Honey Mahogany

Honey Mahogany (born 1983) is an American activist, politician, drag performer, and singer. She first came to national attention on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, followed by releasing her debut EP Honey Love. She was instrumental in setting up the Compton's Transgender Cultural District in San Francisco, where she served as the first director.

Honey Mahogany
Honey Mahogany at SF LGBT Center 20170409-3622 (cropped).jpg
Born
Alpha Mulugeta

1983
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BA)
University of California, Berkeley (MSW)
OccupationDrag performer, social worker, political activist
Known forRuPaul's Drag Race season 5
Miss Blow Up USA 2014[1]

BackgroundEdit

Mahogany first started performing in drag while earning her undergrad at University of Southern California. She attended grad school at UC Berkeley where she co-founded the annual drag competition Berkeley's Next Top Drag Performer in 2008. While at Cal, she mostly performed at lesbian clubs in Oakland, stating that at the time she had "many more lesbian friends than gay friends." Mahogany ended up choosing Honey Mahogany based on the two colors of Revlon makeup that were closest to her skin tone.[2]

Career and RuPaul's Drag RaceEdit

 
Honey Mahogany performing in 2018

Mahogany was one of fourteen contestants to be chosen for the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, competing against Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, Detox Icunt, Alyssa Edwards, among others. Mahogany was the first contestant on the show from San Francisco, and one of the few who sang live, as opposed to lip syncing.[3]

In the opening episode of the season, RuPaullywood Or Bust, Mahogany’s runway look was an all-gold outfit with a gold mesh headpiece.[4] In week two for the episode Lip Synch Extravaganza Eleganza, Mahogany placed within the top four.[5] In week three, Mahogany partnered with Coco Montrese for a puppet performance with which the judges were not impressed. Combining the runway and being judged individually for the puppet performance, Mahogany ended up being safe that week.[6] In episode four, Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?, Mahogany took to the runway in a caftan, which the judges were not impressed with. She was placed in the bottom two, lip syncing against Vivienne Pinay to Britney Spears' Oops I Did It Again. After the performance, both Mahogany and Pinay were eliminated in a double elimination.[7]

After Mahogany was eliminated, when asked to choose who she would like to win, she picked Seattle-based Jinkx Monsoon, who did end up taking the crown.[8]

At the beginning of season 6 of Drag Race, Mahogany stated that she was "Team Courtney" for who should win, referring to Courtney Act. Mahogany and Act had met when both auditioned for The X Factor.[9]

MusicEdit

In 2010, Mahogany released a cover of Adele’s “Hometown Glory”, which was recognized by Limelight Records as one of the Best Cover Songs of the Year.[10]

In 2012, Mahogany released her second single, this time an original track titled “It's Honey”, which had an accompanying music video featuring Raja and Jujubee. Both Raja and Jujubee were RuPaul drag alum as well.[11]

In February 2014, Mahogany released her debut EP Honey Love, which was written and co-produced with Erik Ian Walker of WakoWorld Music. One of the tracks on the EP was “Shoulda Known Better”, which Mahogany performed on the HBO show Looking in 2014.[9] The EP features 3 original songs: “Mountain”, “Take Him From Me”, and “Shoulda Known Better”; and two covers: “Feeling Good” and Madonna's “Lucky Star”.

Theater and The Craft... of Drag!Edit

Mahogany has also been involved in a number of theatrical productions, including Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance, Dirty Little Showtunes, Oprah: The Dragsical (in which she held the title role), Halloween: The Ballad of Michelle Meyers, and the collaborative drag/performance art show Work MORE![12] Mahogany also joined trixxie carr for her show The Right to RULE in 2012 in the United Kingdom at the Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival.[13]

In 2013, Mahogany joined Peaches Christ's The Craft... of Drag! The play was a satirical take on the 1996 film The Craft. The show featured Peaches Christ, Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, and Honey Mahogany.[14] The show was held in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre and was sponsored by Midnight Mass, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Amoeba Records and Good Vibrations.[15] Mahogany played Rochelle, part of the main foursome from the original film. The show was performed live as a 50-minute production.[16]

Mahogany joined another Christ production later in 2013, the 16th Annual Showgirls performance, based on the 1995 film Showgirls. While in that production, Mahogany worked with Rena Riffel, who played Penny/Hope in the original movie. Mahogany played the character of Nomi.[17]

In 2015 and 2017 Mahogany starred as Lieutenant Uhura in a live action drag version of Star Trek directed by fellow San Francisco queen D'Arcy Drollinger.[18][19]

In 2016, Mahogany joined forces with Peaches Christ yet again for Spice Racks, a drag parody of the late 1990s camp film Spice World. Mahogany and Christ were joined by Drag Race alum Katya Zamolodchikova and UK queens Cheddar Gorgeous and Anna Phylactic.

