Popular drag performer aged 25 died midway through performance at a Philadelphia gay bar. What suddenly is killing young black entertainers?
Valencia Prime, a transgender woman who proudly dubbed herself as “Philadelphia’s Plus Size Dancing Diva”, died on Monday night while performing at Tabu Lounge and Sports bar in the city’s Gayborhood. Bar owner Jeffrey Scotland said that she was in the middle of a drag performance when she suddenly collapsed.
“Today we mourn the loss of a very bright and rising star in the performance community and a person who was always full of love and positivity,” the venue said in a statement shared on social media. “We say goodbye to Valencia Prime but we will not forget the light you brought to the stage.”
Prime, who called herself “Philadelphia’s Plus Size Dancing Diva,” was remembered as “a very bright and rising star” by Tabu Lounge. In an Instagram post, it wrote, “Today we mourn the loss of a very bright and rising star in the performance community and a person who was always full of life and positivity. We say goodbye to Valencia Prime but we will not forget the light you brought to the stage.”
Tributes from other performers poured in after news spread of Prime’s death.
“This community has suffered so much loss in the last few years. Valencia Prime was a talent and a delightful person. Rest in power, babe,” Timarree Leigh, a sexuality educator and burlesque performer, tweeted.
“I had a great time working with Valencia and will genuinely miss her,” Leigh said on Facebook. “She was talented, fun, kind and brought really great energy. Her loss is devastating to a whole scene of people she influenced and inspired.”
Drag queen Brittany Lynn, whose real name is Ian Morrison, also shared a message in Prime’s honor: “Valencia Prime you will be sorely missed. You were always up for a gig or messaging me afterwards saying ‘good job sir.’ Out & About will always be dedicated to you and all that you did for everyone. Keep twirling ma’am,” she wrote on Facebook.
Another drag performer said on Facebook, “I’m trying. I’m trying to be strong and I’m trying to brave because you were the one the taught me how to be strong and brave. The pain I feel right now is something I wish on no one. You are and will forever be my light. I wish I knew how to keep going without you. I wish I knew how to be inspiring too others that are hurting right now… but a piece of my soul has been taken from me and I’m struggling to pick myself up off the ground without you. I love you with everything in my heart Valencia. Rest in power.”
It was reported that Valencia’s heartbroken mother Christiana Marcus-McRae wrote in a Facebook post, “25 yrs ago, April 2nd at 7:58pm, I gave birth to my 2nd child. But today, I’m making funeral arrangements…” Her devastating post attracted a lot of comments, with one saying,
“Thinking of you Christiana. Prayers to your family.” Another one wrote, “My Condolences and prayers to you and your family, Bless your heart ” one person wrote while another person wrote “Sending you and your family my deepest sympathy and condolences. Valencia was a great friend, will be truly missed.”
This article was first reported by NBC News.