Philadelphia Drag Performer Collapses Onstage During Show, Dies

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday September 18, 2022
Originally published on September 16, 2022

Valenica Prime
Valenica Prime  (Source:Valenica Prime/Facebook)

A 25-year-old drag performer well known in Philadelphia as Valencia Prime collapsed on stage during her set and died.

Prime "was performing at Tabu Lounge and Sports bar, in the heart of Philadelphia's Gayborhood, when she collapsed on stage, bar owner Jeffrey Sotland said," NBC News reported.

No legal name or cause of death for Valencia Prime was listed in reports. Prime's collapse happened on the evening of Sept. 12, local news source Penn Live reported, citing the NBC News coverage.

"Today we mourn the loss of a very bright and rising star in the performance community and a person who was always full of love and positivity," Tabu said in a statement posted online. "We say goodbye to Valencia Prime but we will not forget the light you brought to the stage."

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and fellow performers left messages of bereavement on social media, NBC detailed.

Among them was a heartfelt goodbye from Aloe Vera, "whose real name is Anthony Veltre, [and who] often performed alongside Prime," NBC News said. "In a Facebook message, Veltre said: 'You are and will forever be my light. I wish I knew how to keep going without you. I wish I knew how to be inspiring too others that are hurting right now... but a piece of my soul has been taken from me and I'm struggling to pick myself up off the ground without you.'"

"I love you with everything in my heart Valencia," Veltre added. "Rest in power."

Burlesque performer Timaree Leigh tweeted: "This community has suffered so much loss in the last few years. Valencia Prime was a talent and a delightful person. Rest in power, babe."

Leigh also provided NBC News with commentary, telling the news outlet: "I had a great time working with Valencia and will genuinely miss her. She was talented, fun, kind and brought really great energy. Her loss is devastating to a whole scene of people she influenced and inspired."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.