For decades, members of the Black LGBTQ community have collectively converged upon the ‘city too busy to hate’ to experience a sort-of Black queer utopia that some would argue is unique to Atlanta Black Pride—a rite of passage; escapism from the rigid structure of corporate America, or the confines of living in a small conservative town rife with intolerance and religious bigotry. If it were any other year, the need to escape to celebrate with the community would likely be encouraged, but this is 2020. The impact of the deadly coronavirus pandemic has brought life as we once knew it to a screeching halt—well, everything but ‘Atlanta Black Pride.’
The 24-year-old Pride celebration that began as a small picnic in 1996, and has since morphed into the largest Black Pride in the world is scheduled to operate without interruption despite a surge in new coronavirus cases and deaths in Georgia, a White House Task Force report urging Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to issue a statewide mask mandate, and the absence of Pride 365, the non-profit organization better known as In The Life Atlanta—the original hosts of Atlanta Black Pride events.
There is some dispute as to whether or not the events scheduled for this upcoming Labor Day Weekend are actual Atlanta Black Pride events, although they are being promoted as such.
Terence D. Stewart, Chair of Atlanta Black Pride tells CNP that “Atlanta Black Pride 2020 is a virtual event.”
“If you are traveling to Atlanta during Labor Day Weekend, you are attending Labor Day Weekend events, not Atlanta Black Pride,” said Stewart. “Those events are hosted by the club and party promoters and are not affiliated with Atlanta Black Pride,” he added.
Stewart’s objection to the use of the widely recognized title by the club and party promoters is in alignment with the organization's 2019 mission to “Reclaim Atlanta Black Pride, it’s legacy and ownership of its intellectual property.”
“Atlanta Black Pride has been usurped, misrepresented and maligned over the past several years by various individuals and groups hoping to capitalize on the legacy of the organization,” wrote leadership in a 2019 press release still available on the official Atlanta Black Pride website.
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