For over 10 years, Harlem Pride has brought the community together to celebrate love and visibility in the Same-Gender Loving and LGBTQ+ community. Harlem Pride adopted the use of the term “Same-Gender Loving” (SGL) in addition to LGBTQ+ to refer to the queer community. According to Harlem Pride’s official website, SGL was “coined for African American use by activist Cleo Manago, and is a description for homosexuals and bisexuals, particularly in the African American community. It emerged in the early 1990s as a culturally affirming African American homosexual/bisexual identity.”
This year’s Harlem Pride Celebration Day will happen on Saturday June 25, 2022 from 12 to 6 pm in Harlem’s West Side – 12th Avenue at West 135th Street. Over 20,000 people are expected to attend the event.
The co-founders of Harlem Pride are Lawrence Rodriguez and Carmen Neely. They originally started Harlem Pride as a party to promote the annual pride exhibit for Lawrence Rodriguez’s Casa Frela Art Gallery. Neely designed the logo as a symbolic representation of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, the tallest building in Harlem. In order to create an official Pride celebration apart from the exhibit, Rodriguez and Neely called on Shirley Denise Chisolm, Adriane Ferguson, Michael E. Hodge, and John Reddick to be the founding board members.
The first Harlem Pride celebration was held on June 26, 2010. It had approximately twenty vendors and over 2,500 attendees. Since then, Harlem Pride has included community forums, workshops, networking events, and other community outreach activities.
Meet your fellow Harlem Pride attendees at 12th Ave between 138th & 133rd where you can see the best talent New York City and the world has to offer as well as enjoy dance music throughout the day. The Pride Celebration will be hosted by Harmonica Sunbeam and Rodney Chester. Don’t miss special performances by Brandon D’Lux, Gabriel the Angel, Jypsy Jeyfree, Milli Tyme, Billiam B, Dreamboys, Tia Carta, Bri Nicole, Robert Garcia, Marck Angel, Iambos, Jay Saint, Jayling, and King Niiko.
There will be fun for the whole family with face painting and Drag Queen Story Hour for the children. According to the Harlem Pride website, the event “serves as our greatest opportunity to disseminate information and provide services to our constituents, including referrals for health, legal and financial services, and on-the-spot testing for communicable diseases.”
Don’t worry; the party doesn’t stop at the end of the festival. Make sure to get your tickets for the Pride Comedy and Drag Show located at Comedy in Harlem (508 117th street). Doors open at 6pm, and the show begins at 7pm. The show will be hosted by Nicky Sunshine and Andres Chulisi Rodriquez. Show-stopping entertainment will be provided by Lailani & Sabastian, Whitney Chanel, Miss Bomba Claudie, Jahiyrah McQueen, Exiene Lofgren, Kelly Kaboom, and Jess Miller.
Want to celebrate Pride beyond Saturday? Throughout the remainder of June, Hamilton Hall will be serving Pride mimosas, and 10% of the proceeds will benefit Harlem Pride.
In 2021, Harlem Pride was not able to assemble due to COVID-19 precautions. In its place, the organization put together a Virtual Pride Celebration. The theme of 2021 Harlem Pride was “Stronger With Pride!”. The event was hosted by Harmonica Sunbeam and Dave Bridgeforth and featured performances by Gabriel the Angel, Brandon Gray, Nia & Ness, Precious, and June’s Diary. This joyful and prideful production can still be viewed on Harlem Pride’s website.
The Pride celebration is not the only way that Harlem Pride is getting involved doing good in the community. Harlem Pride participated, under the Black Health umbrella, as part of the NYC Test & Trace Corps, which is a public health initiative to fight the threat of COVID-19. The NYC Test & Trace Corps is a group of doctors, public health professionals, and community advocates working to reverse the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the city. The corps has done outreach in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and our target area of Harlem and Washington Heights.
Additionally, in partnership with the National Black Leadership Commission on Health, inc., Harlem Pride launched the ALL BLACK VOTES MATTER initiative, mobilizing the Black community to use their power and vote. The webpage makes to simple and easy to register to vote, vote by mail, check your status, get reminders about when and where to vote, and early voting information.
Want to get involved? You can sign up to volunteer for the event here. Can’t make it to the event? You can donate to Harlem Pride here.
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