The city of Atlanta welcomed an estimated 60,000 people to it's 14th annual Black Gay Pride over Labor Day weekend. Atlanta is home to the largest Black Gay Pride celebration in the world and participants traveled from all over the U.S. to party, attend workshops, and unite with other LGBT brothers and sisters over the course of 6 days. Kudos to the board of directors at In The Life Atlanta for a well organized and action packed event. I do believe there was something for everyone to attend whether or not you're into the party scene that most pride events are famous for .
Unfortunately, my weekend didn't go as planned and I missed a lot of the events that were on the top of my list, specifically the "State of Black Gay America Summit". I had a true blonde moment and went to the wrong hotel. So here's a word of advice for next year, read all of the information thoroughly for each event because they're not all held at the host hotel.
But I did attend the official pride worship service at The Vision Church of Atlanta on Sunday and Piedmont Park later on that evening. Piedmont Park on Sundays has been the place where black gays and lesbians have gathered for years and this past weekend we not only gathered but we dominated the park! Imagine looking around you and all you can see for miles is a huge sea of people that look like you and share some of the same life experiences, it's truly overwhelming in the best way.
I was able to capture some video footage of the J-Sette competition and it's quite entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of J'Sett-ing (is that even a word?) and I've written about it before here , but I realized it brings people together and forms bonds between the men who perform in this subculture, much like stepping does for greek organizations.
I closed out Pride on Monday by participating in the march from the MLK Center to the state capitol. This was by far the most liberating event I attended. Walking in the scorching Atlanta sun shouting "I'm Black, I'm Out and I'm Proud''! was life affirming and reminiscent of the civil rights movement, a different struggle, but a struggle I identify with nonetheless.
If you didn't make it to ATL Pride this year make sure you go ahead and plan on being in the mix next year, you won't be dissapointed because it just keeps getting better and better. Check out highlights from Piedmont Park and the march in the youtube video below.