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