Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Origins And Meanings Of "Shante You Stay" & "Sashay Away"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information about & examples of the use of the statements "Shante, you stay" and "Sashay away" that were coined by entertainer, producer, and entrepreneur Rupaul [RuPaul Andre Charles]. This post also includes my theories about the origins & meanings of those two statements.

The content of this post is provided for cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to RuPaul for his creativity. Thanks also to all those who are featured on these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

"Shante you stay" and "Sashay away" are two rhyming statements* that were coined and are being popularized by RuPaul. These statements are regularly featured at the conclusion of the "Lip Sync For your Life" (LSFYL) segment of RuPaul's popular American television series "RuPaul's Drag Race" (2009 to present).

*The first and last word of the first statement rhyme with the first and last word of the second statement. "Shante" is pronounced "shahn-TAY" and "sashay" is pronounced "sah-SHAY".

"RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960), best known mononymously as RuPaul, is an American actor, drag queen, model, author, and recording artist, who first became widely known in the 1990s when he appeared in a wide variety of television programs, films, and musical albums. Previously, he was a fixture on the Atlanta and New York City club scenes."...

The words "shante" and "sashay" are found in the lyrics of RuPaul's 1993 hit House music record "Supermodel (You Better Work It)". "Shante" is pronounced "shahn TAY". Here's a video of that hit record.

RuPaul - Supermodel (Of The World)

thecelluloidcloset, Published on Apr 27, 2012

Official music video for the song "Supermodel (You Better Work)", the first single from the RuPaul's same titled album, released in 1993.
Lyric Excerpt: RuPaul's "Supermodel Of The World"
"I have one thing to say, sashay, shante
Shante, shante, shante
I have one thing to say, sashay shante
Shante, shante, shante"

Click for the complete lyrics of this song which was written by Rupaul Charles, Lawrence Thom, and James Harry.
Here's some information about RuPaul and the record "Supermodel (Of The World)"
"In 1993 RuPaul recorded dance/house albums which included Supermodel of the World. They were released through the rap label Tommy Boy, spawning the dance track hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)". The music video was an unexpected success on MTV channels, as grunge and gangsta rap were popular at the time. The song peaked at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. It further charted on the UK Singles Chart, peaking on the top 40 at #39. The song found the most success peaking at number 2 on the U.S. dance music charts (known as the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart). Airplay, heavy rotation of the music video on the MTV network and television appearances on popular programs like The Arsenio Hall Show popularized the song."...
The words "sashay shante" in this song praise & encourage the supermodel [RuPaul] and by extension, other "supermodels" for the style, confidence, and attitude that they exude.

My theories on the origins & meanings of "sashay" and "shante" in the context of the "Supermodel (You Better Work)" record and in the context of "RuPaul's Drag Race" television series are given below.

"In mid-2008, RuPaul began producing RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality television game show which aired on Logo in February 2009. The premise of the program has several drag queens compete to be selected by RuPaul and a panel of judges as "America's next drag superstar".

"RuPaul's Drag Race is an American reality competition television series produced by World of Wonder for Logo. RuPaul plays the roles of host, mentor, and source of inspiration for this series, which details RuPaul's search for "America's next drag superstar...

Common Sense Media commented, "RuPaul's Drag Race combines the fashion design drama of Project Runway with the modeling excitement of America's Next Top Model to create an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the performance art world of drag queens. There's plenty of over-the-top stuff, but rather than simply treating drag performers as people to be laughed at and/or scorned, the show also focuses on the hard work and talent that goes into drag performances...”

