C.J. Stermer (left) and Poya Davis dance together to some pride music during the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /firstname.lastname@example.org
For the AJC
In 1996, a group of Black LGBT Atlantans gathered for a picnic on Labor Day weekend to mix, mingle and find community.
Twenty-two years later, that small event has ballooned into Atlanta Black Pride Weekend (ABPW). Considered the largest celebration of its kind, thousands descend upon the city to attend parties, workshops and other events tailored towards this unique community. Atlanta will be abuzz with activity as the Black LGBT community takes over the city.
There are dozens of events planned, so trying to choose one can be overwhelming. We've narrowed it down for you.
Here are some of the best events you don't want to miss:
A fan snaps a selfie with Taija New behind stage as she prepares to perform during the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /email@example.com
This will probably be the largest gathering of the weekend. There is a slew musical artists and celebrity appearances scheduled including songstress Sevyn Streeter and reality star turned rapper Cardi B. The annual J-sette competition is a popular draw for crowds who are fans of the majorette influence dance style. Attendees will also have a chance to patronize local businesses at a vendors' market. The event is free and open to the general public. For more information, visit their website.
The Georgia Freight Depot, 65 Martin Luther King Jr Drive SW, Atlanta
Women spaces can be hard to come by in the LGBT community but Atlanta has Traxx Girls to fill that void. The promotion group is the most well known of its kind in the city and according to the ABPW website, this party will be "biggest girl party in the country." The group also boasts that over 4,000 women will be attending and singer Keyshia Cole is slated to perform. You can purchase VIP sections for $500 and line-cutting combo passes that include this event, in addition to other parties, online at Atlanta Black Pride Weekend's website.
Ladies at Play has been a staple in Atlanta for 13 years and after this party, they will be retiring. The both floors of the venue will be in use. There will be 2 DJs, DJ Cowboy playing Northern hip-hop and DJ E playing Southern. While the title of the party says ladies, the whole community is welcome to partake. Passes can be found at Eventbrite. Partygoers will be able to buy $20 general passes online until Friday and $30 VIP passes until Saturday.
Reggie McKenzie (left) and Jamie Allen encourage attendees to get a free AIDS test during the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /firstname.lastname@example.org AJC File Photo
In The Life Atlanta, the organization responsible for the gathering that started ABPW, will be hosting two seminars and a step show at GSU. The first seminar, titled Let's Talk About Sex, will be "an open and frank discussion with no-holds-barred on sexual wellness, PEP, PrEP and support programs in Atlanta," according to the event page and is scheduled to begin at 2pm. Campus Equality, the second workshop that starts at 3:30pm, will focus on creating safe college campuses for LGBT students. The step show starts at 4:30pm and will feature performances from LGBT members of greek organizations.
All three events will be located in Dahlberg Hall on Courtland Street and are free. Guests can RSVP at the organization's website.
This party is hosted by Candace Finley, blogger at Little Miss Lesbo. " What's lit AF about Slay Atlanta is the fact that people actually dance there and there's NO DRAMA," said Finley via email. "Slay is a safe fun (expletive) LGBTQ party for anyone 21+. If you're tired of your funds being taken for granted just to stand around and have weak drinks at other parties, IT’S TIME TO SLAY.”
The theme of the night is "the South has something to slay," a play on Andre 3000's famous declaration at the 1995 Source Awards. The venue is on the trendy Edgewood Avenue and the cover is $15 dollars at the door, a bargain compared to the more mainstream events.
When the link to "male events" on ABPW's website is clicked, sitegoers are directed to Rock Star Productions. Although they have several nightlife events planned, they are also hosting other types of gatherings including a comedy show, day party, brunch mixer and a boat ride across Lake Lanier. Rock Star Productions offers a variety of party passes.
The bronze pass ($45), guests gain VIP entry to party of their choice excluding the boat trip. The other passes give priority entry to multiple events. The gold pass ($134) is for the weekend events, the silver ($99) provides priority access to all nightlife events and platinum pass ($165) is for all of them. The comedy show, boat ride and brunch are not included and must be purchased separately. All event tickets, along with VIP sections, are available for purchase online. Passes must be picked up at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.