Kevin Aviance (born Eric Snead on June 22, 1968 in Richmond, Virginia) is an American drag queen, dance music musician, fashion designer and nightclub personality.
[Munoz, 423-42.] [Lust, 177.] He is a personality in New York City's gay scene and has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. [Munoz, 423-4.] [Wright, 85.] He is a member of the House of Aviance, one of the vogue-ball houses in the U.S. [Munoz, 435.] He is known for his trademark phrase, "Work. Fierce. Over. Aviance!" He won the 1998 and 1999 Glammy Awards, the award for nightlife personalities in New York City. [Quohnos Mitchell, "Next: On the Verge- Kevin Aviance", page 106, Vibe, October 2000.] He has worked with several artists, including Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston. [New York Times "Fourth Man Is Arrested After Attack on a Dance Recording Artist in the East Village", By KAREEM FAHIM and SARAH GARLAND (June 12, 2006) ] In December 2016, Billboard Magazine ranked him as the 93rd most successful dance artist of all-time. [ "GREATEST OF ALL TIME TOP DANCE CLUB ARTISTS" in Billboard Magazine]
Aviance was raised in Richmond, Virginia, in a close-knit family of eight siblings.
His father provided for them as a landscape contractor.
From an early age, Aviance dedicated himself to the study of music and theatre, his first experience in drag was in the seventh grade.
His early influences were "punk rock
, Boy George
, and Grace Jones
He moved to Washington D.C. where he worked as a hairdresser and did drag performances.
He developed a bad crack habit but with help of the House of Aviance he was able to overcome it, after his initiation in the house he took the name Kevin Aviance.
He later moved to New York City and made a name for himself as a dancer/performer at Sound Factory, a club mainly for queer Latinos and blacks.
Major DJs and club promoters saw him performing and started hiring him, he became one of a handful of drag performers in NYC able to support themselves solely on performances.
His career as a performance artist and club personality began in Washington, DC, continued in Miami, and eventually landed him in New York City. The House of Aviance was founded in 1989 (in Washington, DC) by Mother Juan Aviance.
[ House of Aviance]
Kevin is regarded as Mother Juan and the House's "oldest daughter".
In 1993, Aviance, who was living in Florida at the time, was asked to move to New York City by Mother Juan. He accepted his House Mother's request and shortly after landed a cameo role in Madonna's 1994 Secret
In July 1999, Aviance performed as part of Billboard's sixth annual Dance Music Summit.
["Dance Music Summit Update", page 24, Billboard, July 10, 1999.]
Aviance has appeared in several films, including Flawless starring Robert De Niro and the independent film Punks. Besides his feature-film work he has made guest appearances on such shows as The Tyra Banks Show, and America's Next Top Model, also hosted by Tyra Banks, and worked with artists like Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.
His songs Din Da Da, Rhythm Is My Bitch, Alive, Give It Up and Strut, have all reached Number 1 of the Billboard dance chart. The only one of his singles not to peak at Number 1 to date is Dance for Love. Aviance's most successful dance radio hit to date is Give It Up released in 2004. His second album, Entity is a more consistent effort than his first.
Hate crime incident
On June 10, 2006 while exiting the Phoenix, a popular gay bar located in the East Village section of Manhattan, Aviance was robbed and beaten by a group of men who yelled anti-gay slurs at him. Four suspects were arrested under New York's hate crime
law, but reports say up to seven men were involved in the attack.
[ Singer Aviance leaves N.Y. hospital after beating from USA Today, date June 12, 2006]
Aviance was not dressed in his gender-bending performance clothes but as a boy. He had to have his jaw wired for a month.
He also suffered a fractured knee and neck injuries as well as blows to the face.
Despite suffering a broken jaw, he insisted on appearing in the city's gay pride parade later that month.
[ Rain Can't Dim N.Y. Gay Pride Parade from the New York Daily News, date June 25, 2006]
The four suspects, who ranged between 17 and 21 years old, were charged with gang assault as a hate crime. On March 21, 2007, they pleaded guilty and were sentenced to between six and fifteen years in prison. Without the plea agreement, they had faced up to 25 years.