"The judges [on "RuPaul's Drag Race"] each provide their opinion on the contestants' performances on the runway and in the main challenge before RuPaul announces which drag queen is the episode's winner and which two had the weakest performances. The day before judging, the contestants are all provided with a song that they must learn the lyrics to. The contestants deemed as being the bottom two must "lip sync for their lives" to a song by a female artist in a final attempt to impress RuPaul. After the lip-sync, RuPaul alone decides who stays and who leaves"...
I'm surprised that this Wikipedia article fails to mention the two iconic statements that RuPaul makes at the conclusion of each show's "lip sync for your life" (LSFYL) segment: RuPaul says "Shante, you stay" to the winner and "Sashay away" to the loser (RuPaul often gives some praise to that contestant before saying the dreaded words "Sashay away").

Here are two videos of RuPaul's "Sashay Away" comments:

RuPaul Tells An Audience Member to "Sashay Away!"

Queen Latifah, Published on Mar 28, 2014
RuPaul demonstrates how he sends off cast members on "RuPaul's Drag Race" -- "Sashay Away!"

RuPaul's leitmotive: "Sashay away."

Antonio Casto, Published on Oct 20, 2012

The complete collection (till now) of one of the most unavoidable expressions from the TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race". Hope never have to hear that just for you.

The American word "sashay" comes from the French word "chassé". However, that dance movement isn't the same movement that RuPaul refers to in his 1993 "Supermodel (You Better Work)" record. Nor is chassé the same movement that RuPaul means when he says "Sashay away" on his television series.

The American vernacular meaning of "to sashay" is "to switch your hips while walking; to "(to 'strut your stuff" (to walk like you are on the catwalk, a fashion models' runway.)

"To sashay away" specifically means to leave the RuPaul's Drag Race competition (or, by extension, "to leave any location by strutting away in a super-confident manner (walking like a fierce* supermodel).

*"Fierce" = exceptionally good
UPDATE: April 6, 2016
Hat tip to Myron, April 5, 2016 at 9:24 PM for this information:
..."There is one theory that I did not see here, is that in old movies, a "chassé away" was used to dramatically (and nonsensically) exit a scene after a character was proved wrong and tries to flee in a funny way to emphasize their avoidance. A sort of dance away from a situation. It would be a chassé because the actor had to still face the camera.

Drag queen performances base themselves on the dramatic approach of things, the parody, so I thought it would be a reference to that (I mean pun intended, you would chassé away after being dragged, in a context of a movie). The prononciation "Sashay" is just an evolution of the word, it does not affect the alliteration fortunately."...
I think the "chassé away" in old movies probably did influence Ru Paul's use of that phrase in Ru Paul's Drag Race. I didn't know about that usage when I first published this post.

Thanks, Myron!

end of this update.

The use of word "shante" in the lyrics to RuPaul's 1993 "Supermodel (You Better Work)" record comes from the 1990 movie "Paris Is Burning" (which was filmed in the mid to late 1980s).

Here's a quote about "Paris Is Burning" that was posted by Caress, 3/12/2006 on the blog

..."Paris is Burning uncovers a hidden world that gobsmacked me by the terms used...

An MC rules the roost at the ball giving the performers walking music along the lines of Cheryl Lynn's Got To Be Real or Diana Ross' Love Hangover. He calls out as they walk "Shante, Shante Shante!!"
I believe that the selection of the name "Shante" as an exclamation to praise fierce queens who were "sashaying" and voguing during the New York City drag queen balls stems from that name being popularized during that time in New York City by "Roxanne Shanté".
"Roxanne Shanté (born Lolita Shanté Gooden; November 9, 1969) is an American Hip hop pioneer. Born and raised in the Queensbridge Projects of Queens, New York City, Shanté first gained attention through the Roxanne Wars and her association with the Juice Crew. [Years active: 1984–present]"...
[revised May 14, 2016]
The name "Shante" was also popularized in late 1990s by two R&B singers Chantay Savage and Chanté Moore.
Click for information about Chantay Savage and for information about Chanté Moore.

