Drag, gospel, HIV testing and awareness, political action and dance: entertainment, culture and activism merged for a day of fun and learning at Charlotte Black Gay Pride’s Community Expo on July 17.

Top: Organizers with South Carolina Black Pride attended Charlotte’s Black Pride expo.

Several hundred people attended the expo at the Grady Cole Center near Uptown Charlotte. The event was just one of several scattered over four days, including a town hall, youth party, workshops and seminars, nightlife events and more.

Black Gay Pride co-chair and treasurer Jahaan Norvell told qnotes the events had been “phenomenal,” and estimated as many as 6,000 people will have attended the group’s or affiliated promoters’ events.

Charlotte Black Gay Pride experienced a year of firsts in planning events this season. Their July 15 youth party was a success and Norvell says this year was the first time the group had a chance to really partner with party promoters.

Norvell recently told Charlotte’s Creative Loafing that her group and the Lesbian & Gay Community Center’s Pride Charlotte were cooperating this year for the first time. Norvell hopes the partnership and teamwork helps to build a better community city wide.

“Eventually, if we continue to build partnerships, the Pride organizations itself will burst through and everyone will be participating,” she said. “If we continue doing this, we’ll create the diversity where eventually two times a year we are celebrating as one organization in partnership.” : :

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.