The Django Celebrates NYC Pride
Four of our favorite performers share what it means to be out, queer musicians.
The Django celebrates NYC Pride all month long with a packed schedule of spirited jazz performers. We spoke to a few of our favorites to ask them what it means to be a musician and part of the LGBTQ community, performing not just in NYC, but throughout the world. Here’s what they had to say:
Charles Turner (performing 6/10 at 10:30PM):
Representation always matters. My Queer presence flows through my music and shows the world the beauty, excellence, and joy that comes with being a part of the LGBTQ community. Generations of Jazz musicians in the past may not have been able to be open and proud. So I do it for them.
Richard Cortez (performing 6/15 at 10:30PM):
Queer people are under attack in this country. This is nothing new, we have always been – only now it’s direct and not under the guise of a progressive society. My queerness is at the forefront of my music for this reason. Representation, queer folklore and storytelling are now more important than ever. I hope someday what I’m doing as an out artist in the jazz world carves out new spaces for younger queer people who love this music as much as I do. Nina Simone said it best – “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
Lee Taylor (performing 6/23 at 10:30PM):
Acceptance of my queerness varies state to state, and country to country when I am on tour. In the United States, I am now allowed to start a family with someone who does not identify as a cis het male, but in places like Florida with the “don’t say gay” bill, I would have to talk about my curly hair instead of my queerness. In my experiences as a performer—both as a musician and as a drag king—I travel at all times aware of my personal history and of the movement. I have been called slurs and have been frozen out of some show business environments because of my sexuality, but all this alienation does is make me stronger and louder. For Pride 2022 (as well as every pride), I am aligning myself with Mariah Ebony Lopez and STARR as she reclaims pride for the Black, Brown, and Indigenous trans women who started the movement. We still have such a long way to go.
C Anthony Bryant (performing 6/29 at 10:30PM): I am a global resident of many intersections. Black, SGL, Queer, Christian, and Questioning EVERYTHING. My life, my performance practice and my goals reflect my questioning. Walking in the humanity that I accept as my own reflects my questioning. My questioning reflects who I am as a Black, Same Gender Loving, Queer, Christian and Questioning individual. I THEN add to this my musicianship and who I am as a performer. My musicianship and the choices within said context all inform who I present as. I am free and I choose to be free musically and otherwise. THIS is what it means to be a part of the musical LBGTQIA community.