Summer in the Philadelphia Gayborhood is usually picture perfect. You can pop in and out of your favorite spot for a bite or a cocktail, and the crowds have thinned a bit as people have left town for various shore locales. This year, things are without a doubt, starkly different. The already clear events of 2020 have rattled the City of Brotherly Love, capping off with the announcement that Philly Pride would be cancelled this year. The LGBTQ community in Philly, specially the drag community, always are the first group that are able to galvanize and help breathe some life into their city when it truly needs it the most. This time around, drag performer VinChelle has taken up the mantle and is doing her part to bring some positive attention back to her city, while giving back to the city at the same time.
Revolutions is a virtual extravaganza that launches Saturday, June 13, direct from VinChelle’s own Facebook page. The event will feature two dozen Black drag queens, kings and nonbinary performers, with a portion of the tips the performers receive being donated to Black Lives Matter. VinChelle told Billy Penn “I pulled every single black entertainer that I could. It was already planned, and then this all happened,” said VinChelle, (the stage name of performer Vincent Leggett). “During this time, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it or not. But all the performers said, ‘We need to do this”.
If you know Philadelphia drag, you know the electrifying powerhouse of a performer that VinChelle is. As the sometimes only African-American performer on an all-white bill, VinChelle decided, like so many others before her, that she would have to make her own opportunities. In February 2019, VinChelle started Black Girl Magic in Philadelphia, as an opportunity to showcase black performers The event took off this year, with Gayborhood hot spots like Woody’s and Voyeur asking the group to perform monthly. “I know I’m good, but I know there are also other Black entertainers in the city that are good and don’t get utilized,” VinChelle said. “It was time for me to use my platform to showcase the people. The Black queer community in Philadelphia is tremendously amazing, and now we’re binded in a great union.”
While VinChelle has been planning this monumental virtual event for some time now, the killing of George Floyd and the the protests in the street that followed only made it more evident that if there was a time that Philadelphia needed Black Girl Magic, it was now.
Tune in on June 13th for Revolutions on VinChelle’s Facebook Page