Valencia Prime was a fixture on the Philadelphia drag scene, hosting her own live showcase called “Prime Time.”
It was while hosting that show Monday night that she collapsed and later died.
“It happened so fast,” said friend and fellow drag performer Nikita Sinnn Monroe, who was preparing to perform at another location when she heard the news about Prime.
Asia Monroe, who is also a performer, says she received up-to-the-minute information about the incident as friends attended the show and witnessed what happened.
“I think the Philadelphia scene will never be the same,” said Asia Monroe. “She was really a wonderful, loving and caring person.”
At 25 years old, Valencia Prime was in her prime as a popular Philadelphia drag queen. She self-identified as a trans woman and billed herself as “Philadelphia’s Plus Size Dancing Diva.”
“She really was everywhere on the scene,” said Asia Monroe. “If you didn’t know who Valencia Prime was, you haven’t seen Philadelphia drag!”
It was while doing what she loved, performing, that Prime collapsed on stage at Tabu nightclub in Center City.
“Paramedics were on the scene, she was unresponsive,” said Asia Monroe.
The Philadelphia medical examiner lists Prime’s cause of death as Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, which is a form of heart disease. The office classified the manner of death as natural causes.
Instead of thinking about how she died, Valencia Prime’s friends prefer to remember how she lived.
“I’ve really seen Valencia step up to the plate and be that person to help people in their time of need,” said Asia Monroe.
Friends say Prime served as a mother figure in the drag and trans communities.
“She was the first person to help me figure out that I was trans,” said Nikita Sinnn Monroe through tears.
Left with a void, Valencia Prime’s friends vow to carry her in their hearts and on the stage.
“Just knowing that she’s up there and looking down on us we’re going to keep performing because I know that’s what she would want us to do,” said Asia Monroe.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $11,000 for Valencia’s family.
On Monday night there will be a benefit performance at Tabu in honor of Valencia Prime.