It’s Pride Month! Throughout June, HollywoodLife is celebrating with The Sound Of Pride, where celebs and stars of the LBGTQ+ community pick songs for the ultimate 2023 Pride Month playlist. It’s the perfect soundtrack to planning your Pride party, researching how to protect LGBTQ+ rights, or reading about the history of Pride Month. As Pride rounds the corner into the final stretch, Rayvon Owen takes a moment to honor those who inspire him.
It’s an understatement of sorts when Rayvon Owen tells HollywoodLife that “Pride 2023 hits different.” At the start of the month, the forecast was doom and gloom, considering the sheer number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills floating around the state legislatures in the United States. Recently, the community has scored some victories – the Tennessee drag ban was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, and a federal judge in Arkansas struck down the state’s first-ever ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender minors – but Rayvon knows that this doesn’t mean the fight is over.
“There’s a newfound sense of freedom and exploration within our community,” he tells HL when picking songs for our Pride Month playlist, The Sound of Pride. “On the flip side, there’s also a deeper understanding of the importance of our visibility in order to combat the rise of anti-drag and anti-trans culture and legislation.”
This isn’t to say that the LGBTQ+ community is going to let its haters rain on their Pride Parade. Rayvon released “What Hurst More Than Loving” and “Work It” in May, and performed on the main stage of LA’s Outloud Pride Festival at the start of June. On June 25, he’ll perform the National Anthem and the Halftime Show for the Connecticut Sun‘s game against the Chicago Sky. Before he hits the court, check out his picks for HL‘s Pride Month playlist.
VINCINT, “Take Me Home”
“These are some songs that are special to me this Pride Month 2023. My dear friend, VINCINT, has become a staple artist within our community and “Take Me Home” only further solidifies his mark in music.”
Janelle Monáe, “Lipstick Lover”
“I love ‘Lipstick Lover’ so much – it reminds me of pleasure, partying and good energy. Janelle Monáe is a wonder and inspiration…”
Demi Lovato, “Cool For The Summer (Rock Version)”
“…So is my other dear friend, Demi Lovato. “Cool For The Summer” means so much to me and I know others in the LGBTQ+ community. I felt seen when I first heard this song and saw the iconic music video we all wish we could be in.
Zac Poor, “Catapult”
“I guess this is a list of friends because Zac Poor also inspires me and has been a personal influence in my songwriting and artistry. Overall, Pride 2023 is, to me, about community. An era of support and love: the true meaning of PRIDE.”
Rayvon Owen, “What Hurts More Than Loving”
“Can I pick my own song? [laughs].”
HL: How does Pride 2023 feel when compared to last year’s?
RAYVON: “Pride 2023 hits different. There’s a newfound sense of freedom and exploration within our community. On the flip side, there’s also a deeper understanding of the importance of our visibility in order to combat the rise of anti-drag and anti-trans culture and legislation.”
Pride is a time to celebrate unsung heroes. So, who would you’d like to see get some more of the spotlight this year?
“There’s a TikToker by the name of Parker (@parkergetajob) who is a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community. Daily, he goes live in front of 2k+ viewers and proves person after person wrong who try to challenge him against either why being gay is immoral or trans issues. It’s fascinating to watch and not only does he sometimes open the minds of the person he’s debating, he’s explaining these issues in a way people watching can logically understand.”
Do you have a memory of Pride Months past that you’d like to share?
“I really enjoyed playing Tulsa Pride last summer. My boyfriend Ezra, aka “Daisy Doo,” joined me onstage in drag. We had such a great time celebrating together and it felt good to be open and proud with someone that I love.”
What do you have planned for June (and the rest of 2023?)
“I’ve got my new EP, Real, coming this summer!! Excited to share this new music and perform it live around the country.”
Do you have a Pride 2023 message to share?
“Hold tight onto who you are. Judge a tree by its fruit: if who you are and who you love feels good and isn’t hurting you or others around you, then shine bright. If you’re still figuring things out, take your time. Some fruit takes time to ripen.”