Tituss Burgess, Cynthia Nixon, Elton John, Evan Rachel Wood and More Take Part in OUT NOW LIVE
Earlier this week, Condé Nast's LGBTQ+ brand Them hosted Out Now Live, a celebration honoring the spirit and history of Pride. Premiering on Youtube Live, and presented by Polo Ralph Lauren, the virtual event included uplifting speeches, storytelling, messages and performances from prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community and notable allies.
Them executive editor Whembley Sewell opened the Out Now Live program, which honored the community's progress and featured stories and educational vignettes centering LGBTQ+ history and activism from the 1970s through today. In the face of nationwide Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests, it is more important than ever to acknowledge and uplift the LGBTQ+ voices and figures who have paved the way for all of us. Out Now Live paid tribute to the legacy of Pride, including the Black trans women and queer people of color who have long been leaders in the movement for LGBTQ+ rights, and their stories were centered throughout the program. Plus, via the built in Youtube Giving tools, the broadcast also serves as a fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based organization that aids LGBTQ+ youth, and donations are still open.
Talent participating in the event were Adam Lambert, Alok Vaid-Menon, Antoni Porowski, Ashlee Marie Preston, Ashlyn Harris & Ali Krieger, Billy Eichner, Bob the Drag Queen, Bretman Rock, Cara Delevingne, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cynthia Nixon, Elton John & David Furnish, Evan Rachel Wood, Guillermo Díaz, Hayley Kiyoko, Holland, Ianne Fields Stewart, Indya Moore, Jason Bolden, Jazz Jennings, Jordan Roth, Josie Totah, Judith Light, Julio Torres, Lea DeLaria, Michael Kors, Nyle DiMarco, Pabllo Vittar, Pedro Julio Serrano, Raven-Symoné, Shangela, Stacy London, Tituss Burgess, Tommy Dorfman, Victor Garber & Rainer Andreesen, Whoopi Goldberg, Wilson Cruz, Zac Posen, and Zachary Quinto.
Them. teamed with fellow Condé Nast brand Pitchfork to curate the musical performances by King Princess (performing "Prophet"), Phoebe Bridgers (performing "Graceland Too") and Princess Nokia (performing "Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.)"), who each joined via the Pitchfork Stage as part of the Out Now Live event.
Below are select quotes from participating talent, and you can watch the full event here!
Shangela on unlocking the spirit of Pride while in lockdown:
"Just because... we're on lockdown does not mean that our spirit of pride has to be locked up. Remember that pride was created out of protest. And in a time when so many of us are standing up to oppression, standing up against divisiveness, standing up against systematic racism, standing up against injustice, you know these are the things that pride was built upon. So DON'T think that we're in a space of hopelessness. Actually, we're in a space of hope. This year, this pride celebration can still be one of the best yet. You just gotta remember what it's about."
Raven-Symoné shared an original poem on what Pride means to her:
Pride, oh, Pride. Where art thou, Pride?
You reside in my arms when I hold my partner tight.
You reside in my decisions while I navigate through the world so it feels just right.
You make me smile when crazy decisions turn out in our favor
Like coming out of the closet to your friend on TikTok (Ha! Those are my faves!)
My pride resides in my eyes.
When I see young humans allowed to live their truth, cause that wasn't always my ride.
See y'all's ride might be similar to mine.
I hid from my moms and pops and most of the world's prying eyes.
So for me, baby, what a ride.
Elton John, alongside husband David Furnish reaffirms his decades-long advocacy on behalf of the queer community:
"It's so important we take the time to acknowledge the progress that has been made to create a more equal, diverse and loving world, whilst we recognize and advocate for those who are still fighting for LGBTQ+ rights around the world. Through my AIDS foundation, we commit to not leave anyone behind. We want a future where people of all races, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or substance abuse history has an opportunity to live free from HIV discrimination, injustice, and mistreatment. We see you. We love you. And we are here for you."
Titus Burgess tells the truth:
"Pride is year-round. This month is so the world can honor us. Haha!"
Adam Lambert on resilience:
"The LGBTQ+ community has been putting up with crazy obstacles for hundreds of years. We know what resilience looks like."
Evan Rachel Wood on not being silenced:
"As long as we keep being seen and keep being heard, we can't be stopped."
Nyle DiMarco on creating representation:
"Pride is a reminder that you can create your own representation in this ever-expanding world. Growing up as a deaf person, I never saw someone like me. Pride is a time of year that you can celebrate your whole identity and to celebrate how far we've come."