Chanté Moore is best known for the 1999 song "Chante's Got A Man".
Eliza Dinwiddie-Boyd, editor of the 1994 book lists "Chanté" and "Chantay" as variations of the French female name "Chantel" which means "singer". The other variant forms of the name "Chantel"
that Dinwiddle-Boyd cites are "Chantell", "Chauntel", "Chantalle", Chantrell", "Chauntae", "Chanta", and "Chaunte". That editor cites R&B singers Chanté Moore and Chantay Savage as famous examples of females with that name. Dinwiddle-Boyd also writes that "Variations of this name [the name Chantel] are especially popular among contemporary black parents". [page 259]

Other variations of the female name "Chante" that I've come across
are "Shontae" and "Shontay". And, although it occurs much less often, the name "Shontae" (spelled with an "s") is also given to males. In the early 1990s a Black male who attended the same university as my daughter was named "Shonte". It's likely that that name is a variation of the Irish name "Shawn" (one of the many forms of the name "John".

Here's a quote from
"On RuPaul's Drag race, what does "Shante" mean from "shante, you stay"?

One answer: "It's a play on words from RuPaul's hit song "Supermodel". The song's chorus also features RuPaul repeating the phrase "Sashay! Shante!" When asked what it meant to "shante," RuPaul replied that it means "to weave a bewitching spell." In reality, it originates from the documentary Paris Is Burning"
- meep, 2009
If RuPaul actually gave the meaning of "Shante" that is attributed to him in the meep quote, he may have just made that meaning up on the spot because it sounded good. However, I think it's more likely that RuPaul was alluding to how the name "Shante" was used by drag queens in the 1980s as a referent for a queen who was really working the ballroom floor (and thus could be said to be "weaving a bewitching spell" by their image and actions).

Putting aside the use of the name "Shante" by 1980s drag queens in the movie "Paris Is Burning", I believe that it's significant that the first word of both "Shante, you stay" and "Sashay away" begin with the letter "s", resulting in those rhyming sayings forming an aesthetically pleasing alliteration pattern.

However, I don't think that "Shante" in the statement "Shante, you stay" is used as a personal name. Instead, it seems to me that "Shante, you stay" has no real meaning beyond an announcement of the winner of the "Lip-sync For Your Life" segment of "RuPaul's Drag Race".

Here's a quote from that is interesting to me, in part, because that first word in that "RuPaul's Drag Race" saying is spelled "Chanté" and not Shante". [Warning: That page contains profanity.]
"chanté, you stay (interjection): what RuPaul says to the drag queen who is one of the bottom two contestants, but is saved and moves on to the next round after lipsyncing for her life (see also lipsync for life, sashay away).

Stemming from the lyrics of her 1992 dance hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)," it's the equivalent of Heidi Klum's or Ryan Seacrest's "You're safe" on Project Runway and American Idol, respectively."
I think that "Shante" is the correct spelling for that name/word as it refers to "RuPaul's Drag Race" because that is the way it was spelled in RuPaul's "Supermodel" record and than name with a beginning "s" fits the pattern of the "s" which begins the word "sashay".
(Addition: April 10, 2014)
It occurs to me that I failed to recognize the significance of the fact that prior to RuPaul saying "Shante, you stay" (and "Sashay away") he says the contestant's name. For instance, in Season 6, Episode 7 he said "Trinity, shante, you stay" (and he said "Sashay away" to Laganja.) That's another indication that he isn't using "shante" as a personal name.

If you wanted to use the quote attributed to RuPaul by meep [from the yahoo answers website], his statement to Trinity after that lip synch contest could be given as "Trinity, you weaved the most bewitching spell, [so] you stay." Or, according to my interpretation of the use of the name "Shante" by the "Paris Is Burning" drag queens, RuPaul's statement could be given in long form as "Trinity, you are a fierce queen -or in the context of the lip-sync for your life contest-"You are the fiercest queen (competing in that segment)"- [therefore] you stay".

Either way, the meaning of that "Shante, you stay" statement is much more soulful and is given in a much more soulful manner than just saying "You're safe."

