Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
The Imperial Court de San Diego held its Coronation 47 Feb. 7-10, bringing International Imperial Court System leaders together for international business and the investure of the 47th reign of our local ambassadors. On Saturday, Feb. 7, it was a royal evening of awards and performances, voting in the new reigning monarchs Emperor 47 Darnelle of Wakanda and Empress 47 Gigi Masters.
After contestants took their royal whites and performance walks, The Black Diamond Pegasus Empress Barbie Z Neors and The Majestic Golden Bear Emperor Mark Newsome, took the stage for their last performances of their reign. This was an emotionally charged performance for both monarchs that showed the impact their dedication to service in the Court has had on the local and national community.
Neors said that she was happy to step down and welcomed the new monarchs, expressing gratefulness for everything she learned and experienced during her reign.
“This was a beautiful experience for me, serving my community, raising money for those who needed it, helping others at Easter, the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving dinner [collecting] blankets, schools supplies,” Neors said. “All of these were things I loved doing and I will keep on, helping the new monarchs, guiding them to have a very successful reign this upcoming year.”
Newsom said that it was a great year for both of them.
“We did a lot of community service, outreach, exposure and fundraising in the community,” Newsom said. “I would like for us to continue to work together with the new reigning monarchs and see if we can build bridges between communities around us and abroad.”
Emperor 47 Darnelle of Wakanda, now the current reigning monarch, became involved with the Imperial Court de San Diego seven years ago.
“I was crowned Empress 42 in 2014 and in 2015 I stepped down, but most importantly, I never stepped away,” he said. “I remained active, been a board member of the Court and five years later I am Emperor 47. I look forward to a great year and doing great things on behalf of the community.”
Empress 47 Gigi Masters said this year marked her 20th anniversary of being involved with the Court.
“I got involved because of my best friend at that time Satin Styles, who was a member of the Court, performing for the benefits,” Masters said. “I’ve been involved since then, been the crowned princess and involved in various events. It’s been a lot of fun and very fulfilling and this seemed like the natural next thing to do since I’ve been with the Court so long. There are things I want to see be highlighted more, so why not be the voice of change.”
February marks the 11th anniversary of the appointment of Queen Mother of the Americas, Nicole the Great [Nicole Murray Ramirez]. He was sovereignly appointed by José Sarria, the founder of the Imperial Court System. Since then, the International Imperial Court System has seen expediential growth from its grassroots beginnings to the largest LGBT organizations in the world. Today its reach is across the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Although each Court stands alone as a nonprofit, in whole, the IICS has raised millions of dollars for AIDS, LGBT resources, homelessness, domestic abuse, immigration and many other causes that impact local and international communities.
Locally, the 2018 Imperial Court raised $5,600 for its Tijuana AIDS Fund and $6,000 for Camp Aranu’tiq of Harbor Camps for Transgender Youth. It also succeeded its goal and raised nearly $108,000 for its 2018 choice of charity, The Matthew Shepard Foundation. Over the four-day event, the Court raised $3,000 for the LGBTQ+ San Diego: Stories of Struggles + Triumphs exhibit at the San Diego History Center, and $2,500 for the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Latin@ Services.
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at email@example.com.