NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An unprecedented addition to CMA Fest this year is getting recognition during National Pride Month.
CMgAys brought a twist to the four-day music festival in downtown Nashville.
“This is one of the first-ever LGBTQ showcases during CMA Fest, which also happens to be June, which is National Pride month,” said David Michael Hawkins, who is an artist and the founder of CMgAys.
Eight artists featured during the event were all part of the local LGBTQIA community representing all musical genres.
“I just came out recently,” said artist JB Somers. “It’s my first time being a part of an LGBTQ+ event, specifically for artists for our community.”
The showcase was Hawkins dream come to fruition.
“It’s 2022 almost 2023, LGBTQIA, especially here in Nashville, is super robust and healthy, but I think it’s now time that we come out of the back and take our stage at the forefront,” said Hawkins.
He applauded the musical moment in 2021 when Brothers Osborne earned Vocal Duo of the Year shortly after member T.J. Osborne came out as gay.
“I think that was a really great step, but we really haven’t seen much done since then,” said Hawkins.
He wanted to take the movement further and created the platform LGBTQNash.
“Both tourists and residents will have a database that’s updated weekly about where their community, LGBTQIA performers, are performing, who’s being interviewed, maybe someone has a new single out, maybe people are looking for a collaboration or another showcase like this. It will be the place to go,” said Hawkins.
The platform is meant to highlight talented performers who embrace their music and their authentic selves.
“I think this is such an important event in history to be a part of,” said Somers, “You don’t know the lives that you can impact to help them feel comfortable in their own skin to feel loved and to feel seen.”
A portion of the tickets sold at the June 12 concert was donated to The Trevor Project. An organization that provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention for young LGBTQ people.