LA Pride 2019
Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images
LA Pride 2019: The Veronicas, Sir Babygirl & More Celebrate The LGBTQ+ Community
On Sunday, June 9, 2019, on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood was packed with smiling faces of all ages, many decked out in their finest rainbow and/or sparkly outfits at the 49th annual LA Pride Parade. While the day-long spectacle had people dancing in the streets for several hours, the adjacent LA Pride Festival kept the celebrating going into the night, as LGBTQ+ artists and allies brought the energy.
The Recording Academy went On The Road to visit our neighbors in West Hollywood and captured the magic at LA Pride 2019 with our host Alina Vission. We caught up with some of the artists who performed at the event, including The Veronicas, Greyson Chance and Sir Babygirl to learn what Pride means to them, what musicians made them feel they had a place in music, and more.
Pride Is About Celebrating Your Authentic Self
One of the most beautiful things to witness at LA Pride is so many different people coming together and celebrating each other, celebrating love of all kinds, including self-love. The event showcased a colorful sea of self-expression, both on and off stage, with so many attendees and performers offering empowering and supportive messages to each other.
Emerging pop artist Laith Ashley, who was one of the first transgender male models to appear in a national fashion campaign, stressed the importance of finding the support system that sees you for you.
"I think we live in a society where a lot of times we want to hide who we are, because of fear, because we feel that other people aren't going to understand. I always think that the people that love and care about you are always going to get it," Ashley told us.
DIY pop singer/songwriter/producer Sir Babygirl also spoke to the importance of LGBTQ+ people being front and center of Pride celebrations, and to be able to truly be themselves.
"Pride means actual queer people getting to be centered amidst the celebration. It means getting to identify however it feels good for you to identify that day. And for me, I'm bisexual, I'm non-binary, and that means I get to wear my freak flag every day," she said.
LGBTQ+ Artists Are Shifting Narratives Around Identity
"Pride means fighting for your community. Pride means being who you are and standing proud in that," Queenie of the Brooklyn-based nu-disco duo Sateen said. "Just owning who you are, really embracing it and loving yourself," Ruby, Queenie's partner and the other half of Sateen, added.
When Recording Academy host Vission asked the power couple how LA Pride's 2019 theme, "Just Unite," resonated with them, Ruby explained how powerful it felt to be a part of trans women representation on stage at the celebration.
"I think, especially now, for me, seeing so much representation in the trans community…[because] when I was growing up we didn't really have that so much. Finally seeing that all culminate has been so important to me, it's amazing to be here and to be representing that myself."
Creating Safe Spaces To Share Your Story & Feel Heard Is Vital
During Pride, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic sponsored Jewel's Catch One Lounge inside of the Pride fest grounds, where the Recording Academy programmed the space with resources and support for emerging artists. The space was brought to life by the amazingly energetic host, and emerging artist herself, Neverending Nina. Local powerhouse DJs GVRL, DJ Young 1 and DJ Key Key—who spun at the original Catch One club back in the day—kept the shaded dance floor popping all weekend. Several powerful conversations focused on LGBTQ+ identity in the music industry, from the perspective of up-and-coming artists, added a deeply inspirational energy to the space.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, R&B singer/songwriter and meditation teacher Justin Michael Williams, soulful singer and former "The Voice" contestant Eric Lyn Copeland and trans singer/songwriter and vocal powerhouse Jaila Simms shared their stories during the first panel conversation moderated by Recording Academy Staff Writer Ana Yglesias, with Williams closing things out with a grounding two-minute meditation. Electronic-infused soul artist Cameron Wright and songwriter/pop singer Josh Wood also dove deep in the second talk, with Wright breaking down intersectionality and identity for the audience. L.A.-based Latino rapper Heartthrob Robb took center stage on Sunday during a one-one-conversation with fellow Recording Academy Staff Writer Jennifer Velez.
Williams spoke to the experience in a post on Instagram:
"Speaking on a #PRIDE panel for the GRAMMYs. 14 year old me would've never believed this was possible. The biggest lesson of my life: AS WE STEP FULLY INTO OUR AUTHENTICITY, MIRACLES HAPPEN. May we be Seen. Heard. Honored. Felt. Affirmed. Loved. And written into history as the generation that said WE ARE HERE."
Music Brings Us Together
At the end of the day, the dance floor is always a great place to come together and unite people of all identities and backgrounds. Specific dance clubs and other nightlife venues have historically acted as safe spaces for oppressed minorities. And for the people that are making the music and expressing themselves and their story through their art, it allows them to connect with people far and wide. It can help others better understand experiences different from their own, or for fans who may be struggling to feel truly heard or seen in their own relationships, give them someone to relate to in a powerful way so that they no longer feel alone. And of course, there are those songs that somehow feel almost universally relatable, with a beat that gets everyone dancing.
LA Pride was filled with great music from artists of all identities and dancing crowds getting down in their fiercest looks, which was a safe to say a great time for all involved.
Be sure to stay tuned to GRAMMY.com and our social outlets for more exclusive interviews and other Pride and music festival content.