PURE HEAT FESTIVAL CELEBRATES TEN YEARS
“People always come to the park on Sunday [during Black Gay Pride] and we saw it as an opportunity to not only provide entertainment and also HIV testing, but also expose the community to the community on many levels.” — Bishop O.C. Allen, founder and senior pastor of The Vision Church
This year, the Pure Heat Community Festival celebrates a decade of unity in Piedmont Park on September 4.
The festival is part of Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride weekend, celebrated every year during Labor Day weekend. The event is one of the largest Black LGBTQ events in the nation, attracting more than 140,000 attendees. While the festival officially started in 2012, thousands flocked to the park on the Sunday during Labor Day weekend to celebrate Black Gay Pride for years before.
“People always come to the park on Sunday [during Black Gay Pride] and we saw it as an opportunity to not only provide entertainment and also HIV testing, but also expose the community to the community on many levels,” Bishop O.C. Allen, founder and senior pastor of The Vision Church, told Georgia Voice after the inaugural festival in 2012.
For ten years, Pure Heat has been a gathering rooted in camaraderie, fellowship, and support, highlighting business, professionals, individuals, and charitable pursuits in the LGBTQ and allied communities. The free event brings together Atlanta’s Black LGBTQ community through competition, entertainment, and education to oppose prejudice, foster community, spread education about the cultural heritage of Atlanta’s Black and brown LGBTQ community, and encourage LGBTQ people to live openly and proudly. In partnership with The Vision Community Foundation, a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to aid the homeless LGBTQ youth and others affected by HIV/AIDS.
The free event will include food vendors, dance competitions, giveaways, live hair battles, and entertainment from local performers and celebrity guests. Past featured guests and artists include Angelica Ross, Da Brat, Brandy, Monica, and Kelly Price.
While this year’s full lineup of guests has not yet been announced, one guest at this year’s festival will be Joseline Hernandez, a former star on “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta.”
Hernandez came out as bisexual this year during Pride month on social media, tweeting, “My gayness is like my skin color! Proud #bi girl! Finally comfortable in my #skin … May you all be as comfortable and open as I am one day!”
Known as “The Puerto Rican Princess,” the Afro-Latina musician recently came to Atlanta with her Cabaret Tour, performing with the top four dancers from her reality competition show, “Joseline’s Cabaret: Atlanta.” She also recently released a music video for her newest single, “Ghetto Fantasy.”
Pure Heat is only a highlight of an extensive lineup of Atlanta Black Pride Labor Day Rock events backed by Traxx Girls and RockStars Production. Other events include day and night parties throughout the weekend, an influencer dinner, booze cruise, and more. Find more events on page 12 and online at atlantaprideweekend.com.
Pure Heat will be held at Piedmont Park from noon to 8pm on Sunday, September 4. To learn more, visit pureheatcommunityfestival.com.