cbgp_logoCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Organizers are gearing up for this year’s Charlotte Black Gay Pride (CBGP), slated for July 18-21. This year’s theme is “G.R.O.W. U.P. — Gay Rights: Openly Working Towards Unity and Peace.”

CBGP Chair William Singleton told qnotes that the importance of black gay Pride goes back to the time of the Stonewall Inn riots.

“It was still a time of racial disharmony,” Singleton said. “Black people didn’t really have a voice in the community.”

Now, black Pride events are still significant, according to Singleton:

“It is a movement to celebrate who you are, not only in your sexuality, but also celebrate our ethnicity. It’s not to segregate, because we do participate with Charlotte Pride, but it is important to celebrate the uniqueness that is our community.”

CBGP’s host hotel is the Crowne Plaza in Uptown Charlotte, 201 S. McDowell St. A special rate of $99 per night will be given to all guests who mention CBGP at the time of reservation.

On Thursday, July 18, 7-9 p.m., CBGP will host an official town hall meeting at the LGBT Community Center, 2508 N. Davidson St., moderated by City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield (D-Dist. 3), the city’s first and only openly LGBT elected official.

“We’ll be talking about issues of our community, where we want to go as a whole and goal-setting for the next year,” Singleton said. The second half of the event will feature speed-dating, couples’ games, mixers and hors d’oeuvres.

CBGP’s signature Expo Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center, 750 Beal St. The Expo will feature Zumba sessions, open mic for singers and poets, a drag show and food vendors.

The following day the group will host a Sunday Fun Day, also at Naomi Drenan Recreation Center. Singleton describes it as “an old-school-type field day” with kickball, tug-of-war and other favorite activities. Cookout-style food will be served and prizes awarded, as well as worship services provided.

Singleton expects this year’s activities to have a new tone and direction. The organization underwent a transition with an entirely new board of directors this year.

“The former board of directors in charge of Charlotte Black Gay Pride, they had a lot of disharmony with the community. They kind of did things on their own,” Singleton told qnotes. “Our biggest challenge was coming in with a whole new board and erasing the stigma that existed before. It’s about getting out there and rebranding us as a board.”

Scheduled Events:

G.R.O.W. U.P. Official Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, July 18, 7-9 p.m.
LGBT Community Center of Charlotte
2508 N. Davidson St.
Discussion of community goals featuring City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield.

Mix & Match Meet & Greet
Friday, July 19, 7p.m.
Crowne Plaza host hotel
201 S. McDowell St.

Saturday, July 20, 10a.m.-2p.m.
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
There will be Zumba sessions, food vendors, a drag show and an open mic event for singers and poets.

Ole’ School Field Day
Sunday, July 21, 2-6p.m.
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
Fun games like tug-of-war, kickball and other favorites will be played and prizes awarded. A cookout and outside-the-box worship services will be provided.