by Matt Comer & Charles Easley

Editor Matt Comer and local writer, media artist and educator Charles Easley recently discussed the place and purpose of Charlotte Black Gay Pride. Often, people ask why there is a need for a “Black Pride.” Read the conversation below to learn more and a potential answer. And, if you want to get involved in conversations like these, be sure to attend Charlotte Black Gay Pride’s annual town hall, this year discussing the “-isms” within the LGBT community. It will be held on Thursday, July 17. See our event listing at

Matt: So, Charles, I’m curious. I really enjoy going to events like Charlotte Black Gay Pride. But, every time I’ve ever gone and posted about it on Facebook or other social media, friends and acquaintances ask me why we need events like them. I’ve always said I think it’s important for all communities within our larger LGBT community to have space for celebrating their unique cultures and identities. What’s your take?

Charles: I find that very interesting because I don’t think I have ever been questioned by my friends of color to why I attended mainstream Pride events in the past.  Also, I would be curious as to how observant folks are to the presence or absence of minority groups at mainstream Pride events. The reality is that coming out and celebrating ones sexuality is a very different experience in some cultures. So having an event organized around a specific culture allows that group to support, celebrate and explore their unique challenges and experiences associated with the LGBT community.

Matt: That’s what I’ve always believed, too. I’ve often countered the questions I’ve been asked with this: “Why should LGBT people separate themselves and have an event celebrating their community? Why not just be a part of the straight mainstream?” The answer is nearly the same: LGBT people experience life differently than straight folks and they should have space to, as you say, “support, celebrate and explore their unique challenges and experiences.” People understand that, nearly always right of the bat. But, they still get hung up around issues of race, and it becomes very clear at that point that our community needs so much more conversation on matters of racial inclusion and diversity.

Charles: It is kind of funny that folks do not see that parallel. Most folks within the mainstream gay community enjoy many of the rights and privileges that come with being mainstream; while many from marginalized communities, on a daily basis, will more frequently address challenges regarding their race when compared to challenges associated with their sexuality.  I get more flack from being black than gay on any given day.

Matt: That seems like a good example of white privilege. It’s not something a lot of white folks think about often, but it’s true — we can pretty much go anywhere, visit anywhere, be in any space, without ever thinking of our race. It’s not the same for black folks or other people of color. And, that’s what I think makes events like Black Gay Pride so important — it provides safe space for a community that oftentimes doesn’t have one. I’ve attended the event before and I’ve always been impressed with how safe and accepting it is for black people, but also all people.

Charles: I attended the Black Pride event here in Charlotte last year and it was very successful. There was also a shared belief among the organizers and participants that I believe puts this discussion into perspective. Most folks feel, myself included, that having a gay Pride event based on culture is about affirmation not exclusivity. All are welcome and encouraged to celebrate. : :

— Special thanks to Charles Easley for engaging in this written conversation for our commentary. Easley is an educator, mentor and media artist. He blogs at Professor Locs (, is a columnist for Creative Loafing and has appeared on a variety of media outlets including NPR.

5 replies on “A conversation on Black Pride”

  1. I can’t believe what I just read. Matt Comer doesn’t seem to be able to conduct an interview much less serve as an editor. Someone really trying to get down to the issues at hand would be blunt with this ‘Charles’ person instead of agreeing with everything he says and siding with him out of fear of a foolish ‘racism’ attack.

    It’s obvious this man plays the victim as is reflected in his comments and refuses to address the real issue. PRIDE should be all inclusive and is open to all of us, black or white. Who cares if your coming out is different? That’s not the point. Should white people have ‘WHITE PRIDE’ because they say blacks don’t understand what they go through? There would be hell to pay if such a thing happened and it would be considered racist from the start. Yet, it’s ok to have a ‘Black Pride’, which of course isn’t racist at all.

    Next time get someone to pose questions that really address the heart of the issue and be blunt about the real concerns about why people don’t feel there should be a separate Pride event based on skin color.

  2. My friend, the interview was intelligent and on point. You seemed to be so filled with resentment that you didn’t fully read it but pick out certain points to back up your point of view. It’s not about racism or separation bur acknowledging that our community is extremely diverse and we should celebrate that diversity. All are welcome at black prides so I don’t see where this belief of separation comes from

  3. Maybe you should do some re-reading and figure out why it is that all you can do is try and find things to back up your point of view. Sorry to break it to you, but there are multitudes of people here in Charlotte who agree that there is no reason for a Black Gay Pride. Seems like you failed to answer the above poster’s question about why not a White Gay Pride? Yes, we know, that’s a tough one!

    Whether or not all people are welcome at black gay pride is beside the point. Would black people rush to come out to an event called “white gay pride”? The separation is in the title of the event itself. Sorry you are having such a difficult time seeing what is so obvious to most.

    The interview was not intelligent and missed the point. Why do you think there is resentment just because someone points out something you don’t agree with or may be a fact to others? If you wanted to ‘celebrate all diversity’, just attend the one Pride event that is held that doesn’t specify color in the title!

    Good day now.

  4. Neiman Marcus does not have “designer garments” in the name, but one must only spend a short time there to recognize that is the focus. The same goes with (White) Pride. Call it what you will.

    We should not spend our celebration time defending our feelings and being called “victims”. This is why separate events are necessary.

    That’s all.

  5. To be clear: No one gives a damn about Nieman Marcus or what they claim to be.

    So, in your mind, any generic title of an event or gathering immediately implies the color ‘white’ in front of it? I’m black and have been going to Charlotte Pride for many years and think it’s the best now it’s ever been. I think your comments are racist and offensive and there’s no wonder so many now have come to hate and dislike the whole ‘black Pride’ idea. You really are playing the victim with the way you think, and are like so many who are a disgrace to the black race and make us all ashamed of you.

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