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Letter from the Editor

Why Burlesque? A Letter from the Mag Editor


Why Burlesque? A Letter from the Mag Editor

Tatiana Lightcap is one of my oldest, dearest friends and happens to also work for my agency, Eminent SEO, and she is part of the Eminent Creative Impact Team and the NamaSLAY Editorial Team. When we discussed the idea of launching a quarterly magazine, we thought about our mission and how it related to the people in our lives. NamaSlay - MY MUSE Since Tatiana was part of a burlesque troupe in Wyoming, she is still friends with many performers and individuals in the community. One would think that in the field of burlesque, different or unique bodies, genders, sexual preferences and the like would be welcome, but this may not always be the case. It doesn’t take much research to discover that modern day burlesque, like any other community, continues to wrestle with issues of cultural appropriation, financial exploitation, and minority oppression, and LGBTQ discrimination, especially as the art grows in popularity. That makes me sad. The lack of acceptance, inclusion and equality for ALL TYPES of performers in the burlesque community creates an unnecessary divide when, in reality, everyone just wants to make beautiful art, no matter what our color of skin, gender, weight or sexual preferences may be. So, here we are. Me and the crew. Out here trying to advocate for those that need a voice or platform. We hope you enjoy our very first ever publication of the NamaSLAY Mag. Thanks for showing up, reading, sharing and supporting our work. Every single effort, big or small, matters. Stay sassy.

P.S. Keep reading for a roundup of burlesque resources that help support equality in the Burlesque arts.

BurlyCon Burlesque Education & Social Convention

Burlesque Education & Social Convention
21st Century Burlesque Magazine

Their mission: 

“BurlyCon is a community-oriented, professional growth and educational organization for burlesque performers, fans, and aficionados. We conduct educational events to preserve, promote, and advance burlesque as a theatrical art form. We offer classes, workshops, panels, and other educational offerings that further professional skill and development. We are committed to supporting personal transformation through creative artistic expression in the burlesque arts.”

Their values:

“We value burlesque as a feminist, humanist, and unique American performance art form that has global influence and expression. We are committed to supporting the growth, health, and multicultural diversity of the international burlesque community. We seek to ensure affordability and accessibility of continuing education in our art form.”

This is stuff we can get behind! 

  • We value Burlesque as a feminist and humanist performance art form.
  • We value multicultural diversity and are committed to anti-racism. We continuously examine our structures and actions for racist and oppressive

Here is a report they put out: 


Burlesque Expert Otaymah Bonds
Otaymah Bonds by The TRIBE

Meet Burlesque Expert Otaymah Bonds

The Irresistible O is a burlesque and pinup historian, known as the Sepia Queen of Burlesque, the Black Prima Ballerina of Burlesque and the Pin Up Queen. She is the 2015 Burlypicks Michigan Master of Voice, 2015 Miss Pin Up Perfection, 2016 Miss Phobia Pin Up, the Inaugural Miss HotWheels Pinup, and the 2017 Burlypicks Master of Improv. She has been featured by Ohio Burlesque, the blog I Gave My Body, Moxie Dolls Pinups and Burlesque Magazine. She is also a writer for Burlesque Bitch and guest blog writer for Burlycon. Her literary work has also appeared in Burlesque Bible Magazine. 

O also instructs the world-renowned History of Performers of Color in Burlesque course, and actively teaches and discusses the absence and history of women of color in the pinup, rockabilly and burlesque genres. She also teaches all genres of dance, theater, and vocal arts.

Articles by Burlesque Expert Otaymah Bonds

A Look at LGBTQ Artists in Burlesque

More Than a Skirt of Bananas

Guest Post: Otaymah Bonds on Race and Burlesque – BurlyCon

Comedian Nadia Kamil Does Feminist Burlesque

Nadia Kamil is a feminist comedian. She challenged herself to prove that burlesque (think: cabarets and nipple pasties) can be feminist.

This was the result:


Funny and spot on, right?

Also, LOVE this note from on the topic:

“Nadia’s comedy bit is hilarious and meaningful. But burlesque as a wider art form can be feminist, too. How so? It’s all about the performer — male or female — being entirely in charge of the performance, from the costume to the choreography to everything in between. Whether you’re into burlesque or not, you’ve gotta admit that many people would find that pretty empowering.”

Essay by Lynn Sally: Neo-Burlesque Slaps Glitter on Feminism and Makes It Shine

Lynn Sally is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar who loves Coney Island. Her dissertation explores turn-of-the-20th century disaster spectacles at Coney Island amusement parks. Her most recent book, Neo-Burlesque: Striptease as Transformation, has a chapter dedicated to the Miss Coney Island pageant. Learn more at


“While on the surface burlesque and pageants may appear to be regressive to the progress women have made since the feminist movement began fighting for equal rights, what we’re doing is really a continuation—not an abomination—of second-wave feminism’s employment of bold, agit-prop theatrics as activism and entertainment.”

So much yes, right? Love this bit too, in reference to feminist protests of the past:

“Focusing on the bra burning trivializes the movement and characterizes the protestors as somehow “unfeminine.” Distorting what really happened that day erases the playful, agit-prop theatrics that took over the boardwalk. As a result, second-wave feminists have been depicted as humorless, anti-men, and anti-sexual or, even more “outrageous,” same-sex desiring.

But the Miss America protest demonstrates that second-wave feminists were anything but humorless—they used lighthearted humor and playful tactics to address serious issues and demand equality. Not so coincidentally, neo-burlesque employs similar strategies. Burlesque is, at its root, parody, and neo-burlesque’s “making fun” has a double meaning: it pokes fun while encouraging spectators and performers to have fun.”

Wondering How You Can Support Burlesque?

The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada, is, according to their website “the world’s premier organization dedicated to preserving the living legacy of burlesque as an artform and cultural phenomenon. With a collection of several thousand costumes, stage props, photographs, and personal effects documenting the careers and lives of burlesque dancers, comics, and producers over nearly a century, the museum is a growing testament to the power and social impact of the art of the tease.”

Their mission:

The Burlesque Hall of Fame is a nonprofit museum committed to preserving, sharing, celebrating, and inspiring the art of burlesque.

Listed in their values:

We are committed to fair and just treatment of all people, regardless of their race, creed, nationality, degree of bodily ability, age, appearance, sex, gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status. Yes!!! 

And, here is what they say you can do to support the art of burlesque:

There are many ways to help support our efforts to collect, preserve, and display the heritage of burlesque:

Do you know of a great resource on equality in and support for the art of burlesque we should add? Please contact us and share your knowledge, yo! This platform is for YOU!

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