Between his “Haus Party” EP, Broadway’s “Waitress” and his first-ever NYC Pride March, artist Todrick Hall is thriving in his world of nails, hair, hips and heels.
“I’ve never been to a New York Pride ever, and I’m actually so glad I haven’t,” says Hall, 34. “To be there on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, when it’s WorldPride here in New York and ride on a float, it’s just awesome.”
The performer behind a series of viral YouTube videos and hit tracks, like “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels,” will make his NYC Pride debut Sunday atop the bubly float, which he says will be decked out with rainbow flair from bubly sparkling water’s "All for Love Pride Pack" and blast his latest music.
“The float is going to be a really great time and not to brag, but my outfit is going to be super cute,” he says, teasing the look he’s keeping under wraps.
The queer artist may be known for his style, but the message behind Sunday’s march means far more to him than a blinged-out ride down Fifth Avenue.
Before splitting his time between Los Angeles and New York City, Hall lived in Texas where pressure from his small, religious community suppressed his self-expression. He says coming out as gay in high school helped him finally feel as if he had found a “safe haven” among other LGTBQ youth.
“But, flash forward 15 years, I go to Pride and I can see there are families with kids waving flags who are probably never going to know what it would have been like to live in a world where being gay wasn’t an acceptable lifestyle ‘choice.’ “
Including his New York City debut, Hall has been booked for 14 Pride events this June set around the country. Though he says each “warms his heart,” coming to Greenwich Village on the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall riots may top it all.
“Every weekend I’ll have a moment where I get chills and there are hopes for the future for my children and grandchildren that they’re going to grow up in a world where they never have to worry about the things we have to worry about,” he explains.
Though Hall has never been to the Stonewall Inn, he “100 percent” plans to make his first-ever visit this Sunday.
“[I want to] soak it in and try to remember what it would have been like to have been there. It’s insane. It’s such a life-changing monumental moment for the gay community.”
Without being taught about LGBTQ history in his grade school in Texas, Hall admits he knew little about the June 28, 1969, raid at Stonewall that’s said to have kick-started the LGBTQ civil rights movement until recently. “Pose” star Billy Porter, who also happens to be a close friend, introduced Hall to Stonewall’s history in 2017.
“I would love to see public schools start having a gay history [class],” he says. “It’s really important because we’re such a huge part of this country’s culture.”
Hall will soon have plenty of opportunities to surround himself with NYC’s LGBTQ culture.
A limited engagement in Broadway’s “Waitress” brings him back to the city where he’ll play Ogie alongside fellow YouTuber Colleen Ballinger (Miranda Sings) Aug. 20 through Sept. 15.
“I can’t think of a time I’ve been this excited to do a project because I get to do it with one of my best friends,” he says of the role.
Teaming up with his star-backed friends seems to be a current theme for Hall who recently appeared alongside Taylor Swift in the music video for her single, “You Need to Calm Down.” Hall also co-executive produced the video and helped Swift land several LGBTQ star cameos.
“That just blew me away,” he says of being asked to produce the video which stars RuPaul, Billy Porter, Laverne Cox, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the “Queer Eye” cast and several drag queens.
“I’m so glad she is using her platform as a pop person because let’s be honest, it’s a huge, I don’t want to say risk, but there are a lot of retailers or fans in middle America who could be very upset and intentionally not support her anymore after doing this.”
And to that, he adds, “that’s not a loss for her.”
Todrick Hall will be part of the WorldPride Opening Ceremony at Barclays Center Wednesday.