Ariana DeBose Celebrates Pride Month at the TIME 100 Gala

riana Debose talked about how important it is to celebrate the LGBTQ community in times of political chaos in a toast made at the 2022 TIME100 Gala, New York City on Wednesday night.

“I’m so incredibly proud to be part of a community that is resilient, that values empathy, that empowers one another to stand up for who we are,” the 2022 TIME100 honoree said.

“In a world where ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is quite literally being written into law because of other people’s power and influence… or perhaps the loss of those things, I want every single person who identifies as LGBTQ to know that you are loved, you are seen, you are valued, and you do belong.”

DeBose, who began her career as part of the original cast of Lin Manuel Miranda’s HamiltonShe is a singer, actor and dancer who has achieved great success. She won the Oscars best supporting actress for her performance in “The Last Dance” earlier this year. West Side StoryAs the first queer person of color to be awarded an Oscar in acting, she is a historic moment.

She emphasized the importance of youth empowerment during her toast. “Our youth face unimaginable challenges, too many to name, but we all know, see and feel them.” she said. “With the power and influence those of us in this room have, it’s so important that we not only show up for them and empower them, but that we also protect them… so they have the space to use their voices and live in a world that celebrates and uplifts all that they are and have the potential to achieve.”

Returning after two years on pause, the TIME100 Gala is TIME’s annual celebration of the TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people, released this year on May 23. Gala participants include icons, leaders, change-makers and celebrities across all sectors and countries for an evening full of laughter and conversation. This year’s Gala features live performances from Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige, two honorees on the 2022 TIME100 list. Further attendees from this year’s list include actors Andrew Garfield, and Amanda Seyfried, musicians Jazmine Sullivan, Jon Batiste, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, athlete Eileen Gu, director Taika Waititi, and legal activist Chase Strangio,

TIME has teamed up with ABC for viewers to see the TIME100 Gala, a first-ever television event. TIME100: The World’s Most Influential People airs Sunday June 12, at 8 pm EDT, ABCThis video features Simu Liu (host), Quinta Brunson (director), Sevgil Muzaieva (Ukrainian journalist) and much more.

Read the full text of DeBose’s toast at the TIME100 Gala:

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