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I love LGBT firsts (the good ones), and we are about to have yet another one. Tona Brown, a violinist and singer, will perform at Carnegie Hall on June 25, 2014. Tona is also a transgender African-American woman -- the first ever to perform at Carnegie Hall.


The violinist and singer is the first transgender African-American woman to play Carnegie Hall
Sissieretta Jones made history June 15, 1892, by being the first African-American female to sing at Carnegie Hall. It took 122 years, but now the first openly transgender African-American performer will play the hallowed venue when the violinist and mezzo-soprano takes the stage June 25, 2014.

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. We caught up with Brown to find out how it feels to make history.

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."

Happy Pride, indeed!

One more quote from the article:

Anything you would like people to take away from your concert?

This concert will educate the audience about the plight of LGBT Americans from 1969 through today. It will also showcase the repertoire of African-American composers' rarely programmed works, which needs exposure. Hopefully everyone in attendance will leave with a different perspective about what is possible for transgender people in general, and especially, transgender women of color.

And, here she is:

Originally posted to librarisingnsf on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 11:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by TransAction.

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