QTCast episode 9 is now live! Watch this special video interview with QTRL Community Leader-In-Residence Alphonso King Jr., aka Jade Elektra!
Watch the video here or find the audio version on most podcast platforms:
In this special video interview, community leader in resident Jade Elektra stops by the lab to share updates on her community work and chat about her iconic career.
Jade Elektra is a Toronto-based “out” HIV+ Queer African-American Drag Entertainer, Recording Artist/Live Singer, Film/Stage/Television Actor and AIDS Activist originally from Tampa, Florida via New York City and finally found a home in Toronto in 2010. After being diagnosed in 1990 (but infected in 1989) Jade dreamed of leaving Tampa, Florida for hustle and bustle of New York City. With a little money saved and the kindness of a queen called “The Electrifying Grace” Jade came to The Big Apple in 1992. She started auditioning and getting small parts but Jade’s recording career was born out of this time. Jade also formed a drag revue called “The Illusions” (Harmonica Sunbeam, Sybil Barrington, Tyra Colbaire & Victoria Lace). The revue became the only drag show in Harlem in the 90s. It’s finale ended at The Apollo in 1995.
Probably best known at first for her underground club hits like “Why Are You Gaggin’?” and “Bitch You Look Fierce”, these became staples of the NYC Ballroom Community. Jade found herself in the company of cast members of “Paris Is Burning” as they took her into the scene. Jade worked out of drag at Sally’s II as the DJ and would later be named DJ Relentless. Pepper LaBeija was her House Mother. Paris Dupree was her upstairs neighbour. Octavia St. Laurent, Angie Xtravaganza and Dorian Corey were the showgirls at Sally’s. The 90s were a great time for drag and film. Jade was in “Too Wong Foo. Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.” “Party Girl” “Stonewall” and “Jane Doe”. And daytime television seemed to like Jade as well. 2 episodes of Ricky Lake, 1 episode of Maury Povich and 13 episodes of The Richard Bey Show. In 1998, Jade performed at Wigstock with her debut single “Why Are You Gagging?” on Progressive High Records ( a division of Atlantic Records).
By the year 2000, Jade had been approached by Andrew Neville in the UK about producing an album. The idea was to have Jade be the UK version of RuPaul. The album was recorded and promotion were being set in place. The record label’s offices were in the Twin Towers. 9/11 happened and everything ended. NYC took many years to recover and lost many of its creative and nightlife scene. In the years after 9/11, Jade found herself volunteering at GMHC and The Harvey Milk School. It was these years when she realized the importance of educating our youth about HIV/AIDS. She was not completely out about her status except for close friends and lovers. But that was all about to change in 2005 when she met artist, John Richard Allan. A long distance romance blossomed and Allan proposing on World AIDS Day 2009. Jade relocated to Toronto and officially came out in Fab Magazine in 2010.
John Allan had already created POZPLANET the facebook group. So, Jade created POZ-TO, a monthly social gathering for the HIV+ Community. This grew into the POZ-TO Awards where each year we began honouring ten unsung heroes of HIV/AIDS. Over the 2010s decade Jade found herself speaking out for many causes but it would be the opportunity to be the first drag queen to sing at The AIDS Memorial at The 519 in 2019 that would end up going viral. A slight change of “Unforgettable” to “Undetectable” spoke for many living with HIV and knowing that as long as long as they were undetectable they were untransmittable. U=U Today Jade is resident at the University of Toronto for their Queer & Trans Research Lab. Her latest album dropped on November 2nd, 2022 called “Legendary, Darling!” ( a collection of her early tracks to her most current on iUnderground Records. And as far as her discography, Jade Elektra has a list of music that covers 1997 to current playlists today on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.