With the world slowly beginning to come out on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic, this Pride season is one of tremendous celebration. And yet, the spirit of a movement itself born out of a protest lives on. As the month of June comes to a close and International Pride Day nears, E! News has asked some of Hollywood's newest generation of LGBTQ stars to share what Pride means to them in 2021.
Welcome to The New Faces of Pride.
Chella Man is ready to share their story.
And for Pride 2021, the artist-activist, who is both trans and deaf, has teamed with H&M to do just that. Chella is one of several global stars appearing in the retailer's campaign, and it's H&M's considerable reach that attracted them in the first place.
"I feel honored to be able to tell my story on such a large platform," the Titans star tells E! News. "I know the words of all the queer individuals interviewed for this will reach small towns like the one I grew up in who deeply lack representation and diversity. I hope individuals of all walks of life watch the stories of queer people H&M has uplifted from around the world."
Not only did H&M allow Chella to come in "unfiltered, to share my story, authentically," they went the extra mile to make sure he and the rest of the talent were comfortable with the process. "I felt safe there with queer people in front of and behind the camera," Chella said. "Even got to wear my own suit I painted on with the ear piece I designed for The Beauty of Being Deaf film!"
Here, Chella, author of the newly released Continuum, joins E! News' New Faces of Pride celebration, offering his take on the state of things in this most unusual year.
Has your personal definition of Pride changed or shifted after all we've been through these last few months?
Nope! It will always be a constant practice.
What queer media, be it books, music or film/TV, is a mainstay in your life? Why?
Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown has taught me so much and I appreciate the articulation of liberation it brings. The Penguin Pocket Change collective series! A few of my friends—Alok / Adam Eli / Kimberly Drew—have written incredible essays highlighting queer activism and their lives. Check out their books! Deaf Queer Resource Center is the ONLY non-profit for these intersections and I will always appreciate it. All of these resources are ones I return to currently.
What was the first time you saw yourself reflected in entertainment in a way that filled you with pride? And if you're still waiting, what is it that you're hoping to see?
I see parts of myself reflected in others and all of who I am in myself. I believe we all have the power to be our own representation. I hope to see more of the world being portrayed as it truly is.
You finally get to meet your queer hero. Who are they? And after "Thank you" and "I love you," what the next thing you tell them?
It's honestly impossible for me to just pick one. We owe so many people our thanks and gratitude for the progression of queer liberation. I would tell them all that they are the reason I can wake up in the morning and connect with who I see in the mirror. Their fight, resilience, and strength kept me alive even if they have already passed.
You are given the keys to your industry. What's the first thing you do to make it a more inclusive environment for everyone?
Make sure EVERY SINGLE VIDEO is captioned!!!! Imagine that...wow.
What is your message to future generations of queer people, coming of age right now? How do you want to instill hope in them?
We have come so far, yet have so much work to do as well. If you choose to fight and stand up for injustices, do so without losing your joy. Please take care of your mental and physical health. This must always come first and will only sustain your heart and drive.
For more from The New Faces of Pride, be sure to return every day through the end of June!