Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Chicago LGBTQ icon/dance group co-founder Troy Winston dies
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By Carrie Maxwell

Imported Taste dance group co-founder and LGBTQ icon Troy Winston died Dec. 26, 2019 due to congestive heart failure. He was 56.

Winston was born June 15, 1963, on the South Side of Chicago and moved to the Cabrini-Green projects when he was a toddler. He attended Richard E. Byrd Elementary School and graduated from Wells Community Academy High School. Winston took classes at Wright College, Truman College and Columbia College Chicago for a brief time before embarking on a career as a licensed barber specializing in men's haircuts.

In 1982, Winston and the late Martin Rodriguez created the dance group Imported Taste, while they were in high school, for young people of color and LGBTQ folks to compete for the title of Best Dance Crew at teen clubs Rainbo Roller Rink and Jenals as well as other venues. This was his claim to fame throughout the '80s.

Winston is survived by his siblings Anton Winston, Robert Winston, Stacey Winston and Autumn "Kissy" Haynes; stepfather Jose Haynes; dog Lil Bow Wow; and countless chosen family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sarah Francis Winston Haynes.

"Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, James Brown, Celia Cruz, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Troy; the world has lost another legend," friend Curtis Shed stated. "You will always live on in all of our lives. I love you so much and will hold your hand again one day."

"Troy was an icon within our community," said longtime friend and Imported Taste dancer Melanie "Angel" Rolon. "He was an openly gay man with talent beyond words. Growing up in the late '70s and '80s—when times were changing with music, dance and society itself—Troy embraced it head on. As long as you could dance, Troy admitted you into his Imported Taste group. Troy took freestyle and House music and combined them into dance routines to share with the world. Other dance groups would compete against us but that did not stop everyone from being the best of friends/family and these bonds are still going strong to this day.

"Additionally, Troy was a huge advocate for helping people experiencing homelessness. He would dress up like Madea and go to Lower Wacker Drive with donated cooked food and feed as many homeless people that he could. Troy—with the help of his former employer, Yohel's Barbershop—did haircuts for the homeless along with feeding and clothing them while they waited for their turn. Troy had a huge heart and was a person that befriended anyone who graced him with their presence. He will be deeply missed."

"In the early '90s, a friend of [Troy] rented him a bar that he named Troy's Bar on Milwaukee Avenue," said longtime friend Rogelio Velazquez. "This was a place where he could showcase his drag skills. Troy was the ultimate performer. His favorite drag performance was taking on the persona of his idol, disco queen Donna Summer, of which he bore an uncanny resemblance.

"Troy's drag performances were a natural outgrowth of his time with Imported Taste where he became a larger than life persona. His popularity only grew with his love for dance and his exuberance for living life to the fullest. If only Hollywood could have gotten a hold of my friend, he would have set that town on fire. He did appear as a guest on the Bonnie Hunt talk show in 2008 and later told me that was one of the highlights of his life. I will truly miss my friend."

"Troy was the epitome of a Chicagoan," said longtime friend Byrd Bardot. "He was known and loved from the North Side, West Side, East Side and the South Side. Troy was true 'club royalty'. He made the entire city his playground and gave love to everyone he came across; especially on the dance floor and will be greatly missed by myself and everyone else who knew him."

"Do not get me wrong: Troy was not a saint," said longtime friend and Jenals owner Al Cisneros. "He had flaws. However, he also had the gift of gab, and his personality was larger-than-life. He did not go to parties; he was the party. He was not just someone you knew, he was everybody's friend. The biggest sin he ever made was leaving a hole in the lives of so many by leaving too soon. I will miss him dearly."

"Troy was one of a select few that I can honestly say has been to just about all the major events I have done over the past four decades," said yet another longtime friend, Tony Bitoy. "I am going to miss his energy and spirit on my dance floors. I would say rest easy but we all know that will not happen. Because we know as soon as you walk through those pearly gates, Troy, you will be saying, 'Let's get this party started.' So shine on brother—shine on."

A dance party memorial in celebration of Winston's life happened Jan. 11 at L.A.M.A., at 3519 W. Fullerton Ave. A funeral service took place at Leak & Sons Funeral Homes.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

PASSAGES Paul Timothy Popiel 2020-04-04 - On Tuesday, March 10, Paul Popiel passed away after a short illness. He was 69. Paul was born in New Jersey on May ...

Gay News

Virtual reading of Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons April 16 2020-04-03 - In honor of Terrence McNally, who recently passed away at age 81 of complications from COVID-19. Four actors, each participating from a remote ...

Gay News

Bolshoi Ballet June performance at Auditorium Theatre postponed 2020-03-31 - The Bolshoi Ballet's performances of Swan Lake at the Auditorium Theatre, originally scheduled for June 10-14, have been postponed as a result of ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian bishop, iconic activist dies, military lawsuit, drag legend passes 2020-03-31 - Rev. Bonnie Perry was recently ordained as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan—beconing the first woman and openly gay person ...

Gay News

THEATER Mourning Terrence McNally 2020-03-30 - The prolific Emmy and Tony Award-winning writer Terrence McNally passed away at the age of 81 in Florida at a Sarasota hospital on ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Terrence McNally dies of coronavirus complications at 81 2020-03-24 - Terrence McNally—a four-time Tony winner who wrote musicals and plays such as Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Full Monty and Kiss of the ...

Gay News

Sister Sheila Lyne dies at 83 2020-03-17 - Sister Sheila Lyne—a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy for 67 years who led Chicago's Mercy Hospital as president and CEO for ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Ann Morris 2020-03-17 - Ann Morris passed away March 7. She was 67. Ann was born in Chicago on April 5, 1952, and grew up in Texas. ...

Gay News

Chicago theatres suspend productions due to Coronavirus, guidance of Governor and Mayor 2020-03-12 - The following statement comes from Deb Clapp, Executive Director, League of Chicago Theatres: Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker held a press ...

Gay News

State of Illinois, City of Chicago issue guidance to minimize COVID-19 spread 2020-03-12 - CHICAGO — Following CDC guidance and recommendations by local public health experts, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are issuing ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.