Qu’art and CAM join forces in Black Friday Marketplace and Ball
Last weekend it was all about strut, vogue, pose and style. Qu'art, did its thing at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Qu’art (pronounced “quart”), focuses on queer art and social change.
Once again, the organization — founded by Maxi Glamour, a non-binary community activist — pulled together an evening of Black liberation and empowerment, while amplifying Black queer voices and artists. Alas, this year’s event came to its audience via Twitch, thanks to the ongoing pandemic.
Qu’art was founded six years ago by Glamour to focus on queer people through art. The organization works to help people become engaged in civil discourse about politics, using art as a vehicle for getting them in.
“2020 has been a ruckus for everyone in the world especially Black queer people,” Glamour said in an interview. “We’re going to uplift Black artists, uplift Black voices, and uplift Black people focusing on marginalized queer folks.”
The electrifying event echoed the importance of supporting Black queer artists by buying their art. This year’s featured artists were Annie Kern, Asia Johnson-Brimmage, Kyla Hawkins, Ki Patrick, Ori Tala, Mya Stevens and Tiélere Cheatem. Several participants said they enjoy incorporating the Black experience into their art, from the routine to the intergalactic.
“In my art I like to capture the Black experience because if you look at history Black people either haven’t been represented in art or have been represented in ways that are stereotypical,” Johnson-Brimmage said. “It’s an image that you get tired of seeing.”
Drag performers Majic Dyke, HarleyQuin Chesire, Glamour, Zoe Meltdown, The Vixen, Shigo Ladurée,and TiKi Vonté each commanded high-pumping, adrenaline-driven performances.
In a black and white visual, Dyke lip-synched the lyrics to Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA,” decked out in Egyptian attire, looking regal and seated on a throne. Their portrayal paid homage to images from the single’s video.
Chesire reimagined the fictional DC Comic character Harley Quinn with a more eclectic appeal, sporting hot pink hair with a bevy of multicolored bows.
Not to be outdone, Vonté coordinated their blue and white outfit with balloons of the same colors and used them as props to pop during their athletic performance.
Glamour, the master of ceremonies, wore a gold and burgundy Victorian-themed gown. Augmenting their gown was an overdramatic, diamond-encrusted tiara with big hoops and long, cascading tresses.
Kelly Rowland’s “Coffee,” blared in the background of Ladurée’s beachy vibes to allow for three wardrobe changes that included a crocheted swimsuit and mountains of straight and curly hair.
Over-the-top fun continued as The Vixen showcased her fancy “Tea Party,” in mismatching prints and bold wigs.
Meltdown channeled their inner schoolgirl-meets-goth in an outfit, very reminiscent of the early 2000s.
In a much tamer portion of the evening, Glamour moderated a video panel with Phillipe Cunningham, Minneapolis City Council member — the first and only trans man of color elected to office in the United States; The Vixen, past participant in the 10th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and producer of the drag show ‘Black Girl Magic’; and Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis, which focuses on the fight against systemic racism and violence.
When asked how queer people can combat oppression, The Vixen replied, “As long as people can be treated in a certain way it doesn’t matter if you’re one of those people, as long as that is normalized, it could happen to you.”
“You must lead with empathy, knowing that if a woman is in danger it’s a slippery slope until any other minority could be [at risk].”
Meko Lee Burr took honors as narrator for the vogue and ball competition that closed out the evening. Midwest Mother Vanessa Ebony took the crown for Vogue Performance and Blaze Revlon killed the Runway.
Art may be purchased through CAM’s Black Friday Marketplace at