World Pride officially kicked off on last night and Variety‘s Marc Malkin was there along with about 8,000 others packed into Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
The three-hour show began with Cyndi Lauper singing True Colors ending with drag queens dancing with Lauper as she turned the train of her dress up to form a fan spread of rainbow colors.
Whoopi Goldberg was the host of the night with an uplifting speech,
“We all know that Pride isn’t just about the party. We have Pride because so many strong and frustrated and queer people got loud and brave enough to say,
‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! I am a human being!’
…The Stonewall Uprising lead to five days of protest. We were in the streets protesting. We were protesting in people’s faces and you know what—we are still protesting but the difference is today is that we are backed up by World Pride. This has evolved into a global movement.”
The opening ceremony was a fundraiser for Immigration Equality as well as senior citizen organization SAGE and the Ali Forney Center, that supports homeless LGBTQ youth.
Aaron C. Morris, executive director of the LGBTQ immigrant legal advocacy group Immigration Equality spoke to the crowd and said,
“We must demand that the United States continues to be a nation that accepts refugees form every part of the world. We must ensure that every person who is HIV-positive or an LGBTQ person feels safe to live in the Unites States. It is my truly held belief that the more queer people that come to this nation, the better all of us are.
Because of you, we will staff an army of attorneys to sue the shit out of the Trump administration.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race stars showed up, like Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela, Yvie Oddly, Alaska Thunderfuck and Alyssa Edwards along with Todrick Hall, Chaka Kahn, Daya, Ciara and Billy Porter. Laverne Cox joined Porter and his fellow Pose star Angelica Ross and said to wild applause.
“As a proud black transgender woman of color I stand before you in humble homage to my sisters and mothers that came before me.”
The Pride parade is this Sunday, June 30, starting at noon at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue.
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What an amazing night! Thank you so much to everyone who helped me open #WorldPride2019. It was so magical. Thank you to @veriteehill for designing a stunning look. @Mac cosmetics for your generosity. And to my glam team: @juttaannaweiss, @nafra25, and stylist @xnikkixnyc – thank you for always helping me look my best. #pride #TrueColors
(Photo, Barclays; via Variety)