Rayceen Pendarvis is an emcee, entertainer, activist, SWERV magazine columnist, former ANC Commissioner, and lifelong Washingtonian. Over the years, Pendarvis has hosted numerous fundraisers, pride festivals, arts festivals, talent showcases, fashion shows, balls, and other events. Furhermore, the Queen of the Shameless Plug frequently moderates panels and appears as a panelist at various conferences dealing with social justice and LGBTQ equality. In addition to a regular column in SWERV, Pendarvis also has written articles for Tagg, Unite Virginia, and TUV magazines.
The Goddess of DC has been honored by the community many times over the past several years, including awards from NYC’s Latex Ball, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, Casa Ruby, Empowerment Liberation Cathedral Church, and the Community Church of Washington, DC. In 2016, Capital Pride selected Pendarvis to be a recipient of the Heroes Award and appear in the annual Capital Pride Parade.
Later that year, despite not being ordained or ministering in a traditional capacity, Pendarvis was voted Best Clergy in the Washington Blade’s 2016 Best of Gay DC Awards. A tireless advocate, promoter, and champion of various causes, Pendarvis has earned the monikers “Queen of the Shameless Plug” and the “Goddess of DC.”
Rayceen Pendarvis can be seen regularly as the host of The Ask Rayceen Show, a free, monthly, live event on first Wednesdays (March-November) in DC. In addition to live music, show segments include panel discussions, interviews, competitions, improv comedy, and audience participation games. All are welcome and admission is always FREE.
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To further explore the extraordinary life and career of Rayceen Pendarvis, click below.
The professional career of Rayceen Pendarvis is one that constantly grows and evolves with each new endeavor. Although well known as an openly gay emcee, activist, entertainer, writer, entrepreneur, and so much more, Pendarvis is never interested in limiting professional career boundaries or creative reach. Despite this, “the Earthmother of the Gays” is also very conscious of not abandoning the basic moral integrity that has become the foundation of a meaningful life's work. For this reason, the consciously minded equality advocate has repeatedly refused financially lucrative projects that did not uphold positive values for the LGBT community, or society at large. Only creative ventures that are deemed uplifting and non-stereotypical are given the green light from the Pendarvis camp. This ensures that each new undertaking and every new avenue explored will be represented in the most admirable way. It's especially important since most of the people and causes that Pendarvis is passionate about are greatly undeserved.
With a heartfelt mission and clearly defined goals on the agenda, Pendarvis looks back on a body of work that resonates with meaningful intent. With a strong moral compass to guide the way, and a genuine heartfelt sense of advocacy, Pendarvis declares “I think it's important that you make the time that you're born and the time that you die and the dash in between account for something.” Indeed, Pendarvis is continuously working to make his “dash” in life, a throughly meaningful one!
Below are highlights of the many career endeavors Pendarvis has proudly taken on during the course of an amazing career.
Fine Arts & Entertiment go hand in hand with the multifaceted Rayceen Pendarvis. The hardworking diva delights in providing the unique “Pendarvis Brand” to a wide variety of fine arts projects. In recent years, theatrical producers have commissioned Pendarvis to dust off the old acting skills and appear in two highly acclaimed theater productions. First up was William Caldwell's very well received production of Boi, Pull Your Pants Up!, a play designed to entertain as well as give audience members a vital HIV/AIDS education. The following year, Pendarvis agreed to appear in Aiyi'nah Ford's fascinating play The Deadly 7, which primarily focused on sexuality and religion.
Below you'll find a brief overview of each project, as well as a small collection of images, reviews, and additional information.
The Deadly 7 is the revolt of 7 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members of a homophobic house of worship. The play takes place inside a church headed by a hypocritical pastor who preaches that homosexuality is a certain path to hell. The show's producer, Alyi’nah “SimplyNay” Ford, aimed to share a profoundly powerful message with her work. Ford also appeared in the play and portrayed a ghost-like character named Miss Sophia. The character previously maintained a huge presence within the church during her lifetime, and was often portrayed “telling it like it is” from the other side. Ford hoped to convey two main themes, “God is neither male nor female, God is omni-gender” and “If Jesus could rise from the tomb then certainly it’s time for people to rise up out of the closet.” These incredibly important messages of acceptance truly resonated with audience members.
