Looks like Portland's queer pride fest is starting to deliver on their promise of more diversity and "unity" in this year's festival - at least if the entertainment they just began announcing is any indication.
According to Pride Northwest board member Hank Renfrow, the fest has booked up-and-coming hip-hop artist Melange Lavonne as one of two headlining acts this year (the other, she says, they're veeeery close to announcing publicly). Also up in the entertainment line-up for the June 12-14 festival: Portland Taiko, a bevvy of local queer DJ's, and a Portland-based belly-dancing troupe, among other interesting choices.
But back to that headlining act... who exactly, you might be wondering, is Melange Lavonne? I'll admit I'd never heard of her, either. Well apparently she's a black lesbian rapper slash hip-hopper at the forefront of the new queer hip-hop scene (she toured with HomoRevolution in 2007 and '08), and first started turning heads with her brash music video from 2007, "Gay Bash," which chronicles the whole sorry story of a fictional gay man murdered by a group of bashers. A sample lyric: "You ain't a Christian, you go and preach hate / You call yourself a church, together you congregate / You turn around and point the finger, discriminate / Ya spit in my face, condemn me for bein' gay."
Well people, it's not your everyday hip-hop fare, and ya gotta give the Pride peeps some props for choosing someone risky and relatively unknown to headline this year's festival. Anyhow, here's that "Gay Bash" video - thumbs up or thumbs down, Blogtownies?