The fonds contains records pertaining to the life, work and activism of Alphonso King Jr. The fonds is composed of photographs, event flyers, performances, music videos and interviews with Jade Elektra and Alphonso King Jr. It also includes Plus + and In magazines featuring interviews with Jade Ele…
Alphonso King Jr. is a Toronto-based DJ, drag performer, HIV+ activist, actor, recording artist and singer songwriter.
Alphonso King Jr. was born on August 17, 1967 in Tampa, Florida. King’s immersion in the world of DJ-ing began at the early age of 12, when he began helping his Uncle Herb King pull records for his R&B and jazz show on WMNF 88.5.
In 1985, King began working as a DJ in Tampa’s gay nightlife. During this time, he worked at various bars and clubs including the Northside Lounge, Paradise, Rene’s, Puzzles and Boys, Video & Dance. Working as a Black DJ in predominantly white owned bars and clubs brought about challenges relating to racism.
In 1990, King tested positive for HIV.
King began doing drag under the name of Ebony in 1985. In 1990, King went to New York City to audition for “The Crying Game”, while he was there, he fell in love with the city and vowed to live there. The film Paris is Burning also made him feel that there was a place where he could comfortably be Black and gay. He moved to New York City in 1992. In 2001, King decided to pursue DJ-ing full time. He worked and had residencies at The Hangar, Sally’s II, The Monster, The Break, The Works, View Bar, Barracuda, Therapy, Posh and Harmonica Sunbeam’s Tea Dance at Escuelita.
King continued doing drag after he moved to New York City. At the time, there was already a drag performer going by the name of Ebony Jet. So, King changed his drag name to Jade Elektra. Jade Elektra was part of the House of LaBeija and her house mother was Pepper LaBeija. Her first performance was at Sally’s. Jade Elektra walked a few balls and won “Fresh Face” and “First Time in Drag at a Ball”. King volunteered for the Gay Men Health’s Centre and the Hetrick Martin Institute in New York City.
On a trip to Montreal, King met John Richard Allen, his future husband. At the time, Allen was living in Toronto. The two lost contact for a few years, but eventually reunited. In 2009, King relocated to Toronto from New York City. The two of them got engaged on World AIDS Day and got married on April 30th 2010. Allen is a HIV+ graphic artist who has partnered with and supported King’s HIV activism.
In 2010, King began working on Church Street. Since then, he has developed an extensive resume as a DJ and drag performer in Toronto.
After moving to Toronto, King noticed that the HIV+ community was hidden away. He and his husband already had a Facebook group called POZPlanet, so they decided to start a monthly event called POZ-TO to serve as a social event and fundraiser for local AIDS organizations. The impetus for the event and group was to destigmatize HIV, raise money for HIV/AIDS organizations and build community. King has DJ’ed and hosted as Jade Elektra and many of the POZ-TO events. In January 2019, King began publishing POZPlanet, an online magazine that features people who are HIV+ and making a difference in their community. He founded the POZ-TO Awards to recognize the people who work behind the scenes to help the HIV+ community in ending the stigma of being HIV+.
Jade Elektra is a Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research Ambassador. King volunteers at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.
In 2019, Jade Elektra “Undetectable” a rendition of Nat King Cole’s classic “Unforgettable” at the opening plenary session of the US Conference on AIDS in Washington D.C.
Scope and Content
The fonds contains records pertaining to the life, work and activism of Alphonso King Jr. The fonds is composed of photographs, event flyers, performances, music videos and interviews with Jade Elektra and Alphonso King Jr. It also includes Plus + and In magazines featuring interviews with Jade Elektra and issues of POZPLANET Magazine.
/01: Above Map Cabinet
The collection is open to researchers.
Original order was maintained throughout most of the fonds. Order was imposed in some cases to facilitate research.