Embassy Suites by Hilton hosted and was the presenting sponsor of Charlotte Black Gay Pride 2017 from July 19-23. The theme of this year’s festival was “Just Be.” The organization’s leadership intended the theme to inspire introspection, independent thought and peace of mind.
“In a society where you’re constantly bombarded with images of how to dress, how to look, how to think and how to react to news and events that impact your world, we invite you to take a moment to stop and ‘Just Be,’” reads the Charlotte Black Gay Pride (CBGP) website.
This theme carried over into the focus of each event over the five-day festival. CBGP’s night of theatre on July 19 was called “Just Be… Cultured.” The Town Hall event on July 20 urged attendees to “Just Be… Informed.” Friday’s meet and greet encouraged participants to “Just Be… Social.”
The culminating event, CBGP’s annual Pride Expo, occurred on Saturday, July 21 from 12-5:30 p.m. With more than 30 vendors brought in by Chairperson Gwen Pearson, the hours sped by with diverse shopping opportunities and constant entertainment acts. Spoken word, comedy and musicians all contributed to the memorable afternoon.
Claiming the stage for the finale, Sunshine Anderson, born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and a transplanted Charlottean, performed from her three studio albums. Anderson has made a name for herself in the R&B world, working with such names as Macy Gray, Matthew Knowles and Brian McKnight.
Other acts at the Pride Expo included Miss and Mr. Charlotte Black Gay Pride, as well as DeJuan Dre and Contay The Hero, and others.
The hard work by the board of directors, along with all of the events’ volunteers, permitted them to walk away from CBGP feeling satisfied that it had been a success.