Happy LA Pride! Thousands of people flocked to the streets of West Hollywood for the massive LGBTQ+ celebration, including some big stars like Paula Abdul, Meghan Trainor and more!
The 2018 LA Pride festival saw around 170,000 participants and spectators come together in a show of unity — and this year’s spectacular seems like it will top that! While the LGBTQ+ community has never been in a situation when it wasn’t being persecuted, the current White House administration’s policies have stoked the flames of homophobia in the US while deliberately attacking the rights of trans people. The turnout at LA Pride seemed to be a direct response to this, since so many supporters of gay rights came together on June 9 to parade down Santa Monica Boulevard. Before the parade kicked off, the crowds were treated to live performances by Paula Abdul and Meghan Trainor.
June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, the incident that birthed the modern Pride movement in the United States. The first LA Pride parade happened a year later in 1970. Nearly half-a-century after Stonewall, LA Pride was a way for the community to celebrate the progress it has made towards equality, while also acknowledging there is a lot more work left to be done. “The LGBTQI community has come a long way in the last 50 years. It has not been without heartache, pain, sacrifice, and growth,” Phil Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, community activist and the parade’s Community Grand Marshall said in a statement, per Q Voice. “I am humbled to be among such a powerful and diverse group of grand marshals. Together we represent how much stronger we are when we celebrate all of what we are.” The Los Angeles LGBT Center was also named as the Organizational Grand Marshal for LA Pride 2019, and actor/writer Ryan O’Connell (Netflix’s SPECIAL) was named the Celebrity Grand Marshal.
The 2019 LA Pride Festival in West Hollywood looks to be the biggest celebration in the parade’s history. Meghan Trainor and British electronic pop trio Years & Years will headline the extravaganza, while the festival’s lineup includes Ashanti, Cristian Castro, Pabllo Vittar, The Drums, Dej Loaf, The Veronicas, Amara La Negra, Greyson Chance, MNEK, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su, and more. The festival hosts include Billy Francesca (of WatchBilly.com), Arisce Wanzer (aka @Ariscestocrat), Jessica Wild (from season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race), Kimora Blac, (from season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Alicia Machado (Miss Universe 1996 and bane of President Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential Election.)
Last year’s LA Pride was packed to the brim with celebrity sightings. At the music stage, headliners Kehlani and Tove Lo left the audience screaming, but it was a surprise appearance by Christina Aguilera that left everyone gagging. The parade saw U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, and the cast of Netflix’s Sense8 (Toby Onwumere, Tina Desai, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Jamie Clayton) walk among the thousands of others celebrating the LGBT+ community. Lisa Vanderpump, Emily Sears, Stassi Schroeder, and Beau Clark also took part in the weekend’s festivities.