RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, LAITH ASHLEY, NIECY NASH-BETTS & JESSICA BETTS, AND MELISSA MCCARTHY NAMED WEHO PRIDE PARADE ICONS
The WeHo Pride Parade will take place on Sunday, June 4 along Santa Monica Blvd. from N. Crescent Heights Boulevard to N. La Peer Drive as part of WeHo Pride Weekend and will be aired live on KTLA 5
WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride producer JJLA today announced the Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. WeHo Pride will honor trailblazers and allies as this year’s Icons for their work in bringing the LGBTQ+ community and social justice issues to the forefront as well as expanding representation in pop culture. The parade will step off at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sunday, June 4, beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard and continuing down Santa Monica Boulevard into the City’s Rainbow District, ending at the City’s western border.
“The City of West Hollywood is pleased to kick off another WeHo Pride celebration filled with engaging activities and plenty of opportunities to celebrate the LGBTQ community,” shared City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Our WeHo Pride Parade Icons embody queer joy and fierce allyship by creating spaces where our community can be celebrated, whether that’s on the red carpet or directly through their art and advocacy. We’re thrilled to celebrate the impact our Icons have in creating a more evolved and accepting world.”
JJLA Founder and WeHo Pride Producer, Jeff Consoletti stated, “We’re excited to announce this year’s Icons to represent our West Hollywood community. At a time when our community is being threatened across the nation, it’s more important than ever to raise queer voices and those of our allies by providing a platform to amplify their support especially amongst our Trans and Drag community members.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race is being celebrated as this year’s Drag Icon and will join the WeHo Pride Parade on a float accompanied by a number of fan favorites from the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise. Long-time host and judge Michelle Visage will be receiving the Drag Icon award on behalf of the franchise. The illustrious Drag Race series has produced some of the most globally famous drag queens, and the City of West Hollywood is thrilled to include Drag Race participants in this year’s parade including Angeria, Gigi Goode, Gottmik, June Jambalaya, Rock M. Sakura, Symone, and more. Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and World of Wonder (WOW), the franchise has reshaped international pop culture, earning 27 Emmys, and has created a global network. Fans can catch the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Receiving this year’s Breakthrough con award is Laith Ashley, a model, actor, and activist who launched his career with a campaign for Barneys New York in February 2014. As of 2023, Laith was the male lead in Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze music video, and in 2017, he was the first transgender man to be featured in an ad campaign for the Diesel brand. Since then, he has volunteered with nonprofit organizations like FLUX and the transgender division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Before beginning his career in the entertainment industry, Laith was a counselor for homeless youth in New York City and spearheaded trans sensitivity training in medical facilities and homeless shelters. He now uses his platform to help inform others about the trans experience and other marginalized groups, as well as advocate for social justice in hopes of a more open, loving, and accepting world.
Actress, Niecy Nash-Betts, and singer-songwriter, Jessica Betts, will be honored with the title of Trailblazer Icons for blazing their own trail in Hollywood. The married couple has made HERstory on their own terms by finding love and leaning in. In 2022, Niecy and Jessica became the first same-sex partners to appear on the cover of Essence magazine. The cover story received a nomination for a 2023 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Print Article.” Niecy has gained recognition as an Emmy Award®-winning producer and three-time Emmy-nominated actress best known for her roles on Comedy Central’s RENO 911!, ABC’s The Rookie: Feds and Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. She is also the host of Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on FOX. Early in her career, Jessica was crowned the winner of Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott. She he has toured with numerous renowned artists and has been inducted into the BET Music Matters showcase. In recent years Jessica has continued to release music and acted alongside her wife on Comedy Central’s Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist, TNT’s Claws and ABC’s Rookie Feds where she and Niecy played a same-sex couple.
Melissa McCarthy has been named WeHo Pride’s 2023 Ally Icon and is being recognized for her outspoken allyship and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, McCarthy, known for her roles in Bridesmaids, Can You ever Forgive Me, Tammy, Ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, and much more, is a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community and has recently been very outspoken against the anti-drag laws that are being introduced by state legislatures across the county.
On Sunday, June 4, 2023, thousands of people will gather in West Hollywood for the annual WeHo Pride Parade, an imaginative and colorful tradition along Santa Monica Boulevard that embraces LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion, and progress. Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the Parade celebrates LGBTQ+ people and contributions to community and culture.
KTLA is proud to once again be the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. Tune in for the full two hour Pride experience on KTLA 5, KTLA + and KTLA.com featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family and surprise special guests. For more information about WeHo Pride weekend, visit www.wehopride.com.
Produced by JJLA, OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride will feature three days of stellar lineups beginning with a free Friday Night at OUTLOUD Music Festival. Friday’s lineup features headliners Idina Menzel, Jessie Ware, Shangela, and Tinashe and additional performances by JORDY, Tolliver, and DJ Venessa Michaels. The festival continues on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 featuring top talent with headliners Grace Jones on Saturday and Carly Rae Jepsen on Sunday. The full weekend lineup also includes performances by Passion Pit, Orville Peck, Santigold, Princess Nokia, Yung Bae, La Roux, Meet Me @ The Altar, Jodie Harsh, Rubio, Cub Sport and Black Belt Eagle Scout, with more to be announced.
For additional information about OUTLOUD and WeHo Pride, please visit:
OUTLOUD Music Festival, created by Jeff Consoletti, launched in 2020 as a ten-episode series on Facebook in lieu of Pride Celebrations happening in cities across the country due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, quickly became one of the first major virtual LGBTQ+ showcases. Since its debut, OUTLOUD garnered over nearly two billion media impressions and won several industry-topping awards including multiple SHORTY Awards for Best Use of Facebook and Best Use of Twitch, a MARCOM Award & a Cynopsis Digital Award for BEST LGBTQ Series. Follow @OfficiallyOUTLOUD #WeAreOUTLOUD. http://weareoutloud.com
About the City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride
Pride Starts Here. For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride. 2022 marked the City’s inaugural WeHo Pride. This year, WeHo Pride Weekend (June 2 – 4) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the ticketed music festival OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride; and the WeHo Pride Parade on June 4. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival (May 22 – June 30) formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, will take place at various locations throughout West Hollywood, along with selected online programming. Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at www.wehopride.com and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.
Since its incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the city consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The city has advocated for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals, and the city is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level. #WeHoPride @WeHoCity