NYC Black Pride Events Planned in Commemoration of 25th Anniversary
New York’s Black Pride returns this month with an exciting multi-day series of events including an awards ceremony, beach day at Coney Island, talks and several free activities. This year’s NYC Black Pride is especially significant as it will be the 25th anniversary.
“There’s a push to make it special just by the nature of the historic event that it is,” Lee Soulja-Simmons, who runs NYC’s annual Black Pride events, said in an interview with Gay City News. “For the past two years we have been subjected to various forms of confinement and other constraints and health problems, so we are allowed to do so many things that we were not able to do last year and in 2020. .”
Although the schedule of events is packed, Soulja-Simmons carefully acknowledged the reality of multiple concurrent health issues, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and monkeypox outbreak. Soulja-Simmons, who has had calls with city and state health officials about monkeypox, stressed that the response to the health crisis must be equitable and stigma-free targeting LGBTQ people.
While events will officially begin on August 17, there will be a town hall on August 11 titled “Black, Queer, and Here,” which will explore intersectionality in the Black LGBTQ community. The event, produced by Native Son, will feature Nancy Santiago from the Office of the Surgeon General; Saturday Night Live comedian and writer Sam Jay; television personality Kalen Allen; Lena Green, executive director of the Hope Center; member of the Chi Ossé Council of Brooklyn; and Grio contributor Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey.
Official Black Pride New York events kick off August 17 with “Health as a Human Right,” a discussion focused on wellness, at the LGBT Center at 208 West 13th Street in Manhattan. The free event will start at 5 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.
The evening will continue with an opening mixer at 10 p.m. at Lambda Lounge, which is located at 2256 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Manhattan. Like the healthcare discussion, the opening mixer will be free to attend.
There will be two more events on Thursday, August 18 – including another free talk at the LGBT Center from 5-9:30 p.m. Thursday’s talk is titled “Reflections: Souls of Liberation”. Nolan Tesis will host the event alongside eight panelists: Micah Marquez, Lady Pearl, George Bellinger, Cheryl “Jus Shady”, Tim Lanvin, Luna Khan, Duchess LaWong and Charly Dominguez.
The second event of the day is “TRAPPY HOUR: Black Pride” at 4 West, which is located at 303 West 127th Street in Manhattan. This event starts at 10 p.m. and lasts until 4 a.m.
Friday’s festivities kick off with Hoodstock at the Christopher Street Pier at 393 West Street. The free afternoon event will start at 2 p.m. and end at 6 p.m.
At 5 p.m., people will gather for one of the main events, the Heritage Image Awards Ceremony at the Schomburg Center at 515 Lenox Avenue at 135th Street. Winners of the free event include Ceyenne Doroshow, the Executive Director of GLITS; “Pose” star Michaela Jae Rodriguez; and actress, model and dancer Leyna Bloom.
The evening will end with “FUSION/Part 1” – which will include a cover charge. The event, which begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 4 a.m., will take place at 7 East 36th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue.
Saturday will be another busy day on the 2022 NYC Black Pride calendar. The Black Pride Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Times Square Center at 242 West 41st Street. Events also include a trans bodybuilding competition in the theater at 11 a.m., a blackout music concert in the Lobby at noon, Mr. & Miss Black Pride International in the theater at 4 p.m., and a Black Pride mini ball in the Lobby at 5 a.m. . pm
The evening will conclude with another Fusion event from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at 42 D’OR at 512 West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
NYC Black Pride will end on Sunday, August 21, beginning with “Pride at the Beach” from noon to 8 p.m. at Coney Island Beach on the boardwalk and 21st Street. There will be a show at 6 p.m. with Inaya Day, Susu Bobien and Octavia Lambertis.
The final event will be “Fusion: The Finale” from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Club Lambda at 1031 Grand Street in Manhattan.
Events throughout the week are set to highlight NYC Black Pride’s 25th anniversary. New York’s Black Pride events followed in the footsteps of other cities that had held similar festivities beforehand.
“The idea of having a Black Pride first started in DC and LA and other cities,” Soulja-Simmons said. “New York came about 25 years ago, and that’s important because it’s such a big city and the population here in itself warrants a huge celebration…so we’re thrilled about that.”
While some Pride events are known to portray a party atmosphere, Soulja-Simmons highlighted the cultural aspect and explained that Black Pride festivities represent an opportunity to shine a light on queer people of color.
“I think people misunderstand what Black Prides is — why Black Prides are thriving around the world,” Soulja-Simmons said. “It’s about celebrating people of color. We have a history and we have contributed to all sectors of society. Many achievements are not in the history books and are not mentioned. It’s a way to celebrate the incredible contributions we’ve made to the world from an LGBTQ perspective.
To learn more about NYC Black Pride, visit NYCBlackPride.com.