Blaze, 36, the owner and event coordinator at SugaWalls Entertainment, may be known for great parties and nightlife, but you won’t find this promoter hanging at the club on a night off. When not working, Blaze and her beloved fiancee love to just hang out at home, do dinner and watch movies. It’s much-deserved relaxation and calmness after nights out on the town. Blaze’s SugaWalls produces nightlife and social events for lesbian and gay Charlotteans. It’s a business Blaze loves, and something the community needs.
Did you grow up in Charlotte?
I actually moved from Hickory. I grew up in Hickory and spent most of my time in Greensboro. I graduated from A&T.
When did you move to Charlotte?
I moved here about three years ago.
Tell me a little about your company. What is it? When did it start? What’s the purpose?
I started the company in 2004 in Greensboro. I loved following the DJs. I used to be one of the DJ’s homies. This was back in the day when they used to have crates of the hard vinyl. A lot of people don’t even know what that is anymore. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the energy a party could bring. I wanted to start doing that for the gay and lesbian community.
How did you come up with the name SugaWalls?
You know, it’s weird. I don’t even really know. I used to do a couple on the side of a building that used to be called SugaBears, a former strip club basically. It had a venue area you could rent out. I started oding parties there. People asked me what I wanted to call my parties and at first I thought SugaBears Entertainment, but I thought I couldn’t do that. So, I came up with SugaWalls.
How often do you host parties?
I started doing them once a month and from there went every other week and now, for the past 10 years, I’ve been doing every week. I’m getting older now and would like to slow down and do something like once or twice a month.
Who are you trying to reach out to and build your business around?
My business has always been catered to the 18-and-up lesbians and gay men. I really don’t have a boundary and that’s the way my parties have been for years. I do cater some of my parties to strictly just lesbians. I would love to tap into a more diverse audience, whether that’s the Latino community or the Caucasian community. I have gotten the chance to get a sprinkle of everybody, though. Charlotte is still one of those untapped areas. There’s still not that much going on for gays and lesbians here.
When you look at Charlotte’s gay nightlife and social scene, do you see a racial divide and is there room to bridge those divides?
Absolutely. When I first moved here, that was one of the biggest things I saw and I didn’t know how to tackle it. Especially here in the gay community, it’s strictly if you’re a gay white man you go here, if you’re a white lesbian you go to these parties and if you’re black you go there. It’s just crazy. The community is still so small and, yet, so divided. There’s already two different Prides here. I myself love Charlotte Pride itself. I had a phenomenal time. It’s so big and it has sponsors. I’ve worked with Charlotte Black Gay Pride, as well. They don’t get nearly as many sponsors. What’s the point? Why not just do one big Pride?
When you’re not holding your parties, what do you like to do? Do you go out to the clubs just for fun much?
I avoid the clubs when I’m not working (laughs). My fiancee and I have been together for over seven years. When we are not in the club, we enjoy dinner dates, dinner and a movie, hanging out with friends, chilling at home and traveling.
Where have you traveled?
Puerto Rico. I love Puerto Rico. We go twice a year. If I could retire there I would.
Where would you like to travel but haven’t gone to yet?
I would love to go somewhere near Japan. The culture is so rich. I would just love to see how they live and the atmosphere and the view of the landscape. : :