Charlotte Black Pride has come a long way since holding its first Pride Week in 2005 to celebrate and recognize diversity within the local LGBTQ+ community.
Not only has the organization grown, but after a rocky start to the relationship, Charlotte Black Pride and Charlotte Pride now function as sister organizations and regularly partner on events, fundraising and sharing resources.
In 2022, Charlotte Black Pride had its most successful Pride Week to date, having raised nearly $100,000, which is more than triple the organization’s average annual budget.
This year’s Charlotte Black Pride, themed “Black Renaissance – Made for Now,” takes place July 16-23, 2023, and promises to continue that momentum with a handful of official events planned across the city.
The theme is a nod to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s, which was pioneered by Black queer folk, and closely mirrors what’s been happening in Charlotte lately: an artistic and cultural awakening led in part by the Black LGBTQ+ community. (It also doesn’t hurt in terms of pop culture relevance that Beyonce’s latest album, released last July, was named Renaissance and was heavily influenced by the Black LGBTQ community.)
This year’s Pride Week aims to acknowledge and celebrate all that’s been going on in the local community while recognizing that, even with many challenges for equality still ahead, there is no better time than now to be Black and LGBTQ+ in Charlotte.
Here’s a day-by-day guide to celebrating Charlotte Black Pride Week 2023:
Mr. & Mrs. Charlotte Black Pride Pageant
July 16 | 7 p.m. | IV Stones Event Center by Destini | $10 and up
Who will wear the crown? Hosted by drag performer Dorae Saunders, this pageant puts contestants’ interview skills, red carpet fashion and talent to the test as they vie for the titles of Mr., Mrs. and Lady Charlotte Black Pride. The evening includes appearances by local entertainers Malayia Chanel Iman, Ken Sings and Emerald K. Phoenix, followed by an afterparty to celebrate the winners from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. for an additional $20.
Made For Now Wellness Party
July 17 | 7-10 p.m. | VAPA Center | Free
An evening of total healing with an emphasis on mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Dress to move with Stone’s Lit Dance Fit; Pastor Veronica Daughety of Shackless, a physical and spiritual fitness ministry; and instructor-led dance fusion and yoga classes.
Made For Now Rally & Demonstration
July 18 | 6-8 p.m. | First Ward Park | Free
Themed “The Culture Wars: Weaponizing LGBTQ+ Identity,” this peace rally aims to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community while strengthening the bond of that community. Demonstrations include spoken word, a vocal performance and visual art.
Black Renaissance: Film Noire
July 19 | 7-10 p.m. | Grimes Lounge, Johnson C. Smith University | Free
A screening and discussion of the LGBTQ+ documentary Black Rainbow Love with filmmaker Angela Harvey. The film delves into the rich and diverse stories of Black LGBTQ+ individuals, highlighting their resilience, strength and contributions to society. The event includes raffle giveaways and complimentary refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
Centerstage: A Tribute to Beyoncé
July 20 | 7-11 p.m. | IV Stones Event Center by Destini | $20
Celebrate Queen Bey in song, dance and visual arts with local dancers, entertainers and special guest visual artist DeNeer Davis. The event also features a cash bar, raffle giveaways, a digital photo booth, vendors and food trucks. Buy tickets
Meet & Greet Reception
July 21 | 7-10 p.m. | Fairfield Inn & Suites Uptown | Free
Meet and mingle with members of the local LGBTQ+ community during an evening that includes performances by Charlotte Black Pride’s Royal Court, live painting, stand-up comedy, a DJ, raffle giveaways and spoken word in collaboration with Lip Service, an LGBTQ+ poetry open mic hosted by L’Monique.
July 22 | 1-5 p.m. | Fairfield Inn & Suites Uptown | Free
Entertainers and over 40 business and community vendors all under one roof.
Summer Renaissance Kiki Ball
July 22 | 5-8 p.m.; Fairfield Inn & Suites Uptown | Free
Go all out in an Afro-pop- or Afro-futuristic-inspired look to compete for $1,000 in cash prizes with music by DJ Monie Luxe.
Queen Sugar Bash
July 22 | 6-10 p.m. | Holiday Wish Foundation | $20-$40
A vibrant outdoor festival celebrating LGBTQ+ people of color in visual and performing arts presented by local nonprofit Holiday Wish Foundation. This year’s bash includes an all-female band and dueling DJs, along with a lineup of LGBTQ+ visual and performing artists, living art installations, raffle giveaways and a vendor marketplace. Buy tickets
July 23 | 2-6 p.m. | Veterans Park | Free
The finale to Charlotte Black Pride week is a family reunion-style cookout in the park with complimentary hot dogs, vegan dogs, sides and drinks (while they last), a live DJ, outdoor games and a Spades competition. Bring your own blankets and chairs.
Visit Charlotte Black Pride’s website to buy tickets and learn more.
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