On Saturday (June 23), NYC Pride put on its second annual Pride Island festival, an LGBTQ cultural experience held in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen and the biggest live music event in NYC Pride history.
As a fundraiser for local non-profits and Pride’s free programming, this two-day extravaganza welcomed queer artists and allies to the on-the-water stage including Tove Lo, Lizzo, Big Freedia and Sasha Velour.
Before the fireworks show brings a colorful conclusion to the event on Sunday night (June 24), here are five standout moments from the first day of Pride Island.
Sasha Velour: Category is… Rainbow!
Following her monthly Nightgowns show on Tuesday (June 17), Velour took the stage early in the day performing five separate numbers, each including its own monochromatic look to create a deconstructed rainbow true to her pop art style.
Big Freedia pulls audience members to make a twerk train on stage
New Orleans-based bounce artist Big Freedia commanded the audience with her larger-than-life presence and a tank top that read, “GAY AS SUCK.” As she started to perform her song “Azz Everywhere,” she solicited 10 volunteers from the audience to join her in a minutes-long twerk train.
Mj Rodriguez makes surprise appearance to welcome Lizzo
In the midst of the show’s statement-making first season, Pose star Mj Rodriguez strut down the main stage in a surprise appearance to introduce Lizzo to the stage, though we could have used a full ballroom performance from the fierce actress.
Lizzo calls out for Miss Vanjie during her set
Fitted out in a completely rainbow-colored knitted ensemble, the rising hip hop artist took the stage to perform a collection of the empowerment anthems she’s well-known for, even summoning her muse, Drag Race star Vanessa Vanjie Mateo with her infamous catchphrase, “Miss Vanjie, Miss Vanjie, Miss… Vanjie,” between tracks.
Tove Lo brings out Icona Pop for new girl-gang collab “Bitches”
Capping off the night of performances, Tove Lo raced on stage with pop duo Icona Pop and her “Disco Tits” out to perform their collab-heavy remix of “Bitches.”