Meet The Performance Artist and Drag Queen Shanita Bump
There is no shortage of drag queens in NYC. You can’t throw a rock without hitting some twink in a dress who thinks he’s got what it takes to shantay down the runway just because he’s seen every season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race while practicing YouTube makeup tutorials. There’s a difference, though, between learning how to just paint your face and turning that face into a work of fucking art. This interview series highlights the New York queens that stand out from the crowd, work their assess off and rock those heels til they bleed.
Meet Shanita Bump.
You told me to refer to you as AFAB and I had no idea what that was until you defined it for me. Can you explain it to our readers?
Assigned female at birth. It’s a great term because not every vagina is a girls vagina and nobody wants to be called a ‘bio queen’.
Do you consider yourself a drag queen?
I am a performance artist that does drag.
It’s easy to assume that most drag queens are gay men. How do you identify?
What was it like growing up in Ohio?
I’m from a small town that was not open-minded whatsoever. My mom is bisexual and was with a woman throughout my high school experience. I got made fun of a lot for that. It made me repress my own feelings of queerness. I didn’t want to be any more the center of attention than I already was. If I was being made fun of this much just for my mom being gay imagine if I was gay too.
When did you stop repressing yourself?
When I moved out of my hometown, everything changed. I felt like I could start experiencing things and seeing what I do and don’t like. Genders didn’t matter. I met other people like me that were out and happy.
I’m usually dead looking. I’m kind of a grotesque, sexy, decayed monster. It’s distorted and ugly but it’s very beautiful to me.
What is a Shanita Bump show like?
They’re messy. Very messy. It’s gonna be something gross or something scary. It’s gonna be kink performance art. Someone will have a fetish for whatever I’m doing.
What inspires you as a performer?
My gross girl side inspires me. Things that you get told growing up ‘That’s not lady-like’ those are the things I do in my performances that people gag for. Everyone’s fucking nasty. We all have nastiness in us and we need to express that.
So how nasty do your shows get?
I pooped in a kitty litter box because, you know, girls don’t poop so I just shit in a litter box. It was enema water because I didn’t think real shit would be sanitary but it still came out my butt.
That must’ve been a memorable night.
I went to another party after that and I thought I had squirted all the enema water out of my butt. Well, I was at the club on the dancefloor dancing and I thought I had to fart and I fucking shat water in my fucking outfit at the club on the floor and I had to leave immediately. I had to get into an Uber like that.
Why is Brooklyn the best place for your art?
Brooklyn is the best space for what I do when it comes to weird performance art. Brooklyn is very accepting. That’s why I identify here so much because drag here isn’t traditional drag. We can call anything drag and it will be accepted and people will live for it.
There are a lot of crowds outside of Brooklyn that have never seen drag like yours. Are you going to perform elsewhere?
Yeah. I want to show everyone else that drag doesn’t need to be just one thing. What we’re doing in Brooklyn I’m gonna do for y’all so y’all can be like ‘Oh yeah, this is valid’. They need that person to bring it to their space because they might not have had it yet.
So you’re going to be a pioneer.
Oh yeah, I wanna shit everywhere. Leave my skidmark all over this globe.