FINALLY, I got around to begin the laborious process of editing the images from PRIDE IN THE CITY (PITC). I always do a strict edit with my photos, only using the strongest photos that tell a story or describe a person or event. I am passionate about photojournalism and documetary photography. Photographing the Black gay community is one of my (many) long-term projects. I am documenting how we live and how we love. I always take a humanistic and intimate approach with my subjects and I often shoot spontaneously. Through my photography, I embrace and celebrate the beautiful and mulifaceted community we are.
PRIDE IN THE CITY is the offical annual festival of black gay and lesbian pride put on by People of Color in crisis, Inc. (POCC). This is the 5th year of the "destination" event, which seem to attract more out-of-towners than local New Yorkers. Thousands are in attendance for a weekend of LOVE, POWER AND PRIDE which is this year's PITC theme. besides that, there are a hell of a lot of parties this weekend!
I attended the PRIDE IN THE CITY opening night ceremony, The Family Day Picnic in the park, and the Beach event, which went on as scheduled despite the NYC Parks Dept. refusing to grant a permit for this year's beach party. I'll post these pictures later in the week. I didn't get to the Blackout Arts Series due to a prior committment, but I hope it was as well attended as the parties.
In general, I think this year's PITC was lukewarm, and I wonder if some of the press that POCC generated around the issue of "homophobia" and "racism" didn't frighten people away. Nevertheless, the events went on "as schduled". The beach event seemed to be on a less grand scale than last year, and the performances were "stiff". I wasn't even moved to stick around for the "hot body contest". Still, my main reason for being out there with my camera to document our community. Posted below are photo highlights from the opening night. Unfortunately, I had to bounce before Chante Moore came on. It be that way sometimes. :-) The evening started over an hour late and things got pushed back a bit. I did enjoy the awards ceremony and the drag numbers of which there were plenty. Be sure to check back later in the coming week(s) for more photos from the Park and the Beach event! Were you at pride this year? What did you think about it? Post your comments! Enjoy!
THANK YOU TO THE STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS OF POCC FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK!
MTV Real World's and Pride in The City host Kamaro Brown and Dorian Bryant (aka drag entertainer Harmonica Sunbeam) embrace after Dorian is presented with a crystal award for Creative Committment and Service to the LGBT Community. I was so happy to see Dorian back from a recent illness.
Dorian Bryant aka Harmonica Sunbeam
I lost my note pad at the park the following day while covering these events. SO, I lost my list of these FABULOUS drag performers names. If anyone knows the correct name, please post it to me!
This beautiful diva gave every bit of Erykah Badu and then some!
Legendary party promoter James Saunders (center) receives an honor for "Blazing the trail and Building a Stronger Black Gay Community". James Suanders has been promoting parties for over thirty years! Pictured with James are Karamo Brown and Langston's Club owner Calvin Clark.
Drag numbers were a highlight of the evening entertainment. A mix of lip-sync, fashion and beauty wowed the crowd in attendance.
Tyra Allure feeling very Diana Ross.
City Councilwoman and LGBT ally Letitia James reads a letter from NYC Councilspeaker Christine Quinn who could not attend due to her "busy schedule".
Face for days...
The stage was not enough for this diva! She took her act out into the audience who just ate it up! :-)
Who could forget Jasmine International and Playa as Beyonce and Jay-Z a-la BET awards.
Those in attendance were particularly generous to the drag performers.
A very happy Blondell Jackson receives the honor for "Abiding Support and Volunteerism to the NYC LGBT Community", presented by POCC's Ted Beck.
Keith Boykin presented the "National Leadership Award" to "Superwoman" Jasmyn Cannick.
Tyra Allure...very alluring. :-)
Author of the B-Boy Blues series James Earl Hardy told the audience to look out for Pookie and the others soon at a theater near you!
Karamo and Nathan Hale served as the evening's hosts.
People of Color in Crisis, Inc. Executive Director Gary English makes the announcement that the beach party will go on as scheduled. Just days prior to the opening event, the NYC Parks Department did an about face and and refused to grant a permit for the beach party. Thanks to gary English and other community leaders and activists, a permit was issued and the beach party went on as scheduled. Be sure to check back soon for photos from the PRIDE IN THE CITY park and beach events!