A longtime transgender performer in gay Atlanta was found dead on Wednesday, a passing that erupted online into an outpouring of emotion from fans, friends and supporters shocked by her death.
Lateasha Shuntel was apparently found dead at her home in Doraville. Few details have been made public yet about what happened and whether foul play is suspected. We’ve reached out to the Doraville Police Department and the DeKalb County Medical Examiner for details and will update the post when we receive a response.
Shuntel was a popular bartender and performer at Blake’s and headlined the bar’s Cell Block Sunday show. Before that, she worked at the 24-hour dance club Backstreet, which closed in 2004.
“We are devastated,” General Manager Damien McGee said. “She is such an integral part of Blake's.”
Shuntel also handled the weekly distribution of David Atlanta magazine for nearly three years, according to Publisher David Thompson.
“She was a highlight of the office when she came in every Wednesday,” Thompson said. “ We all cut up and talked and watched her shake her ass. Everybody in the office loved her. She is going to be missed.”
Shavonna B. Brooks, who performed with Shuntel at Blake’s, posted about her death on Wednesday:
It is with great sadness that I inform the community of my sister Lateasha Shuntel's passing. Lateasha was found peacefully this morning in her vehicle and was not the victim of foul play THANK GOD! I am hurt, crying, a mess, tore up, anything you can think of at this point. But, I was her only emergency contact being that I was closest to her in Atlanta. However, I'm trying to reach her mom and I need ANYONE who has any info on how I can do this ASAP.
Shuntel used her Facebook page as a soapbox for promoting events at Blake’s and even better, to offer hot takes on issues of the day or rant about whatever crossed her mind. One of our favorites came in 2013 when Shuntel promised to be no one’s “punk bitch tranny boo” after a QuikTrip confrontation.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I forgot to share! I was on my way home the other nite minding my own business & of course stopped by where? Yep u got it the QT! So im getting ready to check out & here come the trouble maker! He said awwwwwe shit aint u a dude so I looked at him real crazy & said of course aint u? Left him standing there looking stupid with my hand down in my purse on my pistol! They gonna learn find another punk bitch tranny boo not here!!!!!! For all my sista's that go thru shit like this all the time hold ya head up girls I got ur back! They really try it these days yall!
But Shuntel was at her best on stage. Some of our favorite looks:
When ‘Big Brother’ hunks stripped down, August 2015
As Chris Noxx bared his sexy wares, June 2015
When gay jocks got a little naughty, May 2015
Duct Tape Dynasty, November 2014
When Lady Bunny kicked off Pride, October 2013
And grooving to the glory days of Backstreet, December 2013
UPDATE | Blake's published a statement about Shuntel's death on Wednesday evening:
It is with great sorrow that we confirm the sad news that Lateasha Hall also known as Lateasha Shante Shuntel passed away at her home in the early hours of Wednesday, November 18th. This news comes as a shock to all of us here at Blake's, some of whom have worked with her over the past 10 years. Lateasha had a unique perspective and she lived her life to the fullest. All who knew and loved her felt her warm and kind presence. Blake's is mourning the great loss of an iconic family member. We will be remembering Lateasha in the days to come and we will want you to join us to celebrate her life.