GLAD’s Karen Loewy to be Rhode Island Pride Grand Marshal
On June 16, Rhode Island celebrates its 36th Annual Pride Day in Providence, featuring host Kitty Litter and headliner Frenchie Davis, plus Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) attorney Karen Loewy and Judge Stephen Fortunato as Grand Marshals of the Illuminated Nighttime Pride Parade.
Loewy has been a longtime advocate for marriage equality. Fortunato was the attorney for the LGBT community in 1976, when they fought to hold the first Pride Parade in the city. The Pride theme this year is: "Like It, Share It, Live It."
"When historians look back at our generation, one thing will standout as revolutionary: social media," explained Rodney Davis, chairman of RI Pride. Davis believes that new forms of communication, from the web to personal mobile devices, have forever changed our ability to interact and share our lives with others.
"This brand new world allows us to connect in ways that years ago would have required thousands of dollars and hours to accomplish," Davis continued. "When you think about what this tool has done for the LGBT movement, the changes are extraordinary. We still live in a world where we as a community are fighting for our equality, our identity and our lives. Yet we have used social media in ways that have advanced our movement beyond our wildest dreams."
This year’s event will be held once again by the city’s waterfront on South Water Street. The location was popular with festivalgoers in 2010 and 2011.
The festival begins at noon and will feature former "American Idol" contestant Frenchie Davis as the entertainment headliner. Davis’s chart topping musical history also includes several Billboard Dance hits, including "Give Me Tonight" and DJ/re-mixer Tony Moran’s "You Are." Davis is in the process of selecting material for her new album, with plans to include a mix of Broadway, classic hits, dance and some original material.
After a successful four-year run in Broadway’s "Rent," Davis continued on with national tours of "Dreamgirls" and the 30th anniversary of "Ain’t Misbehavin’," costarring with her "Idol" alum, Ruben Studdard. The latter garnered a Grammy nomination for the cast album. Television once again came calling for Davis as she was chosen to compete on the NBC hit television show "The Voice."
Beating out scores of singers for a coveted spot, Davis wowed audiences with her take on "I Kissed A Girl and I Liked It" as Christina Aguilera turned her chair and cemented Davis’s place on "Team Christina" and TV history. Show-stopping performances of "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," "Like A Prayer" and "When Love Takes Over" turned Davis into an audience and judges favorite, not to mention a press magnet.
Other entertainers include King and Queen of Pride, JoeCat, Imperial Court of RI, Miss Lesbian RI, DaFresh Ash, Mr. and Miss Gay RI, Baby Oil, Ryan Cassata, Jackie Collins, Midnight Honey, Phoenix Dance Studio, Stewart Lewis, the Candace Brooks Band and DJ Andy Morris.
The hosts for this year’s PrideFest include Jacqueline DiMera, Vi’Let, Haley Star, Nicool and the one and only self-proclaimed First Lady of Providence, Miss Kitty Litter. On June 17, Litter will host the Mechanical Bull and Silly String Party at Colosseum, to benefit RI Pride.
As in past years, there will be old favorites such as the MarketPlace and Business Exposition, the Kidz Pride Zone and the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. This year the PrideFest concert will end at 8 p.m.
Capping off the festivities will be the Illuminated Nighttime Parade, which will wind its way through the streets of the city. Every downtown club will also be hosting block parties featuring special guests.
The days leading up to Pride will also feature lots of special events. An Interfaith Pride Celebration --Through Music and Prayer will be held at Temple Beth-El in Providence on June 13.
And on June 14, Riviera Bingo Palace in Cranston will host "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Bingo, a benefit for RI Pride sponsored by AIDS Care Ocean State. Another longtime popular event, the RI Pride Hangover Drag Brunch, will be on Sunday, June 17, at Murphy’s Bar and Grill in Providence.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit prideri.com.