Black Pride events are vital due to the lack of association, representation, and resources for Black queer communities in comparison to white queer communities. As Black Pride reaches its thirty-first anniversary and expands globally, our diverse community wonders about the inclusivity and longevity of Black Pride. Has Black Pride become a thing of the past or can we revamp ourselves?
More than 35,000 people attended America’s first Black LGBTQ+ Pride event in Washington D.C. in 1991. Voices from different walks of life came together to celebrate survival, showcase talents, and share Black queer stories.
One of those voices today is Rayceen Pendarvis, the “Empress of Pride,” a household name in the queer community. Pendarvis was the second child to join the legendary House of Pendarvis, so family and community support are near and dear to their heart and work.
Pendarvis and their team believe Black queer spaces are pivotal in celebrating, empowering, and showcasing the continued contribution and legacy of Black queer communities. A Team Rayceen representative by the name of Krylios tells Tagg, “Melanated queer folks have to fight harder and reach further to be recognized and to tell their story. With this sharing of stories, a strong and vibrant community can be formed so a much easier path is paved for the younger generation.”
Team Rayceen Productions’ events and The Ask Rayceen Show support intergenerational community building and networking within the LGBTQIA+ community. Team Rayceen firmly believes in bridging the gap between Black queer generations. To witness the continued longevity of Black Pride, Team Rayceen encourages the older queer generations to be more inclusive when it comes to organizing and building with younger queer generations.
“Pride is about celebrating our community, honoring our history, being politically aware, and connecting with people who share our experiences,” says Pendarvis. “I think we keep it thriving by loving each other, volunteering, supporting our nonprofits and businesses, being unified, and voting in every election!”
The Normal Anomaly Initiative is an HIV advocacy organization based in Houston founded in 2016 that has quickly become a community-driven force to be reckoned with. Their presence and work within the community humbly started with founder Ian L. Haddock.
Since then, the organization has expanded with staffing, programs, and several successful events, including a Black Queer AF music festival during Houston’s Splash Weekend. The organization received a grant from Lil Nas X’s baby registry, which helped them create a lavish experience for Houston’s Black queer community.
The Normal Anomaly encourages elders to educate Black queer youth about our history to bridge generational gaps. When asked why Black queer spaces are important, a representative stated, “Black, Queer LGBTQIA+ spaces are often minimized and excluded in society due to the discrimination that exists between homophobia, transphobia, and racism. The reality is that the Black, queer community has been at the forefront and [led] all major social movements, trends, breakthroughs, and revolutionary moments within our country. The greater Pride movement is often told through a white, cis male lens however, it was started and led by a Black trans/gender non-conforming person.”
The Director of Programming, Joelle Espeut, strongly believes that the future of Black Gay Pride has to center and support the most marginalized individuals within the community, (such as femmes and our transgendered sisters and brothers), and not just masculine Black gay cis men.
We cannot neglect the dedication, effort, and love, that our queer mothers and fathers provided for us to walk. For Black Pride to continue succeeding in the future, Black queer communities have to be more inclusive towards all Black queer walks of life. There is power and autonomy when we free ourselves from confined ideologies. Will you be a part of the change?