This year Wilton Manor's Pride may be one for the books, literally, as the festival attempts to organize the “longest line of dancing drag queens” where an anticipated 150 queens will march in all their glory to set a Guinness Book world record.
That's not all the buzz though, this year will feature headline act Grammy nominated international superstar Sheila E. Also to preform is Florida's very own and season 3 “X-Factor” competitor Lillie McCould. The festival takes place Saturday June 21along Wilton Drive from noon to 11 p.m. With three different stages, this family friend event will include various LGBT community vendors, food trucks and a frozen-drinks tent.
This year’s Twilight Parade is set to kick off at 7 p.m. beginning on the South end of Wilton Drive near Fort Lauderdale High school, continuing up the drive to the Five Points intersection at Dixie Highway. Bleacher seating will be made available at various locations on the drive for parade spectators. The parade will feature its annual Parade Contest in two prize categories “Over the Top, Grand Prize Float” and “Best Walking Group” Parade entry will begin at 4:30 p.m., last entry into the parade will be no later than 6:45 p.m.
This year mark's the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which is often known at the starting point of the gay rights movement. It all started on the morning of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street in New York City.
As police stormed in and barred the doors, Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine announced “Police! We're taking the place!” It was standard procedure that police would take men dressed as women into the rest room to check for gender identification and arrest those who were actually male. That night though bar patrons refused to comply with police. Bystanders who were witnessing the brutality of police, gathered outside the bar.
Soon a crowd of 600 gays and supporting allies were rioting against police, and the riots that followed sparked a national campaign that would begin the gay rights movement.
“No one outside the city knew about Stonewall until much after it was a paragraph in the New York papers, but it was the spark that started a fire,” recalled South Florida resident Michael Kaminski. “The NYC police raided gay bars back then, this was the first time anyone fought back.”
An inside look at Sheila E
Born in Oakland California, Sheila E was a rising young star of the Bay Area. Born to percussionist father Pete Escovedo, whom she attributes to being her biggest influence and role model. Sheila comes from a long line of musical talent, including Santana band mate Coke Escovdeo, singer songwriter uncle Alejandro Escovedo and salsa & Latin Jazz composer godfather Tito Puente.
“I don't look at my music as work. It's a gift I've been able to share,” Sheila told SFGN. “Music is a source to communicate to many people.”
Sheila who has been musical inclined since the age of 5 was self-taught. Track Star Sheila was training for the Olympics until she had the opportunity to really showcase her talent. At the age of 15 she had the opportunity to fill in as percussionist for Santana and two weeks later was on tour with the legendary band.
Sheila made her recording debut with jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson in 1978. By her early 20's she had preformed with the industries biggest stars, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and George Duke. By the 1980's Sheila would go to collaborate with Prince on the Purple Rain recording sessions and produce hit songs “The Belle of St. Mark,” “A Love Bizarre” and the Grammy nominated hit “The Glamorous Life.” Over the years Sheila was go on to work and preform with numerous artist, Phil Collins, Beyonce and Cyndi Lauper.
After 12 years without a studio album release, Sheila recently released her seventh studio album titled “Icon.” The album has been described as a musical love letter that has something for everyone. Sheila also spoke of her soon to be released autobiography “The Beat of My Own Drum” adding “I've been so busy, I didn't even realize it had been so long since my last album release. While writing my autobiography reflecting on music and my life, it added an incredible amount of inspiration to my album.”
Sheila has not only been an active supporter of her LGBT fans but of the human race. “I don't look at people differently. I don't categorize everyone. I belong to everyone. We all love each other.”