COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 14th Annual South Carolina Black Gay Pride, “Speak Now!!!,” will be held from Aug. 22-25 at several venues across the capital city.

President Darius Jones shared, “We hope to empower community members to speak out about injustices, discrimination, housing,healthcare, etc. Also, with this theme we will speak on the murders of trans women of color.”

The event hopes to attract over 1,500 attendees.

The capstone event of this annual celebration will be the 14th Annual Cultural Arts & Wellness Festival, formally known as Community Expo, which will be held on Aug. 24 from 12-6 p.m. at the Forest Lake Park, 6820 Wedgefield Rd. Its hosts are South Carolina’s own, Street Poet, and Breyron Cusack of Charleston. Attendees can enjoy food, vendors, kids zone, live entertainment and more.

Richland County Councilman Jim Manning will extend greetings and along with a bevy of talent — singing, dancing, spoken word poetry, etc., from nearly two dozen artists — among the featured events will be “The Daya Carter Experience.”

In addition to the festival, the Trans Rally will take place on Aug. 22, 6-8:30 p.m., at the South Carolina State House, 1100 Gervais St. “During this time, we will stand uplift our trans sister and brother so that their voices are heard loud and clear,” Jones said.

“Denali Berries Stuckley was shot to death on July 20 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Denali’s murder makes her the 12th transgender woman of color (that we know of) in the United States of America that has been murdered this year. One murder is too many,” Jones continued sharing.

He added, “We must stand with our trans sisters and brothers and fight for the Hate Crime Laws to be inclusive across the board to cover all Citizens. We must fight this fight on all levels of the law/government: Local, State and Federal. We must fight for healthcare, housing, jobs, and better policies than help us and not hurt us. It’s critical that we protect our community. It was Drag Queen and Transgender women of color who stood of those front lines 50 years ago at Stonewall and fought for the little freedoms we have today. Therefore, we must Speak Now !!!”

Other events planned are a welcome reception on Aug. 23, 8 p.m., at Wet Willie’s (Upstairs), 800 Gervais St. It is hosted by DJ Kam and DJ Aiko

Then on Aug. 25, 3-7 p.m., a unity block party will take place at 5880 Farrow Rd. Participants can enjoy karaoke, game, live entertainment, water slide, free food and more.

Other unofficial events include Spark, Lit, Ladies Party, Steamroom and Inferno.


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.