As the 31-year-old co-founder of the non-profit THRIVE SS, Daniel Driffin tries to make good on a mission to ensure black gay men no longer feel ashamed about who they are or live in isolation because they are HIV positive.

The essential guide to Atlanta Black Pride weekend 2018

In 1996, a group of Black LGBT Atlantans gathered for a picnic on Labor Day weekend to mix, mingle and find community. 

»RELATED: Project documents hidden history of LGBTQ life in the South

Twenty-two years later, that small event has ballooned into Atlanta Black Pride Weekend (ABPW). Considered the largest celebration of its kind, thousands descend upon the city to attend parties, workshops and other events tailored towards this unique community. Atlanta will be abuzz with activity as the Black LGBT community takes over the city. 

There are dozens of events planned, so trying to choose one can be overwhelming. We've narrowed it down for you.

Here are some of the best events you don't want to miss:

A fan snaps a selfie with Taija New behind stage as she prepares to perform during the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /

Pure Heat Community Festival

Noon-8 p.m., Sunday, September 2

Piedmont Park

This will probably be the largest gathering of the weekend. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet but last year’s schedule included songstress Sevyn Streeter and reality star turned rapper Cardi B. The annual J-sette competition is a popular draw for crowds who are fans of the majorette influenced dance style. Attendees will also have a chance to patronize local businesses at a vendors' market. The event is free and open to the general public. For more information, visit their website.

»RELATED: Why this Atlanta suburb has become a haven for gay couples

The LEGENDARY Traxx Girls Big BANG Event

10p.m.-4 a.m., Saturday, September 1

Westside Cultural Arts Center, 760 10th St NW, Atlanta

Women spaces can be hard to come by in the LGBT community but Atlanta has Traxx Girls to fill that void. The promotion group is the most well known of its kind in the city and according to the ABPW website, this party will be "biggest girl party in the country." The group also boasts that over 2,000 women will be attending. There’s more info available under the Female Events tab on the Atlanta Black Pride Weekend's website.

LovHer Presents Heir: Atlanta Black Gay Pride

10 p.m.-3:00am, Sunday, September 2

Havana Club Atlanta, 3112 Piedmont Road, Atlanta

With sounds by Hourglass and Whitney Abstrakt, this will be the place to be. The dress code is “Make her smile.” If that’s not clear enough, LovHer’s further advice is “No baseball hats.” Passes can be found at Eventbrite. Partygoers can buy $20 general passes and groups can buy VIP access for $400 or $500 depending on size. 

In The Life Atlanta Events

Reggie McKenzie (left) and Jamie Allen encourage attendees to get a free AIDS test during the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / AJC File Photo
Photo: Curtis Compton

In The Life Atlanta, the organization responsible for the gathering that started ABPW, will be hosting its 8TH Annual LGBT Greek Meet & Greet Brunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Following the brunch is the 1ST Annual LGBT Greek Expo from 1 to 6 p.m. Both events will be at the Dennard Center at Atlanta Technical College, 1560 Metropolitan Parkway SW, Atlanta. 

These events are only open to LGBT Greeks and you must register through your fraternity or sorority. Check out more info at the organization's website

10th Annual All White Party

10 p.m.- 3a.m.,  Saturday, September 1

595 North Eventer Center, 595 North Avenue NW, Atlanta

White refers to the color of the garments you 25 and older ladies will be rocking at this storied party. Presented by Blue Diamond Entertainment, Pride25+, Team Girl World and Atlanta Socialites, this event is subtitled “For Mature Women Who Love Mature Women.” The queen, DJ Bomshell Boogie will be playing all your favorites from the 70s right on up to what’s hot now. The presenters promise you will meet ladies from all over the world. Admission is $20-$25 for individuals, $200 for a table of 4 and $700 for VIP access for 12. Buy them on EventBrite.

»RELATED: The Silent Epidemic: How purpose saved this HIV survivor’s life

Rock Star Productions Labor Day Rock

Thursday, August 31- September 4

Various Times and locations

Rock Star Productions has a number of  nightlife events planned and they they are also hosting other types of gatherings including a comedy show, day party, brunch mixer, poetry slam and a boat ride across Lake Lanier. Rock Star Productions offers a variety of party passes. 

The bronze pass ($40), gets you VIP entry to one party. The other passes give priority entry to multiple events. The gold pass ($129)  and platinum ($164) are for the weekend events platinum includes Monday, the silver ($109) provides priority access to all nightlife events. The comedy show, boat ride, comedy slam and brunch are not included and must be purchased separately. All event tickets, along with VIP sections, are available for purchase online. Passes must be picked up at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

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