By Kendra Sitton
Pride’s primary goal with festival talent this year was to share the work of local artists who have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic. Still, three of the headliners are international rising stars descending on San Diego just for the Pride Festival on the weekend of July 16-17.
“We’re back and people are coming together after three years of being a part,” said Pride Executive Director Fernando Lopez. “I know we all miss each other. I know we all miss the joy of Pride. I can’t wait to see the crowds of people being happy, being excited, finding love, comfort and community. That is just going to make my year.”
They said ticket sales in June were up 20% from previous years which speaks to how excited people are to bring the celebration back.
Lopez said the two extra years and larger Pride staff helped the organization choose performers with more intentionality. While Pride has always tried to ensure the artists on stage cared about the organization’s values, this year they were able to have deeper conversations with the artists and do a deeper study of how they use their platforms. The musicians invited to perform already used their platforms to advocate for LGBT+ issues and are connected to the LGBT+ community.
Snow Tha Product, who is local, and Daya are the headliners for Saturday. Baby Tate and Ashnikko take the stage on Sunday.
Snow Tha Product
Grammy-nominated Snow Tha Product is a singer, rapper and actress. She also happened to grow up in San Diego.
“Growing up in San Diego, it brings me so much happiness to be able to be a part of such an important event for queer people like myself,” said Saturday’s performer Snow Tha Product.
Since 2009, the multi-talented queer woman has remained in the public eye. Snow tha Product is bilingual and raps in both English and Spanish. The music video for the song “Immigrants (we Get the Job Done)” on the “Hamilton Mixtape” won a VMA in 2017; she is featured on the song among other rappers. Her Youtube vlog “everydaydays” has also made waves. As for acting, she has gained recognition for starring in USA Network’s “Queen of the South.”
Snow Tha Product will be right at home performing from 7:45-8:45 p.m. on Saturday.
Daya became hugely popular in 2016 with double-platinum “Hide Away” and quickly won a Grammy Award for her collaboration with The Chainsmokers “Don’t Let Me Down.” In 2017, she was the youngest person on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 music list. She continues to release music while also using her platform to raise money for LGT+-serving organizations like G.L.I.T.
“It’s important and especially relevant because of what’s been happening in this country with regard to the very harmful and regressive LGBTQ – and specifically trans-exclusionary – bills being passed,” said Saturday’s headliner Daya. “It’s more crucial than ever to carve out spaces where we can not only feel visible and protected from these attacks but also celebrated and lifted up for who we are.”
One of the bisexual woman’s recent releases, “What if I Told You,” was original music written for “The L Word: Generation Q.”
Daya will be on the Stonewall stage from 9-10 p.m. on Saturday.
Atlanta-based Baby Tate, formerly known as Yung Baby Tate, has a sprawling sound. She switches effortlessly between rap, summery pop and R&B. Her sound has continued to evolve since she first began releasing music in 2015.
Through it all, the 25-year-old promotes women’s empowerment and joy. Most recently, her single “I Am” gained popularity as a female anthem.
“As a bisexual Black woman in this world, justice is not something that was easily obtained for me,” said Sunday’s performer Baby Tate. “Knowing those hardships makes supporting the LGBTQ social justice movement a no-brainer. We all deserve to freely love who we choose in peace.”
Inspired by her mother’s soul music career, Baby Tate began honing her skills as a singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and engineer at just 13 years old. To this day, Baby Tate writes and produces all of her own songs which often include sex positive messages in the lyrics.
She will take the stage on Sunday from 6-6:45 p.m. before drag show True Colors Revue.
Ashnikko describes herself as a blue-haired bubble gum pop punk provocateur. Her collaboration with Baby Tate that spawned “Stupid” went viral on Tik Tok in 2019. Baby Tate will also be performing in this year’s festival just two hours before Ashnikko takes the stage.
Since 2019, Ashnikko’s star has continued to rise and she released her debut mixtape “Demidevil” earlier this year. Singles “Daisy” and “Slumber Party,” which features Princess Nokia, are some of her most popular songs.
“Queer people deserve safety, love, fairy tale endings, and a space in our communities to be ourselves,” said Ashnikko. “It’s about celebrating ourselves in the face of people who try to squash and deny our existence.”
Ashnikko’s career has not been without setbacks. She was set to tour with Doja Cat in 2020 but the tour was canceled due to the pandemic. However, she stayed in the spotlight by releasing “Cry” featuring Grimes.
Ashnikko became popular in the U.K. faster than in the states as she resides in London. She has been nominated for several U.K. music awards, including best pop music video for “Cry” at the 2020 UK Music Video Awards.
Ashnikko grew up in North Carolina until her family moved to Estonia then Latvia as a teen. At 18, she moved to London.
Her performance on Sunday, July 15 from 8-9 p.m. on the Stonewall stage may be a taste of her October tour.