New York City’s Reinvigorated Pride Weekend Started With a Bike Ride & Drag Show

Planet Bushwig

On Friday night, for the first time in my life, Pride was really Pride. In recent years, I haven’t felt much “pride” toward the month of June—I’d go to the parade in Manhattan and spend the entire day partying, not truly thinking about what it is we should have been fighting for. But this year was different: Black Lives Matter and Bushwig joined together to kick off the weekend on Friday by bringing back the truest feeling of what created this movement—the Pride of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stonewall.

Bike riders started at Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick, Brooklyn, led by amazing Black drag queens. I watched bikers and non-bikers go ahead of the crowd to block upcoming streets, clearing a path for the rest of us. I watched people pass out water and masks and hand sanitizer. I watched my community and our allies take care of each other.

The bike ride ended at McCarren Park in Williamsburg, where hundreds of people joined to sit on the dirt and grass and learn. We listened to stories from Black sex workers, Indigenous people, and amazing performers. Then, we danced our asses off—all while looking simply fabulous. Like many other people said on Friday night, this year was more than just a party for me. During a time when more people are seeing the injustices toward Black and Brown people and the LGBTQIA+ movement, this year was significant. It was Black Pride for me. It was my first Pride as it should’ve been, and continued to be, from the beginning. Here are some of the people I met there.

What I’m wearing:
I biked over in Keds and a pastel pink and cyan starburst skirt I scooped from a Proenza Schouler sample sale, paired with a bootleg Vogue shirt with a iridescent ruffle poof. Wigs were suggested, so I brought out my pink bob which I sewed pink and white flowers into for a floral-themed night at House of Yes. I dress in a joyful way for special occasions because I think we all should celebrate the beautiful parts of our lives as often as possible. The community here is something to celebrate, even if we’re out because we’re outraged by injustice.

What Pride means to me this year:
Pride is finding creative ways to be tender with myself and take care of my mental health so I can show up for my friends and my community. 2020, honestly, has been a tough year for growth and I hope to survive it.

—Rashida Prattis, she/her, Bed-Stuy

What I’m wearing:
Just a lovely black marble neoprene number with a mask to match. As a community, we’re beautiful and strong like stone when we look out for one another. So let’s get our voices heard but keep our masks up.

What Pride means to me this year:
Pride has gone back to its roots. Pride was and is a riot. We have the rights we have because of Trans women of color, Marsha and Sylvia. 50 years later, we’re still fighting that same fight. Pride became a party with corporations, and this year they cancelled that aspect, but they didn’t cancel Pride. The riot continues.

—Arya Klos, she/her/hers, Bed-Stuy

What I’m wearing:
My outfit is a second-hand find from a local thrift store in Brooklyn. It’s light and flouncy and really snugs my cleavage. Perfect for pounding the pavement!

What Pride means to me this year:
This year, Pride, for me, is about self-reflection and how I can use my privilege and voice to elevate Queer and Trans people of color. Pride is a protest! This year, we’ve shed the consumeristic and sanitized Frosted Flakes Capital One version of Pride. We’re taking it to the streets and fighting against systemic racism, police brutality, and institutionalized white supremacy! Enough is enough!

—Jason Hill, he/him/his, Bed-Stuy

What I’m wearing:
I got my outfit from Rainbow on Fulton St. and my “Chromatica” boots from Demonia. Then I threw on some cut-off shorts, fishnets, and called it a day.

What Pride means to me this year:
Pride is a way of life! We should all be proud regardless of our sexual orientation. This Pride is somewhat different this year with COVID-19 and the continual #blacklivesmatter—so I call this year’s pride “BLACK PRIDE.”

—Dezi 5, he/him, Bed-Stuy

What I’m wearing:
It’s an easy, breezy summer tube dress with a mes- front neon-green ‘do.

What Pride means to me this year:
This year pride means “fuck rainbow capitalism”

—Alan, he/him, Crown Heights

What I’m wearing:
My outfit is a combination of thrifted pieces and independent designers including I Do Declare and Bagtazo! Pastels are my very favorite and pretty much my exclusive palette. I love playing with different shades to create dynamic looks.

What Pride means to me this year:
Pride means acknowledging your legacy and wearing your identity with honor. I take so much pride in my place in Queer community and this year I feel so at home in these changing times. Pride means loving yourself and celebrating that love as a form of solidarity and activism for your fellow people! Pride. is. Strength.

—C’était Bontemps, he/they, Crown Heights

Friday night’s event raised nearly $10,000 for GLITS (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society)—go here to learn more and donate.


Nik Antonio

Nik Antonio is a Black Queer photographer working around the topics of sexuality, identity, the body, and race. When he’s not directing or creating images, you’d probably find him watching movies with cheesy cliches, eating tea-flavored ice creams, or lying in his backyard with Araba (his pit bull.)

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