Metro Weekly

The (LGBTQ) District’s Got Talent

Thursday's District of Pride Showcase displays a range of LGBTQ talent including drag performers, singers, and more.

District of Pride Host Rayceen Pendarvis — File Photo: Julian Vankim / Metro Weekly

Washington is host to many Pride celebrations, from the countless dance parties to the Capital Pride Parade, Concert and Festival, the city offers multiple chances to celebrate your Pride.

One of the ways to celebrate Pride — and a way put a bookend to the event-packed June Pride month — is to make sure to the annual District of PRIDE Showcase hosted by Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

This year’s event will showcase a range of local LGBTQ talent that includes drag performers, storytellers, and singers in the historic Lincoln Theater on Thursday, June 29.

“It’s a showcase of local LGBTQ A-plus talent,” says Japer Bowles, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. “It’s one of the last big events in the district and in the region that’s pride related and really it’s a celebration. It’s a great time.”

The event is hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis and headlined by the iconic blues singer Gaye Adegbalola, accompanied by pianist Roddy Barnes.

Other artists include singers Nia Monaé, Freddy Hall, and Ari Voxx, storytellers Adrian Gaston Garcia, and more. Inclusive cheerleading group Cheer DC, drag artist Cake Pop! and drag kings Pretty Boi Drag will also appear.

DJ Honey will be pumping the music throughout the night.

Bowles explained that now, in a time when drag is criminalized across the U.S., it is vital to provide a platform for drag performances.

“Throughout the entire program, we’re highlighting drag,” he says. “A party without cake is just a meeting, so we’ll be having Cake Pop! We’re celebrating Pretty Boy Pride with Pretty Boy Drag.”

The focus of the showcase, Bowles says, is to focus on Washington’s LGBTQ art scene. Nearly 90 performers submitted their applications to appear, and ten were chosen. 

This talent, Bowles says, is special to Washington due to its high LGBTQ population and progressive LGBTQ policies. Washington ranks highest in the nation for an area with an LGBTQ population, currently at 9.8% according to UCLA’s Williams Institute.

“This does not happen in Oklahoma and this does not happen in Missouri and in Texas,” he says. “DC is the district of pride!”

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s fourth annual “District of Pride” is Thursday, June 29, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Admission is free. To reserve a space, register by visiting Eventbrite.

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