Singer Kevin Aviance underwent jaw surgery last night after a group of men shouting anti-gay slurs attacked him at approximately 1:30 am Saturday morning in New York’s East Village, leaving him unconscious. Two of the men, 20-year-olds Akino George of Townsend Avenue in the Bronx and Sears Jarell of Newark, along with 16-year-old Gerard Johnson, and Gregory Archie, 18, have been arrested and charged with first degree assault as a hate crime.
Aviance, whose songs “Din Da Da” and “Alive” were chart-topping Billboard dance hits, performs in drag but was wearing his everyday street clothes and carrying his performance outfit in a bag when he was attacked after leaving the Phoenix bar on E. 13th Street.
His publicist Len Evans gave a few details to the NYT: “They dragged him to the curb. There were pedestrians everywhere. No one helped him. They kept using these words. They said, ‘You’re not diesel.’ He didn’t know what that meant.”
Aviance told the New York Daily News that the men shouted after him: “We’re going to kill you, faggot!…We’re going to get you, faggot!” He added, “I thought they were going to kill me. I was thinking ‘Is this the way I’m going to die?’ I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never been harassed. If anything people approach me with warmth.” Of the gang who attacked him, Aviance said, “They were not human.”
The six or seven men who punched and attacked Aviance also stole his cellphone and wallet “and threw objects at him, including a spray can that one of them had fished out of a trash bin.”
Aviance was scheduled to sing at next week’s Gay Pride events in NYC, but those events have been cancelled as his “jaw is now wired shut.”
Towleroad sends best wishes to Kevin for a speedy recovery.