American singer-songwriter and gay rights activist Melissa Etheridge has made a special video to promote Chester’s second annual Pride Festival.
Two of the event’s five directors and social media co-ordinators, Sue Oliver and Sarah Way, were thrilled when the 53-year-old musician agreed to record a message of support for Chester Pride, after asking her agent if she would like to get involved.
Etheridge had been aware of Sue and Sarah, through their Twitter account for Rainbow Biz, the Flintshire-based social media management and promotions company they own.
The business promotes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender friendly organisations and charities through social media, using a motorcycle trike to attract attention.
After Etheridge communicated with Sarah and Sue through Twitter, they asked her if she would get involved with the run-up to the Chester Pride festival, which takes place in the city on October 4.
Sue told The Chronicle: “We were delighted when Melissa said she recognised us from Twitter during a live discussion on a Google Hangout for the global ‘Uprising of Love’ movement.
“She is involved in this with other gay activists, and we thought we would ask her to get involved with Pride, which she said she’d love to.
“After liaising with her agent we got the clip - it’s such a massive thing for Chester Pride.”
Etheridge, renowned in the music business for her campaigns for gay and lesbian rights, recorded a short video clip in which she ‘urges’ people to go to Chester Pride, emphasising ‘it’s going to be a great time - so be there.’
Sue, who is married to Sarah, said: “We were just so overwhelmed when we saw the video - Melissa is a gay icon!
“There’s been an awful lot of planning involved in Chester Pride.
“We have asked Melissa to come over for it but it’s unlikely that will happen at the moment, due to cost, although Chester Pride is getting bigger and bigger.
“But you never know, she might be touring over here at some point.
“We’ve also asked Andy Bell from Erasure to do an interview with us for our new Rainbow Biz Radio Show thanks to social media which is so powerful.
“Even Boy George tweets us occasionally. We went to see him and had a bit of banter with him; he knew who we were because of Twitter.
“It’s amazing that you can make links with celebrities that you would never normally have an opportunity to speak to.”