A Philadelphia drag performer beloved by the local LGBTQ community died Monday night during a performance at a popular gay bar.
Valencia Prime, 25, was performing at Tabu Lounge and Sports bar, in the heart of Philadelphia’s Gayborhood, when she collapsed on stage, bar owner Jeffrey Scotland said.
The venue posted a statement on social media lamenting the death of “a very bright and rising star in the performing world and a person who was always full of love and optimism.” “We bid Valencia Prime farewell, but we won’t soon forget the brightness you brought to the stage.”
After word got out, tributes from other performers flooded in. The transgender lady known only as Prime referred to herself as “Philadelphia’s plus-size dance superstar.”
“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,” Timaree Leigh, a sexuality educator, and burlesque performer, tweeted.
“I really enjoyed working with Valencia and will miss her,” “Through Facebook Messenger, Leigh informed NBC News. “She had incredible energy and was skilled, entertaining, and nice. A large group of those she inspired and those she affected are devastated by her passing.
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 afterward 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.
Drag artist Aloe Vera, whose real name is Anthony Veltre, often performed alongside Prime. In a Facebook message, Veltre said: “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 to 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.”
A GoFundMe campaign started by Prime’s loved ones to gather money for burial costs has reached its $8,000 target.
According to the GoFundMe page, “We would appreciate for the community to support her mother and the rest of her family, to give her the befitting memorial we know she deserves.” “We want you to know that your generosity and support are much valued and haven’t gone unappreciated,” the statement reads.
Prime was originally from Delran, New Jersey, and was presently residing in Philadelphia, according to Nikita Sinnn Monroe, the person who created the GoFundMe effort.
Prime graduated from Delran High School in 2015, and according to her Facebook profile, she went on to Temple University in Philadelphia and Rowan College in Burlington County, New Jersey.
Christiana Marcus-McRae, Prime’s mother, said on Facebook on Tuesday that she was planning Prime’s funeral “25 years ago, on April 2nd at 7:58 pm, I gave birth to my second child and today.”
Marcus-McRae did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Prime’s cause of death has not been shared by the family or authorities.