May 29, 2020 at 1:06 pm PDT | by John Paul King
CSW unveils plan for virtual Pride, with ‘Parade’ to air live on TV

Ever since Christopher Street West announced the cancellation of this year’s LA Pride in early May, we’ve been left to wonder if they would find a way to safely celebrate this important community occasion in the world of Covid-19.

The wondering is over.

On Friday morning, CSW – the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival – revealed its plan to air the city’s first-ever virtual Pride Parade through its ongoing partnership with KABC, Southern California’s most-watched television station, and to offer ongoing Pride Month celebrations through a new partnership with iHeartMedia Los Angeles.

In addition, the organization announced the 2020 LA Pride Grand Marshals: CSW and LA Pride co-founder Rev. Troy Perry as Community Grand Marshal, and Project Angel Food, as Organizational Grand Marshal.

In the announcement, CSW says it has “deepened” its partnership with KABC, “to reimagine the 50th anniversary of LA Pride for Angelenos and continue the traditions set by the LA Pride Parade and Festival as one of the biggest pride events in the country each year. This year, the celebration will take place as a virtual festival that pays tribute to the history of LA Pride and celebrates the Los Angeles area’s storied role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.”

Slated to air as a 90-minute primetime special exclusively on ABC7, the virtual festivities will honor the Pride journey through historical vignettes and celebrate the central role of the LGBTQ+ community in the culture and history of Los Angeles. It will spotlight local Queer culture and history through in-depth interviews with unsung heroes and community activists, along with never-before-seen footage of “iconic moments,” dating from “the first-ever permitted Pride parade on Hollywood Blvd. to last year’s unforgettable floats along Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood,” that will “bring to life all the achievements LA’s LGBTQ+ community throughout the years.”

The virtual Pride celebration will include special performances and appearances by Alex Newell, Amara La Negra, Asher Entertainment ft. The House of Ninja, Bob the Drag Queen, Carson Kressley, Erika Jayne, Greyson Chance, Hayley Kiyoko, Jake Borelli, Jordy, Justin Tranter, Lance Bass, Lee Daniels, Leslie Jordan, Megan Hilty & Brian Gallagher, Mj Rodriguez, Neve Campbell, Sandra Bernhard, Shea Diamond, The Pussycat Dolls, Trixie Mattel’s performance (presented by Virgin Fest at Rocco’s), and the cast of the upcoming Hulu series, “Love Victor.”

It will also feature local businesses and non-profits – and Drag Queens, of course – with more participants to be announced.

Longtime LA Pride collaborator JJLA LLC will continue to engage with CSW in the event production and management of LA PRIDE, and will coordinate all talent in collaboration with ABC7.

The event will air on ABC7 Saturday, June 13, from 7:30-9:00pm PT, with an encore presentation on Sunday, June 14, 2020, at 2:00 pm PDT. ABC7 Eyewitness News anchors Ellen Leyva and Brandi Hitt are slated to host, alongside special guest host, actress Raven-Symone.

In addition, CSW also revealed their new multi-year partnership with iHeartMedia Los Angeles and announced it would kick off Pride Month with an #iHeartLAPRIDE LGBTQ+ celebration, presented by Bud Light Seltzer, aimed at bringing Pride celebrations to the comfort of individual’s homes virtually and across social platforms. “50 Years of Pride in LA” will be commemorated across local iHeartMedia stations, including Real 92.3, 104.3 MYFM, KOST 103.5, 102.7 KIIS-FM and ALT 98.7, which will each feature daily vignettes “voiced by on-air personalities, artists, celebrities and members of the LGBTQ+ community” that focus on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and Pride celebration.

On top of that, every Friday in June, LA radio stations will hold weekly Virtual Pride Parties, presented in partnership with Ready, Set, PrEP, a nationwide HHS program to distribute PrEP for low or no cost to qualified individuals. These events will stream live on the station’s YouTube channels, as well as on “Pride Radio” (featured on the iHeartRadio app). Each of the iHeartMedia Los Angeles radio stations will announce details for these virtual Pride events through the month, but they can also be found right now with the keyword “LA Pride” at  the 104.3 MYFM website.

In any case, dedicated Pride-goers should make plans now to join Lance Bass, Bubble Tap Trailer and Rocco’s West Hollywood for the countdown/pre-party, a “Drive-Through” party happening at Rocco’s on Saturday, June 13th from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Guests will be able to order and pick up a “party box” ahead of LA’s 50th Anniversary Pride Special, and attendees will receive login info for the Virtual Celebration taking place from 3:00pm-8:00pm, which will feature multiple DJ sets, interactive games and several surprise guests. You can reserve your box in advance at the LA Virtual Pride website.

Finally, in a further celebration of Pride, iHeartRadio Los Angeles and CSW will launch a podcast entitled, “LA Pridecast,” with the first episode to premiere in June. 104.3 MYFM’s Lisa Foxx will host the monthly podcast, which will feature “informative and entertaining conversation that explores the issues and topics relevant to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.” Each episode, a different member of the Los Angeles community will share, through in-depth conversation, their personal stories of positivity, hope, and truth, “to help others recognize the beauty in differences as well as the often-overlooked similarities.”

CSW promises more details to come in the weeks ahead.

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