Adam Lambert, Ben Platt, Big Freedia, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, Carla Morrison and More Among All-Star Performances
John Cameron Mitchell, Neil Patrick Harris, Darren Criss and Andrew Rannells Unite for a Special Rendition of “Wig in a Box” to Mark the 20th Anniversary of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
With Notable Appearances by Billy Porter, Bebe Rexha, Cara Delevingne, Ciara, Hayley Kiyoko, Matt Bomer, Nico Tortorella, Peppermint, Tituss Burgess and More
P&G and iHeartMedia invited people everywhere to join “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community,” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Hosted by Elvis Duran and Laverne Cox, the one-hour benefit special brought together today’s biggest names in culture and entertainment and included performances from Adam Lambert, Ben Platt, Big Freedia with Tank and the Bangas, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin and Carla Morrison, as well as John Cameron Mitchell, Neil Patrick Harris, Darren Criss, Andrew Rannells and more – demonstrating that while in-person Pride events were interrupted around the world, nothing can cancel the heart of Pride and the spirit the LGBTQ+ equality movement embodies.
In addition to music, Can’t Cancel Pride included special appearances from Billy Porter, Bebe Rexha, Cara Delevingne, Ciara, Dan Levy, Hayley Kiyoko, Kermit The Frog, Lena Waithe, Matt Bomer, Nico Tortorella, Peppermint, Tituss Burgess and more, with support from brands including Bounty®, Charmin®, Dawn®, Downy®, Jared®, Pantene® and Tide® to drive LGBTQ+ visibility, and build support for the millions of Americans unable to take part in live Pride events across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Produced by iHeartMedia and P&G, the benefit streamed on Hulu, iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages and iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com; and broadcasted on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app on June 25.
Can’t Cancel Pride partnered with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to administer and distribute financial support raised by the event to LGBTQ+ organizations with a track record of positive impact and support of the LGBTQ+ community, including GLAAD, SAGE, The Trevor Project, the National Black Justice Coalition, CenterLink and OutRight Action International.
The benefit special included these special moments:
- Sia opened “Can’t Cancel Pride” with a special performance of her single, “Together,” featuring notable drag queens Jaida Essence Hall (winner, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 12), Jackie Cox (top 3, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 12), Crystal Methyd (top 3, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 12), and Lady Bunny (legendary drag queen).
- Billy Porter introduced Adam Lambert’s performance of “Roses.” Lambert performed poolside with his dog Pharaoh on his lap before heading to a disco-themed stage.
- The benefit featured the trending “Wipe it Down Challenge,” which included notable appearances from celebs such as Dan Levy, Lena Waithe, and iHeartMedia’s Skeery Jones.
- Ciara introduced the queen of bounce, Big Freedia, and Tank and the Bangas band who performed “Louder” from a Pride float in New Orleans.
- Prior to introducing Melissa Etheridge’s passionate rendition of “Come to My Window,” Bebe Rexha discussed the significance of the color orange, saying: “Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in the ‘70s and orange symbolized healing, just like music heals us all.“ After belting out the iconic song, Melissa Etheridge thanked everyone, saying: “Love you. Be strong. Speak truth. Spread the peace. Choose only love.”
- Before introducing Katy Perry’s performance of her hit single, “Daisies,” Tituss Burgess discussed the yellow stripe on the rainbow flag, saying: “It stands for sunlight and joy. Yes, I said it: joy. And joy can be hard to find right now especially when you got racism and coronavirus co-pandemic’ing out in these streets.”
- Ricky Martin and Carla Morrison performed their duet, “Recuerdo,” which was introduced by Kermit the Frog. Prior to their performance, Martin said: “The love I feel as a father. The love I feel as a husband, as a son. The love for Puerto Rico. The love for my community. And the love for all those incredible, incredibly strong men and women who fought for us, way before us. Who fought for our fights. Today my music, my thoughts, is only for them. Wherever you are, I love you.”
- Matt Bomer introduced Ben Platt who performed “So Will I,” during the benefit special. Prior to his performance, Platt said: “I’m so honored to be part of this celebration today. We would have no queer liberation to speak of, were it not for the queer people of color that came before us, particularly trans women of color. So mostly I am excited to sing to honor them, and everybody on this Pride day.”
- Kim Petras, who was introduced by Cara Delevingne, performed her latest single, “Malibu,” with her three poodles dyed in colors of the rainbow.
- The show concluded with a special finale in honor of 50 years of Pride, and in celebration of 20 years of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell performed a rendition of “Wig in a Box” alongside Andrew Rannells, Darren Criss, Neil Patrick Harris and more.