Recently, Aviance appeared on the song This is New York City (Bitch!)
by the transgender
rap group La'Mady from the album Jonny McGovern Presents: This is NYC, Bitch! The East Village Mixtape
In 2007, Aviance's song Strut
was featured as the theme song for the documentary series Indie Sex
. In April 2008, Aviance staged a comeback to the club scene and entertainment world, and was reunited on stage with Junior Vasquez
, who previously worked together but had become estranged over a professional dispute. At Cielo, a club in New York known for its lighted walls, the tandem performance marked the return to the spotlight for Aviance, performing two of his new hit singles. He most recently recorded a cover of Britney Spears
's Gimme More
, produced by Jonny McGovern
and Adam Joseph on The East Village Mixtape 2: The Legends Ball
Box of Chocolates (Wave Music) 1999.
Entity (Centaur) 2004.
[Larry Flick, "The Dive Testifies: Gender Bender Kevin Aviance Talks About Dipping Into Both Dance Music And Gospel", page 62, The Advocate, November 11, 2003.]
Cunty (The Feeling) (1996) Strictly
Hold On Me with
Din Da Da (1997) .
Join In The Chant (1998) .
[Larry Flick, "Nervous 'Future Progression' A Superlative Showcase", Page 40-1, Billboard, September 12, 1998.]
Rhythm Is My Bitch (1999)
[Anderson jones, "Freaks and Beats", pages 59-60, The Advocate, April 11, 2000.]
Dance For Love (2000) .
Alive (2002) .
[Michael Paoletta, "Videoclips Gain As Tool For Dance acts", pages 1, 36, Billboard, March 22, 2003.]
Give It Up (2004).
[Michael Paoletta, "Inside Track: I Am What I Am", page 78, Billboard, July 1, 2006.]
Gimme More (Aviance) (2008) Gay/Nerd
Avi'ously Aviance (2014) featuring EJ Aviance, Kevin Aviance, Perry Aviance and Mother Juan Aviance; produced by David Ohana Aviance. Released on Aviance Records
[''"AVI’OUSLY AVIANCE"' FEAT. EJ, KEVIN, PERRY & MOTHER AVIANCE PRODUCED BY DAVID OHANA AVIANCE in Aviance Records ]
Punks, UrbanWorld (2000) as "Miss Smokie" a club owner, Patrick-Ian Polk, director.
Freaks, Glam Gods and Rockstars, RyanIsland Films (2001), John T. Ryan director.
"Naked Fame", Regent Here! Films (2005), Christopher Long, director.
[Willis (2006), 194.]
House of Aviance
Mother Juan Aviance
LGBT culture in New York City
List of self-identified LGBTQ New Yorkers
List of Number 1 Dance Hits (United States)
List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
How Do I Look website, about the Harlem Drag Balls 
Violence against LGBT people
Boyd, Helen, She's not the man I married: my life with a transgender husband, Seal Press, 2007, , .
Lust, Erika, Good Porn: A Woman's Guide, Seal Press, 2010, , .
Munoz, Jose Esteban, "Gesture, Ephemera, and Queer Feeling: Approaching Kevin Aviance" in Dancing desires: choreographing sexualities on and off the stage, edited by Jane Desmond, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2001, , .
Pezzote, Angelo, Straight Acting: Gay Men, Masculinity and Finding True Love, Kensington Publishing Corp., 2008, , .
Warwick, Neil, Jon Kutner, Tony Brown, The complete book of the British charts: singles & albums, Omnibus Press, 2004, , .
Willis, John, Tom Lynch, Barry Monush, Screen World, Volume 53; Volume 2002, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003, , .
Willis, John, Barry Monush, Screen World Film Annual: Volume 57, r Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006, , .
Wright, Kai, Drifting toward love: black, brown, gay, and coming of age on the streets of New York, Beacon Press, 2008, , .
: 1968 Births
, African-american Musicians
, American Fashion Designers
, American House Musicians
, Lgbt Musicians From The United States
, Lgbt African Americans
, Living People
, New York City Nightlife
, Musicians From Richmond, Virginia
, American Victims Of Anti-lgbt Hate Crimes
, Gay Musicians
, Lgbt People From Virginia
, African-american Drag Queens
, Violence Against Gay Men
, House Of Aviance