The best part about legends is that they never truly die. As the Charlotte LGBT community said goodbye to one of its pioneering performers, the message was clear from memes on social media to The Charlotte Observer’s own obituary: “Boom Boom LaTour may have died, but what she is to us never will.”
A true Charlotte native, Boom Boom was the epitome of pride in hometown, and pride in oneself. She continued to perform in Charlotte at the Scorpio, Oleen’s and more, despite accumulating fame and fans all along the East Coast.
As a teen, Ricky Carter was your typical senior class president before discovering a passion for drag and donning the unforgettable persona of Boom Boom LaTour. Although coming of age in the ’70s when homosexuality, let alone drag, was significantly stigmatized, Boom Boom LaTour’s performances put a memorable face to the concept of gay pride. Through dazzling costume and hysterical humor, LaTour made sure her audience could revel not only in who she was, but in who we are.
While Boom Boom LaTour was the face of Charlotte LGBT pride, her alter-ego Ricky Carter was memorable in his own way. A dedicated brother to baby sister Christy, Ricky taught her how to wear make-up and pick outfits. Christy Carter reported to The Charlotte Observer that her brother “was always for the underdog,” a phrase that speaks volumes of his character.
On July 10, friends and fans of Boom Boom LaTour gathered at Chaser’s in memoriam. Over 100 people attended the memorial, including LaTour’s drag peers, Kelly Ray, Jamie Monroe, Kasey King, and Tina Terrell, among others.
Chaser’s owner, Terry Burris, who performs as Tiffany Storm, reminisced that “Boom Boom opened so many doors for people. She did drag in a time when it was not accepted by the general population. She always instilled in me to believe in yourself regardless of your size, regardless of what you think your talent level is, you do it and you do the best you can do and people will admire you for that.”
That is Boom Boom LaTour’s legacy: be yourself, and the rest will follow. This icon of the Charlotte drag scene will not be forgotten.
In May 2015, upon hearing of LaTour’s first illness, qnotes contributor Buff Faye wrote in collaboration with LaTour’s fans messages of love, support and oneness. “Instead of dwelling on this tremendous loss, live the love and pride that Boom Boom showed throughout her time with us.” Read fans’ messages to this drag legend: goqnotes.com/35167/.