The City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride producer JJLA today announced that the Icons for this year’s WeHo Pride Weekend Pride Parade will be RuPaul’s Drag Race, Laith Ashley, Niecy Nash-Betts & Jessica Betts, and Melissa McCarthy. WeHo Pride will honor these trailblazers and allies as this year’s Icons for their work in bringing the LGBTQ community and social justice issues to the forefront, as well as expanding queer representation in mainstream pop culture.
The WeHo Pride Parade will step-off at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sunday, June 4, 2023 beginning at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and will travel westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.
Full of music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and creative flair, the WeHo Pride Parade is free and open to the public embracing LGBTQ representation, inclusion, and progress.
KTLA is the official broadcast partner of the 2023 WeHo Pride Parade. For those not able to attend in-person, tune-in for WeHo Pride Parade coverage on KTLA 5, KTLA + and KTLA.com featuring Cher Calvin, Pedro Rivera, the KTLA Family, and surprise special guests.
“The City of West Hollywood is pleased to kick off another WeHo Pride celebration filled with engaging activities and plenty of opportunities to celebrate the LGBTQ community,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Our WeHo Pride Parade Icons embody queer joy and fierce allyship by creating spaces where our community can be celebrated, whether that’s on the red carpet or directly through their art and advocacy. We’re thrilled to celebrate the impact our Icons have in creating a more evolved and accepting world.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race is being celebrated as this year’s Drag Icon and will join the WeHo Pride Parade on a float accompanied by a number of fan favorites from the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise. Long-time host and judge Michelle Visage will be receiving the Drag Icon award on behalf of the franchise. The illustrious Drag Race series has produced some of the most globally famous drag queens, and the City of West Hollywood is thrilled to include Drag Race participants in this year’s parade including Angeria, Gigi Goode, Gottmik, June Jambalaya, Rock M. Sakura, Symone, and more. Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and World of Wonder (WOW), the franchise has reshaped international pop culture, earning 27 Emmys, and has created a global network. Fans can catch the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Receiving this year’s Breakthrough Icon award is Laith Ashley, a model, actor, and activist who launched his career with a campaign for Barneys New York in February 2014. As of 2023, Ashley was the male lead in Taylor Swift’s Lavender Haze music video, and in 2017, he was the first transgender man to be featured in an ad campaign for the Diesel brand. Since then, he has volunteered with nonprofit organizations like FLUX and the transgender division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Before beginning his career in the entertainment industry, Ashley was a counselor for homeless youth in New York City and spearheaded trans sensitivity training in medical facilities and homeless shelters. He now uses his platform to help inform others about the trans experience and other marginalized groups, as well as advocate for social justice in hopes of a more open, loving, and accepting world.
Actress Niecy Nash-Betts and singer-songwriter Jessica Betts will be honored with the title of Trailblazer Icons for blazing their own trail in Hollywood. The married couple has made HERstory on their own terms by finding love and leaning in. In 2022, Niecy and Jessica became the first same-sex partners to appear on the cover of Essence magazine. The cover story received a nomination for a 2023 GLAAD Media Award in the category of “Outstanding Print Article.” Niecy has gained recognition as an Emmy Award®-winning producer and three-time Emmy-nominated actress best known for her roles on Comedy Central’s RENO 911!, ABC’s The Rookie: Feds and Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. She is also the host of Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on FOX. Early in her career, Jessica was crowned the winner of Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott. She he has toured with numerous renowned artists and has been inducted into the BET Music Matters showcase. In recent years Jessica has continued to release music and acted alongside her wife on Comedy Central’s Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist, TNT’s Claws and ABC’s The Rookie: Feds where she and Niecy played a same-sex couple.
Melissa McCarthy has been named WeHo Pride’s 2023 Ally Icon and is being recognized for her outspoken allyship and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, McCarthy, known for her roles in Bridesmaids, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Tammy, Ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, and much more, is a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community and has recently been very outspoken against the anti-drag laws that are being introduced by state legislatures across the country.
About the City of West Hollywood and WeHo Pride
Pride Starts Here. For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.
WeHo Pride Weekend (June 2 – 4) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the annual Dyke March; Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD @ WeHo Pride music festival; and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month. The 40-day WeHo Pride Arts Festival (May 22 – June 30) takes place at various locations throughout West Hollywood, along with selected online programming. Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at www.wehopride.com and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.