RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 finalist Peppermint and Cazwell, our favorite out rapper, have teamed up for a brand-new banger, “Harlem Cleopatra.” The video — set in the subways and streets of New York City — was just released today, and Hornet was given the exclusive opportunity to release the video, which explores a queer slice of the Big Apple.
Peppermint and Cazwell teamed up to put out a joint EP, titled Blend, earlier this year. “Harlem Cleopatra” is one of the songs from that EP, featuring both performers rapping on the house-inspired track.
Cazwell tells us, “‘Harlem Cleopatra’ is one of my favorite tracks from the album. It speaks to everything I am. Harlem banjee, bougie and all that, with a fabulous beat by Craig C.”
Peppermint adds that the track “delves into the dark side of what life can be like living in New York City as a trans woman of color. The track has roots in New York house, and we decided to go black and white to enhance the song’s raw appeal.”
Watch “Harlem Cleopatra” right here:
Peppermint has become a vocal activist in the LGBTQ community since her time on Drag Race. We chatted with her earlier this year to get her thoughts on the idea of trans women being accepted into the drag community.
She told us, “I have heard gay men tell women — trans women, cisgender women — they can’t do drag, and I think that’s just another case of men telling women what they can and can’t do.”
“It’s very difficult to simplify drag to just a pair of heels and a dress and a wig, because it’s more than that,” Peppermint says. “Just as womanhood is more than makeup. Being a drag queen and having that as a career, even though it’s just my job and there is a separation, it still is born of me.”
She continues, “Peppermint is part of my essence, you know, as a human being. And the ingredients are things I’ve been collecting since I can remember. Every time I saw a fierce lady, or some face my mom would make, or certain perfume that I would smell as a kid, those all affected the drag persona that I have today. And also my womanhood now. It informs and affects that.”