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PRIDE WEEKEND 2019 Inaugural Pride in the Park features music, drag stars
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-06-30

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A new celebration was held the day before the Pride parade called Pride in the Park, on June 29. Located on the north side of Grant Park, the idea behind the massive undertaking was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride/Stonewall Riots as well as bring people together in the heart of the city.

There were several vendor booths in the area with outreach and food options from the Dineamic group, but the focus remained on the entertainment presented throughout the day and night. Drag was also a major component to the lineup with RuPaul Drag Race alumni Alexis Michelle, Coco Montrese, DiDa Ritz and Monica Beverly Hillz all on hand to hype the crowd. Another personality from Drag Race, singer/dancer Todrick Hall, started early in the afternoon and was followed by singer Taylor Dayne, with her pop hits.

Kathy Sledge sang the classic Sister Sledge song "We Are Family," and trans performer KC Ortiz slayed with some spirited original material.

Steve Aoki really shone in the outdoor space, showing why he's earned his loyal electronic dance music following over the years. Songs like "Delirious" and "Pretender" had his fans singing along, including the man himself on a mic over the vocals. Aoki also brought fans behind the booth to dance with him and waved a rainbow flag during his segment—and had 10 rainbow cakes with him to throw at the crowd for his song "Cakeface."

Next, Tamar Braxton performed and had a team of dancers with matching costumes who assisted her in captivating the crowd. The singer and winner of Celebrity Big Brother cranked out some R&B tunes that had listeners gagging for more and she continued the trend of bringing a few lucky fans up to dance and be a part of the show.

At 9 p.m., local entertainers Mimi Marks and Khloe had the duty of introducing Azalea, who ran a bit late—forcing them to keep the party going. Dancers and smoke machines surrounded the rapper when she finally arrived to dramatic results that included her catchy song "Black Widow."

After performing "Sally Walker," Azalea talked about Pride and explained its importance. She had received a tweet earlier from a transgender person named Michelle Morganite, who stated in the message that Morganite sometimes struggles leaving the house because of fear. Morganite happened to be in the audience and Azalea hugged the fan onstage with emotion after security assisted. Azalea then invited Morganite to perform her song "Goddess" and even turned over the microphone completely when Michelle knew every word to the track.

After shooting T-shirt cannons out into the crowd, Azalea ended her set with her popular hit "Fancy."

Following Azalea's performance, fireworks ignited above the stage to finish out the long day of colorful festivities.


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