(end of April 10, 2014 addition)
UPDATE: April 6, 2016
Hat tip to Myron, April 5, 2016 at 9:24 PM for this information:
..."As for "shantay" I assumed it was a short from "enchanté", which means "charmed" (both in a way to cast a spell, and to be pleased, just like in english)."..
I think that the "to be pleased" meaning of "enchanté" (to be captivating?") probably was the source of the word's (name's) use in the Paris Is Burning movie and in Ru-Paul's "Supermodel" record, particularly if that word was "chanted" as a compliment in Paris Is Burning to mean that the drag queen was "enchanting" (pleasing, captivating). And, it seems to me, that that is the meaning that Ru-Paul uses for the phrase, "Shante, you stay". (I'm pleased with you [and/or "You're pleasing/enchanting"] and -therefore- you stay").
Thanks, Myron!

Also, if I've not noted this before, I think that the reason that "Shante, you stay" and "Sashay away" are used together on Ru-Paul's Drag Race is because of their alliteration - both "Shante" and "sashay" have a "sh" sound. Also, I believe that these commands are used together on that program because they rhyme: stay/away.

end of that April 6, 2016 update.

I should also be noted that there are several conflicting entries for the meaning of the name "Shante" and/or the word "shante" on for three examples of reader entries for "Shante". For instance, the entry with the most reader points as of this date (April 9, 2014) is this one which was sent in by leesh1545 November 22, 2009
"Shante - A crazy girl with a loud mouth. Shoppaholic. Loves to party and loves Hello Kitty. She's fun and crazy and is loyal to her friends. She has a sense of humor, and is brutally honest. She's a friend you can trust.

"Hey shante, what you doin tonight?"
"Girl, you know i'm goin to the party! Wanna go shopping with me first?"

"Hey shante, how does my outfit look?"
"Like your closet threw up on you. Come with me and i'll fix you"

However, I'm very doubtful if those generic referents were used by African Americans prior to the 1980s when "Paris Is Burning" was being filmed or after that time.

Here's the comment that prompted me to write this post about the meanings of the rhyming statements "Sashay away" and "Shonte, you stay":


Did anyone else catch Laganja's parting shot of "And now I will be the first queen ever to actually chassé away"

And then she chassés out of there*

When Laganja lost her lip sync challenge in Season 6, episode #8 and therefore had to leave the stage, she did a chasse ballet step. I think that AlbrechtEinstein dissed Laganja because in spite of the fact that Laganja put on a "hip", street wise persona in all those episodes that she appeared in, she didn't even realize that the ballet chasse isn't what RuPaul meant when he said "Sashay away!". However, another commenter wrote that Laganja probably knew what "sashay" meant, but she was just trying to be clever.

UPDATE: Feb. 14, 2017
Here's a Feb. 13, 2017 example of "Sashay Away" from RuPaul to Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn:
RuPaul ✔ @RuPaul
National Security Adviser
Michael T. Flynn, Sashay Away.
11:37 PM - 13 Feb 2017

And here's one response to that tweet:

Hemansu Mangal @Hemansu
@RuPaul Bye Flynnisha!!!
11:43 PM - 13 Feb 2017

Source for both

Background: Trump's White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned Feb. 13, 2017 over controversy about his communication with Russia both before and after Trump's inauguration.
Click for a pancocojams post on how "Bye Felicia Became A Popular Catchphrase".

(end of Feb 14, 2017 update)

Here's a video that showcases what walking on a catwalk (strutting, sashaying) looks like:

Black Fashion Models at The Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows 2001-2003

juniorpetjua, Uploaded on Apr 23, 2010

Black Fashion Models at The Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows 2001-2003:

*Tyra Banks
*Naomi Campbell
*Liya Kebede
*Oluchi Onweagba
*Alek Wek
*Omahyra Mota

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Somewhat off topic:

    The positive connotations that I believe are attributed to the African American "originated" female name "Shante" (in the movie "Paris Is Burning", in RuPau's "Supermodel" record, and by extension in the saying "Shante, you stay" can be contrasted with the negative connotations that are given to the African American originated name "Sheneneh".

