BLACK GAY PRIDE

Sec­ond an­nual Pure Heat Com­mu­nity Fest set for Pied­mont Park

GA Voice - - Front Page - By DYANA BAGBY

Brandy head­lines At­lanta’s La­bor Day week­end fest.

Brandy re­turns to At­lanta for Black Gay Pride over La­bor Day week­end and will stop by the sec­ond an­nual Pure Heat Com­mu­nity Fes­ti­val in Pied­mont Park to ac­cept an award thank­ing her for her sup­port of the LGBT com­mu­nity. She will also per­form at par­ties tak­ing place over the week­end.

The Pure Heat Fes­ti­val, or­ga­nized by Traxx Girls and the Vi­sion Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, takes place on the Sun­day, Sept. 1. Last year, hun­dreds packed the park to watch a J-sette com­pe­ti­tion, a hair styling com­pe­ti­tion, many in­de­pen­dent per­form­ing artists as well as head­liner R&B singer KeKe Wyatt, who had the crowd sway­ing to the beats and singing along.

This year’s star is singer and ac­tress Brandy, who is set to re­ceive an award from Traxx Girls and the Vi­sion Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

“We want to thank her for her sup­port to our com­mu­nity,” said Avian Wat­son, an or­ga­nizer of Pure Heat. Wat­son said she did not yet know if Brandy would per­form at the fes­ti­val.

Brandy is also sched­uled to host Was­sup N ATL’s Sun­day night party, “The Boys Are Mine,” at the Ge­or­gia Freight De­pot with doors open­ing at 10 p.m. and the party go­ing un­til 5 a.m.

Party pro­mot­ers will be out in full force with their sig­na­ture events for the an­nual Black Gay Pride cel­e­bra­tion, but many are still in the plan­ning stages.

Look for Ladies At Play to host a DJ bat­tle at Au­rum, a Gala party at Aja on Sun­day and a Re­cov­ery party on Mon­day at Loca Luna.

Traxx At­lanta hosts its an­nual Fire & De­sire Mini Ball at XS Ul­tra Lounge on Fri­day; a Soak­ing Wet Dream Pool Party on Satur­day at Hil­ton Gar­den Inn and Home­wood Suites; its an­nual block party on the block of 708 Spring St. and Third Street, also on Satur­day; and its Satur­day Night Live party at 595 North.

K. Michelle from VH1’s Love & Hip Hop At­lanta will be at Traxx’s Celebrity Show­time Sun­day at Man­sion party.

Rock­stars Pro­duc­tion will also fea­ture live per­for­mances from Love & Hip Hop At­lanta’s Jose­line Her­nan­dez at its Fri­day block party and K. Michelle at its head­lin­ing event on Sun­day at Opera.

In ad­di­tion to Brandy at its Sun­day party, Was­supNATL will have adult en­ter­tain­ment star Redick­u­lous at its Fri­day “Stars of the Strip­per World” at Jun­gle, hosted by Brent Star.

Brandy per­formed at her first At­lanta Black Gay Pride event in 2011, head­lin­ing Traxx Girls and Traxx At­lanta par­ties by singing sev­eral songs.

Brandy, now 33, had her own TV show, “Moe­sha,” from 1995-2000 on UPN and also recorded her de­but al­bum as a teenager, earn­ing her a Grammy nom­i­na­tion in 1996 for the song, “Baby.” In 1999, she won the Grammy for the song “The Boy Is Mine.”

Her lat­est al­bum is “Two Eleven” — her birth­day and also the day her idol, Whit­ney Hous­ton, died.

PURE HEAT COMES BACK BIG­GER

This year’s Pure Heat Com­mu­nity Fest, which ben­e­fits the non­profit Vi­sion Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, will have a full-fledged car­ni­val in the pav­il­ion grounds at Pied­mont Park from new spon­sor Pro­ject Turn Around.

“We’re host­ing a fam­ily day in the park with a car­ni­val theme, in­clud­ing clowns, face paint­ing, car­ni­val games, raf­fles,” said Ernest Jenk­ins of Pro­ject Turn Around, a new non­profit that seeks to em­power dis­en­fran­chised peo­ple.

“Our main au­di­ence is LGBT peo­ple and we thought this fes­ti­val would be a great way to give ex­po­sure to that com­mu­nity,” Jenk­ins said.

This year’s hair bat­tle at Pure Heat will be a bit dif­fer­ent — stylists will com­pete against the clock and each other on stage to cre­ate a win­ning do. There will be mu­sic from the main stage as well, in­clud­ing in­die artists and R&B singer Sam­mie, known for his 1999 hit “I Like I.” He is now fin­ish­ing up his third al­bum.

Pro­ject Turn­around will also spon­sor a Jsette com­pe­ti­tion hosted by D. Woods of Dan­ity Kane; $1,000 goes to the win­ners. The J-sette com­pe­ti­tion is also part of a doc­u­men­tary be­ing filmed in the park.

A ball will also be held on the south side of the park hosted by Jaimee Robin­son, known as the Face Diva, and fa­mous trans­gen­der model Amiyah Scott.

“I feel like we are grow­ing,” Wat­son said. “Last year was our first year and we had the first year jit­ters. But we re­ally want to some­thing for our com­mu­nity. We’re very pleased with how things went last year and are go­ing this year. But we do need more spon­sors, more ven­dor sup­port and vol­un­teers.”

‘NEW EN­ERGY’ FOR ITLA

In the Life At­lanta, At­lanta’s Black Gay Pride non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, has un­der­gone a com­plete over­haul in lead­er­ship and fea­tures a new slate of events this year. The theme this year is “Change. Grow. Evolve.”

Gone is the State of Black Gay Amer­ica Sum­mit held for the past six years. In its place is a com­mu­nity lun­cheon to rec­og­nize and honor pub­lic and re­li­gious of­fi­cials for their work, said Tyai Gree, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of ITLA.

“Ev­ery­thing done in prior Prides we are not do­ing this year,” Green said. “We have to­tally changed Pride this year. We have new lead­er­ship and we want to show­case our new en­ergy, new vibe that is go­ing on.”

On Wed­nes­day, Aug. 28, the tra­di­tional can­dle­light vigil will be re­placed with a ser­vice called “As the Bell Tolls” that is a “cel­e­bra­tion of life” and is open to ev­ery­one in the LGBT com­mu­nity, Green said. Dr. Edith Big­gers, who is known for her work with HIV pa­tients, is the speaker for that event.

The of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony for ITLA’s events takes place Wed­nes­day night with a Skate Boyz party.

Also new this year is a Mr. and Ms. At­lanta Black Gay Pride, a job fair, the play “Boi, Pull Your Pants Up!” that deals with HIV/AIDS so­cial stigma, and a film fest and lit­er­ary cafe held at the Auburn Av­enue Re­search Li­brary.

ITLA’s Health & Life Expo will be held in Pied­mont Park on Sun­day, Sept. 1, as part of the Pure Heat Com­mu­nity Fes­ti­val, Green ex­plained.

“ITLA had the same staff for quite a num­ber of years and for growth to hap­pen there has to be change,” Green said. “The com­mu­nity and its needs have Wchanged over the years and we are ready to take it to an­other level.

“This is a to­tal re­brand­ing of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, in­clud­ing a new logo, a new mis­sion state­ment, new events — this is to­tally a new day for ITLA,” Green said.

Brandy per­formed in At­lanta in 2011 for At­lanta’s Black Gay

Pride and re­turns this year. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)

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