Shangela brings her first U.S. solo tour home

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

Shangela is making her way back to Dallas, which isn’t a rare thing, really. But this time, she’s the headliner of her own tour. Coming off her recent stint on Dancing with the Stars, the drag performer also known as DJ Pierce continues a busy schedule with her Fully Lit Tour, a first for the Drag Race alum. This marks her premiere tour in the United States as the sole headliner — and she is ready to deliver music, stories and more at her show on Feb. 9 at the Majestic Theatre.

On the day of this interview, Shangela was in her hometown of Paris, Texas, as the cold weather was setting in. She had just decided to fly out a day early to get to her next show in enough time. But she was glad to squeeze in some time to be with her family.

But before she hit the road again, she talked with Dallas Voice about her busy schedule, coming to the city that helped her find drag and some wise words from her mentor that help keep her drag superstardom balanced.

Dallas Voice: First and foremost, are you keeping warm? Shangela: I am fully cloaked at this moment. I was going to fly out tomorrow, but it looks like I need to book a flight tonight. Mama’s gotta make her own tour.

Congrats on the tour. What can you tell us about your live show? Well, first, I’m incredibly blessed. I did my Shangela is Shook tour in Europe and Australia, which you can see on YouTube. But this is the largest solo tour I’ve produced, and I’m so excited to have AT&T and Live Nation in my corner. This show really is a love letter to my fans — a 90 minute ride through all the fun and embarrassing pieces of this life.

You’ve said before that you got your start here. Now you’re coming back as a headliner. And I came to perform! I’m so excited to come to Dallas because it’s where I came into my own. Now I get to celebrate the drag that has inspired me. I also love the community of supporters, and we have some of the fiercest allies in Texas. I’ve performed in Dallas at Pride and club events, but this is my first time to bring the Shangela experience to Dallas and give fans a chance to see more.

You are one consistently working queen with high profile projects. We see you filming We’re Here on HBO, then you’re on Dancing with the Stars and now on the road with the Fully Lit Tour. I love it! I’m grateful to have the energy and excitement to do it all. It’s how my entire life has been for so long. It really is hard to slow down.

When you see an empty day on your calendar, how do you react to that? I don’t panic. I am getting a lot more comfortable in those moments of space. But since Dancing with the Stars, it has been nonstop.

OK, can we talk about your appearance on the show? It was three months of my life; of course we can talk about it! I didn’t win the prize, but I feel like I have it in my heart. You know, I got a Drag Race crown on my head and that Mirrorball in my hands — they’re just invisible. I’m so grateful to the fans, and I wanted to win. But I do feel like I won.

Your appearance there really was a moment of queer history happening. I was so happy to represent the LGBTQ+ community. In its 31 seasons, I was the first drag performer there. It was the first male-male pairing on the American version. And you know, I may not have been the most professional dancer, but I was also this small town girl from Paris who made it all the way. I mean, look at what we did!

We’re in such a conversation about drag at the moment — or perhaps more vitriol. Do you feel that your appearance on this family-favorite popular show had any impact? DWTS gave me an opportunity to be in the homes of people who maybe weren’t drag fans. I know initially there were people who said to me they were not on board with a drag queen. But they didn’t know what to expect. I feel like I gave them an idea of who I am, and maybe it inspires people to get to know the person above all else.

You mentioned being more comfortable not having a busy day. What changed for you? There was a moment earlier last year, and I said something about having a break to my friend and mentor, Jenifer Lewis. She said “Thank God you slowed down a minute.” Then she told me “We can create more out of purpose and less out of necessity.”

It was very profound to me. There are so many times on the calendar where I have to create what I need, but in that space and free time, that serves the purpose to create fully.

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