    Many Americans became familiarized with the name "Sheneneh" because it was featured on Martin Lawrence's television series "Martin"
    Recurring characters on "Martin" (television series)
    "Sheneneh Jenkins: Played by Martin in drag, she is a stereotypical "ghetto girl": she always has on flashy clothes/fashion accessories and hair weaves; nature has endowed her with a big butt; and she speaks with feminine Ebonics."
    As a result of the television show "Martin" which still airs as re-runs on some stations, for a lot of Black and non-Black Americans, calling someone "Sheneneh" has become a shorthand way of insulting a specific Black female or Black females in general.

    Aside from the problematic nature of the connotations that have been given to that name, and also apart from the disturbing (to me) custom of African American comedians depicting Black woman in drag for laughs, I'm interested in how the name "Sheneneh" and also the name "Shante" fit what I think is an African American aesthetic for personal names which begin with the "sh" sound.

    I'm not sure what the cultural reasons are for this, but I think that there are certain sounds that African Americans (and probably other populations) prefer. And it seems to me that "sh" is one of those sounds that many African American like for personal names.

    Another recurring female character in the television series "Martin" had a name that began with "Sh" - "Shanise".

    The male name "Shawn" ("Shaun", "Shon" etc.) and the male or female names "LaShaun", DeShawn", DeShon, etc. are also a few more examples of African Americans' aesthetic appreciation for the "sh" sound.

    I also think that since the 1960s Americans -African American or otherwise- have been fond of "Shawn" names because of the popularity of Sean Connery's movie character James Bond.

    But since that subject is going too far away from an examinations of the sayings that were the topic of this post, I guess I'll "sashay away".

    1. It occurs to me that the name "Shangela" is another example of an African American female name that begins with "sh".

      "Shangela" was a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race" season 2.

  2. The phrase "double shantay" is used in this quote from
    [quoting gardenofcucumbers's comment]
    "Adoree/Trinity should have been the double shantay.

    YES! I get why the producers used it when they did, but I think a double shantay should really be a lipsync that blows you out of the water. It's conflicting to me because while I didn't want Dela to go home yet, this is also a competition and you have to do your best every week. I get that Trinity was probably not going to win either way, whilst Ben can, but I still think that Ben got out-lipsynched by Darriene, so it didn't deserve a double Shantay".
    "double shantay" - when RuPaul declares that both contestants in the lip sync for your life [LSFYL] segment are safe, i.e. they both remain in the competition

  3. I've always thought that by shante he referred to "enchante" - the French for "enchanted". This fits in with the description of the contestant casting a spell over Ru.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

      Although the French word "enchante" fits, I don't think that's what RuPau meant when he first sang the line "Sashay, Shante" in his "Supermodel" song or when he says "Shante you stay, Sashay away" in his Drag Race series.

      Ideas about possible names that served as the root (bases) for the female names Shante, Chante, Chantelle, Shantelle, Shonte, Shontay and similar female names can be found online.

      One possible origin for those names is the Welsh name Sian
      "Sian \sian\ as a girl's name is pronounced shaahn. It is of Welsh origin. Variant of Jane (Hebrew) "God's grace". See also Seana, Shana, Shanae, and Shawna. Actress Sian Phillips.

      Sian has 2 variant forms: Siana and Sianna.

      For more information, see also the related name Shan.


      Here's other possibilities
      "Shante \sh(an)-te\ as a girl's name has the meaning "stone; peaceful" and is a variant of Shan (English): variant of Sian. Also a variant of Shantelle (Old French). Shante is also used as a variant of Shanti (Hindi).

      Shante has 5 variant forms: Shanta, Shantae, Shantai, Shantay, Shantee.

