Social Question

Jude's avatar

Do you find this drag queen's (a white guy) character offensive and his humor offensive?

Asked by Jude (32134points) May 10th, 2010

Shirley Q Liquor is a (white guy) drag queen who dresses up a Shirley Q Liquor (an African American woman).

More on Shirley Q:

Shirley Q. Liquor, known off-stage as Charles Knipp, is no stranger to controversy. Knipp saw an opportunity to express his satirical nature as the drag persona Shirley Q. Liquor, developing a series of live one-man shows and CD’s. Knipp and his Shirley Q. fan base see his work as comedic satire. Others take offense over the basis of Knipp’s expression. The issue? Knipp is a Caucasian man that performs in full blackface as an impoverished African-American woman living in the southern part of the U.S. named Shirley Q. Liquor. Is Knipp’s satire racist or within the bounds of comedic license?

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14 Answers

Draconess25's avatar

Everyones has their likes & dislikes. It doesn’t personally bother me.

Blackberry's avatar

I would be a hypocrite to say it’s offensive because I think it is hilarious when black and white comics make fun of white people (the classic, high-pitched ‘white guy’ voice cracks me up). So I don’t find it offensive because good comedy is often offensive to someone. he is simply not funny though, maybe if someone else did it.

Kayak8's avatar

The whole drag queen thing already allows for some crossing of some serious lines.

I am surprised that you didn’t ask if it was offensive to women, but thought that it might be offensive from a racist perspective—as both are certainly possible.

Growing up around many drag queens, it is just part of the whole “queen,” diva-like thing. I know any number of gay white men and strong African American women who share a number of characteristics and mannerisms and I love all of em!

kheredia's avatar

It’s all entertainment. I don’t take offense by any of it and quite frankly, I don’t see why people would. It’s all for a good laugh, nothing more.

MissA's avatar

Nobody is holding a gun to someone’s head to watch it.

Jude's avatar

I find him funny.

Trillian's avatar

Kinda funny. I never saw him before today. I think I recognize the name Knipp though.

Jude's avatar

Entertainer RuPaul has long been a fan and supporter of Knipp. “Critics who think that Shirley Q. Liquor is offensive are idiots. Listen, I’ve been discriminated against by everybody in the world: gay people, black people, whatever. I know discrimination, I know racism, I know it very intimately. She’s not racist, and if she were, she wouldn’t be on my new CD.”[1] In her blog, RuPaul adds: “I am very sensitive to issues of racism, sexism and discrimination. I am a gay black man, who started my career as a professional transvestite in Georgia, twenty years ago.”[2]
Boston Phoenix journalist Dan Kennedy awarded Boston government official Jerome Smith the dubious Muzzle Award for his part in leading to the cancellation of Knipp’s scheduled 2004 Boston performance.[3]
Writer David Holthouse, anti-racist investigator for the “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, stated “Knipp is not a white supremacist” and that Knipp “invites the audience to sympathize with a single Black mother.” An in-depth article was printed in the June, 2007 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.
The New York Blade criticized GLAAD for condemning Knipp, stating, “We commend GLAAD for condemning racism, but we question whether the organization’s goal is best attained by joining this particular fight.”[4]
John Strausbaugh, author of Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture, explores Liquor’s act in his book.
Knipp concedes that his performances as Shirley can make people uncomfortable. Knipp has said his show is about “lancing the boil of institutionized racism” and that “treating African Americans as if they have a disease is the real racism” because black people are “more than intelligent enough to discern the nuance” of his performances. He’s also said that “many people thought that Harriet Beecher-Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was and still is perceived as racist, despite being the probable artistic genesis of emotional support against slavery in the 19th century.”

There have been a number of articles in media that have taken issue with Knipp and the character.
To Knipp’s declaration that Liquor “was created in celebration of, not to downgrade, black women,”[5] Cannick countered in her blog: ” is not possible for Charles Knipp, a white man, to help heal years of mistreatment and racism at the hands of his people by putting on a wig, speaking Ebonics, and in blackface…There is nothing remotely uplifting about Knipp’s act and I wish people would stop defending his character with the tired argument that he’s trying to heal the nation. The only thing Knipp is trying to heal is the hole in his pocket by filling it with all of the money he makes off of degrading Black people.”[6] writer Jennifer Daniels wrote: “I have [no] intention of slinking off into some corner while some pseudo-bigot paints his face black and gets rich off spewing hurtful and embarrassing stereotypes about Black women…Knipp is free to celebrate Black women his way. That is certainly his right. But I have a right to publicly critique said celebration and encourage others not to participate.”[7] Daniels offered Knipp an interview with BET to set the record straight about his Shirley Q. Liquor character, but Knipp declined to participate, preferring an in-depth article by Rolling Stone Magazine.”

Knipp also does Betty Butterfield (a highly medicated, drop at the hat crying Southerner..)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Comedians are allowed some license to go beyond what’s sensitive and this particular ‘act’ doesn’t bother me but I can see why it would bother others.

Cruiser's avatar

Obviously many people appreciate this mans sense of humor and should not be a big deal really! People need to lighten up and the more attention they give controversial people the more their stock goes up.

anartist's avatar

Not even all that funny. didn’t listen to the whole thing but clicked off after not admiring the hats because she has to vacuum.

Kraigmo's avatar

The comedy doesn’t seem hateful so it’s not offensive at all to me. There is some talent there, but it’s boring to me. Probably cuz I have no frames of reference for whatever subtle jokes are occurring.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Not offensive and also not funny

I love drag. I may as well tell you that I love to do drag and have performed professionally but not for some time.

This queen is boring. Just plain boring.

There is one thing offensive: her makeup. It’s hideous. If African-American women should be offended, it’s at her eye shadow.

anartist's avatar

I went back and clicked on some Shirley Q Liquor vids and found them funnier this time. Watched several. The close-ups with the crude makeup were the best. The dialect worked. Some live performances showing her in an evening gown at a mike seemed to lose the flavor and much of the accent but maybe those were cases of bad acoustics. And then there were some more Shirley Qs done by a skinny white guy with no makeup. Don’t know if that is impersonator-impersonator since Knipp looked a little fat. actually how much wilder is it than My White Friend Chip

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