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Madonna channels Dolly Parton for surprise New York Pride appearance with Bob the Drag Queen

"Aside from my birthday, New York Pride is the most important day of the year," the singer joked to the crowds

By Dale Fox

Madonna at Ny Pride 2024
Madonna appeared alongside Bob the Drag Queen (right image; far left) on a drag ball panel (Image: Instagram/Madonna)

Madonna has made a surprise appearance as a judge for a New York Pride drag ball alongside Bob the Drag Queen at the city’s LadyLand Festival.

Channelling Dolly Parton in an all-white ensemble and camp 1970s-style do, the ‘American Life’ singer was also joined on the panel by her daughter Estere at the event on Saturday 29 June.

Thanking the audience afterwards, Madonna joked: “Aside from my birthday, New York Pride is the most important day of the year.” She added: “Thank you all, New York City. Without you, I am nothing.”

Throughout her career, the Queen of Pop has consistently leveraged her platform to bolster LGBTQ+ causes, often focusing her efforts on New York City-based organisations. Her advocacy stretches back to the 1980s, when she used her then-rising stardom to champion gay rights and HIV/Aids awareness amid the devastating Aids crisis.

Long-standing advocate for LGBTQ+ rights

Over the years, Madonna has graced various Pride stages in the Big Apple. Her 2019 performance at Pride Island for WorldPride stands out as one of the most memorable, with a four-song setlist including ‘Vogue’.

The same year saw Madonna take on the role of ambassador for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. To mark the upcoming commemoration, she surprised revellers with an impromptu appearance at the iconic Stonewall Inn on New Year’s Eve of 2018.

Madonna’s appearance at LadyLand Festival comes of the back of her recently concluded The Celebration Tour, which spanned 81 dates across 15 countries.

The tour, which faced initial delays due to the singer’s hospitalisation last summer, wrapped up in spectacular fashion with a free concert on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach in May. There, she performed to a staggering crowd of 1.6 million people, setting the record for the “largest audience ever for a stand-alone concert by any artist in history,” according to Rolling Stone.