Opinion: Why Do We Celebrate LA Pride With Sexual and Racist Profanity?

Rhea Litré performing at the 2019 LA Pride Festival. (@GayWeHo Instagram)

Only making eye contact brought tears of happiness to my eyes. She was a middle-aged woman with a shirt that said, “Free Mom Hugs.” There on the sidewalk at the intersection of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards, I reflected on mine and my mother’s rough coming out journey and how proud I was of this random mom for being such a positive LGBTQ+ ally.

Not long after, I saw another mom dragging her young son by the arm from the parade route. Her reason? Rhea Litré’s choice of songs and performances on stage at the LA Pride Parade 2019.

Whether or not Pride should rival a music festival is not the matter at hand. Although, it should be noted that the presence of a stage near the parade route’s end did prove to be quite a distraction from the actual parade. Parts of the parade included chants, drumlines, bagpipes, floats with DJ’s and speakers, etc. These were all drowned out by none other than Rhea screaming the f-bomb at the crowd and lyrics like, “Eight-inch big, ooh, that’s good pipe. Bad bitch, I’ma ride the dick all night. ” Needless to say, Pride had left the building – and so did that mom and her child. We lost an ally.

Christopher Street West, the event’s organizers, advertised the parade as such, “Come create a memorable #JUSTUNITE moment as thousands from LA’s LGBTQ+ community – including our amazing straight allies – come together in the spirit of unity.” The LA Times once referred to LA Pride as being, “a spectacle, talent show, celebration, political movement, and memorial.” This year’s parade route stage show was a spectacle alright, but it lacked purpose and decency.

The three-day festival involves a multitude of events, venues, and activities. It’s indisputable the parade is the by far most public facing of them all. Although stationary, Rhea had the most massive and loudest platform of anyone in the entire parade. Thankfully ABC7’s coverage of the parade didn’t include this portion of the route. Well, it couldn’t have. The n-word was used 18 times in one two-minute song alone. That’s in addition to other vulgarities in the music screamed by Rhea and her guests on the mic.

Her guests were introduced as being “the king of twerk,” and a “porn star turned recording artist.” The second of whom, Brandon Wilde, donned a neon pink thong leotard. That is who stood on the most significant stage in the parade. Brilliant. The performance was briefly paused to allow an activist to speak about the murders of trans people of color.  For clarity, a white DJ’s set containing nearly 10 “n-words” a minute was paused so a black woman could talk about trans POC murder rates. Double brilliant.

Pride is the last thing I felt standing there on the side of the parade route. I thought of Stonewall and of previous parade grand marshals like Harvey Milk and Maxine Waters. Imagine Harvey Milk waving from a parade float, as Rhea screams, “How the f-ck are you West Hollywood?!” Instead, the more appropriate use of that word is to say that CSW has once again f-cked up and failed the LA LGBTQ+ community. While Rhea could have made better choices, it’s ultimately the organizers who dropped the ball by not pre-screening her set.

Those three, that music, this situation… It made me go from wishing my mother was here with me to celebrate, to better understanding why she believed what she did about the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing that mother leave with her son hit home and hit hard. I understood her actions, and better understood my mom’s. We’re not talking boys in Speedo’s dancing on a fire truck… we’re talking a bare ass porn star singing, “spread my ass, take a lick, arch my back, I want that dick.” Rhea Litré and CSW, you owe that mom an apology.


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Mr Barbra
Guest
Mr Barbra

I have mixed feelings about this article. I agree that our Pride celebration should be accessible to all, including families and children. However, I also believe that positive sexuality should be expressed. I live in the community and stopped attending the parade years ago because it was too boring. I’d attend if I knew there were sexy performances! Is it unreasonable to think we could have some events that are PG-13 and others that are NC-17? I can’t imagine there’s no solution to this.

James H
Guest
James H
HasHadHerses
Guest
HasHadHerses

Wow. You all just really like to be mad, huh? Lol. And yes, let’s all clutch our pearls at “foul” language and ignore bigger issues like how this is all just a dog whistle for slut shaming, censorship and shutting out people of color. (Oh no! Not a song with the N-word!) Lest we forget that two men kissing on New Years Eve were arrested for public INDECENCY at the Black Cat. Im sure there were many articles back in the day on how they should’ve kept that display to themselves. Lest we forget Jewels Catch One was literally created… Read more »

James H
Guest
James H

Hey HasHadHerses, thanks for your input. The follow-up article just dropped if you’d like to have a read. Here’s an excerpt relevant to your comment…

“You can debate what Pride and Pride Parades CAN or SHOULD be all day long; I’m upset over how it was advertised versus what was delivered. There is no question there is a discrepancy between the two.”

https://www.wehoville.com/2019/06/12/opinion-why-i-cared-how-we-celebrate-pride-and-who-i-was-criticizing/

Blueeyedboy
Guest
Blueeyedboy

I attended the parade for the last time several years ago when I saw someone dressed as Jesus Christ on a float simulating sex acts. I left at that moment and have never gone again.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

Whose to say Jesus ( if he existed) didn’t have sex?

This Has To Stop
Guest
This Has To Stop

Embarrassment. Reject the vulgarity and try showing a little dignity if you want to be taken seriously as a group. These idiots damage our reputation and hold us back from progressing. The “new normal” is going to end up forcing people back into the closet out of fear of being associated with these dregs of society. They are our equivalent to the straight’s “trailer trash”. Not everyone desires to be a Kardashian wannabe or a porn star. Some of us actually spent our formative years going to college, starting a professional career and our reputations need to be protected….we are… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Your comments are the equivalent of the behavior you speak about so disdainfully. Shamelessness is shamelessness, whether through words or action. Assuming you are a member of the LGBTQ community, try to have a little more tolerance for those who are different than you, rather than inferring they are lesser and should be hidden. We can disagree with other people’s choices without denying them their visibility. What do you think Pride is about? Until I read your comments, I was in agreement that perhaps we as a community do go too far at times, but now I realize WHY we… Read more »

JMF
Guest
JMF

How far you wanna push it. People having sex on the floats? They’re almost there. Respect? How about respecting that not all gay people want to act like a bunch of low class, over-sexed, obnoxious, foul-mouthed individuals. Have fun, be crazy…just try and do it with some self-respect and respect for others.

This Has To Stop
Guest
This Has To Stop

Typical

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

The straights have a doo daa parade in Pasadena every year to show the real side of human nature and the pretentiousness of the Rose Parade. Ms. JackieO (my goodness) have been in it twice. It’s real, it’s not phony and neither should our Pride Parade.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I don’t go to Pride because I don’t need to see or hear some of the things I’m guaranteed to see or hear. I don’t go to Mardi Gras for the same reason but somehow I never hear of attendees being shocked, appalled and scandalized by people drinking themselves insensate and baring body parts for beads. It’s Pride, not Gay Country Safari. If you want an anodyne Pride celebration guaranteed to be family friendly , there’s one at the Grove tomorrow at 6:30.

Seaguy
Guest
Seaguy

Basically what your calling for is a Pride that caters to straight people. That wouldn’t be a gay pride then. Like it or not the LGBTQ community is made up of many individuals who express themselves in diverse ways. If you don’t like that you don’t have to attend. I hear there’s A pride parade in Boston that might be more your style.

James H
Guest
James H

Hey Seaguy, thanks for your input. The follow-up article just dropped if you’d like to have a read. Here’s an excerpt relevant to your comment…

“You can debate what Pride and Pride Parades CAN or SHOULD be all day long; I’m upset over how it was advertised versus what was delivered. There is no question there is a discrepancy between the two.”

https://www.wehoville.com/2019/06/12/opinion-why-i-cared-how-we-celebrate-pride-and-who-i-was-criticizing/

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Yes, let’s all cater our Gay pride parades to straight people and their children. I mean they are already taking over many of the homes and apartments in West Hollywood and the “gay bars” have never been more full of straight women making fools of themselves, not to mention the straight bartenders and straight gogo dancers who come to Weho to make money off the gays. West Hollywood was once a place of free expression. It was a home to the gays, the outcasts and people who were different. Now we’re going to shove all that under the table for… Read more »

Blueeyedboy
Guest
Blueeyedboy

I agree with you, Stephen, about the bars in WeHo which have been tamed to the point of hardly resembling what they used to be. Women came in and then they complained when they saw gay guys doing what gay guys do. Here Lounge, which was rebuilt to become The Chapel, was done in by the presence of straight people; a straight dancer exposed himself to a straight woman and forced her hand onto his penis. A straight employee there raped a straight girl in the bathroom. At Mickey’s straight bartenders didn’t like gay guys being too gay and they… Read more »

James H
Guest
James H

Hey Stephen, thanks for your input. The follow-up article just dropped if you’d like to have a read. Here’s an excerpt relevant to your comment…

“You can debate what Pride and Pride Parades CAN or SHOULD be all day long; I’m upset over how it was advertised versus what was delivered. There is no question there is a discrepancy between the two.”

https://www.wehoville.com/2019/06/12/opinion-why-i-cared-how-we-celebrate-pride-and-who-i-was-criticizing/

Bill Gordon
Guest
Bill Gordon

I am so VERY glad to read this article. Hopefully, it may help to spark a shift in our community. The answer to your question is simple. For how long have LGBTQI people been defined by sex and their sexual practices??? Decades? Centuries? Millenia?? If that is how people define you, that is how you often define yourself. Right…? So that is who we think we are. So please forgive me, because I do NOT mean this pejoratively, but to a large segment of the community, because of the social pressures we have faced, we have to admit that a… Read more »

Beau Byron
Guest
Beau Byron

I was horrified by Rhea and Brandon. My mother came in from El Monte and left in disgust! Thanks for this article to stop this garbage.

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen

Well stated, Mr. Holden. Thank you for writing this. There is sometimes a great lack of judgement in WeHo, whether it is to whom we hand out keys to the city or which acts they hire. Getting on a stage and shouting profanities into a mic, doth not pass for art nor pride. It HAS been turning into a music festival for that last few years. Not much pride. Sad state of affairs.

Monique Jackson
Guest
Monique Jackson

The “white DJ” you refer to, called DJ Pastabody, real name Anthony Torres, is Puerto Rican. Not that you took five seconds to fact check your defaming article before publishing it. Another white person trying to speak for people of color in feigned horror on our behalf.

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen

So, tell us Monique, when did it become okay for Hispanic individuals to shout the “n” word into s microphone? This event is billed as A Celebration of Pride. What pride is there in this performance and how did it further the cause of equality and unity?

Concerned for your reading comprehension
Guest
Concerned for your reading comprehension

The music had the n word. So maybe re-read. It said the set. He’s a dj not a comedian so set means m u s i c.

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen

Oh, so that’s supposed to make it acceptable? I see.

weho adjacent
Guest
weho adjacent

you said he “shouted the n word into a microphone. That didn’t happen. Don’t spread false information like that.

James H
Guest
James H

Hey Monique, thanks for your input. The follow-up article just dropped if you’d like to have a read. Here’s an excerpt relevant to your comment…

“Regarding the use of the N-Word, that’s not my place to have commented. I was personally taken off guard by its frequency of use in that setting, but I understand that some find the word to be empowering to take ownership of and support their fight and right to do so. I should not have spoken on behalf of a group who’s fight is not my own.”

https://www.wehoville.com/2019/06/12/opinion-why-i-cared-how-we-celebrate-pride-and-who-i-was-criticizing/