This downtown style icon is now a fixture of Los Angeles, but we’re feeling her beat all around the globe. A vital member of the House of Aviance ball family, she’s been turning sickening looks and ferocious numbers for years, and her sheer awesomeness may very well be responsible for getting Wendy Williams’ much-criticized VH1 “Drag Race” viewing party off the air. Now touting a fierce new dance single, Erickatoure Aviance is just about ready to take OVUH the world!
Thotyssey: Hello Ericka, thanks for talking to us today!
Erickatoure Aviance: Thank you for having me.
I was just reading a Papermag profile of your style from several years ago, where you describe your look as couture and avant-garde. Is that still how you would
describe the Ericka aesthetic?
I would say that my look has definitely ventured further into the bizarre over the past few years. The “beat” has become almost impressionistic, and the looks have gone all the way to outer space.
I find that I take more inspiration from the imaginary. I’m more interested in making myself into the super-villainess or evil queen that I dreamt of being when I was a child. She has stepped all the way out of the box… and taken a rocketship to the moon.
Let’s clear this up: I have seen a few variations of your name in print… Erickatoure, Ericka Toure, Erick Atoure… do you have a preference?
Erickatoure is preferred. I’ll tell you, my name has been mispronounced and misspelled in every way imaginable over the years. I think my favorite was “Eriguitar.” Priceless.
You have had a long career as a drag queen and musician, and you have toured with your friend Jonny “Hey Qween!” McGovern during his “Gay Pimp” years. What have been some of your favorite memories from your career as a scene queen and performer?
Some of the best times of my life were on the road with Jonny McGovern. We hit every major Pride across the country for the better part of a decade. We performed in some crazy places: a nudist camp, a zoo, you name it. Any place you can think of, we probably did a show there. Amazing times.
What’s the ”application process” like for joining the House of Aviance, for lack of a better term?
Ha! Well, there was a lot of partying involved: dressing up, going out, being noticed and spending time getting to know Mother Juan and the rest of the House. It was, for sure, something I sought out and knew I wanted. I was obsessed with Kevin and all the Aviance girls. Their energy was unparalleled and, as a crew, quite a sight to behold. Mother Juan always used to say “you make yourself who you are.” So when I felt I was ready for the name, I took it with Mother’s blessing. I wear it proudly.
When you’re not recording, are you still coming out and hosting/ performing out in Cali, or have you scaled back a bit?
I’ve done a few parties since moving to LA. I have been focusing more on daylight endeavors. Although, with this new single out, I have been feeling the itch again. I can see Erickatoure out and about much more in the near future.
Who are some of your icons, both in music and in fashion?
Grace Jones, Kate Bush, Siouxie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Roisin Murphy. Thierry Mugler, John Paul Gaultier, John Galiano, Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, Hussein Chalayan. I’m currently obsessed with iamamiwhoami, an utterly amazing singer/ performance/visual artist.
An infamous episode of your life/career was when you were thrown out of a Wendy Williams studio audience for showing up in drag. This incident became a source of
renewed interest when Detox and Stephanie Stone mentioned it as a reason for Wendy being a false queer advocate at the time VH1 hired her to host the “viewing parties” of this season’s Drag Race. You and Jonny rehashed the incident on his
show and basically concluded that it was maybe more the fault of Williams’
staff then Wendy directly, but do you think the renewed controversy is what caused
those viewing parties to end so quickly?
Gosh, I hope so….
So… is Wendy a queer advocate?
No. Never has been. I can think of a hundred people off the top of my head that would have been a better choice, and maybe actually excited to do it. Furthermore, everything that RuPaul represents and everything that Wendy Williams represents is completely opposite. RuPaul has made a career preaching self-love and Wendy Williams has made a career out of talking shit about strangers. I’m really not about Miss Williams. At. All.
The House of Aviance is known for fostering several successful recording artists, notably Kevin with “Cunty.” You released a totally fun song of your own (and a video for the song that you looked absolutely fabulous in), “My Pumps.” How fun was it for you to perform that song and hear it play at the clubs?
“My Pumps” was a wild, fantastic ride. An amazing confluence of creative energies from all of my dearest friends and closest collaborators. Nothing compares to performing original material and having it well-received.
And now you’re back after all these years with a brand new hot track, “OVAH!” What inspired your return to the recording studio in general, and this song specifically?
I never lost my desire to record music. I first went in the studio to work on this song in 2013, but between my producer Adam Joseph’s busy travel schedule and my meticulous, perfectionist approach we ended up with several re-vamps and versions before we finally arrived on what you hear today. This song came from the idea of self-empowerment. It’s an anthem for releasing negative people, relationships and energy from your life.
Where can we hear/get this song, and do you have any plans to perform it live soon?
I’ve done a few promotional performances around L.A. and I’m looking forward to more performances in the near future.
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Anything else coming up you wanna discuss or plug?
I recently sat down on the Hey Qween couch to chat with my sisty bestie Jonny McGovern to promote the release of my single and to premiere the “OVAH” music video!! Check it out!
Finally: Pride month is OVUH, but how should queer people be celebrating Pride every day in the era of Trump?
Be visible. Be outrageous. Be Yourself. Love each other. Resist.