Black Pride brings new ideas, focus on youth
by Angela Thomas
Apr 10, 2014 | 574 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Philadelphia Black Gay Pride is gearing up for its 15th annual weeklong celebration with a more youth-oriented focus.

Love, Laugh, Live will take place from April 20-27. The event, spearheaded by PBGP vice president D’Ontance Keyes, will include an array of new events and a more community-oriented feel.

Keyes said the agency was particularly interested this year in broadening its base of supporters, so each event has its own presenting collaborator.

“One of things I wanted to lean towards was collaboration with individuals who share our similar mission,” he said.

Keyes, who has served on the board for five years, said the organization was looking to bring in new energy from the community to its schedule of events.

“Since I have been on the board, it has always had the same lineup,” he said. “There has been a lot of cross-marketing from different networks and collaborating presenters and tapping into social networks that Philly Black Gay Pride hasn’t tapped into before.”

Keyes said all the events, although welcoming to all, will have a shift in focus towards a younger crowd, and this is the first year that many of the events are free or offered at a lower admission price.

And, this marks the first time in five years that the host hotel, Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium, sold out within the first 30 days of the event’s announcement.

There will also be a shift away from fundraising at events, Keyes said.

“We had to fundraise during our past prides and that shunned people away because people felt nickeled-and-dimed,” he said. “We are focusing heavily on the community to promote celebration.”

The week will be previewed at “A Night in Rio,” a Mr. and Miss PBGP pageant, 7-10 p.m. April 20 at Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St.

The fourth-annual youth roundup, geared toward ages 13-24 and hosted by The Attic’s Peer Support and Prevention Team, will take place 7-11 p.m. April 21 at The Attic, 255 S. 16th St.

PBGP will present Ratchet Wednesdays Frat House, a college-night party from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. April 23 at Tabu Sports Bar & Lounge, 200 S. 12th St. The party will be co-presented by event host Josh Schonewolf. There will be a poetry slam April 24 at 4 Fathers, 319 Market St., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

The organization will honor community leaders at the kickoff party, 6-8 p.m. April 26 at the hotel. PBGP will present Rep. Brian Sims with a Politician of the Year Award and will also honor past leaders and founders of PBGP. In addition, the group will pay tribute to No Label Royalty, a nonprofit organization helping youth in the city build self-esteem though training and programming.

The annual youth scholarship winner will also be named at the kickoff celebration. The award this year has grown from $500 to $1,000.

Following the kick-off event, the organization will present Party Monster Mini-Ball Deluxe from 7 p.m.-1 a.m., hosted by Legendary Jacen Prodigy and Ballroom Throwbacks.

A free health and resource fair will be offered from noon-3 p.m. April 26 at the hotel. Then, D.R. Takeover will present a new speed-dating event called Single In the City, 4-6 p.m. at Ladder Fifteen, 1528 Sansom St.

Tony Award nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph will be on hand at Broadway Brunch, along with the cast of “Mighty Real,” noon April 27 at Smokin’ Betty’s, 116 S. 11th St.

Keyes said the finale party April 27 will include more of a “local” flavor with local presenters Terrance/Stylemcfly and Jay/“Jay the Great.” The Finale day party will take place from 1-6 p.m. at the Raw Courtyard Lounge, 1225 Sansom St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The party will continue at the White Party, 10 p.m.-3 p.m. at Whisper, 1712 Walnut St.

While there will be plenty of social time at the events, Keyes noted that the week will be about, and offer, much more than parties.

“We are promoting celebration, our trials and tribulations and the great strides we have done for the whole year,” he said. “Pride is more than a party. We are an organization that helps bring people together and continues to stand here strong and bring innovative programming to the community that they haven’t seen with PBGP.”

For more information on Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, visit www.phillyblackpride.org.

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