Brandon James, a.k.a. Princess Onya has received push back and attacks by the Alt Right for her attempts to bring Drag Queen Storytime to Charlotte, N.C.

‘Storytime’ gets push back

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — South Carolina’s Brandon James, whose drag alter ego is Princess Onya, has come under attack by city council members and religious groups after a story broke about his attempts to bring Drag Queen Storytime to the Queen City as a way to educate children about issues of acceptance.

He was interviewed by WCNC-TV’s Tanya Mendis and discussed the increased presence of drag in mainstream media and his hopes to bring the story time to the Carolinas.

The next day the story had gone viral on Facebook and religious organizations and NC Values Coalition flooded the web with hate speech toward James. They even posted links and phone numbers to contact for concerned citizens to express their opposition to the program.

City Councilmember Matthew Ridenhour stepped in, vowing to have it shut down and calling it “appalling.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library made a statement in which it said that they do not use volunteers for children’s story times, but use trained library staff. James’ proposal does not meet the library’s guidelines. They did, however, invite him to apply to be part of the Presenter Showcase to be held in January 2018 and to submit his freshman book, “Auntie Bulli,” which is being released this fall, for consideration in the Local Authors Collection.

James has received death threats, he said, adding that messages have condemned him to hell, called him mentally ill, “a freak and anything else you can think of.”

He has also received messages of support, calling him a hero and a role model for LGBTQ youth. He said he is not giving up and wants to build a better future for children.


Interfaith service upcoming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Pride Interfaith Service, “Celebrating the Power of Love,” will be held on Aug. 20, 4 p.m., at Temple Beth El, 5101 Providence Rd.

More than 25 different faith organizations will affirm a commitment to inclusivity.

A reception will follow the service.


It’s time to ‘flourish’ at Pride

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Flourish 2017: A Celebration of LGBTQ Arts + Culture will be held on Aug. 26, 1 p.m., at the Bechtler Museum of Art, 420 S. Tryon St., in conjunction with Charlotte Pride.

A festival-within-a-festival, Flourish showcases area LGBTQ artists and arts organizations. From singing to visual art to dance, every 30 minutes something different is on the stage.

“The museum’s bar will be open for business, and there will be plenty of air conditioning for escaping the heat and humidity of Charlotte’s summer,” said director John Quillin.

Slated to appear are the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, One Voice Chorus of Charlotte and others.

In other news, Charlotte Pride is seeking volunteers to work at the festival and parade on Aug. 26-27. A recruiting event will be held on Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m., at Birdsong Brewing Co., 1016 N. Davidson St.

Attendees can enjoy complimentary beer and pizza.


Mass celebrates Pride

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 21st Annual Mass of Welcome for the LGBTQ Community will be held on Aug. 23, 7 p.m., at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 507 S. Tryon St.

The liturgy will be celebrated by Fr. Jim Bowler, SJ. A reception will follow in Biss Hall.

This event is sponsored by the Diocesan Ministry for Gay and Lesbian Catholics and is open to the public. This ministry was started by Fr. Gene McCreesh, Fr. Richard Allen and Retired Bishop Emeritus William Curlin to address the needs of its LGBTQ members throughout the diocese. The mass was established in 1996 as part of the Diocese of Charlotte’s spiritual outreach to the gay and lesbian community.

Free parking is available in The Green parking deck next to the church on the second level blue section.


League honors women

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The League of Women Voters of Charlotte/Mecklenburg will welcome the community to its Women’s Equality Day celebration on Aug. 25, 6 p.m., at the Midwood International Center Auditorium, 1817 Central Ave.

The observance honors the day women won the right to vote in the U.S.

Guest speaker will be author Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, the first African-American president of the national organization. She will highlight accomplishments, and a satirical skit on gerrymandering will round out the evening’s festivities, organizers said.

Refreshments will be provided.

RSVPs are due by Aug. 19 and a suggested contribution of $10 is appreciated. Both can be handled online at Contributions will also be accepted at the door.


Scholarship winner releases video

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center’s Makaila a.k.a. Soulfloetry, recipient of last year’s Tonda Taylor Scholarship, has released her music video on YouTube.

Floetic Records, LLC is asking the community to support this work by purchasing the debut album “Expectations” through iTunes and other stores.

The video is available online at


Duke nets award

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy was the recipient of the Edison Electric Institute’s Excellence Award for 2017 for its efforts to improve business diversity and inclusion.

The company developed an innovative approach to relationship building by hosting several business development events in 2016 and promoting the personal and professional development of supplier representatives. The company also sponsored various educational workshops, industry seminars and other activities presented by partner community economic development organizations. The Institute shared that Duke Energy “continues to proactively seek diverse suppliers and these efforts have made lasting positive effects on economic development locally, regionally and nationally.”


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Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.