag queen persona “Shirley Q. Liquor”. His act caricatures an impoverished Black woman and draws from a number of stereotypes about African Americans. Shirley Q. speaks pidgin English, spends her days waiting for government checks to arrive in the mail, and has dozens of children (some named after venereal diseases), the fathers of whom are unknown to her.

In addition to Chuck Knipp's performances at entertainment venues across the U.S., the Shirley Q. Liquor personality is also aired on radio stations, and Shirley Q. merchandise is sold online. Although the Shirley Q. website is intermittently operative (when operative it can be found at, the merchandise remains on sale at, where Shirley Q. greets visitors with the caption “Hello, baby! How you durrin? Welcome to my boutique of ignunce – please do not shoplift while you is up in here!”. As part of its national response, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has contacted and asked that they immediately remove all Shirley Q. Liquor products from their website.

New York

An ad-hoc coalition of New York groups came together to protest Chuck Knipp's performance at a gay bar in New York on September 13th (see their press release) and to compose an Open Letter to LGBTST Communities Help End Shirley Q. Liquor's Gay Exploitation of Racism, Sexism & Poverty for Profit. Although Knipp has previously performed across the south, his New York performance was the first in a current national tour and drew 50 demonstrators. When police arrived, they shut down the bar and threatened demonstrators with arrest. Please see the Preface to the Open Letter for rebuttal information to accusations of censorship. The New York ad-hoc coalition and supporters of the demonstration include: Audre Lorde Project, African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change, Fierce!!, New York State Black Gay Network, New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, People of Color in Crisis, and Unity Fellowship Church of Christ.


GLAAD: 2007

“While our work at GLAAD is about promoting fair, accurate and inclusive media representations of the LGBT community, this issue has risen to a level of visibility and importance that we feel compelled to add our voice to those speaking out against this awful portrayal,” Giuliano said.  “Based on what we have heard from community members and read about this character, we are joining those taking a stand against Knipp's offensive caricature.”

“We recognize that this performer has a right to free speech and expression, but we also have the right to condemn his performance and speak out against this harmful depiction,” Giuliano added.  “This performance perpetuates ugly racial stereotypes that are offensive, hurtful and simply unacceptable, and we are urging our constituents to visit so that they can express their concerns to the venues at which Knipp is expected to perform in the coming months.”

Jasmyne Cannick:

“…The same can’t be said of Charles Knipp’s Shirley Q. Liquor character that is demeaning, disrespectful, and racist by virtue of the fact that he is a white man in blackface that is using the most negative stereotypes of Blacks to entertain other whites.  Stereotypes that are based on traits that can be directly traced back to the history of racial discrimination faced by Blacks from whites in this country.  ”



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