Rainbow Rant: A conversation with Anisa Love
Corey Williams is a minister of sorts.
Every Sunday night, Williams holds his sermons at CHURCH at Axis Nightclub in the Short North, leading the “congregation” as his alter ego, Anisa Love. Love, along with CHURCH, has often been called the glue that keeps different intersections of the Columbus gay community together. Her show has been held every Sunday for the past 16 years, and is a combination of stand-up, sing-along and off-color game show — with strippers in between. The audience is diverse, including some patrons who would not normally venture into this particular club on any other day.
I reached out to Love via email to ask her a few questions about life, her alter ego and what CHURCH means to her.
On getting a start in drag
"I started drag June 6, 2000, when Virginia West dared me to enter Miss Union. I still feel like the pageant was rigged, because I lost. … That week I got a phone call asking me to perform at Axis Nightclub.
Who is Anisa Love?
“Wow, this is a hard question. Anisa is everything that is good and bad about Corey. She is very direct. She is very no nonsense. She has a huge heart and she wants to spread love. Here I am talking about this bitch like she isn't me. Lmao. Honestly, over the years I have personally changed and so has the character. I love hard, I fight hard. I believe in standing up for those who don't have a voice and I'll keep fighting for our LGBTQIA rights. I'll keep fighting for our beautifully made people of color and all who want to just live and be treated fairly. At the end of the day, the most powerful thing each and every one of us has is our VOICE. So, we must use it and be the change we want to see in the world.”
On the freewheeling nature of CHURCH
"What I love about CHURCH is that every Sunday is different. The randomness that is my thought process pulls different songs out, games, contests, jokes. I am blessed to have one of the most amazing DJs, Tommy, who has worked with me since my first CHURCH. He can basically read my mind and we have our own language. We take ourselves on a journey and we make the audience come with us! There have been so many funny things that have happened over the years. I mean, Anisa has an alter ego named SINAMEN, who is a ‘dancer' working her way through paralegal school. At any given time she may pop up and lap dance someone DOWN! HA!!”
Where do you see CHURCH in five years?
“I don't know. … I just hope to be giving the sermon.”