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Pride Special

Hundreds attend 4th annual South LA Pride celebration

Hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson & Herb Wesson, this year’s family-friendly celebration was a “Pride Picnic”



South LA Pride Chair Jasmyne Cannick & event host Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. (Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

LOS ANGELES – Hundreds attended the 4th annual South LA Pride celebration on Jul. 1 at Norman O. Houston Park in Baldwin Hills.  Hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson, this year’s family-friendly celebration was a “Pride Picnic” meant to bring together South LA’s LGBTQ community and their allies for a culturally relevant pride celebration. 

2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic at the Norman O. Houston Park in Los Angeles, California on July 1, 2022
(Photo Credit: Koi Sojer/ Snap’N U Photos)

In addition to Harris-Dawson and Wesson, this year saw the most Black elected officials ever at a pride celebration in Los Angeles including Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Senator Sydney Kamlager, and more. 

Congresswoman Karen Bass and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

Journalist and advocate Jasmyne Cannick chaired the planning committee which included a host of community organizations. 

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson presents Compton Pride founder Princess Murray with a certificate of recognition.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

The 2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic was sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Providence, FOX, AEG, and the LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department.

Drag performer Sole Valentine.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

For more information, please visit


Pride Special

South Los Angeles came out for Pride!

This year’s South Los Angeles Pride theme – #WeOutside – embodied the celebration of being outside and visible



Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove & Los Angeles Council President Pro Tem Marqueece Harris-Dawson with 2023 South LA Pride honorees Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence on Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Council President Pro Tem Marqueece Harris Dawson, Councilmember Heather Hutt, Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Lindsey Horvath, South LA Pride Board Chair Jasmyne Cannick, and hundreds of people came out to celebrate the intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ community at South LA Pride Sat. Jul 15 at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. 

This year’s South LA Pride theme – #WeOutside – embodied the celebration of being outside and visible while standing proudly together in South Los Angeles.

Presented by South Los Angeles Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Heather Hutt, and Curren Price, the epic free one-day festival centered on the talents of artists who are queer Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in South Los Angeles.

The 2023 South LA Pride Festival was sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, the LGBT Center, Gilead, Los Angeles Chargers, and KPFK 90.7FM.

Additional details about South LA Pride are on social media. Follow the hashtag #SouthLAPride on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram, or visit for the latest updates.

The Freaky Boiz performs at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
Los Angeles Council President Pro Tem Marqueece Harris-Dawson addresses the audience at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
South LA Pride Chair and Director Jasmyne Cannick and co-char Ray Love, Jr. introduce the 2023 Planning Committee on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
Marachingoa performs at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
Los Angeles Councilmember Heather Hutt addresses the audience at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
Various members from the ballroom community compete in a voguing competition during The Outside Kiki Ball at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
13-year-old Ally Marc Jacobs vogues during The Outside Kiki Ball at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
2023 South LA Pride honorees Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence and LA Chargers Cultural Affairs Director Liliana Perez wth LA County Supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Holly Mitchell on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
Headliner Durand Bernarr performs at South LA Pride on Sat. Jul 15, 2023, at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. (Photo credit: Malcolm Ali)
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Pride Special

Durand Bernarr will headline the 5th annual South LA Pride

Activities include a ballroom voguing competition; softball game; women’s tackle football; drag performances & an outdoor dance floor



Los Angeles Blade/South LA Pride graphic

LOS ANGELES –South LA Pride announced today that following his sold-out tour and viral NPR Tiny Desk Concert, Durand Bernarr will headline the 5th annual event on JULY 15 at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex (formerly Rancho Cienega Park) in Baldwin Hills. 

The epic FREE one-day festival lineup for South LA Pride will once again center the talents of artists who are queer Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and/or are from South Los Angeles including drag performances by Amber Crane, Sole Valentino, and Porshaa Lejayy.  Additional performances include Ginger Roots, Devan M, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Lost Angeles, Yalla the Melodica, disco queen Kiki Kyte, rappers Freaky Boiz, and more. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the stage and dance floors open at noon. A full lineup can be found here.

In addition to the main stage, other activations include a ballroom voguing competition with Season 1 winner of HBO MAX’s “Legendary” Torie Amour Bodega, a softball game hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Softball Association, yoga with WalkGoodLA at 11 a.m., a meet and greet with the LA Legends Women’s Tackle Football team, and an outdoor dance floor with various DJs mixing throughout the day.

This year’s emcees include journalist Shar Jossell and content creator and comedian Jade Fox.

Presented by South Los Angeles Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Heather Hutt, and Curren Price, South LA Pride is a family-friendly event that is free and open to all to attend. There will be food trucks, a vendor village marketplace, live DJs, games, and more.  Attendees are welcome to bring their food and drinks or can opt to purchase food and drinks from the onsite food vendors.

LA Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson
(Photo Credit: City of Los Angeles Media Relations)

“I am honored to support the LGBTQIA+ community at the 5th Annual South LA Pride Celebration,” remarked Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “While love knows no boundaries, it is crucial to confront the harsh reality of unjust laws that infringe upon human rights. I stand united with my colleagues and our city in our dedication to champion freedom for everyone.”

This year’s honorees include:

  • Garth Gerald, Executive Director of the AMAAD Institute
  • Liliana Perez, Cultural Affairs Director for the Los Angeles Chargers; and 
  • Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

“South LA Pride is a powerful experience that amplifies the voices and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community in South L.A., while also celebrating its diversity, resilience, and strength,” said Councilmember Heather Hutt. “It’s important that LGBTQ+ individuals in our community feel a sense of belonging and love from their constituents and their City, and this gathering is a testament to that commitment. Join us as we create a safe space where everyone can proudly express their authentic selves, and together, we’ll ignite change, foster peace, and promote acceptance of all!” 

South LA Pride Chair and Director Jasmyne Cannick added, “South LA Pride is a celebration that recognizes and embraces the intersectional identities that exist within our communities. The queer community is not a monolith and we don’t all live in West Hollywood. Celebrating pride means celebrating all of who we are, where we are.  We don’t have to–and we won’t–leave our community to celebrate pride.”

The 2023 South LA Pride Festival is sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, the LGBT Center, Gilead, Los Angeles Chargers and KPFK 90.7FM.

Additional details about South LA Pride will be made available on social media. Follow the hashtag #SouthLAPride on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram, or visit for the latest updates.


5th Annual South LA Pride

A free, family-friendly LGBTQ+ pride festival in South Los Angeles hosted by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Heather Hutt, and Curren Price.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

12 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex

5001 Obama Blvd.

Los Angeles 90016



Attendees are encouraged to pack their picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs.


Hashtag to follow #SouthLAPride

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Pride Special

Politics & Pride 2023 celebrations as Pride Month comes to a close

From San Francisco to New York and across the world too cities large & small marked the end of Pride Month 2023



U. S. House Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA/Burbank) at SF's Pride Parade 2023 (Screenshot/YouTube ABC7 Bay Area)

LOS ANGELES – From San Francisco to Denver to Chicago and then New York, cities large and small marked the end of Pride Month 2023 in parades and gatherings. Across the globe there were also celebrations including the 40th anniversary of Dublin Pride in Ireland and in the true spirit of that very first Pride gathering, thousands took to the streets in Istanbul, Türkiye in defiance of the ban on Pride by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

As LGBTQ+ communities celebrated they were joined by elected leaders and representatives.

Here are some highlights of Pride 2023:

Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker:
Colorado Governor Jared Polis:
New York Governor Kathy Hochul:
NBC Bay Area, KNTV 11:
California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis:
Mayor of the City of Houston, Texas, Sylvester Turner:
The prime minister of the Republic of Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:
Türkiye İYİ LGBTİ:
Maryland Governor Wes Moore:
Toronto Pride 2023:
Member of Parliament for Whitby, Southern Ontario, Ryan Turnbull:
Pride Mexico City 2023 via Reuters:
Twin Cities Pride via The Star Tribune; First Lady Dr. Jill Biden:
Pride in Edinburgh, Scotland 2023:
Seattle Pride 2023:
Metro Manila Pride, Philippines 2023:
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY):
Oklahoma City Pride 2023:
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Pride Special

KABC: LA Pride Parade draws thousands to Hollywood

The 53rd annual L.A. Pride Parade rolled through the historic heart of Hollywood Sunday, featuring hundreds of marchers & colorful floats



LA Pride 2023 Parade entry sponsored by the Los Angeles Blade. (Photo by Troy Masters)

HOLLYWOOD – The LA Pride Parade made its way through Hollywood on Sunday, highlighting the last day of this year’s weekend-long Pride celebration.

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Pride Special

L.A. Pride Parade Sunday will be live on KABC7

ABC7 is your official L.A. Pride station! Join our hosts Ellen Leyva and Christiane Cordero as we broadcast the parade on ABC7



Photo Credit: KABC7/Facebook

LOS ANGELES – (KABC7) The 53rd annual L.A. Pride Parade will be rolling through the historic heart of Hollywood Sunday, and you can watch the celebration on ABC7.

The grand marshals for the parade this year are Margaret Cho, the ACLU SoCal and the late Leslie Jordan – a family member will represent Jordan.

The parade will feature a special performance presented by the ACLU SoCal and staged by Morgan McMichaels to music by 14-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren.

The parade features hundreds of marchers, colorful floats, celebrity guests, and there will be a few big surprises too.

There is a new route and direction this year. The parade will start at Sunset Boulevard and goes up Highland, and then turns right on Hollywood Boulevard, rolling all the way to Cahuenga where it makes a final right turn heading back to Sunset Boulevard.

It all begins Sunday, June 11 at 11am.

ABC7 is your official L.A. Pride station! Join our hosts Ellen Leyva and Christiane Cordero as we broadcast the parade on ABC7, Hulu and wherever you stream ABC7 Los Angeles.

Check out for stories about the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies, and share your Pride with #abc7eyewitness.

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Pride Special

LA Pride Parade and Village Details

Pride Village is the place to be after the parade with festivities taking place from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., just steps from the parade route



Courtesy of LA Pride

HOLLYWOOD – The second annual LA Pride Village on Hollywood Boulevard will bring the free, all-day street festival to a new location between Vine Street and Gower Street just steps away from the official LA Pride Parade route on June 11.

At 9:00 AM on June 11, The Hollywood Partnership CEO & President Kathleen Rawson will deliver a welcome note in front of Pantages Theatre, and at 2:00 PM elected officials – including Senator Ben Allen, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Board Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, Council Member Hugo Soto-Martinez and Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur – will welcome festival goers at the Celebration Stage on Gower St. and Hollywood Blvd.

Christopher Street West Association (CSW) announced its trio of grand marshals to be celebrated at the LA Pride Parade on Sunday, June 11 taking place at its original historic location in Hollywood.

Graphic via Christopher Street West

The parade, which will feature a special drag performance presented by the ACLU SoCal and staged by Morgan McMichaels to music by 14-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren, will air LIVE on long-time LA Pride broadcasting partner KABC/ABC7 on Sunday, June 11 beginning at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

This year’s LA Pride Parade grand marshals include comedian, actor and activist Margaret Cho as the Icon Grand Marshal, an individual who needs no introduction and achieved major milestones within their career and industry; a posthumous tribute to Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan as the Legacy Grand Marshal, a new title this year in honor of Jordan for his everlasting impact on the community; and the ACLU of Southern California, that helped CSW obtain the permit for the first LA Pride parade, as the Community Grand Marshal, which celebrates a group or individual who has had a powerful influence through their work and dedication to and for the LGBTQ community.

“I’m thrilled and incredibly honored to be the Icon Grand Marshal,” said Cho. “We need this Pride more than ever. I have been attending Pride celebrations since 1978 and this time around the need to celebrate as well as unite is more urgent than it has ever been. Our love is greater than their hate. 

“On behalf of Leslie Jordan, we are overjoyed by Christopher Street West’s heartfelt recognition to name Leslie as LA Pride’s Legacy Grand Marshal,” said Jana “Cricket” Jordan. “This honor further solidifies the positive impact he made in the world, but more importantly for the LGBTQ+ community. His spirit continues to bring love and light.”

“For a century, we’ve been on the front lines fighting for people to be their true, authentic selves,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. “We’re honored to be the Community Grand Marshal and proud to love, live among, and protect LGBTQ Californians.” 

“Christopher Street West is honored and humbled by this year’s three grand marshals,” said Gerald Garth, president of CSW. “Each have contributed to the LGBTQ+ community in their own unique ways, furthering our fight for acceptance, equality, and justice.” 

It will also air nationally on ABC News Live and Hulu, and wherever viewers stream ABC7 including and the ABC7LA mobile app.

Anchor Ellen Leyva and reporter Christiane Cordero from ABC7 Eyewitness News will co-host the ABC7 broadcast. The parade route will begin at Sunset Blvd and Highland Ave heading north, then east onto Hollywood Blvd, then south onto Cahuenga Blvd, ending at Sunset Blvd and Cahuenga Blvd.

Additionally, The Hollywood Partnership, the non-profit organization that oversees the public realm in the Hollywood Business Improvement District (BID), has once again partnered with LA Pride to bring the LA Pride Village back to Hollywood Blvd.

LA Pride Village is the official place to be after the LA Pride Parade, with festivities taking place from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., just steps from the official parade route.

When the iconic LA Pride Parade returned home to Hollywood Blvd last year after more than four decades, it prompted the start of new traditions and celebrations in Hollywood, including LA Pride Village, a free and open to the public street festival.

The second annual LA Pride Village celebration promises to be even bigger and better, with a new location on Hollywood Blvd, between Vine St. and Gower St., to make room for more booths featuring local vendors and non-profits, an expanded beer garden, delicious food trucks, two performance stages for twice the entertainment, and more comfortable crowd space for dancing. 

All details can be found here:

Sponsors of LA Pride Village include Princess Cruises and 

Public transit and ride share services to LA Pride Parade and Village are strongly encouraged. For the Parade, connect to the L.A. Metro B (Red) Line and exit Hollywood/Highland or Hollywood/Vine Station. Metro has many Park & Ride lots servicing the county – parking is just $3.00 per day, payable onsite.

If self-driving to LA Pride Parade and Village, vehicles can access parking and the event site via Vine Street or Gower Street.


LA Pride Village is the ultimate free community street festival happening on Sunday, June 11, in honor of the LGBTQIA+ community. Hosted by The Hollywood Partnership and LA Pride, it’s the perfect complement to the LA Pride Parade, as it is located just steps away from the iconic procession on Hollywood Boulevard, between Vine Street and Gower Street. Festivities include:

  • 90 local vendor booths
  • Two entertainment stages featuring 14 performances
  • An expanded bar garden
  • 11 Food trucks
  • 1 LGBTQ+ Cinema Film Festival by NewFilmmakers LA @ The Montalbán Theatre
  • More comfortable crowd space for dancing and celebrating Pride on Hollywood Boulevard


Sunday, June 11, 2023 

12 PM to 8 PM (all day)


  • 12 PM: LA Pride Village OPENS
    • 12-8 PM: 14 Performances across two stages by Pride notables like Mariachi Arcoiris, Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, the Gay Freedom Band LA, Secret Circus, Dance Church, and LA’s favorite queer AAPI drag party, Send Noodz
  • 2 PM: Elected officials welcome Pride festival goers to LA Pride Village
    • Senator Ben AllenSenator Maria Elena Durazo, Assemblymember Rick Zbur, LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, LA City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez
  • 2:15 PM-2:45 PM: Interviews available with elected officials
  • 3:00 PM-10:30 PM: NewFilmmakers LA Presents LGBTQ+ Cinema with The Montalbán @ 2023 LA PRIDE: This special event at Hollywood’s famed Montalbán Theatre features LGBTQ+ films spotlighting emerging filmmakers telling stories from across the spectrum of queer identities by artists from diverse backgrounds, including a strong representation of BIPOC storytellers. The event also hosts a full bar with reception space for mingling throughout the day, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers from each program.
  • 8 PM: LA Pride Village CLOSES


LA Pride in the Park: 6/9-6/10

It’s going down with Mariah Carey + Megan Thee Stallion! Don’t miss out — tickets at

This June in honor of PRIDE, Century City’s Fairmont Century Plaza invites guests to an extraordinary two-hour live concert performance from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Returning this year, the non-profit organization will be performing at the hotel with a mission to change hearts and minds through the power of music. 

The event will feature a vibrant approach to an array of iconic songs from Queen, Motown, Sondheim, and more, taking place at the hotel on Saturday June 10th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This will be their main West Los Angeles PRIDE performance. VIP tickets will be $55 and will include two cocktails. Free General Admission is also available and the performance will be open to the public.

Live music has been a prominent component of the Fairmont Century Plaza experience since its beginning and the hotel is looking forward to honoring PRIDE this year with this monumental performance.

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Pride Special

LA Metro’s ‘Ride with Pride’ 2023

The transit system rolled out its Pride TAP cards which are available at Metro Customer Centers and TVM’s supporting Pride event



Courtesy of LA Metro

LOS ANGELES – LA Metro, the official Transit Partner of LA Pride, is back again for its 24th year, this year Metro plans to celebrate Pride all month with its very own Ride with Pride campaign.

Last Friday, June 2 the transit system rolled out its Pride TAP cards which are available at Metro Customer Centers and TVM’s supporting Pride events. Metro reminds Pride attendees they can avoid traffic, street closures, and overpriced parking with Go Metro to LA Pride events. Parking is only $3 – payable on the spot, at any of the numerous Park & Ride lots adjacent to Metro stations and every rail line has parking.

Courtesy of LA Metro

Just in time for Pride Month, LA Metro also announced it will officially open the Regional Connector transit project to the public on June 16.

The ambitious, complex project, which began in 2013, is unique among rail projects in the United States. The 1.9 miles of new track laid for the project will allow light rail trains to travel between Union Station and the busy 7th Street/Metro Center Station in Downtown’s Financial District. Before the Regional Connector, that’s a journey only Metro’s heavy rail lines could make. Bridging this gap allows Metro to merge the hook-shaped L (Gold) line with the A (Blue) and E (Expo) lines, creating two serpent-like train lines where there were once three. The Regional Connector includes three new underground stations: 

  • Little Tokyo/Arts District Station where riders will have easy access to historically rich and vibrant neighborhoods and cultural institutions. 
  • Historic Broadway Station features two nationally registered districts: the Broadway Theater District, with 12 original theaters within seven blocks and Old Spring Street, known as the original Financial District of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station connects riders to downtown’s performing arts institutions, museums, fine dining experiences and more. 

These new stations will transform the way many riders can experience the Metro system, providing riders with a seamless, one-seat journey from as far as Azusa to Long Beach and from East L.A. to Santa Monica with no transfers required.

To mark this historic milestone, Metro will provide free rides on the entire Metro transit system including Metro bus and rail lines as well as Metro Bike Share services, during opening weekend. Metro encourages Angelenos and visitors alike to rediscover downtown and explore the fun, food, shopping, and cultural landmarks now accessible via the three stations on Regional Connector line and beyond.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at,, and and

LA Metro System map:


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Pride Special

Mariah Carey & Megan Thee Stallion grab the spotlights at LA Pride

At the end of the day it’s not glitz, glamor or fabulosity. It’s about a deeper connection that Mariah & Megan have forged with our community



Azer Production/Los Angeles Blade graphic

HOLLYWOOD – There is no doubt that the Christopher Street West Association, the group behind LA Pride’s celebration for over 50 years, knows how to throw a party. This year, in a time when the community needs it the most, they have out done themselves.

Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion. Mic drops both.

While words like “divas”, “queens” and “icons” would not be inappropriate, those words are reductive as to whom these two woman actually are. Each is a master at her musical and performance craft. Each has re-defined and exemplified her lane in pop culture.

More to the point, each has lived and generously given of the true concept of “Pride” itself.

Pride is a consciousness of one’s own dignity. It is a confidence and self-respect for a community that has been socially marginalized. It is an empowerment that grows from a unified and shared identity, culture and experience.

Mariah and Megan are not mere pop participants of Pride, they are pillars in its modern architecture. “Mimi (Mariah) emancipated us all,” Jonathan Riggs of Shondaland2 has said. She herself has given her own definition of the LGBTQ community as “Legendary, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Tantalizing, and Quality.”

Megan Thee Stallion has confronted homophobia in rap music and helped evolve the genre. She has said, “It is about time. Representation is important, and it is really crucial for us all to have compassion and acceptance of every human.”

Gerald Garth, the board president of LA Pride, positioned the entertainment choice this year, “Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion are the perfect artists to headline LA Pride in the Park … These empowering and iconic women are sure to take the stage by storm.”  Clearly, each of the artists are likewise enthused over the gig. Mariah declared, “I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of LA Pride 2023. I am happy to be back in person celebrating with the LGBTQIA+ community here in Southern California and throughout all of the lands!!! Let’s come together to celebrate love, inclusion, and Pride.”

Megan concurred with, “I can’t wait to headline LA Pride in the Park and celebrate the phenomenal LGBTQIA+ community. This incredible event advocates for diversity, inclusivity and equality, so I’m honored to perform and have a blast with all of the Hotties in attendance.”

From merely looking at the professional accomplishments of each woman, witnessing them live would be a lifetime landmark event. Mariah Carey is a cultural maven on many fronts, driving from her obvious success as a singer, songwriter, record producer, to actor, and a New York Times bestselling author. Guinness World Records calls her the “Songbird Supreme.” She has been credited with helping to revitalize the music industry in the 1990s and is considered one of the most influential female singers of all time. She has sold over 200 million records worldwide and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Carey has won five GRAMMY Awards, 19 World Music Awards, and 14 American Music Awards. 

Can Megan Thee Stallion compete with that? Well, she doesn’t have to, nor does she have an appetite for such a conversation. She has said, “I don’t feel like I’m in competitive with anybody. If I’m worried about beating somebody else, I’m not going to be the best version of me. It shouldn’t be a competition because somebody else winning is not going to make me lose.”

Billboard has said of Megan, “Megan Thee Stallion is a force to be reckoned with. She has a unique style, a powerful flow, and a message of empowerment that resonates with millions of fans.” Pitchfork concurs saying, “Megan Thee Stallion is one of the most exciting voices in rap right now. She’s fierce, she’s funny, she’s smart, she’s sexy, she’s versatile.” Time Magazine did not hold back on their view, “Megan Thee Stallion is a superstar who’s rewriting the history of rap music.”

Like Mariah, Megan’s professional pedigree is vast. She is a three-time GRAMMY-winning recording artist, philanthropist and entrepreneur. From earning two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits with the “Savage (Remix)” featuring Beyoncé, and “WAP” with Cardi B to releasing her dynamic album “Traumazine,” she has proven unstoppable. Her musical achievement recognitions, include three GRAMMY wins, nine BET Awards and back-to-back Billboard Music Awards for Top Rap Female Artist. Additionally, she has been honored for her advocacy efforts, having received the 2022 Special Achievement Award at The Webby Awards and the Trailblazer Award at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Most recently, Megan made history in Nov. 2022, becoming the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Forbes’ prestigious Under 30 issue. She was previously recognized as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 after publishing her monumental “Why I Speak Up For Black Women” op-ed for The New York Times.

Those accomplishments by both notwithstanding, they each have also earned serious creds with the LGBTQ community. Their ability to do so does not seem to be superficial, but instead emanating from their own individual fabric. Mariah has spoken with great affection about the gay couple who helped raise her. Megan similarly has spoken about her mother’s values. “I was raised by a woman who was her true and authentic self. So I feel like it’s very important to put on for people who aren’t that confident or people who don’t realize the value in self-love.”

Mariah has also referenced maternal influence. “It’s in my genes. My mother was an opera singer. I’m clearly dramatic.”

Both have headlined and hosted multiple LGBTQ Pride and charitable events. Marah has orchestrated multiple surprise LGBTQ+ marriage proposals on stage during her shows, she is a proponent of GLAAD’s Spirit Day and last year released a Pride collection of merchandise. Megan has collaborates with many LGBTQ+ artists such as Big Freedia, MNEK, and Saucy Santana, she is a major contributor to LGBTQ+ organizations and celebrates LGBTQ+ fans and influencers on her social media platforms.

As matrons of Pride courage, each woman has plenty advice for their LGBTQ+ admirers. “The main goal of my music is to make people feel strong and confident,” says Megan. She also points out, “I feel like, when people realize that they are the only person they need to impress, everybody’s life will be a lot smoother.” She also adds, “It’s not just about being sexy, it’s about being confident and me being confident in my sexuality.”

No one would cite Mariah for having a lack of confidence either. “I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself,” she has said. With that, she has laid the groundwork for a foundation of hope and courage for her followers. “If you believe in yourself enough and know what you want, you’re gonna make it happen.” She has also colored her philosophy with unicorn inspirations, “After every storm, if you look hard enough, a rainbow appears,” she says. She is a proponent of grabbing life and truly living it. “You can’t live with regrets. It’s about the journey…Whatever you’re going through in your life, don’t ever give up.” Her ideology is also experienced in her music, “It’s kinda like being on a roller coaster. If you don’t get on the ride, you won’t experience the adventure.”

“So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong, and you’ll finally see the truth – that a hero lies in you.”

Mariah, to be fair, has achieved a fandom that is unmatchable. She is a superstar of superstars and has earned homage from others who have their own outstanding presence in the pop world. 

“Mariah Carey is one of the greatest singers of all time. She has a voice that can move mountains.” – Whitney Houston said of her.  “She’s a genius as a musical artist, but also as a businesswoman. She’s been in the game for so long and she’s still killing it,” stated Rihanna. Ariana Grande is quoted as declaring “She’s a legend, she’s an icon, she’s the greatest female artist of our generation.”  

In short, audiences in Los Angeles on June 9th and 10th will experience moments they will never forget.

Two well spoke, brilliantly intentioned, and talented women will entertain and remind all how they got to be the icons they have become.

At the end of the day, however, it is not the glitz, glamor or fabulosity. It is about a deeper connection that Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion have forged with our community. It is a bond like one that Maya Angelou wrote about when she said “People will forget what you said, people will forget about what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Our relationship with these two women is personal. “If you’ve got love for me, then I’m gonna have love for you, period,” Megan has said.

When they take their respective stages, the love will be flowing, but that love and their music is more significant for when it reached us originally, when we weren’t in an adoring crowd.

It was significant in the moments when we were alone, and feeling particularly ALONE.  As Ian Eagleton of the Guardian described, “At my boys’ school I was shoved, spat at and brutally bullied. Carey’s songs made me dig deep and keep going, even when I had a breakdown years later.”

Their music gave us spirit when we had none. It gave us hope, it gave us empowerment to rise above, it helped us believe it all might someday get better.

Now it has. Now we celebrate. Now we embrace Pride. Now we vow to fight on.

Now we dance.


Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.

He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including The Los Angeles Blade, The Washington Blade, Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.

He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.

He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .

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Pride Special

OutLoud rocks WeHo Pride; Day 2 took a packed park to church

“Amazing Grace” Jones takes WeHo Pride’s OUTLOUD Festival to a fantastic arc of musical & dance performances



Grace Jones takes the stage at OutLoud WeHo Pride 2023 (Photo by Troy Masters)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – More than just about any art-form, Music has the capacity to transform and lift up, define, celebrate and soothe. It also has the capacity to lead and heal. And, vividly, that’s what happened repeatedly, with artist after artist, at night two of WeHo Pride’s OutLoud Festival, where a fantastic arc of musical and dance performances took a a packed WeHo Park to church, as Grace Jones herself put it.

We’ll start with her.

It was just hard to believe it, but there she was, her ever defiant and powerful self, aglow on an elevated stage, draped in a full frock, adorned with a Rainbow Crown made of pride colored knitting needles, appearing as triumphantly as the goddess she is.

Photo by Arturo Jimenez

Slowly she revealed her perfectly preserved 74 year young body, striking familiar angular profiles that are forever seared into world consciousness. She remains as beautiful in 2023 as the baby Grace who seemingly beamed out of nowhere in the mid-1970s, shocking the pop art world, inspiring the likes of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, the Studio 54 crowd and every magazine cover on the planet. Grace became one of the world’s first superstars to brand herself globally in the mulit-verse of music, fashion, dance, art, modeling, film and even philosophy.

She is lightning in a bottle and her performance at OutLoud night two was nothing short of a direct strike, moving cautiously (some might say gracefully) and staying on point, delivering song after familiar song, Jamaican flavored. She even floated through the crowd, diva that she is, blessing thousands with touch.

Her entire body covered in Keith Haring style drawings, she featured numerous looks that are her unmistakable brand, including a crowd favorite Keith Haring hoop dress.

Her set included nearly every song you’d want to hear from Grace Jones, including a crowd interactive rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

The entire LGBTQ+ rainbow assembly of OutLoud’s park packed audience erupted in a chorus of the song’s spiritual full rendition and with a gusto that surpassed even grace.

WeHo Park indeed did go to Church.

But even before Grace, Orville Peck,  the South African born country music singer-songwriter who wears a fringed leather mask who has never shown his face publicly, brought his chart topping Nashville sound to the park, featuring his song Pony in 2019 and his many standard hits, even his Lady Gaga approved rendition of “Born This Way, a song he introduced with an announcement that Tennessee’s Drag ban had been revoked by a federal judge who deemed it unconstitutional.

Orville Peck (Photo by Troy Masters)

The crowd erupted into chants of approval and then rocked out with Orville.

Peck’s music has been described as a mix of country, rockabilly, and glam rock. He has cited influences such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Kacey Musgraves. His flamboyant style and mysterious persona have made him a global cult figure, and he is out, loud and proud of his challenge to gender identity.

This year Tennessee and the Drag ban along with the more than 500 anti-LGBTQ laws that are winding their way through legislatures around the country animated much of the event.

Backstage at OutLoud festival, Nashville’s own Brooke Eden, the country music singer sat down with the Los Angeles Blade, revealing a surprisingly profound number of changes in Nashville that stand at odds with the culture wars the state government is waging. Her story will be featured in an upcoming article in Los Angeles Blade’s coverage of Nashville Pride.

Brooke Eden (Photo By Troy Masters)

But, as an industry, Nashville’s music scene is embracing LGBTQ talent in ways that were once unimaginable, including Eden’s own high-profile wedding at the home of Garth Brook’s and Trisha Yearwood,  her performance of a same sex love song on the hallowed stage of the Grand Ole Opry and even an industry staging even called Country Proud during Country Music Awards week next week in downtown Nashville.

It’s a great example of the power music has to move us through difficult times, elevate, evangelize and forge alliances against the headwinds, a theme repeated during the OutLoud weekend.

Earlier in the evening, the stage of OutLoud sizzled with Santigold’s eclectic mix of dance, hip hop, reggae, and rock, bringing the whole entire electric rainbow to the stage, presenting an enormous and energetic choreographed set, delivering hit after hit, including “Can’t Get Enough” and “Run the Road.”

Santiagold (Photo By Troy Masters)

The day had already seen a huge line-up of performances, Teyana Trendz, Eduardo Togi, Kento, Sizzy Rocket, Rayvo Owen, James Barre, Cub Sport, Yung Bae and Kylie Sonique Love, all combined to bring the next generation to the front and staking a claim to a proud, OutLoud movement.

Yes, we’re calling OutLoud Music Festival a movement, because it has indeed been born. And backstage, after Grace left the stage, Jeff Consoletti, the producer of OutLoud Festival, was a picture of serenity, seemed aware of it.

“Grace Jones delivered a performance making music history in West Hollywood. We created Outloud to champion queer artistry, and no one accomplishes that more assuredly than Miss Jones. We work hard to deliver a show that makes Weho proud, and I think this performance will be something the community looks back on memorably for many years to come,” said Consoletti.

(Photo By Troy Masters)

“I feel immense pride and gratitude to have the opportunity to deliver for my community,” beamed Consoltti like Grace Jones’ Rainbow crown, this one made of sheer Pride.

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Pride Special

The 2023 WeHo Pride Parade: Full KTLA Broadcast

Bar owner and singer Lance Bass joined the KTLA broadcast team at the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade on June 4, 2023



Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath (D-3) attending WeHo Pride parade 2023. (Photo Credit: Office of Supervisor Horvath)

LOS ANGELES – (KTLA) Tens of thousands of people lined Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood for the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. The Ally Icons for the parade were RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy.



Scenes from KTLA 5’s coverage of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California. (Linked here)

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