Nashom Wooden, a Standout Star in NYC's Influential Drag Scene, Reportedly Dead From COVID-19

Illustration for article titled Nashom Wooden, a Standout Star in NYCs Influential Drag Scene, Reportedly Dead From COVID-19
Photo: Santiago Felipe (Getty Images)

Friends of Nashom Wooden, the performer behind the iconic drag persona Mona Foot, say he recently passed from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Advertisement

Geoffrey Mac, a designer who won season 18 of the reality show Project Runway, shared a video on Instagram cautioning everyone to stay healthy as the pandemic continues to upend communities across the world.

“I lost my best friend today from the coronavirus, Nashom Wooden,” Mac said through tears. “I just want to make sure everybody out there stays healthy and safe, because the virus is really real.”

Advertisement

Another friend of Wooden’s, DJ, talk show host, and trans activist Lina Bradford, also shared an emotional video responding to his death.

“I love you so much Nashom and I’m so sorry that this happened,” Bradford said. In her caption, Bradford said Wooden went to a hospital after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but was turned away because his sickness wasn’t severe.

As news of Wooden’s death spread on social media Monday, tributes and remembrances of the performer, hailed as a “pillar” of New York’s queer community, poured in. He was perhaps best known for his drag alias Mona Foot, described as a “staple” of the nightlife scene by Out Magazine. As Wooden told Paper Magazine in 2017, he began by doing “tight” lip-synching of Aretha Franklin songs, eventually expanding beyond the iconic diva to play Mona Foot.

Advertisement

“I really became intoxicated once I did Wonder Woman at Union Square Park. I could see the power of it,” Wooden said. “No one saw that coming. To be not only a superhero, to be black and a man. I didn’t realize at the time I was feminine. The message was so powerful, performing ‘I’m Every Woman’ as Wonder Woman.”

Wooden eventually hung up his heels and retired his Mona Foot character (he told Paper that the role had threatened to subsume his identity), but continued performing. He sang for the electronic dance music band the Ones as himself, and contributed to the 1999 movie Flawless.

Advertisement

His impact could be felt as mourners posted heartfelt messages about his work. One image, in particular, was shared again and again: Wooden as Mona Foot, rocking a lush Wonder Woman costume with a gold crown and star-spangled cape, his arms outstretched wide and triumphantly.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Staff writer, The Root.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

feministonfire
FeministOnFire

Damn, Nashom was fine! Rest in peace.

His death highlights the need to have at least one outspoken, unafraid and obstinate friend who can go with and advocate for you when you may not be in the best shape to do it for yourself.

I just went thru this in February supporting a friend and her man at the VA. First, everybody has to understand that Black men are laconic and won’t admit being in severe pain! Secondly, people need to stop being so reverential to doctors and confront them and intake coordinators who become stoic after years on the job. When he was finally seen and tested, he was moments away from dying from sepsis! “Hmmm, we’ve only seen this in a small percentage of cases...” is just code for: 1)We never bother getting to know Black people, 2) No one researches how illnesses affect Black people, 3) We never wanna give Black men pain meds! 4) We probably did a slapdash, half-ass job, which the pain is an indication of our failure, cuz we’re never held accountable for Black death. Take a lesson, people!