The organizers of Ann Arbor Pride (AAP) have released the entertainment lineup for this year's virtual celebration.
AAP, which started in 1995 as OUTFest, will take place virtually for the second year in a row on Aug. 7. Viewers will be able to watch all Pride events on AnnArborPride.com as well as on AAP's Facebook and YouTube pages. This year's format will allow viewers to easily find the acts they are most interested in seeing.
"The challenge of planning a virtual show is the production and making sure everybody has your content in on time," said local entertainer and AAP Entertainment Director Jadein Black. "Also, making sure the contact is entertaining enough as if it were in person. Dealing with different artists that will be calling in live from different parts of the country is hard, too. Last year's virtual Pride was broadcast from my own home where we have done over 150 virtual shows since [the pandemic began]."
So, in a sense, Black is a pro at this point and AAP and the Jim Toy Community Center (JTCC), the agency that produces it, are lucky to have her.
"We learned a lot from last year," said JTCC President Joe Schoch. "Last year, technology was our biggest learning curve. This year, we have been able to learn from the Boylesque team who had been running virtual events all year long. We also learned the importance of accessibility beyond COVID restrictions.
"A big challenge this year is virtual meeting fatigue," Schoch continued. "To solve this problem, we are working with different community groups, restaurants, and others to host smaller watch parties and events."
While some folks are a little tired of the virtual format, Schoch said the community has been supportive and understanding of AAP's goals.
"With Michigan open, we need to stay creative in how we engage with the community," he said. "Last year, our broadcast reached 11 different states. People used our Virtual Pride to share and connect with friends and loved ones, and we hope to continue to build connections within Washtenaw County and beyond."
Headlining AAP this year will be VINCINT, perhaps best known for his time on the reality competition TV show "The Four." VINCINT, originally from Philadelphia, is a singer and songwriter and an undeniable upcoming talent. He released his debut album, "There Will Be Tears," in June. The album features special guests Alex Newell, Tegan and Sara, Parson James and Qveen Herby.
Other notable acts include trans country singer Brody Ray, the Out Loud Chorus, Unveiled Dance Company, two drag revues starring Black and others, and a special talk from Lilianna Angel Reyes, a founding mother and executive director of the Trans Sistas of Color Project.
"The best part of Ann Arbor Pride is bringing together our diverse community," said Schoch. "Ann Arbor Pride is a connection point for people and will continue to spread light and love to all."
2021 Ann Arbor Pride Talent Lineup
10 a.m. Ann Arbor Pride Virtual Yoga with instructor Jessica Warnemuende
11 a.m. Redi Choi
12:30 a.m. Unveiled Dance Company
1 p.m. Brody Ray
2:15 p.m. Speaker Lilianna Angel Reyes
2:30 p.m. Local Drag Revue
4 p.m. Out Loud Chorus
5 p.m. Drew De Four & Kin Curran
6:30 p.m. Second Drag Revue
8 p.m. VINCINT