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In addition to being the Queens Pride stage manager for two years in a row, you are also the artist who has performed at the event the most – eight years and counting. Bring me back to your very first performance on their mainstage. Were you nervous? If so, are your feelings still the same now, or are you used to it?
Oh, how amazing it has been to be supported by the Queens community and the committee. Actually, my first introduction was when I was the stage manager and performer at Bronx Pride at such a young age. Since that performance it’s been an honor to be an artist that has been brought back over and over to share with the Queens community. I guess it’s a testament of what I’ve delivered and how important consistency in creating is. The audience has been a strong reason why I love Queens Pride; the Latino diversity makes me feel at home. I’m always nervous to perform, but who shows that! It’s what I do, and it’s in my spirit. Every time I get on that stage it is reminiscent of the last and how magically it’s different than the next. It always feels like home. Rain or shine, it has always been a memorable experience
and journey.

Tell me about some of the artists who will be performing this year.
Well, deciding who would be great to share with us this year was a challenge but also an opportunity to reach into my bag of goodies to connect and bring artists together. The host this year will be Tyra Allure, who has been a part of this performance journey with me and also is a great advocate for LGBT youth. Also, again, after such a success last year I will be dedicating the first hour to LGBT youth performers and allies. Youth participants are members of The Door’s performing arts department as well as other groups I have reached out to like Herencia, a salsa, flamenco youth ensemble and more. So to name a few and not give away too much of our entertainment, Cheer NY will join us as they have before in the opening of the stage. Lovari will share again with us performing and adding a powerful message to our event. Anthony Bruno with a live band, Tony Harris, Ms. Rey alongside her son and young performers from LaGuardia High School, CJ Tyson, salsa/ballroom dancers, vogue choreography, the band Ghostmouse, The Bleed, Hombres and more.

As for your own performances, you always bring something amazing musically and visually to the table. Can you give us a sneak peek of what we can expect from you this year?
Since I am kind of celebrating my years as a performer for Queens Pride and the last performer to hit the stage, I’m doing a mash-up of the times. I will be performing with members of my dance company La Santa Luz and with my young dancers form The Door. Maybe a flamenco solo, maybe Boricua Lover – who knows! A big celebration of how humbled and grateful I am to have had all of these experiences, and also to share with my cast from the past and give light to the future. It’s going to be a kaleidoscope of LOVE!

How is your new music project coming along?
This project I’m working on is very personal and different, and I have made a commitment to my spirit with a promise to the universe to not discuss any further till the project is complete. So to answer your question, it’s going GREAT! More information soon.

You work hands on with a lot of youth, specifically at The Door. Let our readers know about that.
The Door! I don’t even know where to begin, but it has been an amazing five years. To have been able to spearhead the dance program and now help in the development of what I like to say “the feeling” of the arts program has been a blessing. To assist in the journey of developing young people and their holistic being is what The
Door is about. We not only have arts programming, which includes music production, vocals, visual art, fashion, step and of course dance but also have mental health services, a health clinic, job placement and training, college support, a powerful runaway homeless youth program, legal advice and LGBT youth programming and support. Our population’s age range is from 12-21. All of our programs and services are FREE. A young person simply has to come by to become a member and become part of our safe space community.You can learn more about The Door at Door.org.

What’s in store for the remainder of the year?
Peace and the cleansing of my creative rebirth project! Also a fight for more awareness and funding for arts programming. I’m putting it out there, and I am on a mission! Oh, and a nice vacation away with…hmm, I’ll just stop there!

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