While Pride Month parades have been put on hold throughout the world, the 48-year-old Puerto Rican superstar is helping the LGTBQ+ community celebrate in a special way.
P&G and iHeartMediahave joined forces for “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community.”
The special will raise funds for LGTBQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19.
It will stream on Thursday, June 25 at 9:00 pm PT on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram, PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide.
In addition to Martin, the event will feature appearances by Billy Porter, Big Freedia,Adam Lambert, Melissa Etheridge, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Sia among others. The celebration will culminate with a one-hour special hosted by leading iHeartMedia on-air personality Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox.
“There’s no question COVID-19 has impacted the LGBTQ+ community in a variety of ways, and at this time in the U.S., the struggle for equality and inclusion has never been more important,” said Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia. “Now is a time we need to come together to support the organizations that help bring critical resources to LGBTQ people in need and Can’t Cancel Pride aims to do just that. Like always, Pride will continue to represent the resilience, beauty and strength of the LGBTQ+ community around the nation and the globe.”
Martin publicly came out as gay in March 2010, stating: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” He added that “these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.” He has since been a dynamic activist for the LGBTQ+ community.
The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.
Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Ne-Yo, Big Freedia, Lucy Hale, Amara La Negra, Saweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Rich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.
“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”
“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.
“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”
Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino Foundation, When We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation.
In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.
“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”
With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.
“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”
The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.
“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”
“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”
“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”
Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Bruno Mars picked up the Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B trophy, the second win in the category for the 34-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer.
Mars beat out Chris Brownand Khalid for the award.
The third time proved to be the charm for J Balvin…
The 34-year-old Colombian reggaeton singer won the Favorite Artist – Latintrophy for the first time, after losing out for the award the previous two years.
J Balvin beat out Bad Bunny andOzuna for the prize.
Hosted by Ciara, the evening included performances by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Lizzo, Christina Aguilera & A Great Big World, Kesha& Big Freedia, Post Malone& Ozzy Osbourne, Halsey, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Artist of the Decade Taylor Swift
Artist of the Year Taylor Swift
New Artist of the Year Billie Eilish
Collaboration of the Year Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello “Señorita”
Tour of the Year BTS
Favorite Music Video Taylor Swift “You Need to Calm Down”
Favorite Social Artist BTS
Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock Khalid
Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock Taylor Swift
Favorite Duo or Group – Pop/Rock BTS
Favorite Album – Pop/Rock Taylor Swift “Lover”
Favorite Song – Pop/Rock Halsey “Without Me”
Favorite Male Artist – Country Kane Brown
Favorite Female Artist – Country Carrie Underwood
Favorite Duo or Group – Country Dan + Shay
Favorite Album – Country Carrie Underwood “Cry Pretty”
Favorite Song – Country Dan + Shay “Speechless”
Favorite Artist – Rap/Hip-Hop Cardi B
Favorite Album – Rap/Hip-Hop Post Malone “Hollywood’s Bleeding”
Favorite Song – Rap/Hip-Hop Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”
Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B Bruno Mars
Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B Beyoncé
Favorite Album – Soul/R&B Khalid “Free Spirit”
Favorite Song – Soul/R&B Khalid “Talk”
Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock Billie Eilish
Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary Taylor Swift
Favorite Artist – Latin J Balvin
Favorite Artist – Contemporary Inspirational Lauren Daigle
Favorite Artist – Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Marshmello