Kevin Aviance

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Kevin Aviance
Fierce Hiro at the Maritime Hotel 20070910.10D.45792 SML (1389640840).jpg
Kevin Aviance in 2007
Background information
Birth nameEric Snead
Born (1968-06-22) June 22, 1968 (age 50)
OriginRichmond, Virginia, United States
Occupation(s)female impressionist, Club/Dance musician, fashion designer and nightclub personality
Years active1989–present

Kevin Aviance (born Eric Snead on June 22, 1968 in Richmond, Virginia) is an American drag queen, Club/Dance musician, and fashion designer and nightclub personality.[1][2] He is a known personality in New York City's gay scene and has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia.[3][4] He is a member of the House of Aviance, one of the legendary vogue-ball houses in the U.S.[5] 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.[6] He has worked with several artists including Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.[7] In December 2016, Billboard Magazine ranked him as the 93rd most successful dance artist of all-time.[8]


Aviance was raised in Richmond, Virginia, in a close-knit family of eight siblings.[6] His father provided for them as a landscape contractor.[9] From an early age, Aviance dedicated himself to the study of music and theatre, his first experience in drag was in the seventh grade.[5] His early influences were "punk, Boy George, Devo, and Grace Jones".[9] He moved to Washington D.C. where he worked as a hairdresser and did drag performances.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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 to which he belong was founded in 1989 (in Washington, DC) by Mother Juan Aviance.[10] Kevin is regarded as Mother Juan and the House's "oldest daughter".[10] In 1993, Aviance who was living in Florida at the time was asked to moved down 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 video.[10] In July 1999 Aviance performed as part of Billboard's sixth annual Dance Music Summit.[11]

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.[7] 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[edit]

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.[12] Aviance was not dressed in his gender-bending performance clothes but as a boy. He had to have his jaw wired for a month.[13] He also suffered a fractured knee and neck injuries as well as blows to the face.[14] Despite suffering a broken jaw, he insisted on appearing in the city's gay pride parade later that month.[15]

On March 21, 2007 all four assailants pleaded guilty, receiving prison sentences ranging from 6 to 15 years in plea agreements that included hate crimes embellishments. The four young men, who range in age from 17 to 21 years old, [would have] faced up to 25 years each for the attack, had they been found guilty in a trial. All had been charged with gang assault as a hate crime.

Recent times[edit]

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.[16] 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 had 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 for inclusion on The East Village Mixtape 2: The Legends Ball.


  • Box of Chocolates (Wave Music) 1999.[6]
  • Entity (Centaur) 2004.[17]


  • Cunty (The Feeling) (1996) [Strictly Rhythm]
  • Hold On Me [with Tom Stephan & The S-Man]
  • Din Da Da (1997) .[18]
  • Join In The Chant (1998) .[19]
  • Rhythm Is My Bitch (1999) [9]
  • Dance For Love (2000) .[19]
  • Alive (2002) .[20]
  • Give It Up (2004).[17]
  • Strut (2007) [21]
  • Gimme More (Aviance) (2008) [Gay/Nerd Music]
  • Avi'ously Aviance (2014) featuring EJ Aviance, Kevin Aviance, Perry Aviance and Mother Juan Aviance; produced by David Ohana Aviance. Released on Aviance Records[22]


  • Punks, UrbanWorld (2000) as "Miss Smokie" a club owner, Patrick-Ian Polk, director.[23]
  • Freaks, Glam Gods and Rockstars, RyanIsland Films (2001), John T. Ryan director.[24]
  • "Naked Fame", Regent Here! Films (2005), Christopher Long, director.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Munoz, 423-42.
  2. ^ Lust, 177.
  3. ^ Munoz, 423-4.
  4. ^ Wright, 85.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Munoz, 435.
  6. ^ a b c Quohnos Mitchell, "Next: On the Verge- Kevin Aviance", page 106, Vibe, October 2000.
  7. ^ a b 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) [1]
  8. ^ "GREATEST OF ALL TIME TOP DANCE CLUB ARTISTS" [in] Billboard Magazine
  9. ^ a b c Anderson jones, "Freaks and Beats", pages 59-60, The Advocate, April 11, 2000.
  10. ^ a b c House of Aviance
  11. ^ "Dance Music Summit Update", page 24, Billboard, July 10, 1999.
  12. ^ Singer Aviance leaves N.Y. hospital after beating from USA Today, date June 12, 2006
  13. ^ Boyd, 297.
  14. ^ Pezzote, 41.
  15. ^ Rain Can't Dim N.Y. Gay Pride Parade from the New York Daily News, date June 25, 2006
  16. ^ "Gay Pimpin' with Jonny McGovern". Season 6. Episode 1. January 14, 2008.
  17. ^ a b 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.
  18. ^ Warwick, 90.
  19. ^ a b Larry Flick, "Nervous 'Future Progression' A Superlative Showcase", Page 40-1, Billboard, September 12, 1998.
  20. ^ Michael Paoletta, "Videoclips Gain As Tool For Dance acts", pages 1, 36, Billboard, March 22, 2003.
  21. ^ Michael Paoletta, "Inside Track: I Am What I Am", page 78, Billboard, July 1, 2006.
  23. ^ Willis, 202.
  24. ^ Willis, 181.
  25. ^ Willis (2006), 194.


External links[edit]