      Shante is also pronounced similarly to Chanta, Chantae, Chantea, Chantee, Chantey, Shantey, Shaunta, Shauntae, Shauntee, Shawnta, Shawntae and Shonta. Other suggested similar baby names are Chante, Sande, Santa, Shanae, Shanda, Shandea, Shandee, Shandey, Shandi, Shandie, Shandy, Shane, Shanee, Shanie, Shanit, Shanita, Shantel, Shaunte and Shawnte"


  4. Thank you for an interesting article!

    Yet I thought I should point out that the part about "Chante" in French is wrong. First "chante" doesn't mean "singer" (that would be chanteuse), it's just one form of the verb "to sing" which we wouldn't use by itself. Second, it is not a first name. Of course I don't know the names of all my fellow Frenchwomen, but if I told an American that Singing was an American first name, they would know it's not, right? The closest name I can think of is Chantal, a very old fashioned one. By the way, Shantelle isn't a French name either (not even Old French). Chantelle is a French lingerie brand, though. ;)

    On a side note, I always found it funny that when RuPaul says "Sashay, shante" in Supermodel, it sounds exactly like "Sachez chanter" in French, which means "Know how to sing". Cute coincidence, right?

    Anyway thanks again for a nice and very thorough article.

    1. Thanks for that interesting information, anonymous.

      I appreciate it.

      I consider the name source for the [usually] female name Shante and its forms such as Shantay to be "contemporary" (1960s to date) African American as a folk etymology form of the French word chante and Chantal. Few contemporary African American names have any fixed meaning.

    2. I always thought the lyrics in that song were "Sachez chanter" (pronounced roughly sashay shantay and meaning know how to sing) - wouldn't be the first disco/dance song that threw in a few words of French for whatever reason (the most famous is probably Lady Marmelade Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir). To me it was obviously a reference to those earlier lyrics when used at the end of a lip-sync performance (i.e. you know how to sing, and you don't), and a double-entendre with the other sound-alike Sashay meaning walk away.

    3. Hello, Anonymous April 20, 2015

      Thanks for your comment.

      I assume you are referring to RuPaul's "Supermodel" song. I don't agree with your theory, although I can understand that it sounds somewhat plausible.

      One of the reasons why some African American songs have French lyrics is the Louisiana French/Creole history/influence - for example Zydeco music.

    4. Ockham's razor. In the song Supermodel, it's most likely "Sachez chanter" ([you] know how to sing), rather than your convoluted explanation. "Sashay shante" is exactly how an anglophone would pronounce it.

      "Chanté, you stay", meaning "sung, you stay". "Sashay away", likely to be a clever pun between a reference to his lyrics and a play on "chassé away". RuPaul does like her puns.

    5. Thanks for your comment, David Lessard.

      As to Ockham's razor, I never met him, and I don't have to shave... So there's that. ;o)

  5. Hello, I just started watching the show and I was intrigued by the expression. this is one good read I had here.

    There is one theory that I did not see here, is that in old movies, a "chassé away" was used to dramatically (and nonsensically) exit a scene after a character was proved wrong and tries to flee in a funny way to emphasize their avoidance. A sort of dance away from a situation. It would be a chassé because the actor had to still face the camera.
    Drag queen performances base themselves on the dramatic approach of things, the parody, so I thought it would be a reference to that (I mean pun intended, you would chassé away after being dragged, in a context of a movie). The prononciation "Sashay" is just an evolution of the word, it does not affect the alliteration fortunately.

    As for "shantay" I assumed it was a short from "enchanté", which means "charmed" (both in a way to cast a spell, and to be pleased, just like in english). It is pronounced very fast in french and the first syllable often gets "eaten" as the emphasis is usually on the second and last syllable because they have strong consonants (SH and T, as opposed to more fluid sounds).

    I am french, by the way.

