Pride weekend kicked off with a vibrant concert on Friday featuring Grammy-award winning singer Christina Aguilera and a host of talent and speakers at the Hudson Yards.
Pride Live, an organization working to uplift the LGBTQ+ community through social advocacy and engagement, held the annual remembrance of Stonewall Day in the shadow of the vessel, an observation that commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots. Hundreds gathered to watch live performances and listen to LGBTQ+ activists discuss the ongoing battle against hate, specifically the numerous legislative bills being introduced to deny trans rights, prohibit Drag Story Hour, and more.
Chelsea Clinton served as one speaker, who called for LGBTQ+ allies to stand up and speak up against injustices.
“The love and joy of pride has to be verbs and particularly now, we need allies like me to show up. I really appreciate the rainbow flags and the rainbow stickers, but if you are not speaking out against the book ban, if you are not speaking out against the pieces of legislation,” Clinton charged, “If you are not speaking out for the protection, the rights, the dignity and the agency of trans children and their parents, we need you to be better allies.”
The energetic event went on to incorporate musical numbers that exemplified Pride, such as “It’s Raining Men,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “I’m Every Woman.”
Transgender rights advocate and actress Angelica Ross played host for the evening, introducing performers such as Johnny Manuel, Kellen Stancil, Mila Jam, Netta and BETTY, DJ Lina Bradford as well as remarks were made by Laverne Cox, Alok Vaid-Menon, Raquel Willis, Dale Soules, Valentina Sampaio, Julie J, Henry Muñoz III, Waleed Diab and Bruce A. Beal Jr.
Aguilera provided the crowd with an emotional experience as they sang along to her hits “Beautiful” and “Fighter.” Hundreds of attendees waved their pride flags and held each other as they danced to the music.
In between the performances and speakers, attendees were able to view the visual campaign for Stonewall Day 2023 and the plans to create a Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC), which is set to open on June 28, 2024 (the event served as an official fundraiser for this center).