Charlotte Pride is returning to Uptown for the first time since 2019, with thousands expected to attend festivities taking place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20-21, in the PNC Bank Festival Zone on South Tryon Street between Fourth Street and Good Samaritan Way.
The 2019 event attracted more than 200,000 visitors over the course of the weekend, with organizers planning to exceed those attendance numbers this year.
Without the ability to do so last year, this year Charlotte Pride is celebrating a 20-year milestone since the first festival in 2001 and 40 years since the first local Gay Pride Day in 1981.
There will be all sorts of festivities throughout the weekend, and here’s a look at the performances to look forward to.
On her new project The Difference, 22-year-old singer/songwriter Daya presents the latest and boldest chapter in an already phenomenal career. Since emerging at age 16 with her double-platinum debut single “Hide Away,” the Pennsylvania-bred multi-instrumentalist has achieved such triumphs as winning a Grammy Award for her nine-times-platinum Chainsmokers collaboration “Don’t Let Me Down,” earning gold certification for her debut album Sit Still, Look Pretty, opening for the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and MARINA, and headlining her own national tour. After taking time out to recharge and rediscover herself as an artist, Daya now returns with a magnetic body of work that lets listeners in on her inner life more fully than ever before.
Daya has also been an outspoken advocate for and a member of the LGBTQ community, performing at major Pride events like the 2019 WorldPride Opening Ceremony in New York City.
“I want to do whatever I can to normalize queer relationships and queer stories, and help lesser-known queer artists get more visibility in the mainstream,” said Daya, who also works with GLAAD and the Trevor Project. “When I came out I was lucky enough to have really supportive family and friends around me, and now I want to help move the needle for anyone who maybe doesn’t have it as easy as I did.”
When: Saturday, August 20; 8:45 p.m.
In two years, Siena Liggins has gone from an unknown songwriter to one of Billboard’s Top Ten Rising LGBTQ+ artists (2021), sharing stages with the likes of Lizzo, Doja Cat, King Princess, Baby Tate, and Tkay Maidza.
Siena’s much-anticipated debut album, Ms. Out Tonight, arrived complete with fast-paced, sensory overload visuals for every song. Coverage from The FADER, Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, and Earmilk prompted an album premiere experience in Atlanta, and the record has now surpassed 2.5 million streams with features on playlists across every streaming platform including Spotify’s New Music Friday, Fresh Finds and the cover of Tidal’s Rising: Pop playlist.
The project’s title is an affirmation of Siena’s arrival, a celebration of her identity, and a warning to those unready to envision the next generation she represents. “There are no pop stars that look or sound like Siena Liggins — and she’s well-aware of that,” wrote Paper Magazine.
When: Saturday, August 20; 8:10 p.m.
Kalifa, formerly known as Le1f, is a musician and performer from Times Square, New York who’s garnered attention for his avant-garde music and performance styles. His background in ballet and modern dance earned him a degree in choreography.
After an introduction to the world as an electronic music producer, Kalifa went on to become a figure as an openly gay rapper with the success of his 2012 underground pop-rap banger “Wut.” His debut album was released on Terrible/XL Recordings in 2015.
When: Saturday, August 20; 7:30 p.m.
Using aspects of rock, pop, alternative and indie to create their unique modern indie-pop sound, Galloway consists of Lawson Galloway (vocals), Robert Redfield (guitar), Luca Amedeo Wilber (guitar), Nick Williams (bass), and Daniel Crump (drums). The band was established in the summer of 2017 as a solo project for singer/songwriter Lawson Galloway. Within the following months, Lawson recorded his first EP, entitled 404, which was released in January of 2018.
In the summer of the same year, the solo project became a full band adding four members and going on to release a single and two EPs since. With the release of the American Failure EP in June 2022, Galloway strives to write songs about queerness, love, and mental health, intent on creating music that anyone can enjoy and relate to.
When: Saturday, August 20; 6:35 p.m.
Johnàe Thee Egyptian Goddess
Johnàe Thee Egyptian Goddess is from Liberty City in Miami. A professional dancer, recording artist, TV personality, and model, she also began mentoring under some of the biggest names in the industry, including Aisha Francis, Danielle Polanco and Yanis Marshall. Johnàe was featured on the Oxygen Channel’s The Prancing Elite Project, where the glitz and glamour backstage inspired her.
In 2019, Johnàe became a cast member on The ON! Channel’s Beautiez & Bikerz of Charlotte, a reality show that follows the lives of Johnàe and several other entertainers as they perform all over the East Coast. Johnàe released her debut single, “Pwussy Bill Due,” in January 2020, and went viral after inspiring a TikTok dance and being added to the rotation on Hilltop Radio.
When: Saturday, August 20; 7:15 p.m.
Joe Ralli is a singer/songwriter from Maryland based in Raleigh (which is coincidentally how you pronounce his name). His style draws from classic country and Americana artists like Willie Nelson and John Prine as well as modern country musicians such as Sturgill Simpson, Brent Cobb, Tyler Childers and more.
These influences can be found in his lyrics dealing with struggles regarding mental health, finding his voice, and accepting who he is and who he loves.
When: Sunday, August 21; 2:05 p.m.
The son of a minister of music and Baptist choir alto, local soul singer Dexter Jordan has spent his entire life exploring and expressing through music. In 2019, Dexter released his debut album, BLUE, which delicately unravels layers of grief, growth, coping and resilience through masterful musicianship.
Since releasing BLUE, Dexter has opened for Grammy Award-winning artist Anthony Hamilton, been featured on Spotify’s I Love My Neo-Soul editorial playlist, and has become a background singer for Grammy-nominated artist Ari Lennox.
When: Sunday, August 21; 3:55 p.m.
Having graced the cover of our 2019 Pride Guide, Nekeith is an American hip-hop recording artist, model, dancer and actress. In 2018, Nekeith released her first EP album titled New Era and performed on BET Freestyle Friday, where she was crowned as one of the top 10 finalists. The nascent star caught the attention of Lee Daniels — creator of Fox’s Empire and director of Precious — who chose her to be part of his company’s Creative Workshop. In 2020, Nekeith released a hip-hop anthem titled “Bad Bitch Walking,” which gained popularity on social media and numerous blogs such as The Neighborhood Talk.
Recently, Nekeith has released three singles called “Shake That” and “Point Em Out” and “Who Got That.” She is currently on the GLOW Tour 22 promoting her singles for her upcoming album coming out in the summer of 2022. With over 250,000 views and stream downloads, Nekeith is just getting started on her legacy.
When: Saturday, August 20; 2:50 p.m.
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