Mother Juan Aviance
Mother Juan Aviance
|Occupation||secretary, voguer, dancer, music artist, nightclub host/promoter and record label owner (CEO / A&R at Aviance Records, LLC)|
|Years active||1980s — present|
|Known for||House of Aviance, vogue, nightclub host, Aviance Records, LLC (a record label) and ball culture|
|Website||House of Aviance|
Aviance Records, LLC
Mother Juan Aviance (born 1963 in Charleston, South Carolina) is an American secretary, voguer / dancer, music artist, nightclub host / promoter, record label owner, and CEO / A&R. He is the founder and "Mother" of the House of Aviance, one of the legendary houses that emerged from the U.S. ball culture in the 1980s, a House which is still active today and "currently reigns the club scene in New York City." He is also founder, CEO and A&R of Aviance Records, LLC, a multi-genre record label that promotes new and upcoming artists. He is regarded as a "legend / icon" within the ballroom scene and is "House Mother" to the nightlife personalities and recording artists Kevin Aviance, Erickatoure Aviance, EJ Aviance and Papa Joe Aviance.
As an artist and host / promoter, Mother Juan has worked with several high-profile singers, music producers, DJs, and film directors over the years, some of which include Janet Jackson, Ce Ce Peniston, Madonna, Junior Vasquez, Tony Moran and Wolfgang Busch.
Early life and education
Aviance was born in 1963 in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in Boston. From his school days up to his teenage years, he participated in performing arts activities such as dance and music but chose not to pursue a career in the performing arts because he disliked the repetitiveness of it, especially dance.
In 1982 he graduated from high school and progressed into business school in order to acquire office skills. Mother Juan's background / schooling in business and dance is a key factor in the success of the House of Aviance, a vogue ball house which he would go on to create in 1989.
Outside ballroom culture
Within ball culture and the entertainment industry
In August 1989, Aviance founded the House of Aviance which is now one of the "legendary" ballroom houses to have emerged from African-American LGBT ball culture. The Legendary House of Aviance is known for its voguers, dancers, performances, runways, fashion, music, music producers and DJs, and "currently reigns the club scene in New York City." As of 2014, its membership is just over 700 worldwide and include dancers, musicians, DJs, drag queens, performing artists, visual artists, singers, songwriters, music producers and engineers. Since its founding, Aviance has been the "House Mother", and Daddy Tony Aviance the "House Father". According to Aviance, some of the key reasons for starting the House was because of his "love for the arts" and his leadership skills as stated below:
|“||I started the House because of my love for the arts; and I have always been a leader–even as a kid, in dance troupes, singing groups, etc. Starting a House was just an extension of what I have always done since childhood.||”|
|— Mother Juan Aviance|
Some notable House members include the nightlife personalities and entertainers Kevin Aviance ("oldest house daughter" or "first big daughter" of Mother Juan), Erickatoure Aviance and EJ Aviance; DJs/Producers Jean-Philippe Aviance and Nita Aviance (a former dancer); and dancer/voguers John Aviance, William Aviance and Tamsier Joof Aviance.
As an artist and nightlife host/promoter, Aviance has gone on to work with several high-profile singers, music producers, DJs, and film directors over the years, some of which include Janet Jackson, Ce Ce Peniston, Madonna, Kevin Aviance, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Willi Ninja (the voguing icon and founder of the House of Ninja), Junior Vasquez, Tony Moran and Wolfgang Busch (director of the 2006 documentary How Do I Look).
As House Mother
Some of the kids are fragile and want and need to be accepted and/or belong, but if they make one wrong move on the runway they are verbally abused and humiliated in front of their peers. In my opinion, I think people should be treated with more dignity and respect than what I've witnessed in the Ballroom. But make no mistakes I love the concept and despite all the things I find objectionable about the Ballroom I do remember where I came from.
—Mother Juan Aviance
Historically, the "Mother" of a ballroom house was usually a drag queen or a transgender woman. As such, Aviance was initially hesitant to assume the role of House Mother but ultimately decided to take up the role. His style of "mothering" is somewhat business-like, having attended business and dance school. Although this style is pivotal in the success of the House, he is also very protective towards his "house children", and was instrumental in removing the House of Aviance from walking balls in order to protect his children from what he deemed as "Ballroom politics", abuse, and unfair judging—despite the House winning numerous trophies and cash prizes over the years in ballroom competitions.
Aviance has also been instrumental and supportive in the professional careers of many of his children, some of which included the careers of Kevin Aviance, EJ Aviance, Erickatoure Aviance and DJ/Producer Jean-Philippe Aviance.
