Before her performance at Manchester Pride tomorrow Rowetta gives us her thoughts on the biggest Pride festival in the UK.
What does Manchester Pride mean to you?
To me it is my beautiful city celebrating freedom and being proud of who and what you are and also raising money and awareness for HIV.
Manchester has an amazing gay community and there is so much love and Pride for the city and the people
What are you looking forward to/have you enjoyed most at Manchester’s 21 st Pride Festival?
Personally I always look forward to performing at Manchester Pride. It's like my homecoming gig every year, I am so proud to be a part of it. I also enjoy the build-up to the event itself.
I have my own show, every Saturday at 4pm on Gaydio, so we have been doing lots of Pride related shows and I took part in a special show celebrating 21 years of Pride. I was also honoured to take part at the launch at Selfridges with Terry Longden.
What’s your advice to a Pride virgin?
Be prepared to have an amazing time, as we really know how to celebrate in Manchester, but also remember why we're here and I hope after Pride, people go away and think how they can help; how they can make a difference.
Why is it still significant/ so successful?
As long as there is prejudice and ignorance around, then Gay Pride events are important. Pride is so successful because it is a great event, and there is something for everyone, and people feel safe for those few days to be themselves and get to have a lot of fun, make new friends and help others in the process
What are your top 3 Pride festival moments?
There are so many, but my top 3 are performances, as I like to give my all to the performances.
1. My first Pride - Performing on the main stage and brought on by Graham Norton, then singing at the Candlelit Vigil, which was a huge honour and so beautiful.
2. Bringing my mum on stage for the first time. Introducing her to Pride and watching her fall in love with Pride and feeling the love from the crowd, for her, as I sang my song, Mother Love to her.
3. Last year was sensational. I had a dance team of 10 on stage with me called AJ Dance Productions and we put on a proper show. They are amazing and we are hoping to top last year's performance. Even more dancers, new songs, new routines, new feathers and new pants for the boys. I’m very excited about this year, and I will be singing all original songs, written by me, except our opening song, which is a real showstopping song.
If you could tell a teenage you anything what would it be?
I would tell them that life just gets better and better if you work hard at it, and surround yourself with good people, and ditch the bad. Love isn't really all you need, but lots of it helps.
What makes you proud?
My kids make me the most proud, as single parents can get a lot of stick, but mine are amazing and have done brilliantly. They are both great people and hard workers. My daughter has just completed a Masters in Journalism and my son is in retail and works 6 days a week.
But, most importantly they are beautiful, respectful and have amazing manners. I am proud of everything I had to do to give them the best start in life and how I managed to turn my life around.
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