After going almost entirely virtual last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC Black Pride is back with a wide range of events to commemorate the Black LGBTQ community.
Starting on August 18, NYC Black Pride will host an opening mixer from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Black-owned LGBTQ bar Lambda Lounge at 2256 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem. The next day, organizers are heading downtown to Brooklyn to present a mini ball from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the Sugar Hill Restaurant and Supper Club at 217 Nostrand Avenue. On August 20, hosts will debut its main virtual Zoom event, “Health as a Human Right,” where advocates will bring attention to the barriers and stigma facing individuals living with HIV in the wake of the 40th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That event will begin at 6 p.m. and conclude at 8:30 p.m.
On August 21, event-goers can also attend NYC Black Pride’s drag brunch, which begins at noon at B2 Harlem, a seafood restaurant at 271 West 119th Street. Black Pride organizers are capping off the festivities of events with a “Pride at the Beach” event on Coney Island.
NYC Black Pride organizer Lee Soulja-Simmons said this year’s NYC Black Pride would be smaller than usual because of COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions. While NYC Black Pride has attracted thousands of revelers in the past, Soulja-Simmons said scaling down the event will keep attendees safe.
“We are also paying close attention to how many events are actually live events or in person, even more so than we normally do, so that we could take the proper precautions around people being able to social distance and wear a mask to protect themselves,” Soulja-Simmons said.
For the last 24 years, NYC Black Pride has spotlighted the contributions of Black LGBTQ individuals who are often erased or given less attention than white-led queer movements. Soulja-Simmons said NYC Black Pride is critical in uplifting the voices of Black LGBTQ people, specifically in the ballroom scene.
“There’s so much around LGBT history that comes out of Black and Brown culture,” Soulja-Simmons said. “So many things that are now part of popular culture was born out of the Black gay community. Black pride is a way for us to celebrate and recognize those contributions.”
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