May 19, 2011 | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Proud and black

Raceen Pendarvis and ButtaFlySoul at last year's Black Pride. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Next weekend, in its usual Memorial Day weekend slot, comes D.C. Black Pride celebrating its 21st year.

The local event, which founder Earl Fowlkes used as a springboard to launch the International Federation of Black Prides, has a slightly different schedule this year but is still focused on building a stronger black LGBT community in Washington. The event typically draws about 25,000 attendees from many states on the East Coast and beyond.

Events kick off Thursday and run through May 30 (Memorial Day). The Blade is a sponsor.

The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel (24th and K streets, N.W.) is the official host hotel for out-of-town visitors.

On Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., the “hospitality suite” is open at the Hamilton. From 7 to 9 p.m., a Black Pride town hall meeting will be held at the hotel. Admission is free. The discussion is entitled “’Til Death Do Us Part: a Discussion of Domestic Violence in the Black LGBT Community.”

On May 27 from 7 to 10 p.m., an opening reception and awards ceremony will be held. Admission is free. The Welmore Cook Community Service awards will be given to out local activists Ron Collins and Khadijah Tribble.

Workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 28. A film festival will be held from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Sphinx Club Grand Ballroom. Admission is $20. A “poetry slam” will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. also in the ballroom hosted by “Buttaflysoul.” Cash prizes will be awarded. Contestants must sign up in advance.

At 10 p.m., a retro dance will be held at the hotel. Admission is $15.

On Sunday, a church service will be held, again at the hotel. It’s free.

Unlike years past, the main festival with booths and entertainment will be held on Memorial Day at Fort Dupont Park. The event will be held in conjunction with Us Helping Us, a local AIDS charity that specializes in the black LGBT community.

Visit dcblackpride.org for more information.

A for-profit event also targeting the local black LGBT community is also slated for Memorial Day weekend called Chocolate City Pride. Its organizers — McGregory Williams, Donald Desprett and Kurtis Perminter of Omega Entertainment — have no connection to Chocolate City Festival, a now-defunct event local gay event promoter Darryl Wilson held a few years ago. Its organizers also say it has no connection to the D.C. gay bar Omega.

Its host hotel is sold out but an overflow hotel has been established at the Hyatt Regency on Capital Hill. It has several events slated for the weekend. Visit omegapartydc.com for details. The Blade is not sponsoring Chocolate City Pride.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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