Metro Weekly

DC Black Pride to hold virtual Unity Ball on May 27 as part of “12 Months of Black Pride”

DC Black Pride will host monthly events, mostly virtual, as well as an in-person pool party in June and awards ceremony in July

Ballroom artists show off their moves at DC Black Pride 2019’s “Flewed Out” party at Echostage – Photos: Ward Morrison/MW file photo.

DC Black Pride is holding a virtual ball on May 27 as part of the organization’s ongoing “12 Months of Black Pride” celebration.

Typically, DC Black Pride would meet in person during the week leading into Memorial Day, but the uncertainty stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led organizers to develop a plan to hold virtual events each month from February 2021 to February 2022, in order to avoid having to cancel Pride for the second year in a row. 

“We had to be creative,” explains Kenya Hutton, deputy director of the Center for Black Equity, which coordinates DC Black Pride each year. “So we launched ’12 Months of Black Pride,’ with the idea that it would run from February to February of next year, when we will announce next year’s theme for Black Pride. And what that allowed us to do was to hold virtual events until D.C. started opening up. We had a different event every month — special talks, interviews, panel discussions, all of those things.”

This past Sunday, Black Pride held its first in-person event, albeit with limited seating: a comedy showcase featuring Black LGBTQ comedians. The showcase was filmed and can be viewed by a larger audience online via the DC Black Pride YouTube channel, as well as on the DC Black Pride Facebook page.

On Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m., DC Black Pride will, along with the Capitol Ballroom Council, co-host “The Unity Ball 2021: The Revolution,” a virtual event celebrating ballroom culture, where participants can choose to walk the virtual runway serving fierce looks, voguing, or dance moves. The event features commentator Jack Mizrahi Gucci, a longtime fixture in the ballroom community, music by DJ Tony Play, a.k.a. Tony Playboi, and will have special guest co-hosts, including the legendary Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Duante Balenciaga, Domo Khan, and Charles West. The ball will be livestreamed on both DC Black Pride and Capitol Ballroom Council social media channels.

On June 10, DC Black Pride will have a virtual discussion on aging and the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a pool party on June 11 at a yet-to-be-announced space, which will mark the organization’s second in-person event this year. 

The following month, DC Black Pride will host its annual Pride Awards in-person at The Park on 14th on July 21, honoring individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Black and LGBTQ communities. Additional events for the following six months will be announced as more details become available. To keep up-to-date with the latest information, participants can follow DC Black Pride’s social media accounts.

See also: 15 Black LGBTQ films that everyone should see

In the coming weeks and months, some of DC Black Pride’s partner organizations, including but not limited to Damien Ministries and Us Helping Us, will be hosting additional events and discussions that fall outside the purview of DC Black Pride but may be of interest to the Black LGBTQ community.

For instance, on May 27, prior to the Unity Ball, Hutton will co-host a virtual discussion, hosted by DC Beings, with local LGBTQ activist Strawberry about “Status Neutral,” a new approach to HIV education, prevention, and treatment where, regardless of a person’s HIV status, they can be treated with respect and connected with the individually-tailored, stigma-free support systems that will help them remain healthy. That event will be livestreamed on the @DCBeings YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Hutton told Metro Weekly in an interview that as the District of Columbia begins to get back to normal following its reopening phase and the relaxing of various pandemic restrictions, that more of the “12 Months of Black Pride” programming will be able to be held in person for the remaining months until a new annual cycle kicks off next February.

“We’re watching things very closely just to see what things may change in the coming months,” Hutton said. “If things keep on going the way it is [with the reopening], we’re going to be able to have in-person events every month. That’s the goal, cross my fingers.”

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