By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Under new leadership and with a renewed focus, this year’s Atlanta Black Pride celebration is shaping up to be very different. Peach spoke to Amber Moore, Co-Chair of Atlanta Black Pride, Inc. and Board Member of In The Life Atlanta, Inc., and Terence Stewart, Chairperson of Atlanta Black Pride, about the new direction and all the new initiatives.
In the Spring, you launched a marketing campaign under the hashtag #ReclaimingATLBlackPride – how is this year’s Pride shaping up under the new leadership?
Amber: It has been quite a bit of work due to re-introduce to the community to who Atlanta Black Pride is; correcting the mismanaging and leadership with corporate/community sponsorships; dealing with the legal aspect with those that were using the brand of Atlanta Black Pride. We also established new bridges with community partners and new corporate partnerships.
Terence: Things under the new leadership are shaping up. It is a process, the cleanup and reorganization is going to take some time to complete. While previous leaders were asleep at the wheel, we are not. We keep a pulse on the community.
Every year, the same question emerges, so let’s get it out of the way, so the people in the back hear it too: Some still voice the opinion that there should be only one, diverse Pride in Atlanta. What do you have to say about that?
Amber: NO! Atlanta Pride Committee is our celebration of being LGBTQ+. Atlanta Black Pride is about educating, empowering, and celebrating. As African-American and People of Color, we have different needs to some of the same issues due to not having the resources accessible or lack of knowledge to the resources. So we, Atlanta Black Pride, create the platforms to come together to talk and share knowledge/resources among each other. This is necessary to what Atlanta Black Pride was founded on. This year, unlike others, Atlanta Black Pride and Atlanta Pride Committee have partnered on a Stonewall Interfaith service event that we will do again. Atlanta Pride Committee is one of the sponsors of a workshop called “Empowering My Sisters” a Lunch & Learn hosted during Atlanta Black Pride weekend. Lastly, we are working on some events during the week of Atlanta Pride, where we will partner with them on as well.
Terence: Aw, that same ole question why two prides and why don’t we combined to become more diverse. Let’s be honest, most major cities (i.e., Austin, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, etc.) have two Prides, not just Atlanta. The need for Atlanta Black Pride was born out of necessity, at the time we did not and was not invited to have a seat at the Atlanta Pride’s table. Over the last five years that has changed, we often collaborate on several initiatives throughout the year.
What are some of the new initiatives you have taken to improve this Atlanta Black Pride?
Terence: The way we do business has changed; if it is not in writing and signed by the Chair and Co-Chair, it does not happen. We are more community-focused and driven than ever before. You see us out in the community doing the work. Folks use to say that Atlanta Black Pride only showed up in July and August; not anymore. Our 20/20 Roadmap has a lot of different programming and events that the community will love.
Last year, there were several organizers of parties and events – is there one official program this year?
Terence: I want to put to bed this thought that no one OWNS Atlanta Black Pride, well that just not true, Atlanta Black Pride and Atlanta Black Gay Pride are both owned and operated by Atlanta Black Pride, Inc. We are grateful to all our sponsors, community partners, and to the Atlanta LGBTQ+ community for our 23 years. Every year we get party promoters local and from all over the US coming to Atlanta and claiming to be Atlanta Black Pride – they are not. While we have partnered with several promoters this year, the majority have no affiliation with Atlanta Black Pride. Official Atlanta Black Pride Events and Partners have the new logo display on their advertisement. As far as those who are not a part of the lineup and are using the name Atlanta Black Pride, they have received cease and desist notices. Those who choose to continue after being notified will receive a notice to appear either before or after Pride in Fulton County Superior Court. The game is over!
Amber: YES! We have partnered with the best Promoter in Atlanta this year. They bought into the nightlife program where they were issued the right to use the Atlanta Black Pride logo to brand their events and to have our support. With them being under the Atlanta Black Pride brand, they even benefit from the sponsorships that we get. This program is a win-win opportunity.
Check out a good portion of the events on page 8, and check out the full lineup at atlantablackpride.org, plus check for updates on their Facebook page.