Shangela has revealed the biggest life lesson she learned after competing in RuPaul’s Drag Race three times.
During a show stopping performance at Miami Beach Pride on 16 April, the star stopped to talk to the crowd several times.
“I am so happy to be here tonight on this very stage celebrating our individuality, celebrating our special qualities, celebrating the uniqueness – as Beyoncé would say, ‘unique’ – the uniqueness of the LGBTQIA+ community! Yes!” she told the packed crowd early on in her number.
From A Star is Born to Dancing with the Stars, Shangela also reflected on some of her biggest career moments while chatting with the audience.
Responding to one fan who shouted “robbed” as she spoke about Drag Race, she said: “I appreciate you, but let me tell you something. If one thing RuPaul’s Drag Race has taught me about life it’s that – take this in your own life – for everything you go after in life, you can feel that you are the most prepared, you can be the one that should be at the top, but you might not win bitch! But you know what? If you don’t give up on yourself, if you keep on going, if you keep on succeeding and winning, you can always be a winner bitch. Hallelo!”
Shangela performed at Miami Beach Pride just two days after Sasha Colby was declared the winner of the show’s 15th season, which prompted her to share what it has been like to see the show transform since she first competed on season two in 2010.
“Being a part of the Drag Race family for 13 seasons, I have been able to see the show change, but also people’s vibes – and not just people on the show – because of the visibility and that’s why it’s so important to see y’all out here today. It’s important,” she stated.
“When people try to dim our light, no baby, you shine. Okay? There’s a reason we look good in sequins and rhinestones bitch. It’s because we, as a gay community, were meant to shine. Okay?”
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Describing the city of Miami as a “cultural melting pot”, Shangela began to discuss the political climate in Florida and the challenges LGBTQ+ people are facing there.
The state has introduced a number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, including restrictions on discussions of LGBTQ+ identities in the classroom to an array of anti-trans laws targeting both sport and gender-related care.
“In a time where so many of us, you know, you may just be going about your daily life, you might not have understood that we need and must be involved in the current political situations that are happening in our country today,” Shangela explained to the crowd.
“Now, some of you may think, ‘Shangela? I don’t get involved in all that’ – well let me tell you bitch, if you want to continue enjoying times like this, if you want to continue seeing people like me on this stage, like the queens that you love so much and show so much love for, you’re going to have to get involved in the political process.”
She encouraged those in attendance to get involved in politics by registering to vote and having their voices heard at the polls: “If you can show up to Pride, and you can show up to the club, and you can show up to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, then I need you to show up in Florida because let me tell you something: Florida, right now, this show, baby, there were people behind the scenes who were fighting for this show to happen, okay?”
Shangela proceeded to thank the Pride organisers for making sure the event could go ahead as planned.
She ended her show by encouraging her fans to “not be afraid” of those targeting the community, no matter what they say or do.
“The last thing I want to tell you is, listen, do not, no matter what they say, no matter what they do, do not be afraid, alright?” she added. “Oh yes, it’s happening right now. They are rolling back our freedoms, they are attacking our beautiful, wonderful trans community and even the trans children for their self-affirming healthcare, things that should be natural, human rights, they are taking these things away from them. Remember, if you don’t show up for somebody else, bitch ain’t nobody going to be there to show up for you.”
Miami Beach Pride took place from 1-16 April 2023, with Shangela taking to the AT&T stage to perform as one of the weekend’s headline acts.