Mahogany reprised her role as Scary Spice for a live reading of Spice World at Clusterfest in 2018.[20]

PoliticsEdit

Mahogany became the first transgender person to serve on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC)[21] following her appointment in 2018. In 2021, Mahogany was elected chair of the DCCC.[22]

Other venturesEdit

 
Mahogany participates in a panel discussion on the 2020 Census and the LGBTQ community at the Commonwealth Club of California, January 2020.

In 2011, Mahogany was voted Best Drag Queen by readers of San Francisco Weekly.[23] In 2013 and 2014, Mahogany emceed Topsy Turvy: A Queer Circus Extravaganza, which has been described as a "geographically and culturally diverse cast of queer, trans*, and gender-variant circus performers us[ing] their bodies to tell unique stories that subvert traditional ideals of beauty, sexuality, and power."[24] In 2014, Mahogany hosted San Francisco's annual Castro Street Fair.[25]

In 2016, Mahogany became co-owner of The Stud bar. The previous owner announced that he was putting the business up for sale after the landlord made a substantial rent increase. Mahogany and 17 other long-time patrons of the bar joined forces to turn the bar into a cooperative, making The Stud one of the world's few cooperatively-owned nightclubs.[26]

For five years starting in December 2012, Mahogany headlined and emceed Mahogany Mondays, a drag and cabaret show held at Midnight Sun in The Castro.[27] In 2017, Mahogany began hosting Black Fridays, a variety show featuring African American DJ's & talent held at San Francisco's oldest LGBT bar, The Stud.[28] As of June 2017, Mahogany and her close friend Sister Roma have become the regular hosts for the Main Stage of San Francisco Pride.[citation needed]

Mahogany also co-founded the Compton's Transgender Cultural District in San Francisco with Janetta Johnson and Aria Sa'id. Mahogany served as the district's first director.[29][30][31] In 2018, Mahogany became the first trans person to serve as co-president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.[32][33]

In June 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, sparking the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Queerty named her one of the Pride50 “trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people".[34]

Personal lifeEdit

Mahogany was born and raised in San Francisco, and the child of Ethiopian immigrants who fled their home country due to political persecution and unrest. Raised Roman Catholic, she attended Catholic school K-12 and is an alumna of St. Ignatius College Preparatory. She received a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California with a minor in Musical Theater. Upon graduation, she interned at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and soon after applied and was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned a Masters in Social Work.[2] Using that degree, she worked as a social worker in Contra Costa County for several years. Some of the clients that she worked with included people with HIV and homeless LGBT youth.[35]

Mahogany identifies as queer,[35] and gender non-conforming trans.[36]

FilmographyEdit

Film and televisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Don't Call It Frisco The Neighbor Appears on Ep 1 & 3
2015 Hush Up Sweet Charlotte Trudy
2014 Looking Singing "Shoulda Known Better"
2013 RuPaul's Drag Race 10th place (double elimination with Vivienne Pinay)
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked 4 episodes
New Now Next Awards

Music videosEdit

Year Title Album
2013 "Feeling Good" Honey Love EP
"It's Honey" N/A
"Candy Yum Yum" by Kevin Mikal Candy Yum Yum
2014 "Shoulda Known Better" Honey Love EP
"IN N OUT MISSION" (Beyoncé's Partition parody) N/A