Additional notable quotes include:
- Laverne Cox: “Our hearts should be filled with joy right now, especially with the recent ruling that protects LGBTQI people from workplace discrimination. And while I'm inspired by the support of the last few weeks, I cannot stand to see one more black or brown cis or trans life lost to brutality, racism, transphobia or homophobia. Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. That’s the spirit of Stonewall that lives ‘til this day.”
- Billy Porter: “It is summertime. Police treat a person of color with force and brutality, leading to protests that change the course of American history. This is the story of 2020. But it’s also the story of 1969, when patrons at the Stonewall Inn, many of them young LGBTQ people of color, refused to accept police brutality as a way of life. Pride began with protest.”
- Porter continued: “For fifty years, we’ve fought to end racism and homophobia, and affirm our rights… To health and safety, equal employment, access to education. To marry the one’s we love. We’ve made our mark in pop culture and found our place in the history books. Some of us have even scored Tonys, Grammys and Emmys. You’re welcome! But LGBTQ people are still fighting for equality, safety and acceptance in the middle of a global pandemic that disproportionately affects marginalized communities. But nothing can cancel Pride henny!”
- Porter concluded: “Tonight we lift our rainbow flag high, and the values it represents –
- life, unity, healing, joy, nature, harmony and spirit. Don’t worry children, we’re still gonna dance. And while we do, we affirm our solidarity with our black and brown family fighting for their rights and lives right now, and we ask them to support us. Because no one is free to live the lives we love until all of us are free.”
- Ciara: “A change is gonna come, my friends. It is up to us to be good in the world. Today we include black and brown on the rainbow flag to signify the intersectionality between LGBTQ rights and the fight for racial justice.”
- Cara Delevingne: “Here's to loving who you love and embracing your true self. I wish I learned how to do that when I was 16. I’m so excited to introduce a performer who captures the energy of youth, Pride, creativity, and progress.”
- Hayley Kiyoko: “Purple is all about spirit and during these challenging times if anything captures the spirit of a bright and unified future, it’s LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth and allies are fighting back on all fronts for LGBTQ rights, racial justice, accessibility, gender equity, climate change, and more. They are creating a community on social media, rallying Americans to vote and fighting against discrimination. And they’re not letting COVID stop them. Online, schools and colleges, in the city streets and living rooms across America, they are redefining Pride and reaffirming their commitment to fight for acceptance, equality and justice.”
- Javier Muñoz: “As we recognize Pride this year during this time of profound pain, I also want to recognize our community for strength and perseverance throughout our fight for equality. And more specifically throughout the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is very much still not over. Let’s stay committed to compassion and action as we work together to effect the change that we need to create the world we deserve.”
- Peppermint (actress, singer, television personality, drag queen, and activist): “Reflecting on the light blue, light pink and white on the flag representing our trans brothers, sisters and siblings. Please hold in your hearts that many of the LGBTQ folks who fought back at Stonewall were young, trans people of color. Their refusal to go quietly turbo-charged the LGBTQ rights movement for decades. We honor them by persevering today.”
- Matt Bomer: “That activism was full of fire in the 80s when Larry Kramer and ACT UP forcefully demanded action to fight HIV/AIDS. In losing Larry this year, we lost a warrior, a hero and a friend. His words saved lives. Thank you, Larry.” He continued: “Whether it’s rebelling in the streets, peaceful protests, creative collaborations or the hard work that leads to legislation that protects LGBTQ people, our community works together to gain equality. In the spirit of that harmonious blue nature, we bring you a special song and a tribute to a community working so hard during Pride and this pandemic to support each other...”
- Elvis Duran: “This is really what Pride’s all about: unity, energy, visibility and of course, love. Moving us all forward. It’s going to be a minute before LGBTQ organizations and services can get back to normal, so we thank you for being so generous tonight.”
Can’t Cancel Pride encouraged viewers to share their special Pride moments on social media using the hashtag #CantCancelPride throughout the month of June.
Additional proud partners of Can’t Cancel Pride included Cadillac, Crest®, Giant Food, Herbal Essences®, Mattel, Mercedes-Benz, Olay®, Pampers®, P&G Shopper Team, Puffs®, Splat Hair Color and This is L.
Executive producers for Can’t Cancel Pride are John Sykes, Tom Poleman and Elvis Duran of iHeartMedia; Casey Patterson for Casey Patterson Entertainment; Alex Coletti for Alex Coletti Productions and Can’t Cancel Pride Co-founder Brent Miller of Procter & Gamble.
The event is supported by a Can’t Cancel Pride advisory committee including Rob Smith, CEO/Founder of The Phluid Project, Robyn Streisand - Luppino, Founder and President of THE MIXX and TITANIUM WORLDWIDE and Olympia Lambert, Client Services Director of THE MIXX.