In the 1980s, Aviance spearheaded a weekly nightlife event in Washington, D.C. called Kindergarten Parties. These parties where frequented by New York City's Club Kids such as Amanda Lepore, James St. James and Kenny Kenny. Other patrons included Kevin Aviance (who later became a House Member) and several other nightlife personalities. These Kindergarten Parties propelled the careers of many high-profile artists within the LGBT community including Kevin Aviance and Jean-Philippe Aviance (the House of Aviance's first DJ) who used to DJ for Mother Juan at the former Vault Nightclub in D.C. where these weekly parties were held.
In January 2014, Aviance celebrated his 50th birthday with several House of Aviance DJs and House members in attendance. The event was hosted by Aviance's eldest daughter Kevin Aviance, with special guests including singer, DJ, fashion icon and former Deee-Lite vocalist Lady Miss Kier among other nightlife personalities.
Aviance is regarded as one of the living legends / icons within the ballroom scene with one of the longest continuously active ballroom houses that has won numerous competition cash prizes and trophies over the years. He is one of the longest serving and continuously active house parents in the history of ball culture having ruled the House for 28 years as of 2017, almost equalizing the record of the late icon Pepper LaBeija who ruled the Legendary House of LaBeija for nearly 32 years without interruption. On March 23, 2014, Aviance partnered with fellow House member David Ohana and founded Aviance Records - a multi-genre record label that promotes new and upcoming artists. Some high-profile House members and none-House members have released tracks through this record label including Erickatoure Aviance with her 2017 track OVAH—with the official video first showcased on Jonny McGovern's Hey Qween Channel on June 26, 2017.
Notes and references
- Biography of Mother Juan Aviance in Aviance Records
- "Mother Juan Aviance Bio and House of Aviance History" in the official website of The House of Aviance 
- "Battle Hymn with Christy Love & The Carry Nation"
- Thotyssey : "On Point With: Mother Juan Aviance" (June 21st, 2017)
- Wave Music : Mother Juan Aviance and House of Aviance in "Kevin Aviance Wave Music" 
- Huffington Post: "After Dark: Erickatoure Aviance, Artist And Nightlife Personality" by JamesMichael Nichols (August /24, 2014, updated February 02, 2016) 
- "Untucked- 'I Am Art' EJ Aviance" [in] David Atlanta (March 11, 2013)
- Thump : "We Asked Two Quintessential NYC Queer DJs About the Art of the All-Night Set" by Steve Weinstein (November 20, 2015) 
- "Kevin Aviance at Pangea"
- Village Voice : "Becoming Kevin Aviance, Again" by Steve Weinstein (June 12, 2007) 
- Jean Phillippe Aviance Bio [in] House of Aviance official website 
- John Aviance bio [in] The House of Aviance official website 
- Muñoz, José Esteban, "Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity", NYU Press (2009), p. 75, ISBN 9780814757284 
- '"Kevin Aviance at Pangea"
- Metro Weekly : Music Master : "Jean-Philippe Aviance" by Doug Rule (January 14, 2004) 
- Edge Media Network : (Nightlife) : "Mother Juan Aviance's 50th Birthday @ Lucky Cheng's Red Lacquer :: January 11, 2014" , Photography by Wilsonmodels 
- In ballroom culture, a continuously active house and/or house parent is one where the house has continued as an active house for several years without interruption or where the house parent (the house mother or father) has continued in that role for several years without interruption. Many houses have had some degree of interruption since their inception, and many legendary/iconic house parents have died due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic or through other causes of death. Many have also closed their houses down temporarily (a common theme) and moved on to progress their personal/professional careers before coming back to re-open the house. One example of this is the House of Ninja. Although founded in 1982 by Willi Ninja, the house had to be closed down in the late 1980's so that he could progress with his personal/professional career—some of which included working with Malcolm McLaren in his Deep in Vogue video and with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. The House of Ninja was re-opened in the early 1990's by "House Mother" Willi Ninja. Another example is the House of Magnifique which was founded in 1987 but had to be closed down and re-opened thereby rendering it from being a continuously active house.
- Erickatoure – Ovah (Music Video)" on Hey Qween official YouTube Channel. Published on June 26, 2017 
- The House of Aviance official website 
- The House of Aviance and Aviance Record's official blog 
- Mother Juan Aviance's official YouTube Channel capturing The House of Aviance's performances and events over the years 
- Aviance Records, LLC official website 
- Aviance Records, LLC official YouTube Channel