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"Come celebrate being you" at Latinx Pride

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Photo courtesy of the artists
Photo courtesy of the artists

If you're looking for a celebration rich in culture at this weekend's PrideFest, look no further than Latinx Pride. Organized by Latin Rose and Jack Mozie, the event will feature many of Seattle's best Latinx LGBTQ+ performers and allies, bringing together community, family, and of course fabulousness.

Rose and Mozie have been working for months to put together the event, which is now considered a staple of the yearly Pridefest. "It definitely took more than a couple of hours," Rose remarked. "How many hours do you think we've been working on this, Jack?"

"I've lost count. Definitely we are in double digits for sure," Mozie joked.

The two have been working on this over the past year, but their history at PrideFest goes way beyond Latinx Pride. In 2014 Mozie was asked to judge the Pride Idol competition. As he prepared for his role, a talented singer caught his eye. "I [saw] Ruth singing karaoke, and I thought in my head, 'Why am I judging this? She should be judging this.' And I just went up to her and I said, 'You have to do this!' We need a woman to win, and we need a Latinx woman to win this year, and if anybody can do it, it's her." Rose showed up to the competition, and the rest was history.

"He was a great support system throughout the whole process, and it was a pivotal moment in my life, because I got to meet somebody that is now a really good friend of mine, and we're getting to do this exciting event together and probably more events in the future," said Rose.

The friendship the two share has helped them in the process of bringing together such an important event. "Our complementary skills have worked really well this year. We have done a really good job at aligning and making sure everything gets done," Mozie added.

"You know, it's been quite a great experience, especially getting to work with Ruth this year. Some of the people we are working with are incredibly talented. We have had a lot of rehearsals, and we've come up with some really interesting things, especially with some of the tributes we've had. We have a tribute to Selena on Saturday and Celia Cruz on Sunday, and our dancers have been working so hard on coming up with the choreography and putting it all together. It's gonna be fun."

The performers
The event, which will run for an hour on Saturday and an hour on Sunday, will feature all kinds of Latinx performers, from drag to singers and dancers. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.

The show will also feature special guests and some surprises. "I think we can mention, at least for the Sunday tribute, that we have a very special guest joining us," said Mozie. "She is mostly retired, as far as drag performances go, but just because she loves Ruth so much, she is going to join us on Sunday.

"Her name is La Gorda; she used to host all the Latin nights at Neighbours for many years, which is one of the reasons Ruth and I are so prevalent in this community as performers, because she gave us a space to work at our craft and build an audience, and now she is joining us. She really brings Celia [Cruz] to the stage."

The excitement doesn't stop with the special appearance of La Gorda. "You can expect a lot of dancing for sure! As a matter of fact, right around, I believe, 4:10, we have another little surprise. I won't spoil it all the way, but about ten minutes into the show, you'll see a little surprise."

What else can guests expect to find at Latinx Pride? "Definitely a lot of rhythm," Mozie said. "Yes! It is going to be so colorful," Rose added. "[There will be] a lot of free goodies that we are going to be giving out and throwing from the stage, and a lot of candy!"

The merch will definitely be flowing at Latinx Pride as well, with many special prizes rumored to be thrown to lucky audience members from the stage.

Attendees will have a lot to take away from Latinx Pride. "Number one, they're going to be taking away a lot of merchandise from me, lots of candy," said Rose. "And they're going to leave with positive vibes and positive energy. We're out there happy-go-lucky, we'll jump into the crowd, we want to make sure everybody leaves happy with what they just heard. We're out there with the vocals, with the dance moves, we're really going to dance for you."

Pride and the Latinx community
Aside from the exciting performances, the amazing and colorful energy, and the promise of many goodies to be had, Latinx Pride holds a special place for many members of Seattle's LGBTQ+ community. The event provides a space for Latinx Queer people to celebrate their intersectional identities and share parts of their lives with close families and friends.

"We have such a huge Latinx community, and within the community such a big LGBTQ+ Latinx community, and we don't serve that. At least we haven't before," said Mozie, speaking to the ways in which large Pride events have historically excluded people of color.

"We have had our own Latin events for Pride produced by different people, but at Pride proper, we hadn't really had a focus moment that was just about that particular intersection, and I think having that now it has made such a big difference. At least for me, as a creator and even as an audience member, when I'm not on stage to go, 'Hey, we are actually a part of this...

"It gives us our own space and also lets us celebrate our culture, Rose added. "Every culture is a little bit different, and seeing somebody and going, 'Oh, that's a reflection of myself up there,' that's a special thing."

"I think another thing too, especially for the Latinx community: a lot of us are very family based. A lot of us are immigrants," added Mozie. "Being able to have that moment of pride, it means I get to share that moment with my mother, with my aunt, and my cousin. People who normally would go to Neighbours or other Pride events will go to this with me, and 'Hey, we're gonna dance to some salsa today.'

"That means something to them and it allows us to get connected with people on a different level, so having that opportunity at Pride, that's something that means a lot."

Latinx Pride also gives Latinx LGBTQ+ people the ability to share parts of their world with friends and family who might not understand them, bridging gaps between two vibrant communities.

The event is sure to be a hit, and Mozie and Rose want to make sure that everyone gets the chance to come celebrate Latinx Pride.

"I think just, if anything, if you're reading this article and you're Latinx, come celebrate being you. I know a lot of times we live in a community that is very white-centric, and we don't get much representation, but for this hour, we get to just be celebrated. So come be as Gay as you want to be, as proud as you want to be, and just have fun."

The Latinx Pride showcases will take place Saturday, Sept. 4 at noon and Sunday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. at Harrson and Broadway on Capitol Hill.