Tituss Burgess, best known for his role as Titus Andromedon on the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, is set to host a London to New York flight with an all LGBTQ crew. The Virgin Atlantic Pride Flight will feature drag queen bingo and live performances in honor of WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which ignited the modern gay rights movements.
The one-off eight-hour flight will be headed by Burgess, a Broadway actor known for his spot-on parody of Beyoncé’s Hold On. The actor and singer, who was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on Schmidt four times, will serve as master of ceremonies for the flight, which will include an onboard DJ, a Judy Garland singalong, inter-seat speed-dating and musical performances. The event, which has been billed as "a true celebration of queer culture 38,000ft above the Atlantic," will also include appearances from special guests.
"At a time when we’re seeing the rights of minority groups under threat, it is more important than ever we stand up and make our voices heard," Burgess said. "The LGBT community has made enormous strides over the last 50 years, and I’m so proud to partner with Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic to mark this occasion in style and celebrate the hard-won freedoms from those who came before us."
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays have joined forces with non-profit tourism organization NYC & Company and the Alliance for Downtown New York, for the flight. Economy tickets, which are on sale now, start at £380 and a three-night room and flight package starts at £699. “We’re not the type of company to mark an occasion like this half-heartedly: we’re going to be pulling out all the stops,” said Mark Anderson, executive vice-president of Virgin Atlantic and global LGBT lead for Virgin Group. “We take our commitments to diversity and inclusion seriously, but you can rest assured we have a lot of fun along the way.”
Next June, the Stonewall 50 edition of WorldPride NYC will include more than 50 events, including marches, parties, talks, live performances, films and much more. According to Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company, the partnership of the organization with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays hopes to attract LGBTQ travelers and allies from the UK to New York City to take part in the historic celebration, which is expected to draw more than three million visitors to Manhattan and be one of the largest LGBTQ events in history.
Last month, female drag act Lacey Lou, whose real name is Lacey McFayden, alleged she was dismissed from the Virgin Atlantic spot for the pride flight because of her gender. A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said that McFayden was not rejected because she is a woman, but because the final selection was based on “aesthetics, ethnicity, height, and performance.”