(made in collaboration with JD Samson)
On June 28, 1969, at 1:20 a.m in New York, NY, a butch lesbian named Stormé DeLarverie (1920–2014) was hit on the head with a billy club and handcuffed at the Stonewall Inn. She was bleeding from the head when she brazenly turned to the crowd and screamed, “WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING,” starting what we now know as the Stonewall riots. Although this event is remembered as one of the most significant events in LGBT history, Stormé and other WOC and sisters have been erased from narratives within the queer community. This provocation is amongst the influences that inspired the artwork in Queen Bee is Stinging Mad.
Queen Bee is Stinging Mad includes a single-channel video, a dance remix made in collaboration with JD Samson, and a folded poster. Glass is a material used by the artist to reference the body in flux. The single channel video depicts a 3D rendering of a virtual stained glass window, in which Stormé DeLarverie is positioned gazing directly back at viewers (excerpt below). The matching xerox poster exposes the artist’s patterning process and depicts the full stained-glass design. The audio accompanying this series is a dance-remix created by JD Samson, representing all of the songs that were documented to be in the Stonewall Inn jukebox in the summer of 1969 when the first riot occurred. Audio is played through a black megaphone.
Fifty years after the original riot, this work explores the nightclub as a political space of possibility, mining a contemporary queer understanding of Stonewall in a never-ending search for documenting h(er)story.