The production was somewhat unique in that it contained an all LGBT cast of color. This of course included the talented Rayceen Pendarvis, whose powerful presence became a highlight of the show. The play also featured celebrated gay comedian Sampson McCormick, as well as an impressive gospel performance by vocal dynamo Blair Dottin-Haley, a first-class vocalist who thrilled the audience with his stirring renditions of songs about love and acceptance. If that's not enough, the theatrical production also featured the Oasis Dance Company, which performed under the direction of Steven Wilson. Their critically acclaimed dance routine combined a hybrid fusion of modern pop dances and traditional ballet. It was discribed in various reviews as "impressively choreographed", "flawlessly executed", and “brilliant to watch."
Upon its conclusion, audience members were expected to leave the theater having learned one valuable lesson: Accept everyone because God accepts everyone no matter who they are and who they love. Ford sums everything up by stating, “They say that art imitates life. It is our hope that this art will save lives.”
Boi, Pull Your Pants Up! was a theatrical play based on the acclaimed book of the same name by self published author William C. Caldwell. Hard-hitting, intense, graphic, candid, riveting, controversial, thought provoking, sexy - these were all words used to sum up this intriguing work. Rayceen Pendarvis was tapped to make a cameo appearance and throughly succeeded in crafting a dramatic portrayal that was both sincere and memorable. Inspired by real life situations experienced by Caldwell and others, the play aimed to give audience members a wonderful evening of provocative theater while also teaching some very important lessons about sex. Producer/Director/Playwright William Caldwell, stated “My goal was that at the end of the play, each audience member would say one of two things......“I’m not ever having sex again” or “I’m leaving here right now to go get tested”.
Reviews were passionate and heartfelt with some hoping the play could possibly be turned into a movie or screened in schools with the hope of using it as a learning tool.
Below are two reviews that reflect a small sample of the reactions conveyed by the audience.
“I commend you from the bottom of my heart for doing this play, I really do. I can relate to it so well because it tells my life story. Pretty much, I was very promiscuous at one point of time in my life, and I was dating the wrong person. That person had HIV and contracted HIV to me. I just recently found out that I was HIV positive. The messed up part is that the dude never told me. I had to find out from someone else. So honestly, I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this play, it means a lot to me. I got sooooooooo emotional at some points because I also have lost multiple friends to this. Again, thank you!”
“By the time producer/director/playwright William Caldwell emerged from backstage to take a well-deserved bow at evening’s end, any possible, prior thoughts of practicing unsafe sex held by those in attendance -- had to have been effectively squelched. Caldwell’s play, “Boi, Pull Your Pants Up!” is based on his book of the same name. It was presented last night by his Will C Productions in collaboration with Al-Sura, Inc., as part HIV/AIDS education, part cautionary tale…but primarily, rowdy, raunchy fun.
The well-received evening of both intensely dramatic and raucously comic vignettes was performed by a large cast of enthusiastic performers, including a heartfelt cameo by Rayceen Pendarvis and particularly effective turns by Mark Harrison and TJ Williams. Kudos also go out to the production team, who kept the somewhat lengthy show moving along, aided by a cleverly-chosen soundtrack and some truly sobering projections.
Despite the evening’s abundant entertainment value, it was clear that all involved had very serious concerns on their minds. And, by the time I left Caldwell autographing copies of his various books for a line of fans stretching all the way back to the lobby entrance, it was clear that everyone present had definitely gotten the message.”
Below you will find the official trailer videos, in addition to an informative interview with Producer/Director/Playwright William Caldwell.
A subsequent production of the play was eventually released on DVD and the entire concept was later reworked into Boi, Pull Your Pants Up! - The Web Series. Click below to obtain additional information on the series and much more.