June 2020 has been no ordinary Pride Month. What is typically a colorful commemoration of love, community, and the richness of LGBTQ+ identity has been largely overshadowed by an ongoing pandemic, which has forced gay bars to close, parades to be canceled, and people to celebrate from home. But in many ways, it has also been a return to the holiday’s protest roots, with many people around the country taking to the streets to demand justice for Black lives.
Pop idol Katy Perry spoke to the complexities of these intersecting movements in a somber, yet hopeful, address during Stonewall Day, the star-studded Pride Live event honoring the anniversary and legacy of the six-day riots in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York that spawned the gay liberation movement. Wearing dangling, rainbow earrings that matched a beam of multi-colored light shrowding her face, Perry’s roughly minute-long speech urged virtual viewers to take a stand for the ideals of justice and equality which Pride Month has always represented.
“Usually on Pride, I’m thinking: What total banger can I dance to that will fill my heart with joy and reflect the light and love that emanates from the LGBTQ community?” she said. “But this Pride, I’m really focused on ways I can be of service.” She continued by addressing the responsibility of those with large platforms to use their visibility to instill positive change. “How can I use my privilege and my platform to support the movement towards justice and equality?” she wondered aloud. “That mission feels more important to me than ever, as I get ready to bring in new life to this world.”
Perry, who announced her pregnancy with her fiancé Orlando Bloom in Mach via the debut of her baby bump-revealing “Never Worn White” music video, particularly empathized with the mothers of those who have been killed at the hands of police. “The wish I have for my child is that she’ll be happy, healthy, and safe,” she said. “It’s the same wish every mother has for their kid. It’s the wish that Trayvon’s mom had, and Breonna’s, and George’s, and Tony’s. The list is too damn long.”
The singer, whose fifth album is slated for release on August 14, has been vocal in her support for the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks, memorializing Breonna Taylor — who was killed by Louisville police in her home in March — and urging her social media followers to get to the polls. She has also been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community, launching to fame with her bi-curious anthem “I Kissed a Girl” off her second album, One of the Boys, in 2008. “Truth be told … I did more than that!” she said in an emotional speech at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign, opening up about her own sexual awakening. “Even then I knew that sexuality was not as black and white as this dress.”
She doubled down on that solidarity with her Stonewall Day remarks, directly thanking her LGBTQ+ fans for their ongoing support. “Thank you, LGBTQ community, for letting me be part of your pride and part of your live,” she said. “And know that you inspire me with your strength and your perseverance on Stonewall Day, and every day. Love you.” The broadcast also featured scheduled appearances from Taylor Swift, Barack Obama, and more.
Watch Perry’s full speech above, and find out more about Stonewall Day — a fundraiser for LGBTQ+ advocacy groups — and how to contribute right here. Stream the entire show via Logo’s YouTube and Facebook pages.