Born in Watts and christened Sylvester James Jr., the future star grew up singing gospel in his Pentecostal church. He left the church after the congregation disapproved of his homosexuality.
In 1972, at the age of 22, he moved to San Francisco and joined the avant-garde drag troupe The Cockettes.
Sylvester launched his recording career in 1973, and six years later, caused a rump-shaking sensation with his disco album “Step II,” which included “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat).”
Sylvester’s classic and Hi-NRG fanny bumper “Do You Want to Funk” was released in 1982.
A colorful person on and off stage, Sylvester was embraced in the city and called the Castro his home. Sylvester died of AIDS in his home in the Castro on December 16, 1988. He was 41 years old.
Many residents dubbed him not only the “Queen of Disco,” but also the “Queen of the Castro.”