May 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Round-the-clock partying and programming for D.C. Black Pride
Black Pride, gay news, Washington Blade
Last year’s D.C. Black Pride event drew thousands from all over the Eastern seaboard. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Editor’s note: This is a partial list of many events scheduled throughout the weekend. A full version of programming and parties is under “schedule” at  dcblackpride.org.

LADIES’ EVENTS: 

UNLEASHED:

Sweet Temptation All White Party at L8 Lounge

Friday, May 24

10 p.m.-4 a.m.

727 15th St., N.W.

$15 advance; $20 at door

Music by DJ MIM and DJ Sammii Blendz

CANDYLAND 6: Sexiest D.C. Black Pride Day Party at Stadium Club

Saturday, May 25

3-10 p.m.

2127 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.

$12 in advance: $15 at door

Music by DJs J Stackz, Deluxx, Jai Syncere, Sammii Blendz and DJ MIM

UNLEASHED: D.C. 2K19

Chocolate City

D.C. Black Pride official Mega Ladies Party

Saturday, May 25

Howard Theatre

620 T St., N.W.

11 p.m.-4 a.m.

DJs Jai Syncere and Kid Swag

General admission: $20

VIP $30

VIP table $150

UNLEASHED: The Finale Black Pride Rooftop Party

Pride Closeout Rooftop Day Party

Sunday, May 26

3-9 p.m.

Big Chief

2002 Fenwick St., N.E.

$10 entry

VIP passes available for all events at various pricing levels

Full details at unleasheddc.com

Women in the Life 25th anniversary 

Resilience Reunion

Friday, May 24 

8 p.m.-midnight

Pop-Up Archive Gallery & open mic featuring live concert from BOOMSCAT

Saturday, May 25

9 p.m.

Women in the Life 25th anniversary Resilience Reunion Dance Party

Both events at D.C. Black Pride Hotel

Renaissance Hotel

999 9th St., N.W.

Renaissance Ballroom/lower level

Details at dcblackpride.org

MEN’S PARTIES

Daryl Wilson Promotions Presents

Happy Hour/Meet & Greet

Friday, May 24

3-9 p.m.

Renaissance Hotel

999 9th St., N.W.

Tease: the official All Male Super Party

Friday, May 24

10 p.m.-4 a.m.

Hosted by Gavin Houston (aka Jeffrey Harrington)

Special guest: Monet X Change

Ziegfeld’s/Secrets

1824 Half St., S.W.

D.C. Pride Infamous Day Party

Saturday, May 25

2-9 p.m.

The Park

920 14th St., N.W.

Pride Homecoming

Saturday Night Main Event

Saturday, May 25

10 p.m.-4 a.m.

Miss Shalae (Beyonce impersonator)

City Girls

EchoStage

2135 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.

Wet and Wild Pool Party

Sunday, May 26

1-8 p.m.

shuttle available from host hotel

The Culture Super Party

Sunday, May 26

9 p.m.-4 a.m.

The Park 

920 14th St., N.W.

Rock the Block

Monday, May 27

indoor/outdoor festival & show

Elevate Super Club

15 K St., N.E.

Naked

All male nude dancers and variety stage show

Monday, May 27

Ziegfelds/Secrets

1824 Half St., S.W.

9 p.m.-2 a.m.

Prices and full details at darylwilsondc.com

Omega Party D.C. events

Opening reception and main pass distribution at host hotel

Friday, May 24

The Fifthy Shades of Noir Warmup at Hard Rock Cafe

Friday, May 24

999 E St., N.W.

8-11 p.m.

3,000 Men Supreme Fantasy Workout

Friday, May 24

With Big Freedia

Karma Super Club 

2221 Adams Pl. N.E.

10 p.m.-4 a.m.

Mega D.C. Black Pride Appreciation Cookout Party

Saturday, May 25

Aqua

1818 New York Ave., N.E.

4-9 p.m.

6K Men Indoor/Outdoor Supreme Fantasy Midnight Festival

Saturday, May 25

Keri Hilson

D.C. Eagle

3701 Benning Rd., N.E.

Six DJs, 20 dancers and thousands of men

10 p.m.-5 a.m.

Pride Manhunt Day Party

Sunday, May 26

Eden on the Rooftop

1716 I St., N.W.

5-9 p.m.

3k Men International Traffic Light Hookup Party

Sunday, May 26

Ultrabar

911 F St., N.W.

Performance by Lightskinkeisha

10 p.m.-4 a.m.

The Apocalypse Meatloaf Chapter XI

Monday, May 27

Stadium Club

2127 Queens Chapel Rd., N.E.

9 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

Weekend passes available. 

For tickets and full details, visit omegapartydc.com

D.C. Black Pride programming

Other weekend highlights (all events at host hotel unless noted otherwise):

Saturday, May 25

Rainbow Row organization and vendor expo — 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Health screenings — 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Workshop: “Building the Tribe” — 10 a.m.-noon

Workshop: “Resume Writing & Interviewing” — 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Workshop: “Black, LGBTQ and Christian” — 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Workshop: “Ask the Doc: Understanding Health and Wellness” — noon-2 p.m.

ONYX University — noon-5 p.m.

Workshop: “Intro to Government Consulting” — 1-3 p.m.

Workshop: “Trans and Gender Non-conforming Town Hall” — 1-3 p.m.

Literary Cafe: “Remembering Audrey Lorde” — 2-4 p.m.

