How brands are showing their Pride this month
The momentum around Pride month and the LGBTQ+ community is only growing. More brands than ever are donning rainbows and equal signs, donating to LGBTQ+ causes and launching their own Pride-themed events and merchandise to show their support and connect with people who back the cause.
This year, efforts are especially abundant as WorldPride is coming to the United States for the first time, marking the 50th anniversary of the tragic Stonewall Uprising. Millions of people will visit New York City for events spanning the month of June, with an expected 4.5 million marching in the Pride Parade on June 30, and everyone wants in on the action.
Here’s how brands are participating:
An abundance of Pride collections
It seems like every year there are more and more brands coming out with their own colorful Pride collections, whether it’s T-shirts, hats or shoes. Usually, proceeds go towards nonprofits that support LGBTQ+ rights and the community or brands make a donation ahead of time.
For some brands, Pride collections are a natural fit. MeUndies, for instance, was built on the premise of inclusivity and self-expression. The brand is in it’s third year of involving Pride in its collections and advertising and, this year, it’s Pride collection is in association with DJ and EDM producer GRiZ, an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. From every pair sold, $1 will be donated to Miley Cyrus’ nonprofit Happy Hippie Foundation.
J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Under Armour, Gap, Calvin Klein, American Eagle, Nordstrom, Express and DKNY have their own Pride collections. Shoe brands like Toms, Converse, Reebok, Nike and Dr. Martens all have versions of their shoes in varying shades of rainbow and colors of LGBTQ+ community flags. At iHeartRadio’s WangoTango concert last weekend, Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco wore DKNY’s 100% Pride T-shirt onstage with Taylor Swift.
Even non-clothing companies are showing their support with Pride-themed attire, accessories and special Pride-themed items. Playboy, a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ equality, is selling Playboy Bunny Ears and T-shirts designed by seven queer artists online as well as at a pop-up shop during New York City’s WorldPride, with all proceeds going to The Trevor Project. Chipotle and Shake Shack also have their own swag and outfits people can buy online to show their Pride.
Harry’s has brought back it’s “Shave with Pride” set and at WorldPride, MAC Cosmetics has a new rainbow #MACLOVESPRIDE lipstick collection, Pepsi’s Bubly has a special-edition “All For Love Pride Pack,” which includes 18 cans in the colors of the rainbow and Just Salad has brought back its rainbow salad, now called “Just Proud Salad,” with $1 from every salad going to local organizations like NYC Pride. Kind, meanwhile, will be giving away free samples of its new Pride Bar—a dark chocolate, nuts and sea salt bar covered with a rainbow wrapper—with 100% of in-store sales going to the Ali Forney Center, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ homeless youth in the US.
Disneyland held its first Pride parade at Disneyland Paris, with floats featuring artists Corine and Boy George and Disney characters decked out in Pride outfits, according to the Gay Times which covered the event. Disney also has its own Rainbow collection on sale online and at Disney parks, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to GLSEN, an education organization that makes sure schools are safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ students.
Smirnoff is showing its pride this year with the “Welcome Home” campaign, a digital video series featuring “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox, a pop-up bar at WorldPride with “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness appearing as a host and rooms that pay homage to the LGBTQ+ community, a float in the WorldPride parade with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” performer Alyssa Edwards dressed as “Lady Liberty” and 300 marchers accompanying her. To top it off, Smirnoff is debuting a line of six bottles that spell out “Welcome” in six languages. The digital videos will appear on social and at New York City airports to greet people coming into the city.
Verizon is taking a more sobering approach to celebrating Pride this year with a digital campaign featuring real stories of people coming out to their relatives and showing how difficult those conversations were. In a spot, created by McCann New York and directed by Lee Hirsch, whose previous work included the award-winning documentary “Bully,” phone calls between the two parties show them reconnecting with an end line reading, “It’s never too late for love to call back.” The campaign was done in partnership with PFLAG, an organization that reunites families and allies with people who identity as LGBTQ+. Verizon is also a title sponsor of the LA Pride Parade this year.
So far, Instagram has added new rainbow rings for users that use a Pride hashtag in their Instagram Stories, pairing with the Pride emojis and GIFs already available; Facebook has Pride-themed rainbow frames and filters; and Snapchat tasked several of its Lens Creators to design Pride-themed Landmarkers, a feature introduced in April that brings global landmarks to life. The U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., the Flatiron Building in New York City and the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles get a colorful makeover. Meanwhile, Wattpad and T-Mobile have teamed up to launch a writing contest. Users are encouraged to write about a defining moment as a LGBTQ+ individual or ally. For every story tagged with #UnlimitedPride, T-Mobile is donating $1, up to $10,000, to GLSEN.
Streaming channels are also making sure users can see their support. Hulu has created a dedicated site for LGBTQ+ content and this month will launch “The Bravest Knight,” a kids animated show that revolves around LGBTQ+ themes. Twitch is selling its own Pride T-shirts through parent company Amazon, offering a range of designs representing the gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, pansexual and lesbian communities. All proceeds are going towards TwitchUnity, the platform’s diversity and inclusion program. Online, the platform is also urging users to donate to The Trevor Project.
YouTube, meanwhile, has received a ton of backlash and negative press regarding its failure to consider the comments of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder to be harassment. Crowder had called Vox writer and video host Carlos Maza a “lispy queer,” among other things. Otherwise, the platform released several free LGBTQ+ documentaries featuring YouTubers representing the community.