Earlier this month, Taylor Swift spoke out in support of the Equality Act, which is designed to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Early Friday (June 14), she followed it up with “You Need to Calm Down,” which shouts out GLAAD, references a man in a gown and tells homophobes that screaming and “shade never made anybody less gay.” And on Friday evening, Swift appeared at Stonewall Inn for a surprise performance at a Pride celebration event put on by AEG and Stonewall Inn.
“Thank you for having me Stonewall, and happy Pride!” Swift said to a shrieking, intimate crowd on the bar’s second floor. Introduced by host Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Swift said she’d heard “Shake It Off” was his favorite karaoke song and promptly launched into the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit — and even let the Modern Family star join her to tell off the liars and the cheats at the end.
The event comes in conjunction with AEG’s pledge to support the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), which focuses on developing an LGBTQ+ anti-bias training standard and creating safe spaces. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, commonly cited as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Before Swift capped off the event, Sara Bareilles got people misty-eyed with her coming-out empowerment anthem “Brave” and “Gravity,” which has its origins in indie queer film; rising pop newcomer VINCINT knocked the crowd down with his substantial vocal prowess on “Magic” (at one point, he dropped the mic and you could hear his voice every bit as clear); Broadway vet Gavin Creel (hot off a Tony for Hello, Dolly!) sang a song from Hair and an original about coming out to his mom; and Lea DeLaria belted a killer jazzy cover of David Bowie’s “Fame.”
Additional performances came from drag queen Jackie Dupree, who co-hosted with Ferguson, and a song from Oscar the Crown, an immersive club musical experience inspired by Oscar Wilde, as sung by Jessica Vosk (a celebrated Elphaba from Wicked).