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Rising Star Honey Davenport: “Let’s start a movement to create a class throughout all grade schools to teach people kindness”

I would create a class throughout all grade schools to teach people kindness. Imagine if from a young age you were taught how to handle anger, confrontation, and how to have a civil and understanding conversation. I feel as though with these teachings instilled early on, we, as a society, would be able to adequately […]

I would create a class throughout all grade schools to teach people kindness. Imagine if from a young age you were taught how to handle anger, confrontation, and how to have a civil and understanding conversation. I feel as though with these teachings instilled early on, we, as a society, would be able to adequately exchange feelings with one another without so much animosity. At best, people are able to learn these things throughout life, but imagine how different the world would be if we got this knowledge when we are developing.


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Honey Davenport.

With over a decade of experience in the entertainment industry, James Heath-Clark, a.k.a. Honey Davenport, has left an indelible mark on the New York City nightlife scene and beyond, touring the world as a singer, dancer, actor, drag superstar, and club DJ. They are a vocal activist whose music speaks to the experiences of the oppressed, calling for social justice and equality for all.

Hailing from West Philadelphia, Davenport holds 18 pageant crowns, six Glam Awards, and zero tolerance for discrimination. They competed on season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and will appear in the upcoming feature-length film God Save the Queens. Additionally, they have served as a guest panelist on VH1’s Black Girl Beauty, and they were featured in an international ad campaign by Trustpilot in 2019. Davenport’s Off-Broadway theatre credits include leading roles in The Electric Highway and Trinkets as well as a major role in The Orion Experience. They also performed in the Broadway national tour of Hairspray. New York Magazine has called Davenport one of the top 100 Most Powerful Drag Queens in America.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Thank you guys for interviewing me! Well, I grew up with very humble beginnings but in a very loving environment. I am from the “hood”, West Philadelphia born and raised. I am very fortunate to have a very close, very loving and very supportive family, however, I felt like an outsider in the community I grew up in. Because of that, I escaped to NYC as soon as I graduated high school, and I never looked back.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It all started when I met Peppermint (RPDR S9) one night after her show at the Therapy bar in NYC. I was there dancing with my brother and she asked if we would be her back up dancers for a performance at Lincoln Center. I spent the following four years dancing for Peppermint all over the world, it was a wonderful experience. When I got back to NYC, the Davenport Family, my drag mother Deja Davenport, and aunties Sahara Davenport (RPDR S2) and Manila Luzon (RPDR S3 / AS1 / AS3), helped me create a drag persona of my own.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My most interesting story surprisingly is actually from pretty recently. I was in Australia last year, performing at Turtle Cove (Australia’s only LGBTQ+ resort) and they actually helicoptered me onto the stage to perform my song Worship Me (now available on iTunes :p) for their beachside Pride Party. It was the first, and probably last, the time I’ll be in a helicopter, but it was pretty unforgettable.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This one isn’t particularly a mistake during my drag career, but it happened when I was first starting out in NYC. When I first started performing, I also worked as a production assistant for my big cousin Lee Daniels. One time, while running errands for him I lost all the checks for everyone working on his entire production team. At the time I was sketching a costume for my performance that weekend, and my head was elsewhere. My mistake, however, caused a lot of people to be late on their payments that week. It helped me realize that even when I’m focusing on my own career and ideas, the people that make up the team that support and help you make your art are important and should never be forgotten. Luckily, Lee was quite understanding, and still admits I’m his cousin.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Currently, I’m working on my upcoming EP, which will drop this year, and am also in the middle of filming an exciting new season of my YouTube show “Da Fuq”. But one of the most mind blowing projects I have coming up is the new fragrance I’ll be releasing Pollen8. Stay tuned for details.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

When I was younger there was very little representation of queer people of color, in music, film, and television. Growing up, this leads me to believe that opportunities like that would not be available to people like me. Unfortunately, I was right in part, to this day, not enough is being done to make sure there is proper representation in music, film, and television. I think growing up because there wasn’t a lot of representation in entertainment, a lot of producers and casting directors weren’t creating opportunities for representation because we’re seen as less marketable. In reality, however, my people weren’t (and to some extent still aren’t) being marketed to at all. We have to show the world it’s possible for everyone, no matter their race, religion or gender, to achieve success in any field they desire.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) “You are enough”

So often we are fighting to become great and not focusing on celebrating what is already great about us. Sometimes instead of trying to achieve perfection, we can simply remove the things that we perceive as not so good about us. For example, I am sober. Eliminating my addictions has made me able to clearly see my path in life. I used to live a crazy party life because I wanted to pretend I was a rock star, now I am a rockstar only because I let the party life go.

2) “You can be anything”

I always say people who dream of in the middle are just lazy. I dream of the impossible and then I take small steps towards my impossible dreams until they are my reality. I have been taking small steps for years to achieve my goal of becoming a recording artist who does drag. In the beginning, however, I couldn’t think of anything except for how big the mountain was I had to climb. Now years later, I have slowly achieved my goal by focusing on the little things. Sometimes it’s best to focus on the small task in front of you, as they too can move you towards your end goal.

3) “You deserve respect”

For so long I allowed myself and my peers to be mistreated because of my race. It was not until I said no more that I actually started to receive fair and equal pay and treatment in the LGBTQ+ nightlife community.

4) “Always speak from a place of love”

On Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer she has a track called “Stevie’s Dream”. The song starts off with a man saying “no matter if you are angry always speak from a place of love”. I wish someone had told me that earlier in life, but now I have accepted it as a mantra of my life. I am happy that I hold love, respect, and kindness as pivotal parts of anything I say or do.

5) And last but certainly not least, I wish someone would have told me to “Wear a dress that is easy to get back on the runway in”. I think we all saw my elimination episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Stay in the driver’s seat and know when to pull over at a rest stop. You have to be in control of your career and you must prioritize self-care over everything else. It’s okay to take a breath and step back every once and awhile. The world won’t pass you by.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would create a class throughout all grade schools to teach people kindness. Imagine if from a young age you were taught how to handle anger, confrontation, and how to have a civil and understanding conversation. I feel as though with these teachings instilled early on, we, as a society, would be able to adequately exchange feelings with one another without so much animosity. At best, people are able to learn these things throughout life, but imagine how different the world would be if we got this knowledge when we are developing.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband, John. A lot of people get to deal with the best version of James and Honey. My husband has seen me at my worst and has supported me throughout it all. He’s been my rock throughout my struggles with alcohol abuse, depression, and anxiety. I couldn’t have done it without him.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Excuses are tools of the incompetent, they build monuments of nothingness, and lead to roads of nowhere. Those who excel in excuses seldom achieve much else.” My mother instilled this quote in me from a young age. She taught me to make sure I don’t use my sexuality, color, or addiction to make up as an excuse for my music and my art to receive any less acclaim than my peers of a different design.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Tyler Perry. I would love to meet with him and collaborate with him on a new way to tell queer black stories in Hollywood. He has already achieved so much and has made a difference in the way people of color view themselves and the way we are viewed in the world. I would love to create something with him that highlights queer black people, as we are often ostracized by not only the world but our ethnic communities as well.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/honeydavenportofficial

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/honeydavenportofficial

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/honeydavenportofficial

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/honey_davenport

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