The artist will tour Pride festivals throughout the country as a message of hope.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News let you know on Friday that this year’s Pride theme will be “Allied in Action, United for Justice,” and nothing could represent that sentiment more than the heroic efforts of Pulse DJ, Ray Rivera who will perform at the 2017 San Diego Pride festival.
Thrust into the unwanted spotlight on that fateful night in June, Ray, also known as DJ Infinite, was working the music deck at Pulse in Orlando as the lone gunman came into the nightclub and doused out the lives of men and women, gay and straight, that early summer morning. He took 49 in all, a majority of them people of color.
Ray is a straight ally and has been a popular DJ in Orlando for over a decade. When the shots broke out, he thought he was hearing fireworks so he turned the music down, then off, that’s when he risked his own life to save as many people as he could.
A man and a woman sought shelter beneath his DJ booth as more shots sprayed throughout the room. Frightened, the man ran for safety, but Ray continued to stay with the woman and eventually helped her escape.
Forever changed by the horrific event, Ray has persevered and inspired many by his strength and heroism.
He wanted to continue to work, perhaps to heal himself and others the best way he knew how through the art of music. The FBI returned his seized equipment, but they were riddled with horrible reminders. Damaged and stained, the tools of his trade were now unusable.
In the following months, many scammers tried to take advantage of the survivors with fake book deals, and fundraisers.
Jody Taylor of San Diego’s Sixty5 Media knew she could help Ray get back on his feet by offering to represent him for free when he was ready to take his craft to the next level.
During the huge vigil in Hillcrest after the massacre, another of Jody’s clients, Danielle LoPresti lent her voice to the memorial, but it was the reading of the innocent victim's names that profoundly affected her that night.
“I will never forget Moe saying ‘Akyra Murray, nineteen,’” she told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. “It was like reality punched me in the gut and I just stood there with tears streaming thinking Jesus...19?? It was then I was like I have to do more for my community...this girl...all of these people can't die for nothing.”
And that is exactly what she has done. Jody will represent Ray as they dedicate his tour to a year of pride shows, San Diego Pride will be his debut in this series of appearances.
Details and times for his San Diego Pride spot are still being finalized.