    1. Greetings, Myron. I appreciate your comment.

      Both your "chassé away" and "enchanté" theories may be "on point" (correct), at least as to their original French source and, in particular, your information about the use of "chassé away" in old movies.

      But I think the "to be pleased" definition of "enchanté" (a person is captivating?) fits the use of the "Shante" word (name?) in "Paris Is Burning" and in RuPaul's "Supermodel" record MUCH more than the "enchanté" definition "to cast a spell".

      I'm going to add that info about chasse away in the movies and the info about the "to be pleases" meaning of enchante to the post with a hat tip to you.

      Thanks again!!

  6. It's so simple : IMHO everything comes from the song. AnonymousApril 20, 2015 at 5:22 AM is correct at 100 %! I think you loose the theme of the song and the general context. It's about being a supermodel and be able to sync. (Or lip-sync in the RPDG.)

    Lyric Excerpt: RuPaul's "Supermodel"
    "I have one thing to say, sashay, shante
    Shante, shante, shante
    I have one thing to say, sashay shante
    Shante, shante, shante"

    I always heard : "I have one thing to say,
    Sachez Chanter, chanter, chanter, chanter. That's mean : (You have to) know how to sing, sing, sing) ...

    (Like " Sachez conduite, sachez tenir) It's like someone is trying to teach her how to walk, how to work to be on the covers of the magazine)

    In RPDG, we are still talking about music and at the end she says :

    - if you win : Chanter, you stay. (you can -lip-sync, you stay)
    - if you loose : Sachez away. ( leave)
    In the context of a lip sync battle, it makes perfect sense ! But it's not perfect french of course, it just sound great, and it's not correct anymore. t's just some kind of french mixed with english. Maybe as you says, some old french, or some african french.

    I'm not sure your interpretation of Sashay is correct. It's not the same prononciation or meaning at all in french. "Enchanté (de faire votre connaissance)" means " Nice to meet you" : Nothing to do with "enchanted".

    And if you try to pronounce "Chassé" : cha - sé, you will see that it not the same that "Sashay" : sa - chay. the CHHHH is not at the same place. Chassé meant "hunted" or "banned" it depends of the context. And when you pronounce it like you have to, you begin with the Sssss. Like in french : Sachez ( "Savoir" at the imperative)

    I hope you will like an another vision for this topic.
    Sorry for my english, my mother language if french.
    I'm not trying to force my opinion, just to tell you what I think about all this. I hope it helps.

    Your blog is cool an d very informative !
    Byiiiii !

    1. Greetings, Anonymous May 13, 2016

      Thanks for sharing your ideas about the source of RuPaul's "Shante you stay" and Sashay away". I appreciate "hearing" different opinions about this topic.

      But I stand by my position that, in the context of RuPaul's Drag Race", although the words "Shante" and Sashay" might have come from the French language, they don't have the same meaning that they do in that language.

      RuPaul is African American, after all, and we African Americans are known to borrow cultural material from where ever and adapt it and transform it to our own purposes.

  7. I think ¨shante¨ comes from the french ENCHANTÉ who means more relative to ¨stay¨ enchanté means hounted but in french sound super classy and pretty nice say ¨enchanté¨ when you meet sombody who you like... i dont know.

    1. Thanks for your comment, artlatinboy.

      I'm going to "stand by" my previous comments about this subject.

      But what did you mean when you wrote "enchanté means hounted"?

  8. I just wanted to add that the word "shantay" in the expression "shantay you stay" does sound like "chantez", which means "sing!" in French; I know you already mentioned it but I've been following RPDR since a long time and, well, it's obvious Ru loves charades and playing with words.

