The Vixen, Chicago

I sat down with The Vixen for my portraiture project and interviewed her about her life around a year ago. It was great to hear about Chicago Drag life, growing up in the Southside, and how she emerged into performing.

In her youth till now, she has always been a tour de force, not only engaging in every creative club at school that spoke to her, but becoming the president of those clubs. It is no wonder, that her training in dance, singing, and performing has led her to being one of the most talented queens in this city.

We talked about what it was like to be a black queen in Chicago, and how there are elements of subtle (and not subtle) racism and tokenism in the city when it comes to gender performance (and life). There is a clear stigma that The Vixen addresses when it comes to these actions, and she uses her drag as a voice to fight back against racism, and expose oppression. Furthermore, she uses these words that the gay community have said, like “Southside Trash” for example, took it, and fused it into her performances to expose the bigotry that exists in our community.

The Vixen is a brilliant and gorgeous powerhouse that uses her amazing talent to open dialogues that NEED TO BE DISCUSSED. All drag is important, but using gender performance to talk about the barriers that exist is critical. Her show “Black Girl Magic” is a prime example of how she uses drag as a platform (and gives platforms to others) to discuss political, racial, and queer issues people experience today.

This is one of the first portraits of “Drag Landscapes” that I did out in Chicago, and it was one of the most important pieces that navigated my work around this project. I painted her in rays, as I viewed her as a deity of truth, awareness, and strength.

It is without a doubt that we all know that Chicago and the world need The Vixen and people like her. Without her we cannot progress. I, for one, have been enriched becoming one of her friends, and I am so grateful for her to be a part of this project.

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