Another Philadelphia Black Pride weekend is in the books, and according to PBP President Le Thomas, it was a big hit, attracting nearly 5,000 attendees from Philly and along the East Coast at a host of nightlife and community events held around the city.
“The weekend was a success because it was truly community-driven and people were getting to know each other through networking,” Thomas said. “That’s always the most exciting thing to see during Black Pride, the new friendships that form during the week — and seeing people who don’t go out a lot catch up with old friends.”
The affair didn’t begin so harmoniously. On April 24, Thomas circulated a press release that blamed Woody’s for trying to use the PBP name to promote a block party outside the bar on 13th Street. Woody’s shot back saying it never used the name, but its party would support a number of black-centric nonprofits.
The event would have overshadowed a smaller affair Philly Black Pride was having around the corner, but in the end both sides talked and Woody’s agreed to cancel its bash.
“I’m happy that we came to an understanding and they respected where we were coming from in terms of feeling like they would have pulled people away from our event,” Thomas said. “It was important they did that.”
The weekend generated several other productive conversations at a handful of discussion panels, the largest of which was The Conversation, held in an auditorium at University of the Arts.
Jason Culler, CEO at Social Life Entertainment, the company behind several Philly Black Pride events this year, told PGN that City Council candidates Deja Lynn Alvarez, Asa Khalif and Duke Orsino attended that forum and shared their takes on the importance of LGBTQ representation in local government.
“They discussed… holding current politicians accountable for their campaign promises and lack of involvement in the community at large,” he said.
Local health experts on the panel led a discussion about the importance of access to PrEP, the drug used to decrease instances of HIV, and the importance of LGBTQ people choosing their own healthcare provider.
“Many of the audience members expressed that their primary care providers have often denied them access to PrEP as a prevention method to HIV,” Culler noted. “One concerning story came from a member of the armed forces who visited an in-network physician that denied him access to care because of his sexuality.”
Other symposiums included one on sex and spirituality led by Pastor Hayes from the Truth and Light Church. A COLOURS Organization event doled out tips about the impact of fostering relationships between black prides and black-owned businesses, and one interactive workshop enlightened attendees on intersectionality from the lens of trans nonbinary gender-fluid Latinx twins.
The first-annual Impaq Awards ceremony honored a handful of community members who have worked to further the black LGBTQ cause over the past year.
QWOC Networking Summit
Black and Brown Workers Co-op co-founder Abdul Aliy-Muhammad received an award for his activism for people of color; Madelyn Morrison from the Trans-Health Information Project was recognized for outstanding transgender activism; and Morris Home was honored as Outstanding LGBTQ Community Organization for its work to help trans and gender-nonconforming individuals get back on their feet after addiction.
Thomas told PGN that Philly Black Pride will take some time off to recoup from the festivities, but to expect some PBP events during Pride month in June.
“We haven’t mapped out quite what it’s going to look like, but we will get that planned soon,” he said. “We don’t typically do anything in June, but we think it’s a good opportunity to continue our 20th anniversary celebration.” n