The ‘Drag King’ Godfather of Chattanooga


By Steven Greiner a.k.a Madelyn J. McCray

Chattanooga is a brighter place to live because of Mama!  Recently, my friend Steven Raimo a.k.a. Veronika Electronika blessed me with an excursion to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  We stayed in the lovely home of Mary Deason, affectionally known in those parts as "Mama."

Moments after meeting this phenomenal woman the reasoning behind such a nickname was completely apparent.  She was obviously a living example of the unconditional love of God.  You know, it never ceases to amaze me how God takes ordinary people and does extra ordinary things through them. Yay God….I love it!

Mary Deason, also known as Mama, and The ‘Godfather’ is a living example of how God can pour out His love through the simplest of people, in the most complex situations.  This woman has brought hope to many members of the GLBT community of Chattanooga, including several persons, young and old with a loving home.  Sharing this story with those of you who are reading it can only give you the first taste of what an amazing person she really is.  Of course, if you want the whole scoop you’ll just have to meet the ole’ gal your self.

Now, I have only just met Mama, but sometimes first impressions can really give you the best idea of who someone really is.  My brief encounter was only a weekend visit, but I was able to conclude that with Mama Mary Deason, What you see, is what you get! 

Like any mother she is real, not a fake, and she can smell a fake a mile away.  What a breath of fresh air it is when you meet someone who is real, and a genuine friend in any situation!……..Amen!  I don’t believe that there is a fake bone in that woman’s body, that is why God can use her like a fountain of his justice, love and compassion wherever she goes.

In life she is a widow, grandmother, and mother, but in spirit she is a mother and source of inspiration to countless people in her community.  These people to whom she has looked after are simple people needing love and compassion, they have found it in the arms of Mama.  Most of them are individuals who have lost the support of their natural families, and in some cases even their bed to sleep in.  To some this would present a situation to break down and give up the fight, but to Mama, it is yet only another opportunity to show us another grand example of the Golden Rule; Do unto others, as you would have done unto you.  This all at the expense of even being rejected by some of her own natural children, only because of her acceptance of the GLBT community of Chattanooga.

Her home in Chattanooga has been a haven to many, and the hospitality of those living in her home makes you feel like you are home.  Big family dinners, laughs, and late nights in front of the TV really can make you forget about the troubles that await you outside of her front door.  Mama, Steve Raimo, and I hit up Images Dance Club of Chattanooga for Karaoke, but before we all entered, Mama asked us to go in first and watch the crowds reaction, so we did.  As Steve and I sat at a table inside the bar and watched Mama make her entrance and say "Hey everybody, Mama’s here!" the crowd went wild. Before she was 5 steps into the bar she was greeted and loved by almost everyone in the place.  It was certainty a Kodak moment, and wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t have a camera, but that priceless mental snapshot will forever be in my brain.  It was incredible!

Mama, a straight, Christian woman, performs in Chattanooga as the only Drag King.  Her stage name, ‘The Godfather,’ is a performer who is filled with energy, and can defiantly show us all in Nashville a good time.  One afternoon at her home in Chattanooga I was able to see a rehearsal of one of her upcoming shows, her favorite characters to perform are Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels and Hank Williams, Jr..  She really is one grandma not to miss!

Let me close by saying,"She’s the little ole lady from Chattanooga, Go Granny, go granny, go granny, go!!!  

PS; By the way Mama, thanks for singing that Kitty Wells song at karaoke that night.  You are one of God’s precious jewels.Mama will be appearing on Friday, June 23 in Nashville, as a special guest on the Madelyn J. McCray show at illusions II located at 339 Wilhagen Road.