East Nashville woman admits to vandalizing drag mural

“Somebody’s got to take a stand and say it’s not acceptable,” the woman said.
The woman spray-painted over a mural on the side of the hair world store showcasing sushi and has an image of a drag queen.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2023 at 10:32 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - An East Nashville woman admits she’s the person behind defacing a mural on Gallatin Avenue. The mural is an ad featuring a drag queen.

Deborah Jones said she’s a part of Velvet Army, a charity organization that she founded to protect and help widows, children, and homeless women. She said this crime isn’t about hatred, but others disagree.

“Debra, some people would believe this is a little conflicting knowing that you’re vandalizing,” WSMV4 asked.

“You know what it’s called? Evandelism!” Jones said as she laughed hysterically.

There’s no shame in Jones’ spray painting game in her eyes because it’s all for a righteous cause.

“Somebody’s got to take a stand and say it’s not acceptable,” Jones said.

Jones admitted to tagging the Postmates mural in East Nashville on Gallatin Avenue on the side of the Hair World business. It’s an advertisement on the side of the hair world store showcasing sushi and has an image of a drag queen.

“I gave them 30 days. I spoke to the owner of the building and tried to contact Postmates to tell them it’s unacceptable and it needs to come down, because it’s an obvious flying drag queen and it’s just destroying the lives of children,” Jones said.

Not everyone, including Eldrick Spencer III, the hair store’s general manager, agrees with Jones’ vandalism. He said he was shocked when he saw it. He said he understands how people have strong beliefs and varying opinions but should never be displayed through a crime.

“Definitely going to take down the vandalization because of everything like that because we don’t want anything to promote a negative image towards our business,” Spencer said.

Jones claims God told her to share the message of Jesus’s return. Jones believes images of drag queens impacts children.

“This could affect generations of children and you know I believe the Lord is coming back soon, and it’s my job to tell people they need to be ready. Are you ready on that day? Am I ready? Are we ready? Is he going to know us?” exclaimed Jones.

Jones didn’t stop at this mural. She admits again to tagging another image just less than a mile down the road.

“There’s another right down the street that I hit too,” Jones said. “It’s a poster that looks to be about an 11-year-old boy sitting with his legs crossed with a blindfold on with no shirt, a fur jacket with tight ridge shorts and a cigarette in his hands. I pulled up and I said I don’t think so. It’s got to stop, and I put a stop to it! #thevelvet army.”

She said there’s no hate in her heart. She’s just trying to share a message from God.

“I have to speak out for the righteous, and I’m not perfect. I make mistakes we all do but it’s not on purpose and it’s not to hurt anybody,” Jones said.

The store did file a report with Metro Police for the vandalism, but police said until the store’s owner presses charges, Jones won’t be prosecuted.

The Tennessee Equality Project is responding to this incident. It believes this case of vandalism is not a coincidence just days after a judge found the state’s drag ban law unconstitutional.

“These types of incidents have become more frequent in the past year, and unfortunately could occur in any neighborhood. The harmful rhetoric used to justify discriminatory bills in our state legislature not only serves to further Tennessee’s course into a sea of lawsuits, but also emboldens bad actors to commit vandalism and even acts of violence while believing they represent the ideals of local government. Our state passed a bill that could have criminalized gender alternative clothing, and nearly succeeded. There is no coincidence that days after a judge found it unconstitutional, a mural depicting a drag queen was vandalized. We must expose this for what it is: a mirrored reflection of the tone set by our state. We will not be moved and will continue to provide a safe space for all LGBTQ+ Tennesseans and allies by educating and taking action to steer Tennessee back onto a path toward equality.”

Brian Sullivan, Davidson County Co-Chair, Tennessee Equality Project

Efforts to reach Postmates for comment have been unsuccessful.