Chicago party scene legend JoJo Baby has died

today16/03/2023 11

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Chicago party scene staple Jojo Baby, a drag queen and long time regular on the city’s underground scene has died.

An original club kid, multimedia artist and performer, they hosted smartbar’s weekly underground LGBTQ+ underground house and disco party QUEEN!.

smartbar announced the news on Tuesday (March 14) via a social media post. It read: “It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to JoJo Baby who was so near and dear to us all and to many in the drag community.

“JoJo’s spirit will go unmatched. Their kindness, warmth, and generosity will be sorely missed,” it continued.

“Until new see you on the next dance floor. Rest in peace.”

JoJo was also an accomplished hairdresser and dollmaker, who played a key role in bringing drag to wider audiences, while pushing the boundaries of outlandishness in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

No cause of death has been officially announced, although JoJo had been battling cancer, with smartbar hosting a fundraising benefit to help cover medical expenses in December.

A gofoundme fundraising page has been set up to help Jojo’s family cover funeral and memorial costs, as well as to help preserve their artwork and legacy. Click here to donate.

Tributes have been pouring in, with fellow Chicago drag artist JFORPAY posting on Twitter: “It’s impossible to calculate the loss. Jojo’s work as a dollmaker, costumer, club kid, hairstylist, etc… has had such a huge impact on me over the many years that I’ve been witness. One of the rare true free spirits. Keep partying in heaven baby.”

Electronic music band Good Willsmith wrote: “rest in peace Jojo Baby. a legend of Chicago culture, a genius of multimedia, costume design, & performance art. i never had the chance to get to know them closesly but felt honored that they were always kind & open to me & to anyone they met in their life-spanning art practice.”

Read some more tributes below:

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

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Written by: Tim Hopkins

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