Johnston is probably best known for her 1992 hit “Peace” from her debut album, which was huge in the United Kingdom. She went on to have other dance hits and appeared on Lauryn Hill’s smash album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”
Johnston said she was surprised that her first hit was particularly embraced by the gay community back in the day.
“I’m basically an R&B singer and, when I heard that the drag queens were performing it everywhere around the world, I was mesmerized,” she said. “They did a great job doing it and they brightened up the world.”
It goes without saying that this is going to have a prominent role in her performance Sunday.
“Basically we’re doing the whole ‘Peace’ show,” she said. “It’s going to be the first one I’m going to be doing. I’m going to be putting a lot of the songs I have from the past and new ones together. Basically that’s what I’m running with.”
She added that it was important for her as a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and an out artist to participate in events like Philly Pride.
“No. 1, I’m an entertainer,” she said. “That’s what I took on in my life. That’s who I am. That’s what was given to me in my soul. No. 2, the type of music I choose to do is about people being in touch with people and coming together. That’s why I write what I write. As far as people picking out gay, straight, black, white, green, blue, whatever the issues are, those are the issues people make up more than anything. The point being, everyone is human. It’s about positivity. Nobody knows who anybody is, so to say who a person is, it’s like calling the kettle black. I don’t know who you are, so how can I talk about you and pick who you are? If something about you is different from the norm, the best thing to do is try to figure yourself in and understand it. It’s a matter of freedom.”
Sabrina Johnston performs at Philly Pride alongside Betty, Divas in a Man’s World and headliner Wendy Williams noon-6 p.m. June 10. For more information, visit www.phillypride.org.