What do actors like Flip Wilson and Tyler Perry have in common? They both are men who impersonate Black women in comedy. They use their own interpretations of how they see a Black woman and they reenact it. They mimic the way a Black woman’s speaks, laughs, walks, and even her stereotyped sassy personality. We all laugh at these interpretations for a few different reasons. One would be that we feel that their interpretation is an accurate depiction. Another reason would be that we find it funny to see a man dressed as a man and recreating her behavior. Perhaps we find it funny because we know that it is harmless comedy and think that both these men do not feel any malice towards Black women. Either way, both of these men have garnered much fame and success from their interpretations of the Black woman.
So what about when a White man decides to jump on the band wagon and join them in this comedy routine? Does the ‘it’s just jokes’ disclaimer get extended to him as well? Comedienne and professional drag queen Chuck Knipp thinks that it should. He has cultivated his own version of Black woman drag queen comedy under the titles ‘Shirley Q. Liquor’ and ‘Betty Butterfield.’ Knipp’s portrayal of a Black woman is causing a stir for some because he is a White man from Canada. People question whether or not these are just jokes or if he is really a racist White man that is using his drag routine to disrespect Black women. This doubt has launched people to launch campaigns against the comedian.
I have seen a few of Knipp’s routines and I was not extremely impressed by him. Not so much because I think he is racist but because I did not think that his portrayal was very funny. Still, the bigger question at hand is whether there should be a double standard? Should Black people be the only ones allowed to poke fun at other Black people? If so, should Black women be off limits? Should there be limitations to the comedy routine? Even I have mixed emotions about this topic at this time and am undecided. After all, Tyler Perry’s portrayal of a gun totting, sassy mouthed, argumentative, temperamental Black woman is accepted by many. His millions prove that.
One qualm I do have with Knipp is the fact that he chose to name his character ‘Shirley Q Liquor’. Why did the name have to be so… ghetto and trashy. Surely he could have thought of another name that reflected his sassy portrayal of a Black woman.
Check Knipp out in action and decide for yourself:
For More LJ Knight Visit YeahSheSaidIt