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|Black Gay Pride combines plenty of parties with a dose of empowerment and education|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|August 17, 2012 00:00|
From parties to panel discussions, Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride intends to not only entertain the tens of thousands who descend on the South’s black gay mecca each year over Labor Day weekend, but also inform and empower them.
Each year, party promoters offer revelers a chance to attend everything from upscale cocktail parties to sexy pool parties to down and dirty late night parties that celebrate the uniqueness of being black and gay.
But there is also the annual State of Black Gay America Summit on Sept. 1, this year with the theme “Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change,” that will include panel discussions on the Affordable Care Act as well as how to fund progressive organizations and support political allies.
“We try to bring solutions and not just highlight problems in our community,” says SBGA co-founder Darlene Hudson. “We will also talk about the power of the people and talk about resilience and how we deal with oppression and how it helps us find our voice.”
Hudson said she also seeks youth leaders to participate in the summit and asks those interested to email her at [email protected]
“We want to hear from youth who are asserting their leadership into the community to share with us,” Hudson says.
Piedmont Park becomes home for ‘Pure Heat’
While there will be the usual host of parties by numerous promoters, this year’s Black Gay Pride includes a first — the Pure Heat Community Festival in Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 2, sponsored by Traxx Girls and the Vision Community Foundation.
Known as a popular gathering spot for Black Gay Pride attendees for decades, Piedmont Park on the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend is a time to take a break from the club scene but still be seen.
This year for the first time there will be food vendors, merchandise vendors, live entertainment, a J-Sette dance competition and a hair battle hosted by Derek J, the wig stylist for Kim Zolciak of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fame and owner of his own Atlanta salon.
For those who don’t know, a hair battle is when stylists have a limited time to style someone’s hair in a fierce competition.
“A national TV show will be filming and presenting our hair battle,” says Avian Watson, director of communications and sponsorship for Traxx Girls Inc. and Pure Heat Atlanta Labor Day Pride Weekend.
There will be a gospel showcase as well as Jocelynn from VH1’s hit reality series “Love and Hip Hop” visiting the park to talk to fans.
Atlanta transgender legend Raquel Lord will also perform at the festival. Organizers also plan to have one major celebrity entertainer, Watson says.
“And this is broader than just Black Gay Pride weekend. This is about community,” she adds.
Rollerskating party kicks off Pride
This year promoters Traxx Atlanta, Xtreme Entertainment, Traxx Girls and Rockstars Production are teaming up to bring a variety of parties all weekend long, beginning Aug. 29 with SkateBoyz ATL at Metro Skates hosting the first official Pride event.
Terrance Chatman, founder of SkateBoyz ATL, helped launch the organization in March 2011.
“We formed as an alternative to the club scene. We enjoy the club scene. But we wanted to bring all the demographics together,” Chatman says. “Last year we had a great attendance at Pride. This year we will be the first official event. We’ve gone from virtually unknown to being the first official event.”
SkateBoyz ATL promises a special guest host as well as professional skaters show off their wheeled wonders.
Traxx Atlanta and Traxx Girls continue their tradition of hosting spectacular parties with live performers for signatures parties such as the Traxx Girls “Big Bang Event” on Sept. 1 at the Georgia Freight Depot, Traxx Atlanta party with an international recording artist (to be announced) on Sept. 2 also at the Georgia Freight Depot and both joining together for their White Party on Sept. 3 at Luxe Lounge.
Girls in the Night will also host parties for ladies who love ladies with its annual Femme-Nomen-Non weekend of events to include its opening party on Aug. 30 at Halo Ultra Lounge and its Legendary All Black Affair at the Compound Nightclub on Aug. 31.
Wassup N ATL is celebrating its 10th year of catering to the sexy desires of black gay men with parties that will include go-go dancers, porn stars and male models. Events are planned at Phase One on Aug. 30, the Blatino Awards on Aug. 31 at Jungle and its blowout on Sept. 1 at the Georgia Freight Depot.
The Lions Den and Xplosion Entertainment are also offering up party favors and more for men and women throughout the weekend.
The host hotel for In the Life Atlanta, the nonprofit sponsor of Black Gay Pride, and many of the party promoters is the Melia Hotel, with numerous events taking place there, including the State of Black Gay America Summit.
ITLA plans numerous community-oriented events. The annual candlelight vigil takes place Aug. 29 at First Metropolitan Community Church, a “See Us in the Life” Film Festival is set for Sept. 1 at the Melia Hotel and throughout the weekend a Black Pride Marketplace is held in the Melia Hotel.
Phillip Boone of Traxx Atlanta says everything is still being ironed out with entertainers and party plans, but he predicts the community festival in Piedmont Park — an event that’s been desired for years — will be extremely popular.
GA Voice is also joining with Traxx Atlanta and Traxx Girls for its official welcome party to Pride weekend on Aug. 31 at XS Ultra Lounge.
Top photo: Atlanta Black Gay Pride includes the first Pure Heat Community Fest in Piedmont Park on Sept. 2 where there will be live entertainment as well as a J-Sette competition. Local icon Raquel Lord is set to perform as well. (by Dyana Bagby)
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