Becoming Kevin Aviance, Again – by Steve Weinstein

A year after he was bashed in the East Village, a New York diva is ready for his second act

Ever since he stole his mom’s makeup and clothes to perform “I Will Survive” in front of a stunned audience of fellow fourth graders, Kevin Aviance has lived for the stage. All grown up, at six-feet-two-inches, Aviance carved a successful niche for himself in New York’s downtown nightclub scene. If he hadn’t gained the wider fame of a RuPaul, he had managed to parlay his gender-fuck shtick?bustier, boa, six-inch fuck-me heels, shaved head and basso profundo voice? into chart-topping dance hits such as “Din Da Da” and “Rhythm Is My Bitch,” as well as an underground cult hit, his self-explanatory signature song “Cunty.”

When finally he made national headlines a year ago this month, it wasn’t for anything he had done onstage or in the recording studio. Beaten senseless by four young men in the East Village, Aviance found his image changed overnight from that of an oversize black man with an outsize drag persona to that of an invalid stuck in a wheelchair. Not only couldn’t he sing, he could barely talk through jaws wired shut. Aviance became a poster boy for acts of violence targeting gay men. It was the hardest gig he’d ever played.