"Our lives were very parallel," Nick Carter tells PEOPLE as he teams up with fellow Backstreet Boy AJ McLean and *NSYNC's Lance Bass and Joey Fatone for a joint Pride performance

By Glenn Garner
June 21, 2021 04:25 PM
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AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass
AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass
| Credit: Linnea Stephan/BFA.com

Everyone's favorite late '90s boy bands came together this Pride Month to teach fans a little something about unity.

Lance Bass and Joey Fatone from *NSYNC teamed up Friday with Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter and AJ McLean for a charitable evening of games and nostalgia during Bingo Under the Stars in Los Angeles.

"Back in the day, before there was social media, press and media and had to pit us against each other," AJ McLean, 43, tells PEOPLE. "Just to be able to do something like this together hopefully squashes all that crap that was never true in the first place. This is about coming together."

Carter echoes his bandmate's sentiment, while admitting that the "healthy competition" didn't hurt. "It was fabricated, but it was something that became real at a certain time," he explains. "I mean, when you're that young and competitive as a teenager … it was, I like to say, healthy competition. But it started from the managers and all of that."

"What's happening now is that we are realizing that we're the only ones that have gone through what we have together, and we relate to one another," Carter, 41, adds. "It was a place in time, and our lives were very parallel. So, all this unity and coming together and all this love, it's really cool."

Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone
Credit: Linnea Stephan/BFA.com
Backstreet Boys
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

Introduced by Todrick Hall and Michelle Visage, "Back-Sync" took the stage eight stories above the Grove in Los Angeles. After McLean performed his single "Love Song Love," he was joined by his boy band brethren to perform Backstreet's "I Want It That Way" and *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" to much millennial fanfare.

"Me and Lance, we've always done little things here and there, but I've always wanted to do Pride with him. We came together for this," says Fatone, 44, while commenting on the possibility of a "supergroup" formation. "That might be something that we do, maybe we'll do performances just for the LGBTQ community every Pride. Maybe the four of us will get together and do something, who knows? That's the greatest thing about doing these things; we never know where it's going to take us."

Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC's joint Pride performance.

The event kicked off with 10 rounds of bingo, called by Jeffery "Bingo Boy" Bowman and drag queen Roz Drezfalez, featuring an assortment of prizes from the Grove's retailers and restaurants.

RELATED VIDEO: Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter Teases Collaboration with *NSYNC's Lance Bass: 'It's Going to Be Huge'

It was also a charitable evening, as the blended boy band presented $1 million in $TKINU Tokens to The Trevor Project, on behalf of the cryptocurrency-backed philanthropic coalition Mission Tsuki. The Trevor Project's life-saving services and resources for LGBTQ youth are particularly crucial this Pride Month, as there is a record number of anti-trans legislation under consideration across the country, impacting that very demographic.

"With so much anti-LGBTQ legislation being pushed through across the country, support for The Trevor Project is now more important than ever," says Bass, 42. "The nonprofit provides a critical service for our most at-risk youth, a lifeline they can reach out to during times of need. For many of these young people, it can be matter of life or death."