DiscographyEdit

SinglesEdit

Song Year Album
"Hometown Glory" (cover of Adele) 2010 N/A
"It's Honey" 2012 N/A
"Mountain" 2014 Honey Love EP
"Take Him From Me"
"Shoulda Known Better"
"Feeling Good" (cover)
"Lucky Star" (cover of Madonna)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Honey's Happy Hour interview". Happy Hour with Cameron Stiehl. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Ghorayshi, Azeen (23 Jan 2013). "Will Honey Mahogany Become America's Next Drag Superstar?". East Bay Express. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  3. ^ "THE BEBE CONFIDENTIALS: HONEY MAHOGANY BECOMES SF'S FIRST ON RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE". It's EVERYTHING with Bebe Sweetbriar. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  4. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 Episode 1: RuPaullywood or Bust Recap". The Dilettwat. 31 Jan 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Lip Synch extravaganza Eleganza". Drag Official. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  6. ^ Sava, Oliver (12 Feb 2013). "RuPaul's Drag Race: "Draggle Rock"". A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  7. ^ Framke, Caroline (19 Feb 2013). "RuPaul's Drag Race: "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?"". A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  8. ^ Virtel, Louis (20 Feb 2013). ""RuPaul's Drag Race" Fifth Eliminated Queen Interview: "The Other Girls Were Better Prepared to Act a Fool."". The Backlot. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b Avery, Dan (9 Feb 2014). "Honey Mahogany Shantays Onto "Looking," Releases "Shoulda Known Better": WATCH". New Now Next. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Love Is Queer! An American Songbook June 25 & 26". QCC. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Honey Mahogany, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Contestant, Releases 'It's Honey' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 20 Feb 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance 2012". Queer Cultural Center. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  13. ^ "The Right to Rule". Abandon Normal Devices. 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  14. ^ "THE CRAFT". Peaches Christ Productions. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  15. ^ BWW News Desk (21 Jun 2013). "Peaches Christ and Sharon Needles Presents THE CRAFT WITCH-TACULAR!". Broadway World. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  16. ^ Savage, Emily (10 Jul 2013). "We are the weirdos, mister". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Peaches Christ's NIGHT OF 1,000 SHOWGIRLS! The Sweet 16th Annual SF Showgirls Screening". Gay Cities. 24 Aug 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  18. ^ Jansen, Eric (15 October 2015). "Drag Kings & Queens Bend Space in 'Star Trek Live'". www.kalw.org.
  19. ^ Pombo 1/27/2016, James. "Gia Gunn Prepares For Takeoff, Honey Mahogany Does Uhura, Ivy Winters Does Cardio: "Drag Race" Instagram". LOGO News.
  20. ^ "What the Clusterfest? The Chronicle's guide to navigating the comedy festival - banana stand included". SFChronicle.com. May 26, 2018.
  21. ^ San Francisco Democratic Party. "The DCCC". sfdemocrats.org.
  22. ^ San Francisco Democratic Party (May 27, 2021). "Congratulations to @honeymahogany, on becoming the first black and trans Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party!". Twitter.
  23. ^ "One on One: Rupaul's Drag Race's Honey Mahogany of San Francisco". le.writers.block. 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  24. ^ "Topsy Turvy June 20 & 21". QCC. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Castro Street Fair". San Francisco Weekly. 5 Oct 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  26. ^ Miller, Ben (December 12, 2017). "How Saving the Stud Put Queer Politics into Practice". SLATE. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "Mahogany Mondays". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Black Fridays". KQED. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  29. ^ Wilson, Emily (December 18, 2018). "San Francisco Creates World's First Ever Transgender Cultural District". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Raquel Willis (February 18, 2019). "Black Trans Women Created the World's First Trans Cultural District". Out. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  31. ^ Levin, Sam (June 21, 2019). "Compton's Cafeteria riot: a historic act of trans resistance, three years before Stonewall". The Guardian. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  32. ^ Mahogany, Honey (October 28, 2018). "We stand up to discrimination: Chinese and transgender leaders unite". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  33. ^ Mahogany, Honey (October 4, 2018). "LGBT for Prop C: Alice & Milk unite behind homeless measure". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  34. ^ "Queerty Pride50 2019 Honorees". Queerty. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  35. ^ a b Nahmod, David-Elijah (20 Feb 2014). "Honey, Honey". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  36. ^ Taylor, Tony. "Honey's Here for the Party and the Policy". The Other Tony Taylor. Retrieved July 10, 2019.

External linksEdit