Black Pride moving forward with Labor Day weekend celebrations

People walk past the vendor booths during the Pure Heat Community Festival during Atlanta Black Pride weekend in 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
caption arrowCaption
People walk past the vendor booths during the Pure Heat Community Festival during Atlanta Black Pride weekend in 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Organizers of Atlanta Black Pride events say the annual celebration of the African American LGBTQ community is on for Labor Day weekend.

While October’s larger Atlanta Pride festival and parade were recently canceled because of growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Black pride leaders said they hope encouraging participants to wear masks during events will keep attendees safe.

“Aside from the obvious social distancing, our patrons won’t see any major changes as we will continue the traditions we normally do but in a limited fashion,” said Vaughn Alvarez, who is helping to promote some of the events held at Piedmont Park. “We do not have as many indoor gatherings as we normally do and our non-party programming was cut down slightly, as those classes tend to be indoors.”

Amber Moore, COO and vice president of Atlanta Black Pride, said this year’s event — marking the celebration’s 25th year — will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to protect attendees.

“For indoor activities, you must wear a mask at all of our events,” she said. “For outdoors, we encourage everyone to wear a mask. Fulton County will be out doing vaccinations and COVID testing.”

Events for the anniversary will be spread across Atlanta with some taking place at Piedmont while others, such as Black Pride celebrations slated for Sept. 4 and 5, will be held in Central Park.

The list of events also include a fashion show, “lunch & learn” session focused on empowering women and an awards ceremony for the transgender community, all held at the Atlanta Marriott Midtown.

There also will be a boat ride, poetry slam, virtual film festival, health expo, spades tournament and numerous parties.

Atlanta rap icon and radio host Da Brat and fiancee Jesseca “Judy” Dupart, CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products, will be honored during activities at Piedmont Park for “bravery and courage with their love story,” Alvarez said. The two are stars of “Brat loves Judy” on WE-TV.

“Over the past year, they have both demonstrated what it means to be inclusive and the power of true love,” Alvarez said. “Both ladies constantly give back to the community by using their resources and talents to educate and empower people daily.”

In a release, Dupart said: “Can’t wait to celebrate this with everyone. Thanks for sprinkling a dose of glitter on my life Atlanta.”

Alvarez and Moore said celebrating the Black LGBTQ+ community is critical, even in the middle of a pandemic.

“LGBTQ people of color are often subject to rejection, abuse and even daily persecution,” Alvarez said. “Pride is a time where all can lay their burdens down for a few days and not worry about the pressures of life.

“Pride also gives us an opportunity to empower and educate people with free HIV and STD testing and for those that test positive, we can provide them resources and counseling.”

Moore said it’s also important to acknowledge the hard work put in 25 years ago by Black LGBTQ+ leaders who had the vision to bring the annual event to life.

“It is me thanking our founders,” she said. “I thank those people who said in 1996, ‘Let’s do this.’ Because of them I can walk anywhere I want to and hold my head up high and not be ashamed to be a Black gay female.”