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Riley Knoxx brings down the house and breaks a barrier in the NBA

The “#1 Beyoncé Impersonator In The World” reported to be first openly trans woman entertainer at an NBA halftime.

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

As a child, Riley Knoxx took Whitney Houston as a model and knew that she wanted to be a performing diva more than anything.

Since 2003, the D.C.-based Knoxx has been known as “D.C.’s Own Beyoncé”. Her shows as a Beyoncé impersonator often has fans turning their heads and wondering if the real “Queen Bey” didn’t grace them with her presence.

The 38-year-old recording artist and transgender activist has been breaking down doors for nearly two decades. Last Friday, she broke down another as she electrified the halftime crowd during the Washington Wizards’ Pride Night game against the Atlanta Hawks. When she took center court for a three-song tribute set Beyoncé’s greatest hits, she reportedly became the first openly transgender woman to perform at an NBA halftime show.

This halftime show wasn’t her first big show. She done a host of local and national stage and screen work, including earning a MTV Video Music Award as a cast member of the video for Taylor Swift’s hit “You Need to Calm Down” last year. In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America last week, Knoxx noted that years of hard work got her the notice that led to history-making six minutes.

“The Wizards reached out to me, believe it or not,” Knoxx told GMA. “They have been watching for a while and they’ve been wanting me to perform at their events, but they were just waiting for the right time and space. And it just worked out that because they were watching, that’s how I got this chance.”

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards
Surrounded by Wizards dance team Riley Knoxx put on a show last Friday
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Knoxx’s performance was a winning piece in what would be a winning night in the nation’s capital for the home team as well. The Wizards, fighting to make up ground for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot, defeated the Hawks 118-112. The next day, Knoxx’s Instagram celebrated another milestone in her performing career.