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On Saturday, Lady Red Couture, a staple of the Los Angeles drag community, died. Jonny McGovern, who co-hosted the long-running show Hey Qween alongside Lady Red Couture, announced the news on social media.
"It doesn't feel real but the beautiful light that was Lady Red is gone," he wrote. "I love you baby. I will miss you every day."
\u201cIt doesn\u2019t feel real but the beautiful light that was Lady Red is gone. #RIPLadyRed I love you baby. I will miss you everyday.\u201d— Jonny McGovern (@Jonny McGovern) 1595709859
A week prior McGovern had posted to social media that he had rushed Lady Red to the hospital due to complications with cyclic vomiting syndrome, a chronic condition that the performer suffered from. At the time McGovern asked for donations to help Lady Red with her bills given that she was in the intensive care overnight. On Friday McGovern reported that she had been on a breathing tube and unconscious for five days, but was stabilizing. McGovern has said that "ALL the generous donations to her Venmo over this week" will go towards funeral costs.
On social media, many in the drag and nightlife communities as well as entertainment in general have posted tributes. On Hey Qween, McGovern and Lady Red interviewed many RuPaul's Drag Race alum and other talented people.
"Last week I filmed a new Hey Qween interview and Lady Red was out sick so we talked to her as if she was there," actress Isis King wrote on Twitter. "She was going to film her parts later on, now she's gone." King went on to write that the icon would be "missed by many." Others like Detox, Shangela, Jackie Beat, and many more all posted.
\u201cLady Red Couture.. Such a bright ass light for many of us. Walking down the street every night will not be the same without your hugs & chats. The world won\u2019t be the same without your laugh. Rest In Peace, beautiful. \ud83d\udc94\u201d— Adore Delano (@Adore Delano) 1595719548
\u201cOh my god I can\u2019t believe Lady Red has died. She brought me so much joy the past few years when my manic ass was working the WeHo beat. Rest easy, beautiful soul \u2764\ufe0f\u2764\ufe0f\ud83d\udc60\u201d— Katya (@Katya) 1595714737
\u201cHeartbreaking. Another sweet, talented legend gone. Sending all my love to Johnny and Lady Red Coture\u2019s family. \u2764\ufe0f RIP\u201d— Ross Mathews (@Ross Mathews) 1595714539
\u201cI am so heartbroken by the news of our Lady Red Couture passing away. She was a true sister and friend to everyone she met. One of the kindest souls I\u2019ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Can 2020 just fuck off already?\u201d— Ginger Minj (@Ginger Minj) 1595711813
Outside of Hey Qween, Lady Red was a LA staple. She worked at venues like Hamburger Mary's and developed a reputation for being the "largest live-singing drag queen." She also helped to produce drag shows.
"My whole goal in drag is to blend everything," she said in her audition tape for Drag Race season six. She had previously tried to get on the show in season three. "To blend drag, burlesque, and live singing. I have never seen a girl do that and I would love to be the first to do that."
Lady Red was also known for her positivity, helping to mentor and mother many other performers. In one of Lady Red's last video messages on Instagram she spoke to the moment we are all currently in.
"I am a Black, American trans woman who is making a difference in this world and all I'm asking is that you love me like I love you," she said. "I shouldn't be afraid to go to the store after a certain time because I'm black. I shouldn't be afraid and neither should you."
"Let's lead in love but let's also be very honest."