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'Lucy': Destra Garcia during a performance of her Carnival hit "Lucy" at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain in February.

'Lucy': Destra Garcia during a performance of her Carnival hit "Lucy" at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain in February. ...

Soca star Destra Garcia will make history as the first soca artiste to perform at Toronto Pride this Sunday. Garcia will be performing at the Blockorama stage as well as participate in the event’s Pride Parade. The annual LGBTTI2QQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, intersex, two-spirited, queer and questioning) festival is held in June each year. This year’s festival began last Friday and ends Sunday. The festival is considered to be one of the largest gay pride festivals in the world and is more than 25 years old, according to Wikipedia.

Garcia asked yesterday if she had any concerns about performing at Toronto Pride, since it was an LGBT event and given the perceptions of homosexuality in TT, said, “No none whatsoever. I have a lot of fans across the board. I don’t see colour, creed or sexuality.” Garcia is expected to deliver a one hour performance at the event.

Garcia, who was awarded the Best International Act title on two consecutive occasions at the Black Canadian Awards, was contacted by the event’s organiser, Jamea Zuberi, in March about performing at the festival.

“I am the first soca singer at any of the stages at Pride...they want me to sing ‘Lucy’,” Garcia said of her hit from this year’s Carnival.

Garcia said she was shocked when she was asked to perform at the festival. “Cyndi Lauper will be there. I was like, ‘you sure you want Destra?’” she said with a slight chuckle.

Garcia said she was honoured to be asked to perform at the festival, which has seen performances by international artistes such as Melissa Etheridge and jazz artist Diana Krall.

Garcia said she is a very open-minded person. A lot of people, she said, think that TT is not advanced as it is but, “I don’t think we have a major problem with sexuality.” She cited that there were discussions on the radio about Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) and that the public seemed largely nonchalant about the trans-gender debate. She said while there would always be religious and homophobic groups she focused on her business and fans. Garcia added that when she performs on stage her audience is multi-sexual.

Zuberi, the organiser of Blockorama (founded 17 years ago), said Garcia was approached after she first saw her at her February 11 House of Bakanal concert. She admits she was surprised that Garcia had said yes to the request. Zuberi came to Trinidad for Carnival and was, “struck by the longevity and endurance of her performance.”

Zuberi said Blockorama, which started in 1998, was conceived because as an African, Caribbean, Trini lesbian she wanted to see representation of herself in Pride. The festival, she said, was mainly a white event and it was a culturally white festival.

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