BY KAYLEE DUFF
(Photos courtesy of Gor Megaera, Mike Ruiz and Sean Black)
☁🌈☁ IT’S RAINING PRIDE! ☁🌈☁
The one and only Martha Wash will perform on the Main Stage on Saturday, June 16, at 6 p.m.
Even if you don’t recognize the name Martha Wash, you’ve definitely heard her sing before (unless you’ve been living under a rock your whole life). Ever heard of The Weather Girls? Ever heard the hit song “It’s Raining Men”? If none of this rings a bell, please click here.
So you’ve heard the incredible vocal stylings of Martha Wash, the notorious Queen of Clubland, one of the First Ladies of Disco.
We could fangirl over this disco diva all day, but the bottom line is this — she’s coming back to Columbus to perform at Stonewall Columbus Pride. “It’s going to be fun to come back to Columbus,” Martha said, on returning to Ohio’s capital after about five years. “I haven’t been there for a while. I’ve always had a good time when I came there.”
Martha is no stranger to the LGBTQ community, either. “The LGBTQ community has been basically my number-one fanbase for decades. We go all the way back to the time when I was singing with Sylvester,” Martha admitted. She sang backup for the queer music icon as half of the duo Two Tons O’ Fun. That duo later went on to become The Weather Girls and release “It’s Raining Men.”
She added: “Anytime I do the Pride shows, it’s always fun. [My fanbase] has grown over the decades, and now young people are finding out about my music.” Pride festivals are the perfect place for generations to come together and learn about history while celebrating the present — and that’s also part of the spirit of Martha Wash.
Martha’s got a long list of past performances at LGBTQ events. The opening ceremony of the OutGames in Montreal in July 2006. Several Human Rights Campaign events across the country. A guest appearance in 2006 on GSN’s I’ve Got a Secret, in front of an all-gay panel. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus “Big Gay Sing 6: Club Night Out” in 2013. The 2014 World Pride in Toronto, Canada. And the list goes on; Martha has performed at tons of other Pride festivals, stages and events.
In addition to performing for the community, Martha Wash works with charities that give back to the community. “There have been a lot of local organizations I’ve worked with and performed for,” she explained. “It’s kind of wide-ranging.”
She’s an avid, active supporter of Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a non-profit organization providing comprehensive services to individuals with autism and their families. On working with QSAC, Martha said, “It’s been something I’ve always thought was important.”
Alongside touring and performances at various events, Martha is hard at work on her new album. The currently-untitled album should be out sometime next year, and will be a branching out into new styles. “I want to keep doing different genres of music and things. This one is a little bit more rock and blues and R&B.”
She’s also working on First Ladies of Disco, a stage production based on the book by James Arena. Starring Martha Wash, Linda Clifford and now Norma Jean Wright (formerly of Chic), it’s a unique show that expands on the stories in the book while sharing an uplifting message about love. They’re touring, doing some live shows and symphonic concerts, and looking to take it to some bigger stages.
Martha also spearheaded FLOD Spotlight, of which she is the owner and publisher. “It’s a magazine with art, entertainment, politics, a little bit of everything,” she described. “Featuring people you might know and people that you might not know about. There’s a lot of interesting people in the world that a lot of people don’t know about, and they can have their stories told.” FLOD Spotlight is an online magazine that takes a streamlined approach to celebrity access.
There’s also her show, 10 Minutes With Martha Wash. Through a mix of fan and celebrity interviews, musical performances and audience participation, Martha gives “a little glimpse into what it’s like to be [her].” To top it all off, she also runs her own record label, Purple Rose Records, where she’s always looking to find new voices.
Martha Wash is clearly a very busy woman. That’s just one reason why Columbus is so excited that she’s coming to Stonewall Pride this year. The biggest reason is in the details — she’s a dedicated ally, an amazing performer and an inspiration. We can’t wait to welcome this disco legend back to Ohio’s capital!
To learn more about Martha Wash, visit her website and her Facebook page. Listen to her music on Spotify or Apple Music. Check out Stonewall Columbus Pride for the full 2018 entertainment schedule and for more information.
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