Dan Levy, Janelle Monáe set for NYC’s virtual gay pride event


The coronavirus pandemic can’t take away New York City’s gay pride.

Heritage of Pride announced Friday morning that “Schitt’s Creek” creator and star Dan Levy will be among four grand marshals for a virtual pride celebration on Sunday, June 28. The city’s annual pride march and other in-person summer events were canceled last month for the first time in their history due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Grammy-nominated “Tightrope” singer Janelle Monáe — who was previously announced to headline NYC Pride Island 2020 the night before — will be among the performers also taking part. Other performers and participants will include “Pose” star and red-carpet knockout Billy Porter, “Absolutely Not” singer Deborah Cox, “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Wilson Cruz, comedian Margaret Cho, Brazillian musician Luísa Sonza and drag queen Miss Richfield 1981.

The event will be broadcast from noon to 2 p.m. on WABC Channel 7, abc7ny.com and on the ABC New Live streaming channel. Station anchors Ken Rosato and Lauren Glassberg and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Carson Kressley will host the show with help from correspondents Sam Champion and Kemberly Richardson. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the city’s first Pride March in 1970 and comes a year after the 2019 WorldPride recognition of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising.

“The NYC Pride March is such a pillar of our community, and I am incredibly honored to be recognized alongside the other grand marshals on its 50th anniversary,” Levy, 36, said of the event, which normally encompasses an hours-long parade along Fifth Avenue. “While the physical circumstances are less than ideal, our community has always come together in the face of adversity, and this year’s broadcast is no exception. I am so inspired by the opportunity we’ve been given to celebrate together.”

The other grand marshals will be the NYC-based Ali Forney Center — an organization aiding homeless LGBTQ youth — and human rights activists Yanzi Peng and Victoria Cruz.

Pride events worldwide have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus crisis and social distancing and quarantining measures. Although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that COVID-19 cases have registered a “big” drop, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the state’s state-at-home order through June 13.

“While we are saddened to not be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NYC Pride March in person, we are thrilled to still be able to recognize our grand marshals,” said March Director Brian J. Heck in a statement. “This year we are also proud to honor all of the front-line workers who put their own health at risk to unconditionally serve our LGBTQIA+ community with love and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. These heroes prove that the future is a place where we embrace the full rainbow of our community.”

Heritage of Pride also will take part in a virtual Global Pride event on Saturday, June 27, that will feature performances and speeches in conjunction with LGBTQ organizations in places including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, southern Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America.

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