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Arts & Culture

The Drag Queens Of The Queen City Mural Project

There's a new face in one of Charlotte's oldest neighborhoods.  With the help of three artists, a local festival, and various community members, the image of one of the Queen City's better known drag queens is now part of the Plaza Midwood landscape.

Brandy Alexander was a legend in the Charlotte drag queen scene, she passed away in March. And if you didn't know who she was before, next time you're walking around Plaza Midwood, you'll have a chance to meet her, so to speak.

"It's very beautiful, the graphics, everything even the little details, it just comes out at you. Her eye color, the visual from which she's looking, it's just magnificent. I think it's awesome. I think its beautiful work," says Eddie Tate.

Tate peers up the side of Fifteen Ten Antiques and Consignments located in the heart of Plaza Midwood on Central Avenue. He's a window washer and is the area a lot. This is his first time seeing the mural. It's a windy day and the sky looks like it could break into rain, still he had to stop and admire the work. She's got bright red hair, piercing multi-colored eyes, a gold equality sign is spread on her face like war paint.  She's wearing pearls and a fur, inspired by Queen Charlotte.

She's also donning a pair of cameo styled earrings that have Governor Pat McCrory's face in them. The resemblance is uncanny.

Her pearl necklace includes a transgender friendly bathroom charm attached to it…which is a figure with one half wearing a dress. In place of a bracelet, there's handcuff with broken chains. Instead of a royal scepter with a crown or jewel on top of it, hers has the hand of Justice—which looks wet with gold paint that she presumably just used to decorate her face with.

The symbolism in the piece in light of HB2 can't be ignored.

Nick Napoletano is one of the three artists who worked on the mural. He sees the painting as something more than an ascetically pleasing piece of art, it's as a conversation starter.

"I hope it can be a meeting ground for every community. Charlotte shouldn't be an exclusive place, it should attract all kinds. Hopefully this can be a positive reflection for people who seem underrepresented," says Napoletano. 

Napoletano wasn't alone in his efforts. Artists Matt Hooker and Matt Moore also helped to paint the mural.  Buff Faye (Shane Windmeyer), the current reigning Miss Charlotte Pride and art activist John Kennedy also helped with the creation. The mural was created during the Boom Festival held from April 7-10. 

The idea he says is to continue this project, he'd love to see murals of Charlotte's drag queens in different neighborhoods to keep the conversation of LGBT issues going. The plans are still in the works, but he sees NoDa, Charlotte's arts district as a natural place to do a future mural.