Drag performers from across gay Atlanta joined an overflowing crowd at Blake's on Sunday for an emotional tribute to Lateasha Shuntel, who died last week.
The show replaced the bar's usual Cell Block Sunday, which Shuntel had headlined. The hours-long effort was a celebration as much as a memorial, as performers dedicated songs to Shuntel, shared their memories of working with her and collected tips to help launch a foundation in her name to help other transgender Atlantans.
Emcees for the show included Phoenix, Edie Cheezburger, Brent Star and Shavonna B. Brooks (top photo), who delivered an emotional performance and later thanked the crowd for its support.
Lateasha Shuntel's Celebration of Life was an Amazing turn out filled with love from wall to wall. I'm still a mess, so please don't ask how I'm doing. I just would like to inform everyone that her family has decided tonight was the memorial of their beloved angel. We apologize to any of you who had love for her and couldn't pay respects to her on this evening. HOWEVER… The Lateasha Hall Foundation for Transgender Youth is on the way and in full effect! If you are interested in contributing to the funds we raised tonight, contact Phoenix or myself. We know it's what she would want. Continue to lift her mother Veta Hall up in prayer! I love you all.
Phoenix joined with David Atlanta magazine to launch a Go Fund Me campaign raising funds for Shuntel's funeral. Some 375 people donated $17,070 – more than twice its $7,500 goal – in less than 24 hours.
Shuntel, 45, was discovered dead inside her Doraville home on Nov. 18. Police have been tight-lipped about the investigation into her death, but authorities have said she did not suffer any traumatic injuries. The DeKalb County Medical Examiner is awaiting the results of additional tests before ruling on the cause of death.
On Sunday, performers focused on celebrating Shuntel's life, her performances on stage and the outspoken personality from her work as a bartender that endeared her to friends and Blake's patrons. In addition to Phoenix, Brooks, Star and Cheezburger, performers included Extasy Grey, Alexis Loveee, Kitty Love Antoinette, Alexia Markova, Lena Lust, Sassie Monroe, Kyra Mora, Evah Destruction, Dymond Onasis, J. Tyler, Nicole Paige Brooks, Destiny Brooks, Shawnna Brooks and Raquell Lord.