BLACK GAY PRIDE
Second annual Pure Heat Community Fest set for Piedmont Park
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)