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With LGBTQ+ Rights Under Threat, Madonna Creates a Safe Space During NYC Pride


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Though I’m only 24 years old, if I’m being honest, there are very few reasons I would leave my apartment after 10 P.M. on a work night. A lover? Probably not. A slice of New York City pizza? Maybe. Secret Madonna performance for Pride Month? C’mon, sign me up!

So when a co-worker slid into my DMs and offered me a ticket in her stead, I was physically unable to turn it down. Right then and there, I slid on my best club-approved black T-shirt, wiggled into some printed pants, grabbed my roommate, and headed to Terminal 5, the perfect venue in Midtown Manhattan for an NYC Pride Week treat.

And boy, did it deliver. Madonna, along with a coterie of drag queens, queer artists, and dancers, gave an expectedly jolting performance at the World of Women NFT event. Entitled “Finally Enough Love” in honor of the star’s 2022 dance remix album, Madge sure knows how to throw gay old night. Belvedere Vodka sponsored, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen emceed, co-star and fellow winner Violet Chachki performed a spicy burlesque dance sequence, and fellow show alum Laganja Estranja made quite a point that she would most likely take the crown on an All Stars season (please come back, I beg of you). The queen of pop was also joined by Dominican rapper Tokischa (with whom she later shared a passionate kiss, more on that later…), Saucy Santana, and Pixie Aventura, rounding out an A-list roster dressed for the gods.

Throughout the night, it was easy to be enamored by the environment. A giant disco ball hung over the crowd, Madonna’s face could be found on just about every open wall, and the crowd wore…basically anything they could find to express themselves. As LGBTQ+ rights continue to come under attack across the country and beyond, the environment felt like a refuge, a place to celebrate love and get drunk with your best friends while belting out “Vogue” at the top of your lungs.

Coming out at roughly 12 A.M. after mind-bending performances from the drag queens, Madonna first joined Tokischa and Pixie Aventura on stage to perform a remix of Tokischa’s “Linda” and her own hit “Hung Up.” The beat gyrated as Madonna and Tokischa, well, gyrated. The two then recreated one of the most iconic MTV Video Music Awards moments ever, making out à la Britney Spears and Madonna (and Christina Aguilera) in 2003. “It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it,” Madonna said post-smooch. “I had too much lipstick on.”

madonna and tokischa new york pride

Tokischa and Madonna.

Courtesy Ricardo Gomes

Madonna then spoke to the crowd, dropping iconic one-liners faster than she drops hits. Some highlights:

“I’m on time, and you’re late. What’s up with that? Did you have a better party to go to? Then why were you late? Crickets.”

“This was the city where I was born. I came out of my mothers vagina in Bay City, Michigan, but I was born in New York City.”

“In case you didn’t know, one of the reasons New York is so great is that I’m pretty sure the first queer human evolved from this city. I think they came from the caves of Central Park West.”

“If you can make it here, then you probably are so queer.”

“There’s one more reason why New York City is the best city in the world. We have the best pizza. Give it up for the pizza in New York.”

    After the crowd poured one out for the caliber of pizza in New York (most with a Madonna-themed cocktail in hand), Bob the Drag Queen performed again, and Saucy Santana came out and sang a remixed and relyricized version of his song “Material Gworl” with Madonna, who donned a custom Versace suit dress—a nod to the backup dancers in her own “Material Girl” music video. The show culminated with a rendition of “Celebration,” featuring the full cast of talent. (TBH, I’m still recovering.)

    madonna saucy santana new york pride

    Madonna and Saucy Santana.

    Courtesy Ricardo Gomes

    Following the set, many continued to dance as DJs mixed Madonna songs with miscellaneous thumping beats. Others took commemorative photos, and many happily left the venue with a goodie bag in hand, followed by free pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream right outside the venue’s doors.

    Earlier in the night, Bob the Drag Queen said, “When you’re a queer person, you never have to justify your fucking love.” And in that Madonna-filled space, no one had to justify a thing, whether it be a DFMO (dance floor make out) or something more, because there was “Finally Enough Love” to go around.

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