It may have been a cloudy day in Los Angeles, but nothing was going to stop the shine that LA Pride in the Park brought to the city’s Historic State Park on the second day of the festival on Saturday (June 10).
From the moment you walked in, there were moments to capture: the Welcome to LA Pride entrance, a 360-degree camera and the Pride Village that featured booths that stressed the importance of voting, safe sex and vaccinations. On the way to the mainstage, you could also visit the 18+ Erotic City or grab anything from chicken tenders and fries to dumplings or tacos at the Food Village.
And while there was excitement buzzing throughout all those areas, it was nothing compared to the mainstage where the biggest performances went down. Early in the day, ballroom legends the House of Ninja, Bobby Newberry, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su and Minke took the stage.
But the evening kicked off with TikTok sensation Mad Tsai. The “Boy Bi” singer took to the stage in an American flag jacket and nothing underneath as he sang his queer anthems that culminated in the raunchy “Stacy’s Brother.” And let’s be honest, we all wanted to be Stacy’s brother.
Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race had their time to shine in between musical acts. Season 15 winner – and your favorite drag queen’s favorite drag queen – Sasha Colby lip synched to her finale number “Goddess,” which featured her iconic neck crack. Season seven winner Violet Chachki did a burlesque striptease that immediately made the crowd want her to be back on the show for another All-Winners season. And season 13’s trans-masc icon Gottmik performed a rocking lip synch that featured Britney Spears’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” from the 2002 classic Crossroads.
“I want you all to remember don’t ever stop being proud,” Colby said after her set. “Don’t ever forget that every day is to be proud. Let everybody feel uncomfortable when you go out on the streets. And remember, you better let these bitches have it.”
VINCINT and Jenevieve also got their time to shine with both having moments where their voices soared beyond belief. Alex Chapman was the DJ in between sets and while he played typical pride anthems like “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Dancing on My Own,” he also threw in some 2000s favorites like Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” and Hilary Duff’s “What Dreams Are Made Of.”
Special celebrity appearances included Trace Lysette, Johnny Sibilly, Brian Michael Smith, Sasha Calle and Gigi Gorgeous. With her new book “The T Guide” written alongside Gottmik, Gorgeous even did a giveaway by throwing her books into the crowd.
“We are in a state of emergency,” warned Smith, star of 9-1-1: Lone Star and Human Rights Campaign’s board member. “I’m reaching out to all of y’all because I’m telling you we need you. Please stand with your community in the fight for your rights.”
As the night got continued, it was time for the first of the night’s two headliners. King Princess took the stage with wild energy and performed some of her biggest hits, including “1950”and “Cry When You Hear This.” Though the audience’s energy level was getting low from the cool and slightly sprinkling weather, King Princess continued to hype up the crowd. By the end of her set, she and her drummer had knocked almost the entire drum set over.
Not one moment of the night though could compare to the energy when the icon Mariah Carey took the stage. Performing hits like “Fantasy,” “Emotions,” and “We Belong Together,” Carey was incredibly grateful for the energy in the crowd. She had a crown that she wanted to break Cady Heron-style and throw out the pieces to the crowd – and when that didn’t work, she had her dancers throw out her shirts instead.
“I stand with you all and I love you all,” Carey said before performing a medley of hits from her 1999 album Rainbow.
Having been onstage for an hour with male backup dancers, performers on stilts, a car driven onstage with LED lights and a giant unicorn that was flown across the stage, Carey took her final bow. But that didn’t trick fans. Shortly after her bow, she returned to the stage to perform one more number – an emotional and beautiful rendition of “Hero.”
It was easy to see that all of Carey’s Lambs got exactly what they were coming for.
While another year of the festival for LA Pride has come to a close, remember to celebrate Pride every day of your life whether you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, know someone is, or just think that all humans deserve equal rights regardless of whom they love or how they identify.