Born in Warrenton VA, 50-something Donnell Robinson began his 'drag diva' career in 1976 when as Hurricane On Heels he took his first job as a female impersonator at the DC bar, "The Plus One".
Regular performances at The Rogue and The Other Side preceeded his almost 30 year extravaganza at Ziegfelds in SE WDC. Which is where he performed as Ella Fitzgerald, The Illusionist, from 1980 until its April 2006 closing.
Though Robinson has attended all the DC Pride celebrations since 1975, "Ella" did not take to the stage until 1979 which was the year that Donna Summer released her Bad Girls album. "Ella", of course, performed 'Bad Girls' and 'Hot Stuff'.
I first photographed Ella Fitzgerald, The Illusionist, during the 1994 DC Pride Parade. And while many oif the images are not on flickr the Pride 1004 images launched my now ongoing Ella Fitzgerald, The Illusionist, project.
Ella Fitzgerald, The Illusionist, has not only been the recipient of several community awards but as a professional makeup artist and hair stylist, Donnell Robinson is considered as one of best in the fashion industry.
I suspect that when I took this series of photos of Donnell Robinson during my 15 August 2007 Wednesday evening photo walk that he was en route to VSL Hair Design at 1607 Connecticut Avenue, NW, which is where he has worked for almost 12 years.