Jersey City, New Jersey, is often nicknamed “The Sixth Borough” of New York City, thanks to its close proximity to the Big Apple and its easy connection to Manhattan via the busy PATH trains. Jersey City boasts a colorful and active LGBTQ community, who celebrate Jersey City LGBTQ+ Pride every August. As a precursor to Pride, The Fringe Fest Equality Rocks Spectacular, now in its fourth year, was held in Jersey City’s Van Vorst Park on Saturday, August 14th. The open-air musical event was presented by Jersey City singer/artist/milliner Evan Laurence. This year, Evan’s Special Guest was Award-winning singer/actor/artist Felipe Rose, the original Native American of the iconic Village People. Rose, who calls Asbury Park, New Jersey his home, premiered his new single Dance Again, a high-energy musical invitation for everyone to return to the dancefloor en masse. Destined to become a new club anthem for 2021, Dance Again takes on a new meaning as the world slowly recovers from the coronavirus lockdown. This is Rose’s fourth single as a solo artist. That afternoon, in addition to Dance Again, Rose also performed what is perhaps Village People’s best-loved and most well-known classic: YMCA. He even taught the audience the RIGHT way to “do” the YMCA, one letter at a time!
The Fringe Fest Equality Rocks Spectacular also featured performances by a wide variety of movers and shakers from all six boroughs, including performer, writer, and LGBTQ activist Lady Clover Honey; singer/songwriter, activist, and entertainer Riqi Velez; singer Cecilē Williams; singer, actor, producer, and lyricist Frankie Allday; visual artist, entertainer, and cosplay drag queen Samore Love; singer, actor, TV host, and LGBTQ activist Tym Moss; and Evan Laurence himself, which included both Laurence’s original material and some mirthful parodies of selections from the Great American Pop Culture songbook. George Soull and Right On Shawn provided the sound system, and David Slone was the DJ for the festivities.
The event was made possible by JC Cultural Affairs, Friends of Van Vorst Park, and Eddie Baez.