On April 27th, Topical Cream partnered with Alice Longyu Gao for the launch of The LGBTQi+ Creators Fund. In March, Alice approached Topical Cream’s Marcella Zimmermann (a long-time friend), inquiring if was aware of a non-profit organization that would be interested in partnering with her to raise money for LGBTQi+ and female-identifying artists who work in nightlife and performance. Having served as a highly-active board member for a little over a year, Marcella immediately thought of Topical Cream.
Alice’s vision for The LGBTQi+ Creators Fund was to have a free online application and be able to crowd-source the funds directly from her community, with Topical Cream’s help. The singer felt confident she could convince her colleagues in the music industry to get on board to support those who are in need because of COVID-19. It was clear to Topical Cream and Alice that performers and those who work in nightlife (many of whom identify as LGBTQi+) weren’t getting the same amount of empathy for their situation in the press as other public-facing service industry jobs.
Born in China, Alice Longyu Gao is a pop-star based in New York, currently quarantining in Los Angeles. Even though she is a classically trained musician, Alice got her start in nightlife in New York City but has since grown to have a cult following.
Hosted by Club Quarantine, who was recently featured in the New York Times, and Really Like to Party the well-curated line up for the Zoom fundraiser ultimately raised over $7,500. The three-hour party included donated performances from the LGTBTIQi+ community such as Dorian Electra, 100 Gecs, HANA, Cowgirl Clue, Alex Chapman, Nat Puff aka Left at London with a surprise performance from Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot. Four thousand people across live-streaming platforms joined the fundraising effort.
Topical Cream’s Board selected fifteen applicants from three rounds of voting. As is the standard with need-based grants, the grantees’ identities, (many of who are from vulnerable communities, some even facing homelessness), were kept private.
One of the female-identifying artists who were chosen, openly admitted that COVID-19 has taken a toll on her mental health and that these funds had “lifted her spirits and had given her hope.” Over 40% of the selected grantees identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.
All photos courtesy of Club Quarantine