Back in April of 2015, Charlotteans said goodbye to Clay Smith, aka Delighted Tobehere, formerly known as Roxy C. Moorecox, a longtime drag queen who brought an extra twinkle to the Q.C. drag scene. But since then, we’ve gotten some pop-up performances by Tobehere who still has family and friends in the area and frequently visits. Tobehere returns as an emcee — along with other locals like Big Mamma D, Malachi, Joanne Spataro, Lana Cane and Lola Lovelace — on Charlotte Pride’s Well’s Fargo stage.
So what the hell has Tobehere been up to since leaving us? Shortly after the move to New York City, Tobehere starred on America’s Got Talent and has since been doing weekly shows in Manhattan. Traveling for other shows at festivals and special events across the states, Tobehere stays busy — though she somehow found the time to create a one-woman show that’s slated to debut in Mexico (of all places!) in December. If that’s not worth a fiesta, we’re not sure what is.
Creative Loafing chatted with Tobehere about life in New York City, Charlotte Pride, and visiting the Carolinas with House Bill 2 in effect.
Creative Loafing: Since moving from Charlotte to New York City, what’s been the most exciting thing that’s happened in your career?
Delighted Tobehere: So many things! I think performing at The Stonewall Inn was particularly memorable. I can’t count how many times I talked about Stonewall on the Charlotte Pride stage over the years and how we are able to celebrate our achievements in equality because the brave LGBTQ people who stood up at that venue and said “No More!” These days we can accomplish a lot with rallies instead of riots, and voting instead of violence, but the underlying message is that civil rights and equality under the law and in the hearts and minds of Americans is non-negotiable. As far as that goes, we still have more to do.
You’re coming back to Charlotte for Charlotte Pride, but because of HB2, are you really delighted to be here?
I will always be delighted to return to Charlotte, who under the leadership of Mayor Roberts took steps to protect our transgender brothers and sisters and the LGBTQ community. So, for that, Charlotte has plenty to celebrate. Unfortunately, ex-mayor (and soon to be ex-governor) Pat McCrory and his discriminating pals in the General Assembly have brought a level of shame on our great state, echoed by the boycotts from other state governments, businesses and entertainers. Though I support the boycotts, it has been devastating to the state’s economy. It’s something that should be remembered when heading to vote in November. We can counteract such negativity by having the most successful Charlotte Pride ever, bringing millions of rainbow dollars into the city that was doing the right thing in the first place. So whether you’re from Asheville or Atlanta, Raleigh to Richmond, D.C. or Dallas, come on out. You are welcome in Charlotte.
How has living in NYC and being away from the HB2 crap here in the South had an impact on your life?
Well, I spend a lot more of my time defending the good people of North Carolina and explaining how fear-mongering conservatives shouldn’t fully represent our state. Hate is not a North Carolina value, nor a southern value for that matter. Unfortunately, hate isn’t only a Southern problem either. In the past few months, we’ve had at least two gay bashings here in NYC. It’s just proof that safety is not guaranteed by geographic location. And “crap” is the perfect word for HB2, because it’s a byproduct of digesting false information about the transgender community. Then again, we have some LGB folks who don’t know that “drag queen” doesn’t specifically mean “transgender,” so there is work to do on all fronts. Stereotypes, assumptions, fear and expectations are the four guaranteed ways to hinder relationships — friendships, dating, or in work. It all spells S.A.F.E. It makes sense because we often feel safe thinking we know what is right instead of actually learning what is right. The educated are rarely intimidated.
Do you think HB2 has/or will have an impact on this year’s Charlotte Pride?
It shouldn’t, and here’s why. It’s cockamamie laws like HB2 — laws of discrimination, inequality, fear mongering, and hate — that started the LGBTQ pride movement. So in remembrance of Stonewall, let’s stand up for our rights and for equality, and make this the best Charlotte Pride festival of fun, love and pride yet! Yes, you’ll see shirtless men and drag queens, but don’t miss the great food, LGBTQ-owned and friendly businesses and vendors, national and local entertainment, same-sex parents with strollers, and people of all ages, ethnicities, languages, gender identities and faiths. This is a celebration of diversity, and all are welcome. I can’t wait to see you all at Charlotte Pride.
- Delighted Tobehere
What are you most excited about doing once you get back to Charlotte?
So many things! I’m looking forward to good barbecue, and Southern cooking, in general. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and fans that I haven’t seen in a while. I’m looking forward to central air conditioning and I’m looking forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with over 100,000 LGBTQ and ally folks! A reminder, there will inevitably be protestors, so keep in mind my top three rules for dealing with protestors: 1. Ignore, 2. Ignore, and 3. Ignore. They are not there for you to change their minds, because they train all year to counter every argument that you make. This will just get you ticked off and ruin your day. The best response is to just ignore and have a great time.
Free admission; $150-$200 for VIP tickets. Aug. 20, 12 p.m.-10 p.m.; Aug. 21, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (parade, Aug. 21, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.) Held Uptown, along South Tryon Street. www.charlottepride.org.