I was one of the early organizers of Atlanta's "official" Black Gay Pride celebration about ten years ago. To see what's going on all over the country now is both impressive and disconcerting. I like the fact that there are options for people to interact, but i worry about what KIND of interactions we're having. And the question arises as to whether or not all these celebrations are viable.
The discussion started on the LGBTPoC list and migrated into a couple of blogs like (understandably) Mike on Prime Time and Rod 2.0 beta blog. In the discussion of viability, there's one option i haven't seen mentioned: specialization.
In a Wal-Mart® age, it's hard to conceive of anyone surviving by limiting their offerings, but in my opinion, that's exactly what some of the existing Black Gay Prides are going to have to do in order to survive.
Mike points out a couple of shortcomings in the Prides overall, notably the lack of events for women. But what if one of the Prides became the can't-miss, sista summit, black lesbian event of the year. Or even more specifically, what if these organizations made it a point to host a singular event every year. How about the biggest black gay film festival in the country? What about the hottest pageant or talent show to be found?
Sure, the parties are not going anywhere. As long as there are people living their lives in the closet back home, there will be customers for any number of anonymous, out-of-town meat markets. (Ask me how i know.) That just means the young and horny will keep flocking to major cities every year. But for people who need more of a reason to hit a Pride event, not to mention paying to stay in a hotel room that doesn't have eight other 20-somethings crammed in it, there has to be more.
Signature events. The brightest, the best, the only something for the money. Just stop worrying about trying to be the biggest. Think about it. There's only room for one Wal-Mart®...