Don’t Look for Me at Pride This Year

It’s June so that means that the Pride season is among us, and I’ll be the first to say—this year unless something changes, don’t look for me.

It’s not because I don’t have it—Pride that is, because I do. I am a fiercely proud Black woman. Not a proud lesbian or a proud Black lesbian. I am a proud Black woman and that encompasses all of who I am. Now that may be too deep for some of you to understand. I’m not going into the closet—as if that were even an option, lol. But I also don’t feel the need these days to rock a rainbow or wear one of the corny shirts that read, “I’m with her” to represent my being a lesbian.

Hey, it could just be because I am 31 and that getting drunk and acting a fool in public no longer holds the same appeal it once did before.

One thing I know is that I realized some time ago that while gays scream diversity in their so-called “equality work” about the only thing diverse at Pride celebrations is the “hip hop” or Latino tent and the overpaid heterosexual gay friendly Black diva hired to entertain Pride goers on the Main Stage. This, while year after year, local openly gay Black hip hop and R&B artists continue to be shunned by Pride organizers in lieu of white gay pop and rock artists. An issue that pride organizers still ignore and refuse to address. But let me ask you this. Do you think you’d go to a Black Pride celebration and find someone like Cher on the Main Stage? As gay friendly as she is, Cher, represents gay Pride to Blacks about as much as gospel singer Donnie McClurkin does.  So why then do we continue to celebrate and highlight heterosexual recording artists and diss the gay ones?  It is after all, gay pride.  Right?  I’m just saying.

Then there’s that little issue of June being defined nationwide as the month of Pride celebration when Black Pride’s take place all through the year as does other culturally relevant gay Pride celebrations.

More than likely my abandonment of Pride this year has to do more with the fact that I feel especially estranged from the “gay” community these days since Proposition 8. Yeah, I think that sealed the deal for me. If gay pride means bashing and bullying Black people or anybody that doesn’t agree that gay marriage is the most important civil right in the world, then as a self-respecting Black person, I can’t go for that. No matter who you have performing on the Main Stage.

Like Black History Month, Pride is bigger than a day or a month. That I get. And just like you don’t have to go to church to praise the Lord, you don’t have to go to West Hollywood in June to show that you’ve got Pride. In my case, it’s just the opposite—in that my not going to West Hollywood in June is due to the fact that I’ve got Pride.

We live in a highly politicized climate these days and that doesn’t go away on June 1st. The way I figure it is if Black people were the enemy prior to Pride, we’re not your best friends during Pride. And until this community can take up issues and causes not related to marriage solely, there isn’t much there for me.

Hopefully more Black people will take a stand this year and refrain from being used for photo ops and diversity statistics for pride organizers who if they were really all that concerned about diversity, wouldn’t have a Latino and an urban music tent off to the side for the colored people to begin with. Especially when you take into consideration that hip-hop and R&B are two of the most dominate genre’s of music today.  What’s up with that anyway?

So if you’re checking for Jasmyne at Pride this year, not that you would be, but if you were, you need only look one place and that’s the hip-hop tent run by my girls Michelle and Roz.  If I’m not there, I ain’t going to be there and now you know why.


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  • I couldn’t agree with you more, As an openly gay R&B artist, I can definitely testify to everything you just said! I have performed all over the world, but can’t get a booking on certain gay pride events because I guess my songs weren’t politically inclined, or I don’t do ecstasy driven cheesy “dance” music.

    My friend’s all ask why I even make an attempt as my music has an audience which isn’t based on sexuality. But, I tried because the diversity of gay music sucks, and I wanted to show support. It is what it is, I’m not losing sleep over it, but it’s sad that we are so narrowminded in our community.

  • I have never really thought of it this way. I am from Cincinnati and we don’t have music tents, just one stage with a bunch of random acts like drag troupes and bands. There seems to be no method to who performs actually, but the performers are almost always queer.

    But I suppose where you are it is a completely different experience. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to attend.

  • You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Jennifer

    As you probably know, June is pride month because of the Stonewall riots and the MARCH (not parade) to comemmorate it the following year. Now internationally queers mark that historic moment. The corporatization and marriage will save us crap piss me off too. But all queers and especialy young people need to know why we have this event. It is really important in places that it is not safe to be out.

  • MichaGandaForever

    Jasmyne –

    I completely agree with you. I am from Oakland, CA and I recently moved back. I thought, just in time for pride…WRONG!
    S.F. Pride was not what it used to be. I think there may have been more straight people there than gays.

    And once again the black gays get the crappy small crowded space on the side which they actually shutdown before the event was over…and this was dispite the fact that there were LOTS of people over there (not just black) that were REALLY enjoying themselves…But instead of getting mad…I’m going to research how I can create a black pride here…I’m soooooo sick of the disrepect…If you have any contacts or info please let a sistah know…