Pepper LaBeija

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Pepper LaBeija (5 November 1948 – May 14, 2003), born William Jackson, was an American drag queen and fashion designer featured in the documentary films Paris Is Burning (1990, dir. Jennie Livingston) and How Do I Look (2006, dir. Wolfgang Busch). LaBeija was the head of the notable ball culture House of LaBeija.[1]

Malcolm McLaren quoted her in his famous 1989 song and music video "Deep in Vogue", a tribute to the New York gay balls of the eighties, runway competitions that involved dance, fashion and attitude.

LaBeija suffered from diabetes mellitus type 2 for many years and had both feet amputated before dying of a heart attack in Manhattan in 2003.[2]


  1. ^ Cunningham, Michael (May 1998). The Slap of Love. Open City, volume 6
  2. ^ Douglas, Martin (May 26, 2003). Pepper LaBeija, Queen of Harlem Drag Balls, Is Dead at 53. New York Times

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