MERRIQUE JENSON (aka DJ STUNT QUEEN) is a queer, trans, multiracial artist of color, and the producer of our #GetWoke events though her company, SocialScope Productions, a consulting and coaching company focused on LGBTQ multimedia and artistic projects, cultural competency training and innovative youth program design models. She currently serves as the Program Director for Transformations, a local KC trans and gender-expansive youth group and has received national awards for her advocacy and work with young people, for the past 16 years, who are experiencing homelessness and street-based youth, racial justice advocacy, addressing the juvenile legal system and media’s impact on queer and trans lives. Merrique is a celebrated documentary filmmaker, a published writer and a blogger for The Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Bitch Media and The Advocate.
NYLA FOSTER (aka ANGEL IMAN) is a black transgender woman, entertainer, designer, and trans rights advocate. She has been living in her truth since the age of 14 and currently serves as part of the advising team for Transformations, the local KC trans and gender-expansive youth group. Nyla is well known within the Kansas City LGBTQIA community. Nyla entertains and competes in drag pageantry as “Angel Iman”, a stage persona she created in 2010. She is the Miss Missouri State 2017-18, Miss Black Trans Kansas 2017-18, a former Miss Kansas City Black Pride, and a former Miss Kansas City Gay Pride
MONICA BEVERLY HILLZ is a trans activist, reality television and entertainment personality, performing as a female impersonator for the past 14 years. She is a Chicago native and got her start in the Chicago house and Latinx salsa and bachata LGBTQ clubs. Monica has a feminine, sensual and fiery spirit and has been featured on MTV’s “True Life”, AME TV’s “Limo Bob” and in Miley Cyrus’s 2015 MTV Video Music Awards performance. She is best known as the first contestant to bravely share during the taping of Season 5 of VHI’s RuPaul’s Drag Race that she identifies as a transgender woman. Monica is personally committed to supporting queer and transgender youth, working with survivors of sexual exploitation and homelessness and LGBTQ community empowerment projects.
DAVID SEYMOUR has a sincere passion and natural talent for bringing people together for a greater purpose. He also believes that one of the best forms of protest is to “be who you are, wherever you are, all the time.” He has served as a host and organizer of the GetWoke parties and is interested in building a stronger and more robust LGBTQ community.
MOLTYN DECADENCE is a Kansas City-based artist and performer, with a name that evokes thoughts of scrumptious treats, and sensual desires. Moltyn Decadence has been delighting the taste buds of audiences nationwide for over 10 years. With a flair for the over dramatic Moltyn’s unique style blends female impersonation and theatrics into a visual experience that will make you want to save room for dessert.
MONIQUE HEART is a beloved drag queen and Kansas City favorite. She is known for her beauty, high energy performances and exceptional hosting abilities. Monique has a background in full time Christian ministry and left that official work to use her artistry and performance platforms to preach about love, acceptance and positivity. She is excited to use our #GetWoke events to focus on the resiliency and beautiful truths of her queer and trans communities of color.
JACORY DEAN has been in political activism since 2003, from protesting the Iraq invasion to supporting LGBTQ initiatives in the present. He works as a Graphic Designer, Artist, and Dance Instructor when not supporting various causes. He is proud to be a part of the Get Woke family as its resident “Daddy in Charge.”
DR. ALBERTO VILLAMANDOS (Event Organizer) is Associate Prof. at the Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Missouri-Kansas City. He specializes in Spanish literature from the 1970s and 1980s and his books and articles deal with intellectual history, immigration, gender studies, and graphic novel.
In the Press
“All of this suggests one thing to the LGBTQ+ citizens living there: There need to be more spaces for marginalized groups. Pierce himself said there’s a need for more positive and inclusive spaces in Kansas City. And that’s exactly what #GetWoke is trying to create.”Kevin O'Keeffe, Intomore.com
“In 2017, three men of color put their heads together and created a series of dance parties that pay homage to the ball culture by loosely incorporating elements of house music, runway competitions, drag performances and more.”
Joel Barrett, The Phoenix Newsletter
“My quest was to diminish some of our White LGBTQ insensitivity towards LGBTQs of color and accusations of being separatists when we make a conscious effort to come together for our own empowerment. Go ahead with your lies, mayhem, and foolishness. That White Supremacists games you all play whether they be conscious or not, has been played out. Now some of you can take this easy, or you can take it rough. LGBTQs of color do not need your permission or approval.”
read more Chuck Tackett, KCPride.com
“In an effort to make sure people of color, trans individuals and any others who might feel marginalized in Seattle are heard this year, Seattle Pride organizers have scheduled a new event. “Real Talk: LGBTQ Conversations for Change” will be held Thursday evening at the Frye Art Museum.”
read more Paige Gross, Seattle Times