Sometimes when snowbirds travel down to roost, they don’t always make it back up north. That’s how Tampa’s newest bikini-clad street performer ended up strutting his moves on Nebraska and Hillsborough avenues in Tampa.
Charles Easter, aka Charles Holla, aka Beyonce, aka Rhi-Rhi, is an Internet sensation. His latest video (labeled “Meanwhile in Tampa) on the video streaming website World Star Hip Hop, has more than 7.5 million views — and that’s just one of his videos. His other clips, featuring him singing Katy Perry on New York City subways and belting Britney Spears on South Beach, are extremely popular, too.
The 38-year-old Brooklyn, New York, native dances, sings and twerks his way into viral fame as his popularity soars thanks to YouTube and Facebook. Easter say it’s just a fun way for him to make a living.
“I used to be a cross-dresser, now I’m a rock star,” says Easter.
“I’ve seen this guy everywhere from the Brandon Mall to South Beach,” says BJ Dihigo, of Tampa.
Since January, the cross-dressing star with the word “Holla” tattooed on his forehead has made Tampa his home after a brief stay at St. Pete and Clearwater beaches. Always on the move, Easter says he doesn’t plan on leaving Tampa just yet. After all, he has a baby on the way.
Yes, the portly man in the pink bikini will have one more nickname to show, and this time it’s going to be “daddy.” For the past few months, Easter and his wife Jennifer have been saving up for their newborn. Easter says his appearances at wild birthday parties, Fourth of July BBQs and office parties are all opportunities to gather up some dough before he becomes a father.
During the handstands and booty shakes down the sidewalk, people in cars occasionally throw cash, sometimes 10s and 20s, while Easter strikes poses and gets goofy for the camera.
“I was getting onto the on-ramp to the interstate and had to turn around at the next exit to see for myself,” says Pamela Humes, of Houston. “He’s hilarious.”
“I like when people are laughing and having a good time,” says Easter.
Ever since Robin Williams dressed up like a nanny in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” Easter says he realized the funny side of dressing up in women’s attire. Aside from the bathing suits, his wardrobe includes Catwoman and Betty Boop. He also says Eddie Murphy is an influence in his comedy routines.
On a good day, he can make more than $1,000 (including tips) for his nightclub or party appearances.
While he dances in front of the Advanced Auto Parts in Seminole Heights, it’s hard to look away. Some people honk, others take photos and cheer him on.
“We’ve received a few calls about him,” says Tampa Police Department spokesperson Andrea Davis. “But, there’s nothing illegal about standing on the sidewalk in a bikini.”
Easter says he’ll be staying in Tampa for now, but he’s eventually looking to make the move to Hollywood.
The easiest way to book Easter for events is to search his name through Facebook, he says.