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|Nightlife heats up for Atlanta Black Gay Pride|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|August 19, 2011 00:00|
Packed with educational and informative events such as the State of Black Gay America Summit, Black Gay Pride is more than just a weekend-long party. But there is no doubt that partying is a major aspect of celebrating Pride for the estimated 100,000 people who come from all over the world to descend on Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.
This year’s parties should be as hot as ever, but which celebrities will perform remains unclear as promoters continue to finalize their nightlife schedules.
“It’s going to be a full weekend and we’re still putting on some final touches. It’s been a real struggle with artists this year but they are slowly trickling in,” says Phillip Boone, owner of Traxx Atlanta.
Known for huge parties, including last year’s performance by Nicki Minaj, Traxx and Traxx Girls promise another national artist to perform during Black Gay Pride. The entertainer will perform at two events on Saturday, Sept. 3, as part of the group’s “Pure Heat” Pride weekend: the huge Traxx party at Traxx Club on Columbia Drive, and the Traxx Girls party held each year at the downtown Freight Depot.
Boone did give a few hints about who they expect to perform: “She used to have her own TV show and she sings and she was on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ recently.
“That should give you enough clues,” he added with a laugh.
There will also be time to remember and honor Traxx Atlanta’s Durand Robinson, who was shot and killed shortly before last year’s annual Black Pride weekend, Boone said.
Traxx and Traxx Girls are also bringing in R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius. She was once one-half of the popular British duo Floetry and is also a well-known songwriter pursuing a solo career. She is set to perform on Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Mansion Elan night club in Decatur.
“She is one of our main performers this year. We had been told no from her for months, but she decided to cut her vacation short and come perform on Sunday,” said Melissa Scott, owner of Traxx Girls.
Ambrosius’ new album, “Late Nights & Early Mornings,” includes the song “Far Away,” written after a close friend attempted suicide. The video for the song confronts anti-gay prejudice and bullying and how it can lead to suicide.
“Her video is very conscious and speaks to suicides and after all we heard about them last year [by teens who were gay or perceived gay], it’s so relevant to what is happening today. She is one of the first celebrities to do a video taking on this subject,” Scott said.
Pride: ‘Highlight of our accomplishments'
Opal Harris, events coordinator for Girls in the Night, said the group is planning its popular parties at Compound while also hosting a burlesque show and its White Party at Park Tavern on Sunday, Sept. 4.
“[Black Gay Pride] shows our pride in our community,” she said. “It’s an emotional time for me. I’m proud to be LGBT, not only as a woman but also as a mother. Our community has come through so much but we stick together and work hard to accomplish things.”
Also promising a weekend full of parties and events is Rockstars Productions which will seek the “Face of Rockstar” to be its spokesperson for the next year. Contestants will meet and greet at a pool party at the Melia, the host hotel for Black Gay Pride this year, on Saturday, Sept. 3, and the new spokesperson will be introduced on Sunday, Sept. 4, at a “Rock the Vote Red Carpet Results Party” at Primal.
“I see Pride as a highlight of our accomplishments,” said JuJu Rock of Rockstar. “For many people, there is a mask of shame they wear and this is an opportunity for all of us to come together so we don’t have to wear that mask.
“We also don’t believe Black Pride should be contained to only black people. Our goal and focus is to have a universal presence,” he said.
All of the hotels are already packed with people coming in from around the world for one of the largest Black Gay Prides in the U.S. But economic times are tough and Boone, of Traxx Atlanta, said he and his friends are trying to ensure people can have a great time without breaking their wallets.
“We want to make the weekend as economically feasible as we can for everyone,” Boone said. “People have complained in the past that everything is so overpriced. So one way we’re trying to help is to have a $10 buffet brunch at XS Ultra Lounge so people can take a break from overpriced hotel food.”
Collaborations are important, too, as Traxx and Traxx Atlanta team up with Rockstars Production, Lions Den and In the Life Atlanta to host events to bring unity to participants looking to have a great time in the city. The groups co-host their popular White Party on Monday, Sept. 5, at Havana Club.
Traxx and Traxx Girls also take advantage of the popularity of Piedmont Park on the Sunday of Black Gay Pride to have a DJ and pass out free water to everyone.
Top photo: At last year’s Black Gay Pride, Traxx hosted thousands for a performance by hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
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