A once-in-a-lifetime Pride celebration deserves an unforgettable kickoff, and it’s tough to imagine a bigger, better way to begin this year’s spectacular WorldPride than this year’s Opening Ceremony. While also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, WorldPride is coming to the United States for the first time in its nearly 20-year history.
It all begins June 26 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center with a star-studded benefit concert helmed by legends like Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan and Ciara, and more. The evening will be hosted by EGOT-winner and humanitarian, Whoopi Goldberg.
Lauper has long been considered a gay icon and LGBTQIA+ advocate. One of her signature songs, “True Colors,” is more than just a gay anthem, it was also the namesake of a tour from Lauper alongside artists like Debbie Harry and Erasure to benefit several LGBT organizations. She also launched the Forty to None Project to fight homelessness among LGBT youth.
A longtime favorite for Pride performances (and drag queen inspiration), Chaka Khan has etched her name into the annals of pop history with a string of hits including “Tell Me Something Good” with her band Rufus, “Ain’t Nobody” and, of course, “I’m Every Woman.”
Legendary actress Whoopi Goldberg has also been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community since early in her career. Her outspoken stances earned her spot as moderator on The View, as well as a Vanguard Award from GLAAD.
She pulled no punches when she appeared at the 1987 March On Washington beside a friend with AIDS in a wheelchair.
“Mr. Reagan, did you explain…that sometimes ignorant people act in such a way [toward people with AIDS] that it is frightening.… How long is it going to take before people get smart…educated people?” she pleaded. “We’re not talking about illiterate people. We’re talking about senators and congressmen and the f—ing president.”
In addition to these incredible allies, out performers Todrick Hall and Billy Porter will also be on hand. Hall first rose to prominence on American Idol, but he is best known for his over-the-top viral videos and appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
When he’s not slaying every red carpet, Porter portrays Pray Tell on the brilliant Ryan Murphy drama Pose. He is a Tony and Grammy Award-winner for his work in Kinky Boots (coincidentally penned by Cyndi Lauper).
Additional talent will also be announced in the weeks ahead.
Tickets for World Pride’s Opening Ceremony start at $45 with proceeds benefitting three leading LGBTQIA+ organizations. Beneficiaries include the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youth; SAGE, which works to improve the lives of LGBTQ elders; and Immigration Equality, the nation’s leading immigration rights organization focused on advocating for people around the globe fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.
Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is centrally located and easily accessible from the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R trains. It’s a short walk to C and G trains. The subway will surely be a party unto itself, with a party vibe starting from the platform all the way to the performances.
Get your tickets today to make sure you don’t miss a minute of this historic celebration.