Workshop: “I Am Impact” storytelling — 2-4 p.m.

Workshop: “Substance Abuse, HIV and Suicide Among Black Queer Communities” — 2-4 p.m.

Workshop: “Trans and Non-binary Youth Town Hall” — 3-4:30 p.m.

7th annual PWAP Party With a Purpose — 3:30-7:30 p.m.

Tranquility Lounge — 3:30-8 p.m.

D.C. Black Pride Mary Bowman Poetry Slam — 6-9 p.m.

Sunday, May 26

Pride Praise Party — 9 a.m.-noon

Pride in Harmony Sunday Funday Brunch and Open Mic

Exhale Bar & Lounge

1006 Florida Ave., N.E.

Sounds of Pride Concert — 1:30-5 p.m.

“One Night Stands” by African-American Collective Theater — 4 and 8 p.m.

First Congregational United Church of Christ

945  G St., N.W

Monday, May 27

Pride in the Park — 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fort Dupont Park

Minnesota Ave., S.E.

One of D.C. Black Pride’s longest-serving and most diligent volunteers doesn’t live in the region. 

C. Hawkins, a black, gay Boston resident, went to D.C. Black Pride for the first time in 2002 on a whim with friends just after graduating from college. He started volunteering immediately.

“Part of it’s being from the South, we’re always willing to help out,” he says. “There was a call for volunteers and part of it was we didn’t want to pay to get into something, but if we volunteered we got in for free. When you’re in your 20s, that’s your motive. I can’t remember exactly. This was when it was at the old Washington Convention Center and it used to cost to get into some of the events but we wanted to save our money to go out, not to attend something in the daytime, so it just kind of went on from there.”

Hawkins, 41, kept helping out and attending over the years — he’s only missed twice since ’02 — because there was nothing like it when he lived in Chapel Hill, N.C., or when he moved to Boston for work four years ago. 

“They would say they have Black Pride up here but I would say we don’t,” he says. “It’s just grouped in with the general pride, it’s very small and more lesbian-oriented. We just don’t have as many black gay people up here in Boston, so coming to D.C. gives me another outlet to interact.”

Kenya Hutton, D.C. Black Pride’s program director, and, like Hawkins, a volunteer, says this year’s programming “seems to have taken on a mind of its own.” Events are held at various venues but much of the programming takes place at the host hotel, the Renaissance (999 9th St., N.W.). Full schedule and details at  HYPERLINK “http://dcblackpride.org/” \t “_blank” dcblackpride.org. 

Black Pride programs for the 29th annual event have been happening all week, although the official dates are Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27. This year’s theme is “Our TRUTHS in HARMONY: D.C. Black Pride 2019” and as in years past, it’s a solid week of programming — open mics, seminars on health, faith and other topics, a poetry slam and more — with nearly round-the-clock partying opportunities for both men and women. 

In recent years, the promoters and Black Pride volunteers have settled into a more symbiotic relationship. On one hand, there’s a lot of money to be made by charging people to attend parties and see big-name acts like Kerri Hilson, Big Freeda and City Girls, but the more serious offerings, exhibits, workshops and even worship services give the whole thing gravitas. The Black Pride website says “something for everyone — D.C.B.P. is packed with all types of activities,” and it’s true.

“A lot of this comes from the community telling us what they would like to see,” Hutton, who’s ben with the organization nine years, says. “It’s a good feeling to know this is something we’re doing by and for the community.”

Highlights Hutton singles out for this year include:

• a different approach to tonight’s opening reception. Black Pride planners reached out to a diverse group of regional organizations — everything from Team Rayceen, Pretty Boi Drag, May Is? All About Trans and dozens more — to co-present the event. It’s at 7 p.m. tonight and is sold out. Hutton says the rationale for the new approach was to show what the black LGBT people can accomplish by working together. It also ties into the harmony theme of this year’s motto. 

• An “Ask the Doc” workshop on Saturday afternoon with health care professionals for men, women and trans attendees who can ask anything they want. Questions can also be posed anonymously or texted from those watching via a live webstream.

• Career-oriented workshops such as “Resume Writing & Interviewing” and “Intro to Government Consulting,” also on Saturday at the host hotel.

• a trans and gender-nonconforming youth town hall for ages 29 and younger Saturday at 1 p.m.

• the D.C. Black Pride Mary Bowman Poetry Slam on Saturday evening where 13 poets will compete for top prizes. The event was named for the event’s former organizer, a lesbian who died unexpectedly last week. 

Other events were held earlier in the week.

On Thursday, a Unity Ball was held with competition and prizes. 

The annual Awards Reception was held Tuesday at The Park at 14th. One of this year’s honorees is profiled in Queery on page 36.

Black Pride volunteers (there are six) work pretty much year round on the event. The event has rebounded, Hutton says, after “a dip about four-five years ago.”

“It’s refreshing to see it once again rise to the status as one of the most organized Black Pride events around,” he says.

Attendance estimates for the past couple years have been about 30,000. Hutton expects it to be higher this year. Folks from as far away as South America, U.K. and even Mozambique have e-mailed organizers of their plans to attend. 

It’s impossible to know for sure, but Hawkins says about 65 percent of attendees are non-D.C.-area residents. 

Hutton says doing the work each year is a labor of love.

“We have people who have been helping with this for 20 years,” he says. “We just don’t get the kind of sponsorship levels that would allow us to get paid. We do it because we want to and because our heart is in it. We really want to showcase and provide for the community.”

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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