Loss is such an emotional word for many of us. When we lose something, it is followed by mixed feelings of sadness, depression and grieving. Asking why? And why now?

On July 4, I lost someone whom I admired, whom I loved and who has been part of my “chosen” family for years now — Boom Boom LaTour. The love and laughter she gave all those around her will be missed dearly. Not only is Boom Boom a drag legend and icon for many, but she was also a mother, a grandmother to me personally. And I know many in our drag community feel the same.

When I lose people I love today, I try to deal with the pain of loss by focusing on the treasure chest of memories and lessons learned from these loved ones. In that way, I believe they will always be present and we will never truly lose them in our souls. I asked some drag queens about Boom Boom to share some of those lessons learned and memories.

Boom Boom taught me no matter if there are ten people in the audience or 100 people, always perform like you are performing for a crowd. The fans are the ones who love you and make you.
— Amber Rochelle

She taught me to be not so timid and to stand up for myself.
—Gypsy Starr

Boom Boom taught me to go for my dreams. Never let anyone steer you away from what you want. Don’t ever let anyone push you around! I left out the cursing. LOL.
— Cierra Nichole

When I moved to Charlotte in 2010, I knew I could impress everyone with kicks, splits, jumps and everything else that included high energy. I remember Boom Boom attending a show at Night Owls where I performed . I asked her, “How was the show”? She looked and said, “Very wild, it hurt.” Then in 2013 Boom Boom stopped me on my way out of the club and said: “I’ve been seeing clips of your performances and wanted to let you know I’m so impressed. I knew you would stop being wild eventually, keep practicing your craft and do what makes you happy, good job.”
—Aiesha Paris

Boom taught me the importance of working hard for what you want. I owe a lot of my experiences to those brief conversations we shared. I remember promising Boom that I’d be the next “big girl” MGNCA, so we will see how that goes. LOL. I miss her so much.
—Nina Fierra

Determination. Fight. Hope. While driving around Charlotte, of course I was lost, and he was being my GPS and said “Girl you gotta always know where ya are. (in life too.) Doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Sometimes you’re not sure where you’re going, but if you know where you are right now, you won’t ever be lost.”
— Anna Hairfield

Boom Boom taught me to care for others no matter what your diffrences and to always be yourself. Stand out from the crowd.
— Sierra Santana

The thing that Rick taught me was to remember that you get out of drag what you put into drag. Always entertain the crowd no matter how you had to do it, and also, and I quote: “Have fabulous hair, queen. It makes all the difference.”
— Shana Nicole

I was scared of Boom Boom for a lil’ while because all I heard of was that she was so mean. This was mid 80s. It wasn’t ‘til I stayed the night with her and Toni and during the “naring of the back” in their bathroom, I fell completely in love with him.The love I saw him give away over the years was like no other.
— Kelly Ray

I met Boom when I was 19. Boom Boom taught me to pay attention to the details. I can hear her now “Miss Thaang the difference in good and great is in the details.” She also taught me to have a thick skin and to take chances…Find out who I am as an entertainer and perfect that uniqueness. That advice helped me in my everyday life as well. I’ve grown up, achieved dreams, overcome obstacles, and most of all, developed a true sense of self that I am proud of.
— Kerri Nichols

I have so many memories of Boom Boom and lessons learned. But here is what I will always remember to keep Boom Boom alive in my soul.

Boom Boom loved taking care of her flowers. I would chat with her often at Scorpios and see how she was doing. I loved these moments to catch up with her and hear her stories. Regardless, Boom Boom would always bring up her flowers. What flowers she planted new this week. How her flowers she planted last year had come back. How hot it was, and how she watered her flowers so they would survive the heat. She was thrilled with every flower that bloomed giving her so much enjoyment. It wasn’t until she passed away that I understood. All of us were her flowers. She had been taking care of us all along. Boom Boom would water us to help us grow, prune us back when we needed it and all the while loving us with all her heart everyday of her life. Each of us were as different as a flower in her garden. Exactly the way she loved us and wanted us to be.

Boom Boom is no longer with us on this Earth physically. But we have not lost her. Her lessons and memories live on along with her beautiful flowers — each of us.

Let us all take care of Boom Boom’s flowers, take care of one another. Let us each grow new flowers in her memory and keep our drag community strong. That is what Boom would want us to do. Legends live forever. Love you, Boom.

— Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and considers herself the Stargazer Lily of drag queens (plus she loves to raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Saturday night shows, monthly drag brunch and Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye

Buff Faye

Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help save the world from Republicans (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly...