Thursday, June 27, 2019

The World Comes Home For Pride

For the first time in its twenty year history, World Pride is being celebrated in the United States, as part of the Stonewall 50 celebration in the birthplace of Pride, New York City.
Cyndi Lauper performs at Opening Ceremony of WorldPride NYC

By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

For the first time in its twenty year history, World Pride is being celebrated in the United States, as part of the Stonewall 50 celebration in the birthplace of Pride, New York City.

Last night, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center played host to the Opening Ceremonies of World Pride with enough high NRG, glitter, and sequins to be seen across the East River on Christopher St.

Hosted by fierce, long time, LGBT advocate Whoopi Goldberg, the three- hour plus extravaganza showcased entertainment, tributes to the people who fought for equality, and highlighted organizations insuring another fifty years of Pride.

The festivities began with Cyndi Lauper rising from a sparkling globe singing, “True Colors.”

What could have easily been a treacly, cliched, 'been there done that' moment, turned into an extemporaneous singalong. The Barclays Center awash in a dazzling rainbow, thousands of strangers gathered from around the world, were singing in one voice, as a united community.

After the opening, Whoopi took to the stage and took the house to church asking New Yorkers to welcome the “tourist next to them.” She went on telling, “everybody hold somebody’s hand as we remember those who for many different reasons are not alive and with us today,” a moment bringing unexpected silence to the arena.

Tony Award winner, and TV actress, Sara Ramirez, paid tribute to the 2019 Pride Luminaries on stage with a soaring rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” Throughout the night Pride March Grand Marshals, the cast of FX’s POSE, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah of UK Black Pride, Gay Liberation Front, The Trevor Project, and Monica Helms were recognized and honored for their work.

Drag queens were in the house and werked it in a mega-production number. Each queen took her turn on the runway for moment in the spotlight, including Bob the Drag Queen. Her lip-sync of Julia “The Terminator” Sugarbaker’s speech, recounting “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia” complete with baton twirler.

Inside the Barclay Center (photo: Lawrence Pfeil Jr.)

Proceeds from World Pride Opening Ceremonies benefit three organizations:

• SAGE ( the world's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people.

• Immigration Equality ( the nation’s leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, representing and advocating for people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.

• The Ali Forney Center ( the nation’s largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths

These organizations do lifesaving work every day of the year for the Community and were introduced to audience by video and with stirring remarks.

Most notable were those by Ali Forney Center’s founder and Executive Director, Carl Sicilano. He spoke of the homeless queer street kids at the time of the Stonewall Uprising who were thought of as trash by well-off people. Those kids found their own community and a solidarity amongst themselves, when “an attack on one was seen as an attack on all.

Sicilano implored those present last night to adopt that same solidarity from 50 years ago in today’s Community.

The Grand Finale was none other than the force of nature and pride himself, Mr. Billy Porter who blessed the house with an encore of his heartbreak performance of “Home” from Season 1 of the acclaimed FX series, Pose.

Porter then raised the roof old school, gospel-style, with his new single, “Love Yourself” in a glitter fabulous, rainbow Pride spectacular before sending his children off to make the world a better place.

Check out more via Instagram:

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SWIPE TO WATCH! Look at how far we’ve come in 50 years. The room last night was pure magic bursting with #lgbtq pride. Thank you @nycpride for having me at @barclayscenter for the opening of #worldpride2019 hosted by #EGOT diva @whoopigoldberg and for putting together such a fierce show full of legends. It was a dream to perform my single “Love Yourself” backed by the magnificent @bivoices choir wearing custom @theblondsny covered in 50k @preciosacomponents crystals which reflected all of the colors of pride. We’ve got to love each other and most certainly love ourselves. Happy Pride hunties. #pride 🌈 πŸ“Έ by @santiagraphy Creative Direction and Styling by @sammyratelle for @rrrcreative Agency Grooming by @lasonyagunter Wearing @theblondsny

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I am often times very hard on myself and rarely find moments when I feel genuinely proud of myself.. lastnight I made a surprise appearance at the opening ceremony of World Pride in New York City with some of my favorite queens from @rupaulsdragrace While I’m performing, I’m usually in the zone and sort of black out for a bit. When @juniortorezani showed me this video lastnight, I was mind blown and was able to take it all in. Something that started in my small studio apartment as a fun outlet for me turned into this.. I felt proud, proud for the space, the freedom, and the permission I gave myself to express and create freely in the way my heart desired. I never could’ve imagined it would have led to all of this. I am SO grateful I am able to share my heart, my passion, and my joy with the world! Thank you for embracing, accepting, and supporting me through this fun, rainbow-filled journey! Happy Pride my beautiful friends!!! πŸ€—❤️🌈 (Also, not sure where the wigs ended up but whoever got them, have fun with my babies! I’m expecting dance videos in them! πŸ˜†❤️🌈) #pride #loveislove #lgbtq #pridemonth #pride🌈 #worldpride #wig #cuttothefeelingfriday #rainbow
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