New York City nightlife and drag queen legend Kevin Aviance didn’t know Beyoncé sampled his song “C—y” on her new album “Renaissance” until a friend reached out to him late Thursday night.
“She sent me the track and the credits and said, ‘What is this?’” Aviance told me Friday afternoon. “And then my phone was blowing up. I couldn’t believe it.” Aviance’s vocals from his 1996 dance hit can be heard at the top of “Pure/Honey,” Track 15 on Beyoncé’s much-anticipated album.
When he finally listened to the song, Aviance said, “I felt seen,” adding: “It has been a very emotional day.”
“C—y” was inspired by queer “kids” hanging out at the Christopher Street Pier almost 30 years ago. “They were looking in pieces of broken mirror saying, ‘I look so c—y,’” Aviance recalled. “But it’s not in a bad way. Most people hear the C-word and think it’s something negative and just talking about a women’s private parts. My ‘C—y’ isn’t that. It’s about power.”
Aviance isn’t the only queer icon on “Renaissance.” Big Freedia is heard on the album’s first single, “Break My Soul,” and the late Moi Renee’s “Miss Honey” is also featured toward the end of “Pure/Honey.” DJ Honey Dijon produced “Cozy.”
Bey also dedicated the album to her late gay Uncle Johnny, who died of AIDS, and “to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long.”
“This is a celebration for you,” Beyoncé wrote on her website on Thursday.
“She’s a goddess to me,” said Aviance, who recently released a new single titled “I’m Back.” “She’s my Black queen. For her to be holding up someone who is Black and gay, it’s so beautiful.”
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