After Last Year’s Revival, the Pride Youth Royalty Court Is Back Again.

The 2018 winners say they’ve had a chance to mentor others through the pageant. This year’s competition will be April 7 at Missie B’s.

Past Royalty Court Winners. Photo courtesy of Seto Herrera

On Sunday, April 7, Kansas City will host its second Pride Youth Royalty Court Pageant at Missie B’s. The 2018 Prince, Princess, and Duchess will help mentor a new cadre of youth who are competing for the titles.

The Pride Youth Royalty Court was started in 2007 by Kansas City PrideFest as a way to include LGBTQ youth in the community. That year, there were only two titles, Prince and Princess. In 2008, KC PrideFest added the Duke and Duchess titles.

In 2010, KC PrideFest held its last Court pageant until 2018, when Seto Herrera started working with the youth.
Herrera said he was given full director responsibilities by the Pride board when he asked to bring back the pageant.

This year, the pageant will recognize the 2018 Court – Prince Daniel D’Angelo, Princess Eric Vega, and Duchess Josie Hoskins – and they are all expected to perform.

Past Royalty Court Winners. Photo courtesy of Seto Herrera

“This pageant is not just a show or competition for drag performers or entertainers,” explained Herrera. “The goal is to help build leaders and give our LGBTQIA youth a voice and roles in their community to showcase their talents, their pride, and their passion for bettering themselves. The Court is a leadership-building experience for youth that want to represent themselves and their peers.”

Herrera – under his stage name “KC Sunshine” – was crowned the first Duke of Pride in 2008 at age 18. He says his time with the Court helped him immensely.

“It was my experience as the Duke of Pride in 2008 that made me want to continuously work with youth as an adult,” he said.

“I wanted to restart the Court because it had done so much to help build my confidence, pride, and involvement in the community when I was a youth. I feel youth deserve to have a stronger voice and bigger presence in the community. I want to provide them with the support that was given to me as a youth.”

Seto Herrera and past Royalty Court winner. Photo courtesy of Seto Herrera

Herrera said that an outpouring of community support, especially in the form of sponsorships, made the event possible. This year’s sponsors include Missie B’s, Hamburger Mary’s, City of Fountain Sisters, Passages, and Kansas City Center for Inclusion. Missie B’s is also providing space for the Court to stage the pageant and providing security for the event.

In addition to performing, the members of the 2018 Court represented Kansas City and brought awareness to the Court’s mission. Two of them traveled to St. Louis to see the national Mr. Gay America pageant. They attended several leadership and diversity forums in the Kansas City area. They mentored other youth at Passages and elsewhere in the community, and also had the opportunity to meet with Kansas City Mayor Sly James on two occasions.

Doors at Missie B’s will open at 1 p.m. April 7, and the pageant will begin at 2. Admission is free for youth and $5 for adults 21 years and older. With about 20 predicted contestants, the event is expected to end about 5 p.m.

Camp magazine sat down recently with 2018’s three Court members to find out about their experiences.

2018 Youth Royalty Court Prince Daniel D’Angelo, 20, is an upbeat and talented student at the Kansas City Art Institute, studying sculpture and art history. He is involved with the Kansas City Arts Institute’s SAFE, or LGBTQ awareness, program. He has donated several pieces of art for Kansas City Anti-Violence Project fundraisers.
D’Angelo is a singer. “I love entertaining and performing. I am not shy when it comes to being onstage,” he says.

“I have a huge affinity for LGBT youth and the Passages program. I like being a person who can get other people excited about something.”

Known for his clothing choices, D’Angelo is always dressed up.

He found last year’s pageant to be a lot of fun. “I met so many cool LGBT youth and other entertainers,” he says.

D’Angelo was not able to attend the Mr. Gay America pageant in St. Louis with his peers. He said that his favorite part of being the 2018 YRC Prince was meeting Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

2018 Youth Royalty Court Princess Eric Vega, 18, is best known by his stage name, E-V. If you’ve been to Hamburger Mary’s, you have probably seen him, either as a host or as a female impersonator. As E-V, he won Hamburger Mary’s Drag Survivor, Season 1.

“I remember the first time I saw someone in drag,” he said. “I was 12 years old and I went with my grandmother to Hamburger Mary’s. I was amused by seeing the performers. I wanted to be part of it. It wasn’t until I was 14 and came out of the closet that I started down the pathway to be a female impersonator. I wanted someone to guide me.”

Vega said that one of his first performances was for the Kansas City Center for Inclusion’s Equality Teen Prom in 2017, when he was 16.

He found out about the Youth Royalty Court through the Passages youth group. “Seto came and spoke with the group about the competition. I now promote it to my friends through word of mouth,” he said.

“I continue to help mentor youth as they begin a pathway in female impersonation.”

2018 Youth Royalty Court Duchess Josie Hoskins is better known by her stage names – Josephine Jones or Amira Al Mufti. Mufti is an Islamic last name meaning “poet.” Her performance medium is spoken word, which includes poetry. Hoskins, 19, attends the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is studying computer science.

“People refer to me as the ‘mom friend’ of the group,” she says. “I am always there making sure everyone is welcome, has enough to eat, and is comfortable.

“I love the idea of nurturing people. I get to be there for Daniel. I get to watch E-V grow up. I love kids and helping them grow.”
Hoskins found out about the Youth Royalty Court through Passages and the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project.

She has always seen herself as someone who avoids attention. “I don’t like being in the limelight because I become a target. I am a transwoman and I am a person of color. Both of these can make me a target.”

For the 2018 competition, she wrote a “love poem” that became an opportunity to vent. She is usually around others who are not people of color; therefore, she feels she has to code-switch, or change her vernacular, to make people more comfortable. When she gets close to people, she stops code-switching, which has had a tendency to shock the other person. This is one of the reasons why her love poems sound like someone expressing their frustrations.

Hoskins is not sure what she will be performing at the pageant, but she is considering writing one or two new poems for the event.

Past Royalty Court Winners with Kansas City Mayor Sly James. Photo courtesy of Seto Herrera