Kevin Aviance

Photo: Kevin Aviance / Thomas Evans Photography

Kevin Aviance on Beyoncé
and the Revival of His Rhythm

by Jacquari Harris
| August 31, 2023 7:29 pm CDT

In the entertainment industry, the spotlight can be both dazzling and unforgiving. For some artists, fame comes with its highs and lows, but all it takes is one movie, a hit single, or the right opportunity to stage a remarkable comeback. For Kevin Aviance, his comeback moment was a glittery formula that included his 1999 ballroom anthem “Cunty,” and a modern music icon who wanted a piece of it.

In the 90s, Aviance rose to dance music stardom by releasing club hits such as “Din Da Da” in 1997 to Box of Chocolates in 1999, a 14-track dance album. The album included the now iconic gem “Cunty” and “Rhythm is My Bitch,” a fiery single that arrived with one of Aviance’s best music videos to date. The avant-garde music video for “Rhythm is My Bitch” was filled with futurism, glam, grunge, cutting-edge fashion, choreography, and Aviance’s staggering presence that gave a face to Black queer artists everywhere.

Kevin Aviance

Photo: Kevin Aviance / Thomas Evans Photography

The “Rhythm is My Bitch” video could have easily inspired a new generation of artists, including the music video for Lady Gaga’s 2009 hit, “Bad Romance.”

Aviance continued to make music in the 2000s with the release of his ferocious club anthem “Give It Up” in 2003. “Give It Up” was released as a CD single with remixes from DJs including Tony Moran and Friburn & Urik. The tribal house-laced track dominated with thunderous drums and beats that were occasionally interrupted by Aviance’s vocals as he sang, “So, Give It Up.” The different mixes of the track were in heavy rotation at circuit parties, LGBTQIA+ nightclubs, and house music playlists for years to come.

Aviance has built a career through his music, DJing, live performances, and being a prominent figure for LGBTQIA+ rights. But, like some artists, things start to simmer down. However, in the summer of 2022, when Beyoncé released her dance music-inspired seventh studio album, Renaissance, Aviance received the career revival he wasn’t expecting.

Kevin Aviance

Beyoncé sampled Aviance’s “Cunty” for her song “PURE/HONEY” on Renaissance. You can hear Aviance’s voice throughout the song, repeating his signature phrase as he does in the original song. Aviance was surprised by the sample but would soon find himself riding the wave of success that Renaissance brought with high-profile interviews, photo shoots, magazine appearances, and live performances. It was a revival of his three-decade career that he feels grateful for.

“There’s a responsibility that’s been put on me,” said Aviance. “I feel very lucky and blessed that I was touched by such an amazing thing. It’s kind (of) like stepping into my shoes and doing what I need to do, you know. I wake up every day, and I thank God like I always do.”

Things got even more special for Aviance when he attended the Renaissance World Tour in Philadelphia, and Beyoncé spotted him in the crowd and told him she loved him. Aviance exploded with tears, and the clip of the special moment was shared on social media.

With this resurgence of his career, Aviance now has new management with new projects in the works, and he’s currently on his Cunty Ball Tour with dates on Aug. 30 at Oasis Nightclub in San Francisco and on Sept. 24 at The Canvas Hotel Rooftop in Dallas.

Recently, I spoke with Kevin Aviance at Sugar Wood in New York. You can stream the full interview below on JMG Live! Music Lounge podcast.