New York’s huge Gay Pride fest launches with star-studded concert

The event at Brooklyn's Barclays Center arena launches days of celebrations including more concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings

By Author  |  Published: 27th Jun 2019  10:58 amUpdated: 27th Jun 2019  10:23 am
Gay Pride
The rainbow pride flag flies outside the Stonewall Inn as crowds begin to gather in anticipation of Sunday's gay pride parade. Photo: AFP

New York: New York’s highly anticipated World Pride festivities officially opened Wednesday with a benefit concert hosted by performer Whoopi Goldberg and featuring headliner Cyndi Lauper.

The event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center arena launches days of celebrations including more concerts, exhibitions, movie screenings, theatre shows and workshops as the city pays homage to those who took part in the 1969 Stonewall riots, a week-long protest against police harassment of the New York gay community at the time.

Ticket proceeds from Wednesday’s concert will go to three New York-based organizations supporting LGBTQ rights in the city.

Also set to perform are singers Chaka Khan and Ciara as well as Billy Porter, known for his showstopping red carpet looks and role on “Pose,” a television series about the primarily Black and Latino underground drag ball scene of the 1980s and early 1990s.

On Friday, a large crowd will gather outside Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn where on June 28, 1969 hundreds of gay and transgender people pushed back against the latest police raid on the establishment, sparking six days of unrest.

The weekend celebrations will feature concerts by Madonna and Grace Jones, winding up with a giant World Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue. It will be the sixth edition of World Pride, which began in Rome in 2000 and brought together droves of people from across the world.

New York’s Gay Pride is regularly one of the largest such events globally, but for this year’s milestone anniversary, authorities expect an additional two to three million visitors to attend.