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In a weekend filled with D.C. Black Pride events, the sun shone brightest on the ''Empowered & Poppin' Festival,'' a natural thing, given that the 18th annual event was held on Sunday, May 25, at Dupont's Francis Field, under clear blue skies and pleasant afternoon temperatures -- definitely not the rain that has hindered festivals past.
In a crowd where fashion took many eye-catching forms, Richmond, Va., resident Mike let his own true colors shine.
''Black Pride is about being diverse, different, standing out, and showing off your fashions,'' he said, wearing semi-drag and loud colors. ''I created my outfit from years of experience, just from being who I am and my personal feelings.''
For D.C. resident Trent Royster, the gathering felt most like a ''family reunion.''
For Josh Crosson, it was about diversity: ''I think Black Pride really puts a face, a genuine diverse face, to being out and proud in the gay community.''
And for Donna Means, who traveled from Boston to attend the weekend events, the festival was about being uninhibited.
''It's a chance to be openly gay without any ostracism, without any homophobia, with self love and all this chocolate-ness.'' -Yusef Najafi