Bob the Drag Queen on the importance of upholding the radicality of Black joy:
"I've been actually reflecting a lot on what it means to express myself in a time like this. For a moment I was feeling pretty guilty about it. I was beating myself up about wanting to continue my art in the midst of the turmoil that our nation is going through right now, but then I remembered that I turn my TV on and I see so many stories of Black tragedy, but also we have to remember to spread some Black joy and some Black success stories as well. I'm just glad I get the chance to express myself through my art, through my wigs, through my jokes, though my comedy, through my makeup, through my wardrobe."
"As a community, we have been here before and we have gotten through it by standing together and by fighting. So on this Pride week, I want to say to everybody. Please be safe. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. But please remember who we are and where we came from and know that the LGBTQ+ community is always best when we are together and we are fighting."
Josie Totah on finding a community and support network:
"I know that during these times it can be very easy to feel a sense of hopelessness, and helplessness.... But I just want to encourage you if you are not feeling like your community is in your own home, outreach and find your community on social media. I promise those people are waiting to love and accept you."
Antoni Porowski on showing up:
"I have a responsibility to show up, because there are so many people that aren't able to do that safely."
Hayley Kiyoko on breakthroughs for LGBTQ+ people in music:
"The first person that comes to mind is Taylor Swift, and her music video 'You Need To Calm Down.' She included so many incredible LGBTQ artists and created this platform to allow us to shine and celebrate. Allies are so important to our community and I really appreciate her for doing that and making so many people feel seen and heard. Another huge shout out to Lil Nas X, for breaking chart records and courageously expressing his truth. He literally smashed the stereotype of what it means to be a successful rapper, and he's killing it. I am in awe."
Indya Moore explains why abolition is at the heart of Pride:
"Pride seems to always begin with a riot against the police. The police have been soldiers of oppression for generations and generations. And we have seen time and time again that every attempt by a good cop, a good person, [that] has tried to go into the system to change it from within has failed. We can no longer depend on the police. We have to invent, strategize and create other ways and forms of justice that DON'T include violence or forces that are ambiguous in racism and ambiguous in transphobia and ambiguous in queerphobia. We need to be able to secure our safety and our liberation, and we can't do that without abolishing the police."
K-pop star Holland on the power of queer love:
"I want to say something to all the young LGBTQ+ friends out there: The love you all are feeling is not wrong. This feeling is natural and precious. Even now, many people suffer and get hurt trying to fight for this basic right. For those individuals, speak out and give your support. Love yourself and have confidence in yourself. Be an amazing person and speak of hope and peace. I DON'T want people to continue getting hurt for being different. I will always move while singing the message of love."
Billy Eichner urged viewers to vote:
"We cannot stay in this place any longer. We need to get back to a place where we have compassionate adults leading us."
Ashlee Marie Preston reminds us that resistance is in our DNA:
"Pride isn't solely about the moments we bask in our achievements. It's also about the journey. For many of us, that journey doesn't come without a cost. It costs some of us our family, friends, career, sense of safety, and for members of the LGBTQ+ community who we've lost to homophobia and transphobia - their lives. Yet we stand to gain dignity, respect, hope, purpose, courage, and unconditional love from a community that doesn't require us to shrink ourselves in order to fit into a false social construct of worthiness that requires us to live inauthentically. Pride is the time of the year when we remember those who've come before us. Marcia P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, and those who've left behind an indomitable legacy through which we draw our strength. Resistance is in our very DNA. So I challenge you for the rest of Pride Month and for every day for the rest of your life, to ask yourself one simple question: what is it that I'(M) Willing to fight for? And allow the flame that rises from that truth to be your Northern star."
Carly Rae Jepsen on how her fans have inspired her:
"To me Pride is about celebrating love in all forms. My fans, I have to say that you taught me what it means to be truly accepted. You've made me more confident as a performer. Being a part of any pride celebration is nothing but the most joyful experience I've ever had, so let's keep celebrating each other, lift each other up, and Pride is not just about this month, but always."
Princess Nokia closed Out Now Live with a performance of "Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.)" and a message on the beauty and necessity of chosen family:
"Happy Pride to my beautiful gay family. I love you all so much. Remember that family is not always the people that you're born into, but [also] THE FAMILY that you make along the way. I hope that you find so much love and celebration in your identity and in your spirit today, and may God know that you are blessed and beautiful. Your queerness is a blessing."
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