From The Drums To Pabllo Vittar To Meghan Trainor L.A. Pride Had All Music Styles Covered
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – Arguably one of the most popular pride events in the U.S., L.A. Pride draws thousands every year to come to celebrate in the center of West Hollywood. With the addition of the free “Pride on the Boulevard” celebration this year, many more spectators were expected to come to Los Angeles. With such a jam-packed lineup and handfuls of LGBTQ celebrities flocking to the festivities, this year was due to top all the rest.
One of the first major acts to perform on the main stage was Vincint. After gaining recent fame from being one of the top four finalists on the competitive singing show, “The Four”, he immediately shot to stardom. Even the judges recognized his immense talent right away by unanimously voting “yes” after listening to him sing a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”.
Appearing on stage with four dancers clad in glitter, Vincint simultaneously sang and danced with perfection. He radiated confidence and appeared to be just as perfect as any seasoned artist that’s been in the game for years.
After bouncing between the MAC stage watching some of my favorite queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race perform and downing a beer to distract from the insane heat, I made my way over to the Park stage. Most known for being the Latin music stage, this year they decided to blend it with hip hop as well.
Excited fans showed up in droves for R&B artist Kodie Shane. Shane, formerly a member of Lil Yachty’s group The Sailing Team, has gained success as an out and proud lesbian. Growing up in a musical family, Kodie is no stranger to the music scene, especially since her own sister was in the R&B group Blaque. She also was mentored by Coach K, the behind huge rap acts like Migos and Gucci Mane.
At the ripe age of 20, Kodie has already produced 5 albums/mixtapes and she doesn’t shy away from a crowd. Throughout her performance, she shot her fans flirtatious faces and grinned from ear-to-ear as they sang along to every word.
When I first glanced at the LA Pride lineup and spotted Cupcakke’s name, I knew she would be one of my highlights of the whole two-day event. Yet another young artist on the lineup, hailing from Chicago, Cupcakke has made a name for herself due to the explicit and sexual nature of her lyrics. With titles like “Deepthroat” and “Vagina”, Cupcakke doesn’t refrain from telling you exactly what she thinks.
Throughout the whole performance, I couldn’t help but laugh at the shocked faces of the security guards nearby and the sign language interpreters that had to essentially act out many of the sexual things she rapped about. Don’t let Cupcakke’s shock value fool you; her 2016 mixtape “Cum Cake” was #23 on Rolling Stone’s “Best Rap Albums of 2016” list. She uses her songs to empower women and the LBGTQ community, inspiring them to stand strong and speak their minds.
Recently she re-worked Lil Nas X’s viral hit, “Old Town Road” into “Old Town Hoe”, accompanied by an explicit video, in typical Cupcakke fashion. As one of the female rappers to look out for, Cupcakke did everything but disappoint.
Next up on the Park Stage was the most famous drag queen in Brazil (and arguably the entire world): Pabllo Vittar. Not only just a drag queen but also a spectacular singer, Pabllo Vittar was greeted by a massive and enthusiastic crowd. I was shocked by the pure volume of people that attempted to occupy the area around the Park stage. It was evident that Vittar’s stardom was underestimated.
Originally gaining fame by singing the infamous song “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston on a Brazilian TV show, he has now amassed over a billion views on Youtube and collaborated with the likes of Major Lazer and Charlie XCX. Major Lazer spotted Vittar after he remade their mega-hit “Lean On” into a song titled “Open Bar”. Now Vittar can be seen traveling the world with them and even popped up at their secret set at Coachella, performing a few of his songs.
Last year, Vittar also was nominated for a Latin Grammy for his contribution to Major Lazer’s song “Sua Cara”, becoming the first Grammy nominated drag queen. Pabllo’s performance was spectacular display that involved dancing, fashionable outfits, and hitting lots of high notes. Accompanied by four male dancers, there was constantly something to look at. Pabllo has bypassed being labeled as just a drag queen; he’s unquestionably a full-fledged artist.
After witnessing a set full of Brazilian funk, I made the trek back to the main stage for NYC indie rock band The Drums. Although LA Pride’s festival lineup doesn’t usually include alternative/rock music, The Drums was a happy addition to this year’s lineup.
Lead singer Jonny Pierce’s upbringing is one that many LGBTQ youths can relate to. Pierce was raised by two extremely conservative Pentecostal pastors that were very anti-gay and unaccepting of his sexuality. This is a struggle that many LGBTQ members of the community have had to deal with and learn how to move on from. Pierce’s story is displayed through The Drums’ lyrics and is certainly one of the reasons why they’ve gained a cult-like following. Pierce sways and dances around the stage, allowing himself to get lost in the music. You’ll rarely find him standing still, and the same goes for the crowd.
Although I have to admit that I was hesitant as to how well they would be received by the crowd due to them not being the typical kind of L.A. Pride act, I was pleasantly surprised. The Drums brought a much-needed sense of variety to the festival and helped bring out those members of the LGBTQ community that aren’t into the stereotypical bubbly pop/hip hop music that Pride usually showcases.
The last act of the night and one of the main attractions of the weekend was Meghan Trainor. After releasing her hit single “All About That Bass” in 2014, and having it become one of the best singles of all time, expectations were high. She released her debut album “Title” in 2015 and it drew much acclaim.
Trainor’s been able to maintain a chart-topping career thus far which has been centered around her unique brand of 1960s inspired pop music. She frequently speaks about body image, empowerment, and equal rights in her lyrics and openly supports the LGBTQ community.
Trainor appeared on stage in a rainbow bodysuit and proudly proclaimed that it was the first time she ever had worn a thong. Later on, she added a huge ruffled rainbow train to transform her leotard into a dress. Throughout her set, she was constantly pointing to fans in the crowd and acknowledging their excitement. While singing “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” I noticed she began to sign the lyrics to a deaf fan. The connection Trainor has with her fans is evident. Her lyrics are written with thought and intention, hoping to uplift the very fans that uplifted her.