Tona Brown makes history by becoming first transgender African-American woman to play at Carnegie Hall
Sissieretta Jones made history in 1892 when she became the first African-American female to sing at Carnegie Hall. 122 years later, the first openly transgender African-American performer will play at the venue on June 25.
With the support of GLAAD, Tona Brown looked to crowd-funding site IndieGogo to raise the budget needed to begin what will be the first LGBT Pride event at Carnegie Hall, although it’s in the Weill Recital Hall, not the main stage. She’ll perform selections by African-American and European composers, accompanied by pianist Charlie Gilmer. Tammy Peay, a comedian and television actress, will be the evening’s host.
Out: How does it make you feel to be the first trans African-American woman to play at Carnegie Hall, 122 years after Sissieretta Jones?
Tona Brown: I am deeply honored to perform at Carnegie Hall after African-American divas like Sissieretta Jones, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, and Kathleen Battle. From the moment I walk out on that stage, I’ll think of these proud and distinguished ladies that came before me. Carnegie Hall is the quintessential recital hall in which to perform such a historic event, that’s why it’s titled “From Stonewall to Carnegie Hall.”
The concert is meant to education audience members about the plight of LGBT Americans from 1969 on. It will also showcase the repertoire of black composers’ rarely programmed works.
The concert takes place Wednesday June 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 154 W. 57th st., New York City. For tickets visit CarnegieHall.org
Congratulations on making history Ms. Brown!
Sound off below!