By Allana J. Barefield
Are you ready for a good laugh? Comedian, actress and writer Cocoa Brown touched down in Texas for a good cause. Brown hosted a benefit comedy show at the Arlington Improv, “Awwww Hell The Queenz,” this week with profits from the show benefiting the charity, Bald Mama. Founded in 2008 by Maggie St. Miguel, Bald Mama is under the leadership of Steff Machelle and the local non-profit caters to people undergoing cancer treatment.
Reporter Allana J. Barefield sat down with Brown for a candid discussion about the benefit show and her career.
Allana J. Barefield: I’m excited for you to be in Dallas. Why was it so important for you to be involved with Bald Mama?
Cocoa Brown: First and foremost, I am a strong advocate for breast cancer and Lupus. I have my own nonprofit called Wings of Love that I created in memory of my girlfriend, Vanessa, who lost her battle with breast cancer for the third time. It had moved to her brain. She couldn’t beat it. I created “Wings of Love” for her because she couldn’t handle losing her hair and I have kind of become a wig guru. And I said I have all these wigs, let me donate them to people.
When I received the call to be a part of Bald Mama, I said absolutely. It was not even a no brainer that I would partner with her to bring laughter through healing. It is something near and dear to me if I could use my talent and my platform to help this cause and also bring laughter and a good feeling to these women then I’m all for it.
AJB: Why is diversity-particular female representation critical in comedy?
CB: I have had the pleasure performing for the most diverse crowds ever. I have performed in front of White, Black, rich, poor, Hispanic, Asian. I have been overseas and have performed for sheik and they have so much money in Dubai that I just want somebody to fall on the floor so about five grand could fall out of their pocket. I tend to take my pain and put it on stage. I’m going to let you know I walked in your shoes, I feel your pain. By having females, you’re seeing yourself, a reflection of yourself.
AJB: We see Beyoncé with her alter ego Sasha Fierce, how did you come up with the name Cocoa Brown?
CB: It was given to me, I would like to say I was that creative, but it was given to me by a fellow comedian when I first started doing comedy in the Washington D.C. area about 20 years ago. A comedian named, James Bean, walked up to me and had that name in a napkin and he said this is your name. And that’s how Cocoa Brown was born.
AJB: I have watched you on my TV, from Tyler Perry’s shows to the hit show, 911. Did you ever think you were going to become this big?
CB: I mean no. I was a little Southern girl from Virginia. I was supposed to be somewhere with babies, a husband and going to my friend’s house every Sunday after church. I wasn’t supposed to be doing this. I never fathom in a million years that this was what I was going to do but I always knew that there was something greater destined on my life. And I feel like my destiny found me. When I was in that place, there was something bigger, something greater, there was much of a divine purpose for me. It found me. Fortunately, I heard it, I saw it, and I went with it.
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