Justin Tranter Welcomes Billy Porter, Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds for Fourth Annual ‘Beyond’ Benefit; Raises $400,000 for LGBTQ YouthOctober 21, 2022
On the evening of Oct. 19, Justin Tranter’s Los Angeles neighbors were treated to a free concert — at least aurally. The prolific hit songwriter hosted their fourth annual in-person “Beyond,” a Spirit Day concert and a fundraiser for GLAAD’s efforts to support LGBTQ youth, in the backyard of their Hancock Park home. Tranter, who has served as a GLAAD board member for the last six years, helped raise $400,000 at the event.
Present were special guest performer Billy Porter, whose solo album Tranter is executive producing and co-writing, as well as Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and Ashlee Marie Preston. The other performers for the evening were Tranter’s Facet Records artists Jake Wesley Rogers, Shea Diamond and YDE. Also appearing were Luke Ferrari, Chloe Pappas and Chappell Roan .
The glitzy affair, which was sponsored by Kellogg’s (the company made a special box of cereal for Spirit Day), M&Ms (debuting a new purple color), Ketel One and WWE, took its mission to heart. Sequins galore, generous eyeliner, and eyelash extensions were de rigueur for the fabulous party crowd who teetered around on sky-high platforms. Creativity oozed off the garbs and accessories present everywhere from a Nagel-painted jacket to a dressing gown used as outerwear to a ‘90s workout combo paired with sparkly sandals.
During the VIP pre-party Tranter held court in the basement speakeasy of their home where the crowd was lined up for photo opportunities with the dynamic personality.
“Creative reasons,” Tranter says when asked about holding the event at his home. “To have a nice personal touch and create an intimate experience for people who are donating a lot of money to an amazing cause, and to make them feel like their money and time are very valued. They added, “Also because I was worried if there was another spike in COVID, we’d have to cancel the concert if it was indoors. I thought if I did it outdoors, I would avoid all that drama.”
Until now, Tranter’s events have been aimed at the music industry, which is where the majority of their professional relationships are and where they put particular effort to ensure LGBTQ individuals are represented and celebrated.
“Music is such a huge part of media,” Tranter explained. “But it’s hard to navigate how to tap into music the way GLAAD does for film, TV and news. I thought creating an event where we celebrate LGBTQ songwriters and musicians would be a way GLAAD could have an impact in the music space. We started inviting record labels and publishers to buy tables, donate and support, and then send their favorite employees to celebrate and be educated about our community.”
Last year’s Beyond concert was canceled due to a spike in the virus. It was also axed during 2020’s initial outbreak, but Tranter didn’t want to lose the opportunity for fundraising. They donated $250,000 and called out for the music industry to match it.
This year, Tranter expanded their reach to the film and TV sectors. They tapped their “Purple Hearts” colleagues from Netflix, for which Tranter wrote several songs, and “Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies” (They’ve written over 30 songs for the “Grease” prequel) slated for Paramount Plus in 2023.
The evening was well-planned, with enough mingling time to get attendees geared up for the performances. Tranter kicked it off with “Cake by the Ocean” and “Enemy,” hit songs they wrote for and with DNCE and the aforementioned Imagine Dragons, respectively. Known for natural banter, Tranter quipped, “Please don’t tweet out my address. I have enough stalkers as it is.”
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis then spoke of GLAAD’s essential work and how to be an advocate for LGBTQ youth, explaining major issues, including bullying, in easily understandable ways.
Diamond took the stage next with “I Am America,” followed by Roan with “My Kink is Karma,” then Rodgers with “Hindsight.” Tranter blasted through “Supermodel,” which he wrote for Måneskin before Porter took over. Resplendent in braids and a draping outfit that was reminiscent of Soul II Soul style, the multiple-award-winning artist brought his all to the performance. Porter shared early discouraging experiences he had in the entertainment industry, which he was clearly still emotional about. He belted out “Stranger Things,” and from his upcoming album, the excellent unreleased songs “Baby Was a Dancer” and “Funk is on the One,” both co-written by Tranter.
After Porter’s set was the prime time for Tranter to start the infamous live fundraiser, where, in the past, they have been known to call out their friends with deep pockets by name and demand they donate — of course, it’s Tranter’s winning personality that makes this approach wosrk. The lighting in their backyard, however, made it difficult for them to see the crowd and pick out a name to call on. “All the pop stars are on tour right now!” Tranter lamented playfully. “It’s really fucking with my game.”
Still, Tranter raised over $400,000 with high donations coming from the production/songwriting team Stargate ($15,000) and the creator/showrunner for “Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies,” Annabel Oakes ($10,000). Also donating (Tranter’s money) were their parents, who were watching the party from the gracious balcony of the multi-story home.
Post fundraising, YDE performed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” after which the evening shifted into cheerful medleys that included George Michael’s “Faith,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (co-written by Tranter) and the B-52’s’ “Love Shack.” The festivities wrapped before the neighbors started developing a major case of FOMO.
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