Mariah Carey, Megan Thee Stallion headline Pride in the Park

Mariah Carey, Megan Thee Stallion headline Pride in the Park

One year after L.A. Pride moved from its longtime home in West Hollywood, SoCal’s flagship LGBTQ+ event returns with a star-packed bill comparable to any on L.A.’s music festival scene.

R&B-pop icon Mariah Carey and hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion will lead the lineup of this year’s L.A. Pride in the Park, which takes place in Chinatown’s Los Angeles State Historic Park on June 9 (with Megan) and 10 (with Carey), followed by the traditional parade through Hollywood on June 11.

The remaining music performers will be announced at a later date. Weekend passes begin at $89, single days at $49.

“Having two women of color headline the event was very intentional,” said Gerald Garth, the board president of L.A. Pride. “Both have been groundbreaking in their own rights by centering women’s empowerment. Mariah’s been a fan favorite among the LGBT community for decades, and she’s been a great friend and supporter, and Megan is the same.”

Carey’s perennial holiday hit, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 yet again in December; all told, she has 19 No. 1 singles, the most for any solo artist. Megan Thee Stallion’s latest album, “Traumazine,” debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in August.

In a statement, Carey said she was “thrilled and honored to be a part of L.A. Pride, to celebrate love and inclusion,” while Megan Thee Stallion saw the fest as “an incredible event [that] advocates for diversity, inclusivity and equality, so I’m honored to perform.”

The 2023 edition comes after perhaps the most tumultuous period in the fest’s history. After missing out on its 50th anniversary due to the pandemic, and then butting heads with the city of West Hollywood over questions about the event’s race and gender inclusiveness and ambitions for top-tier music programming, L.A. Pride and its parent firm, Christopher Street West, moved the parade one neighborhood over into Hollywood and the music fest into Chinatown.

Christina Aguilera, Anitta and Kim Petras headlined last year’s festival, the first since the pandemic hit, and Paula Abdul was the first “icon grand marshal” of the parade.

A separate West Hollywood Pride event took its place in the longtime gay mecca, where Cardi B and Janelle Monáe made cameos in the parade.

While tens of thousands attended both events in a jubilant return, Garth said that the typically exuberant gathering will have to acknowledge the scale of challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people in L.A. and nationwide, as anti-trans and anti-drag bills are proposed and passed across the country.

“Pride began as a protest,” Garth said. “We fold in moments of celebration, and this is a great festival, but there is also a responsibility to uplift the community’s needs,” like health and wellness alongside specific workshops and programming for Black artists, Latin film-industry professionals and queer women in comedy.

Drag performances, a generations-old staple at Pride events and in wider LGBTQ+ culture, have come under attack in states like Tennessee and Florida, which have either banned many drag performances or begun investigations into performers. Bills in 22 states, including Utah and Texas, have specifically targeted gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth.

While it’s hard to imagine any such law passing in California today, just 15 years ago voters in the state passed a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. Pride month has always been a celebration of resilience, but Garth knows that backsliding is possible.

“We recognize what our responsibility is within the movement, to prioritize safety and use our platform to elevate our principles,” Garth said. “I’m from the South, and a great deal of my advocacy was using what I had when I had it. None of us have do everything, but all of us have to something.”

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