Qmmunity: Black and Queer Creativity

Speaking to Black and Queer AF variety show host Aira Juliet about showcasing Black creativity, plus queer events coming up


Black and Queer AF host Aira Juliet and performers (l-r) Genivive Clinton, KB Brookins, Chucky Blk, Soups, Mama Duke, Stephanie Vasquez Fonseca, Irielle Wesley, and Hermajestie the Hung (Courtesy of The Little Gay Shop)

February has been a Month. And after having major surgery – I come to the Qmmunity editorship 100% boob-free! – I've been stuck at home for most of this aforementioned Month. I imagine you, dear Reader, have experienced a similar quiet period given the Omicron surge.

But the need to go out – to experience cool sh*t, to be within the community – she is stronger than ever, and few events will send off this February better than Black and Queer AF at Ani's Day & Night. Co-hosted by The Little Gay Shop, Sunday's variety show of all-Black, all-queer talent from creative fields across the spectrum promises music, poetry, comedy, drag, and more from performers like Mama Duke, Chucky Blk, KB Brookins, Irielle Wesley, and many more. (Both Duke and Blk were featured in last year's "21 Rappers to Know in '21," Music, June 25.) In addition, there will be a pre-show market of local Black vendors to shop before enjoying the performance at 4pm.

For Aira Juliet, B&QAF's curator and host, showcasing the many facets of Black creativity was the initial idea that the event grew from. Juliet spoke over email with me about her search within the Austin creative scene to find a widely talented array of artists who she connected with and wanted to platform. "I looked for Black creatives who were focused on making the community better through their art," she explains. "These are artists I respect and personally enjoy as well." In putting on the show, Juliet hopes the audience will come open-minded, experience myriad and plentiful emotions, and leave with an understanding that "the world does not move without Black Creativity."

The show's title reflects its ultimate mission, which Juliet says is to "shed light on the Black + Queer community and highlight their talent, uniqueness, nerve...brilliance." She points out that the amplification and honoring of Black voices is not an action that ends after money changes hands, or post-Black History Month – "Our Blackness isn't transactional.

"When I created Black and Queer AF," Juliet says, "I thought about how these titles have been used to tear people down [and] how we have reclaimed them and wear them as a badge of honor. These are people who have no choice but to live out their most authentic lives and in spite of that still choose to bring beauty into the world. This is something to be celebrated. This is a time to listen. This isn't a time to center yourself but to see how you can pour into a community that is thriving against all odds."

2 to Do


Black and Queer AF An all-Black and all-queer variety show, curated and hosted by Aira Juliet and featuring performances from Hermajestie the Hung, KB Brookins, Soups, Stephanie Vasquez Fonseca, Mama Duke, Chucky Blk, Irielle Wesley, and Genivive Clinton. Pre-show market of Black makers at 3pm; show starts at 4. Sun., Feb. 27, 3-6pm. Ani's Day & Night, 7107 E. Riverside. Presale, $10; $15 at door. blackandqueeraf.splashthat.com

Cara Connors: Straight for Pay This is Cara Connors' Austin stop on her Straight for Pay tour, where she riffs on life as a "multifaceted homosexual with an ass that won't quit." Featuring local comedian and Buzzmill Honeydip host Angelina Martin. Sat., Feb. 26, 10-11:30pm. Fallout Theater, 616 Lavaca. Presale, $15; $20 at door. falloutcomedy.com/shows/cara-connors-straight-for-pay.

Q'd Up

BookWoman BookGroup This Thursday's discussion is on All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. Thu., Feb. 24, 7-8:30pm. Virtual. fb.com/events/229912079333977.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Watch Party Watch this season's contestants battle it out for the title of America's Next Drag Superstar. Through April 8. Fridays, 7-8pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue That famous burlesque revue in the Ballroom's classy cabaret setting. Fri., Feb. 25, 8-10pm. The Ballroom at Spiderhouse, 2906 Fruth St. $20-$140. thejigglewattsburlesque.com.

Kingdom Behold the majestic sights and sounds of drag royals Brigitte Bandit and Channing Ate'Em at this happy hour sensation hosted by Alexander the Great. Fridays, 9-10:30pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. No cover. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Die Felicia! Die Felicia's thrills and chills return to the Elysium stage. Fri., Feb. 25, 10pm. Elysium, 705 Red River, 512/478-8385. $10. fb.com/diefelicia.

6th Annual Lez Prom Break out the corsages for the sixth annual Lez Prom. Sat., Feb. 26, 7pm-12mid. Sterling Event Center, 6134 Hwy. 290 E., 512/261-0142. Individuals, $30; four pack, $100. fb.com/events/2798924443733914.

Paws on Fourth: Pup Night Fourth Street goes to the kinky pups every fourth Saturday. Drink specials, plus a puppy play area. Sat., Feb. 26, 9:30pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. No cover. fb.com/sirratleather.

Bear Beer Bust Iron Bear's beer bust brings all the boys to the bar. Specials on select pints and pitchers. Sundays, 2-9pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. fb.com/theironbearatx.

Frida Friday ATX x Wanderlust Wine Co. A collaboration market & brunch with drag from Cheeki Khant and Scarlett Kiss. Sun., Feb. 27, noon-4pm. Wanderlust Wine Co., 610 N. I-35. instagram.com/fridafridayatx.

Vixens of Volstead Drag Brunch Chase away the Sunday Scaries. Sundays, noon-4pm. Volstead Lounge, 1500 E. Sixth, 512/680-0532. No cover. fb.com/volsteadlounge.

No Bottoms Sunday A post-brunch drag show hosted by Brigitte Bandit and Noodles, where the mimosas are bottomless. Sundays, 6pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $20 for bottomless mimosas. instagram.com/cheerupcharlies.

Noche Latino Sunday fungay featuring Latinx music hits all night. Sundays, 10pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

New Year, Queer Me: What I Need, Want, & Deserve Share what sort of wellness programming you'd be interested in seeing from allgo. Mon., Feb. 28, 6-7:30pm. Online. fb.com/allgoqpoc.

RuPaul's Drag Race: UK Versus the World Watch Party Host Cheeki Khant kicks the night off with a viewing party for RuPaul's Drag Race: UK Versus the World, followed by Sing Out! Tuesdays, 9-10:30pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. Free. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Queeraoke Belt out your favorite jams with your host CupCake. Tuesdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5. fb.com/swandiveaustin.

Divina: Noche Drag Latinx Hostess Tatiana Cholula and special guests serve an evening of Latinx queerness. Wednesdays, 9-11pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth, 512/320-8823. fb.com/divinaaustintx.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQIA, LGBTQIA, Black and Queer AF, Aira Juliet, Black History Month, KB Brookins, Chucky Blk, Irielle Wesley

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