Vincent Leggett, a Philadelphia-based drag performer, has said he will no longer make appearances at Louis Christian Robert John Salon after experiencing racial bias. Leggett was at the Cherry Hill salon to emcee a holiday party while customers received salon services. Leggett’s outfit was themed for Kwanzaa, something he said is his signature drag persona.
Everything seemed to go well, with those in attendance seeming to enjoy themselves, entertained by Leggett and his two co-performers. Afterward, according to Leggett, he was told by one of the co-owners of the salon not to wear the Kwanzaa-themed outfit at another salon party two days later. Leggett and his co-performers declined to appear at the next party and Leggett himself is considering filing an anti-bias complaint with the State of New Jersey.
“I’m pretty much leaving my options open on what to do,” Leggett said. “I’m still working on this and talking to people about it and working through it. I don’t want to bash the salon. But I do want the LGBT community — particularly LGBT people of color — to know about this and that discrimination is not OK.”
For their part, salon co-owners Robert John and Louis Christian posted the following statement on their Facebook page:
“We loved having Vincent and his friends at Louis’ birthday party [held prior to the Dec. 20 party]. They were so glamorous and elegant that we decided that they would be great for our holiday party. As gay men, we are very comfortable with drag. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for all of our clients who were guests at our holiday party. Once it became clear to us that some of the people in attendance were uncomfortable with the drag performance, we conveyed that to Vincent. This incident had nothing whatsoever to do with race or religion. It had everything to do with certain people being uncomfortable with drag. We loved having Vincent and his friends, and consider them our friends. We have not told any employees to speak on our behalf regarding Vincent’s post. Any employee who has posted has done so on their own. We have reached out to Vincent privately and will continue to do so until we can have a conversation with him. We truly value our relationship with him. We are sorry if we caused him any pain.”