    I mention "Chantez, you stay" which would mean "Sing!/Keep singing, you stay" because:

    1) Chanter/Enchanter do have a relation with the word "to charm, to put a spell". Singing actually was related to magic in Scandinavia; it was called Galdr.
    2) Also, these same pagans had the Seidr, which was some kind of witch/wizard. It was a female dominated "field", and the men who did it were considered "unmasculine".
    3) There are other word relationships relevant to this discussion, for example: "grammar - grimoire - glamour" all come from the same word. Glamour means illusion; grammar is related to "spelling - to cast a spell" - "to bewitch" - "to sing/Galdr".
    4) The last but most important connection is the context in which Ru uses this expression: on the -lipsync- part of the episode. Drag queens aren't really "singing", but they're giving the "illusion" that they are (see "The Realness" video by RuPaul).

    Are drag queens modern day Seidr/witches? Who knows. I just know Sasha Velour called herself a magical witch in the last episode rap-battle and she won (and that when a queen wins a season previous winners, for some reason, greet the new queen with "welcome to the coven").

    1. Thanks for sharing your comments. Ollie.

      I appreciate your points, particularly #3 and #4. I didn't know that "when a queen wins a season previous winners, for some reason, greet the new queen with "welcome to the coven")."

    2. On point #3, the "grammar - grimoire - glamour" cluster was formed in English through the entry of the French word "grammaire"(from Latin "grammatia" which comes from Greek "Grammatike tekhne": the art of letters) on the 14th Century. I am on the suspicion that "grammar" took it's "occult" meanings (grimmoire - book of spells/glamour - illusion/spell) because the of the pagan custom of runes- Pagan magic involved not only being able to read runes but to put them in their correct order; add to that the Galdr tradition of writing and singing poetry (basically) and the Seidr (that might have involved cross-dressing).

      Obviously, Northern Europeans were not the only ones to make the link between "magic" and the use of words. Language does have its own power and all cultures have realized that because all have at least developed an oral tradition of storytelling.

      Which brings me to "read/write": how coincidental is it that All Stars 2's rap challenge is titled "Read U Wrote U"? To me, that challenge wasn't really about the best verse in the technical sense, but about pure storytelling. And it makes sense since they were competing to be "inducted" into the "RPDR Hall of Fame": the story they (sang) rapped about themselves was a (spell) justification of why they should win.

      Gay slang is, maybe non-intentionally, full of magical jargon, it seems.

    3. Ollie, although I don't want to dwell too long on this subject because it's off-topic, let me co-sign your comment that "Obviously, Northern Europeans were not the only ones to make the link between "magic" and the use of words" by sharing this quote about the concept of Nommo from
      "In West Africa, the Dogon people of Mali believe that the African concept of Nommo, the power of the spoken word, carries a life force that produces all life and influences everything. By human utterance or through the spoken word, human.".

    4. It's also very interesting that almost in every culture the tradition of magic is associated with subversive forms of gender/sexuality. It's a very interesting topic indeed!

  9. Hey!
    Was wondering about the meanings and found myself here.
    Just a comment (maybe stated in the posts already. Didn't go through all of them).
    When Supermodels came out in France, we all thought it was about "sachez chanter" /"you'd better sing right"...

    1. Thanks for your comment, Frank S.

      Here's what I think about this:
      "Shante" (also spelled "Shantay") is a relatively familiar contemporary African American female name.

      So when RuPaul said "Shante" in that song (and on the RuPaul's Dray Race television series, "Shante" is a female name and not the French word "sing".

      Words that are spelled the same or similarly may have different meanings. "Shante", the female name, and "chanter" singe are examples of that.

  10. I would just like to add that "chasser" in French means "to get rid of", "to dispel" or even "to fire" or "to dismiss", "to banish".
    The dance step "chassé" comes from the French phrase "pas de chassé" witch litteraly means "step of dispel".

  11. Sashay, shante --> it means in French: "You have to know how to sing" (French: "Sachez Chanter")

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mickaël Sanchez.

      I've read the French explanation before Sashay, Shante, but I stand by my belief that when Ru Paul says it in his record and tv show, the word "sashay" refers to a sensuous manner of walking, and "Shante" is a female name.