WorldPride Kicks Off With Star-Studded Opening Ceremony in Brooklyn

"This is where Pride was born, and nobody does it better than we do."

On Wednesday, June 26, WorldPride kicked off at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with an evening full of celebrities, drag queens, history lessons, and lots and lots of rainbow confetti.

Cyndi Lauper opened the evening with her classic song “True Colors,” singing as she emerged from a spinning globe on the stage. Lady Bunny, Flotilla DeBarge, and others warmed up the crowd as DJ Lina Bradford spun disco tunes to keep the crowd on their feet.

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After a video on the history of Pride and the Stonewall riots, Whoopi Goldberg walked onstage as host for the night.

“This is where Pride was born,” the EGOT winner told the massive crowd. “And nobody does it better than we do.”

“We all know that Pride isn’t just about the party,” she continued. “The Stonewall uprising lead to five days of protest. We were in the streets protesting. We were protesting in people’s faces and you know what—we are still protesting, but the difference is today is that we are backed up by WorldPride. This has evolved into a global movement.”

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Over the course of the night, a variety of other famous faces graced the stage, including Billy Porter and Angelica Ross from Pose, Sara Ramirez, Chaka Khan, Todrick Hall, and Ciara, but it was the RuPaul’s Drag Race queens who really brought the house down.

Alaska, Yvie Oddly, Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, and Bob the Drag Queen each performed a number in a medley that concluded with an epic performance set to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling”—complete with viral sensation Mark Kanemura making a surprise appearance to rip off his pile of rainbow wigs.

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The night ended, of course, with Billy Porter and rainbow confetti raining down on the crowd. Now that’s how you kick off WorldPride.

“We are the greatest city in the world,” said Corey Johnson, openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council. “We gave you Barbra Streisand, J.Lo, and Whoopi Goldberg.” Scroll through below for more photos from the fabulous evening.

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Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
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Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

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I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer