This year’s JUICE event saw twice the number of participants than in its debut last year, with more than 200 guests at the June 9 event.
JUICE provides a celebratory space for anyone of color, but more specifically for LGBTQ women of color. Daiyon Kpou, founder of Her Philly Moves, said she didn’t feel represented in other Pride events, so she created this one.
“I’ve gone to many Pride festivals over the years, and there was never a space where I truly felt comfortable. I knew that it was important for me to create that more diverse space,” Kpou said.
Hosted at Life Do Grown Farm in North Philadelphia, the festival featured music performances by LGBTQ artists, art exhibitions with interactive installments, food and clothing vendors, film screenings after sunset and a pop-up printmaking station sponsored by Philadelphia Printworks.
JUICE is important for the visibility of people of color within the community, said first-time attendee Ashley Wekes.
“I’ve never been to a Pride celebration that specifically catered towards my identity as a queer woman of color. It’s important to see ourselves — people of color — within the LGBTQ spectrum. It’s nice to know that there’s a space where I can be myself,” Wekes said. “I need this because I want to experience joy with people who look like me and love like me.”
A new addition to this year’s festival was an informational table from the New Voices for Reproductive Justice Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of black women, femmes and girls through body autonomy. Kris Keen, a community organizer for NVRJ, identifies as a gender-nonconforming queer person of color and said that JUICE celebrates her identity while providing an audience that’s more receptive to the organization’s work.
“This space gives us an opportunity to talk about reproductive justice with LGTBQ women of color who may be unsure of how to articulate what’s going on with their bodies to medical professionals,” said Keen. “Black bodies are celebrated here, and that falls in line with what NVRJ wants to accomplish.”
Kpou said that the success of this year’s event already has her thinking of how to make next year’s festival even bigger.
“People are now catching on to what Her Philly Moves does, and next year I want to create an even bigger, more inclusive event.”