More than 100 Black artists are set to participate in the 3-day Black Valentine Cabaret, to spotlight drag performers, burlesque dancers, DJs, musicians, and bands. This is the first official event from the Chicago Black Drag Council, with 11 shows and 7 DJ/band/musician set.
The Black Valentine Cabaret is Feb. 12-14, to air on twitch.tv/ChiBlackDrag
“I was trying to figure out what the Drag Council can do that is more action-based instead of writing a statement to be posted on our Instagram and Twitter, (so) I thought about putting on a show,” said Tatyana Chante, aka, Taty, 24, who lives in Lakeview and has called Chicago home for the past 5 years, and is one of the event's co-producers.
“One thing the CBDC is dedicated to is, uplifting Black people, specifically Black artists, and I thought a show is the perfect way to do that. Twitch has become a popular platform for digital drag during the pandemic and it would help us feature performers from all over the world while also being safe.”
All funds raised during the Black Valentine Cabaret will go directly to the performers, hosts, organizers, and anyone helping behind the scenes.
The funds are at an extremely important state, Taty said.
“We want to make sure everyone involved is getting paid,” Taty said. “The pandemic has disrupted a lot of people's incomes, especially artist and gig workers like drag performers, so we want to do our part to take care of our community and pay people for their hard work and artistic labor.”
Taty said the Black Valentine Cabaret will feature an array of performances – from newbies to veterans in the drag community, plus a variety of talented DJs, bands, and musicians.
“The Chicago Black Drag Council started with the movement from the Drag March (last) June,” Taty said. “A few of us sat down with some prominent white queens and bars in the community who had caused harm to some Black performers in the community to share our experiences and what they can do better for restorative justice. Since then, the Drag Council has evolved, and we now have 14 council leaders and more than 70 members. We have done a lot of advocating for the community, educating, and fundraising. We are in talks with most of the bars on North Halsted Street, and the North Side LGBTQ scene overall, about how they can improve to create a better environment for all LGBTQIA+ people, not just cis white gay men.”
Taty said the Black Valentine Cabaret will, hopefully, develop into an annual event, and an in-person show, too.
Taty is fairly new to the drag scene but has been acting for a while. They performed ROYL with Sapphire Feliciano for the Unfriendly Black Hotties Ungodly Hour Show.
“This past summer, with the Black Lives Matter Movement getting national attention, it was great to see people finally opening their eyes to the injustices that have been plaguing this country for a long time,” Taty said. “It was great to see people come together, listen to each other and help each other out in life-saving ways. I'm hoping this momentum continues and that people keep educating themselves and start putting people before themselves.”
Taty has done more digital drag as opposed to in-person drag. They miss being on-stage and the rehearsal process: “being in (a) room together, seeing your friends everyday while making art. There really isn't a substitute for that during these times.”
With theatres on-hold for 10-plus months, Taty has been focusing on digital drag as a way “to express myself creatively,” they said. “I'm having so much fun getting to film and be silly with my partner and roommates and I'm proud of the art I've made so far. It's a lot of work, but once it's finished, I'm just amazed at something I was able to create with the help of some friends or, sometimes, by myself.”For more information: