NEW YORK (WABC) -- This year's NYC Pride March may have been canceled, but Channel 7 partnered with NYC Pride for a new kind of celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the march.
The celebration of the first Pride March held in 1970 may have been a different due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the tradition of commemorating the LGBTQIA+ movement continued.
In this unique year, NYC Pride committed to saluting front-line workers alongside several leaders in the community being honored as Grand Marshals: Dan Levy, The Ali Forney Center, Yanzi Peng, and Victoria Cruz. The special will feature performances by Janelle Monáe, Deborah Cox, Billy Porter, Luisa Sonza, and more. The show featured appearances by Wilson Cruz, Miss Richfield 1981, Margaret Cho, and others. WABC's Ken Rosato and Lauren Glassberg will host the special joined by special guest co-host Carson Kressley, along with Sam Champion and Kemberly Richardson.
"NYC Pride is a special place for so many. I couldn't imagine a year without celebrating with the fabulous LBGTQ people in New York," said Kressley. "When I was asked to join this special broadcast event with my friends at WABC it was a no brainer. Pride is something we carry with us all year long, and though we can't be together in the way we are accustomed I'm grateful to be a part of it in this way."
WATCH: Carson Kressley discusses 50th anniversary of NYC Pride March
The NYC Pride 2020 Grand Marshals:
- Dan Levy is an Emmy nominated showrunner, and writer, actor, director, and producer, best known for his work on one of the most beloved shows on television, Schitt's Creek, which he co-created with his father Eugene Levy. The sitcom recently ended a wildly successful run after six seasons. A pioneer in seamlessly representing LGBTQ+ people in a positive light this show and Levy stands out in television history.
- The Ali Forney Center is the nation's largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to caring and creating safe housing options for homeless LGBTQ youth. The organization creates programs designed to help young people overcome the traumas of homelessness and family rejection through medical and mental health services, and substance abuse treatment.
- Yanzi Peng is a human rights activist, the Executive Director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, and Director of China Rainbow Media Awards.
- Victoria Cruz is an American LGBTQIA+ rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor.
"The NYC Pride March is such a pillar of our community and I am incredibly honored to be recognized alongside the other Grand Marshals on its 50th anniversary," said Dan Levy. "While the physical circumstances are less than ideal, our community has always come together in the face of adversity, and this year's broadcast is no exception. I am so inspired by the opportunity we've been given to celebrate together."
"While we are saddened to not be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NYC Pride March in person, we are thrilled to still be able to recognize our Grand Marshals," said March Director Brian J. Heck. "These inspiring pillars of the LGBTQIA+ community are leading the way as we begin the journey of the next 50 years of Pride. This year we are also proud to honor all of the front-line workers who put their health at risk to unconditionally serve our LGBTQIA+ community with love and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. These heroes prove that the future is a place where we embrace the full rainbow of our community."
NYC Pride is also responsible for producing events like Pride Island that welcomes celebrity performers for a weekend of music and dancing. Through in-person events like this were canceled, this year's headliner, Janelle Monáe didn't want to miss out on 2020. The broadcast special featured a performance by the creative, afro-futuristic singer.
This special broadcast with WABC Channel 7 comes in response to ongoing conversations with the community. The show was broadcast on WABC, Channel 7 and is available on-demand at abc7ny.com, the station's free news and connected TV app, on abc.com and on Hulu.