"The Gr8 Escape," Nashville's 8th annual Black Pride celebration will take place Friday, Oct. 29-Sunday, Oct. 31. The host hotel is the Millennium Maxwell House located at 2525 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard.

The mission of this annual event is to bring together African American and other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) People of Color in a social, non-threatening setting to uplift, educate and present positive images that help empower, affirm and maintain a healthy, productive community.

"The theme, “The Gr8 Escape” plays on the spelling that is usually included as a form of short hand within phone texts and emails," said Dwayne Jenkins, Brothers and Sisters United (BASU) Executive Director and President of Nashville Black Pride. "The number 8 is used to help pronounce the word great, and represents the number of Black Prides that have taken place in middle Tennessee."

Nashville Black Pride is one of more than 26 member cities with the International Federation of Black Prides organization that attracts thousands of black LGBT attendees throughout the world including people from Toronto, London, and South Africa. All NBP events are open to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or orientation. Jenkins marvels at the ability of this community to join forces in this endeavor.

“Although the planning for a large scale city event is not an easy task, this year seemed to come together a little less stressful than previous celebrations," he said. "Even though the economy did have a large affect on what we would be able to provide, the community always seems to pull together and support in some way."

This year the special celebrity host is award-winning blogger & YouTube personality Xem VanAdams. The entertainment lineup includes acclaimed rapper & actor BRY'NT from New York, female Hip Hop artist LS from Atlanta, local R & B vocalist JAZZMYN, and music by DJ Mark James from New Jersey. MAC Productions will feature two drag performances by their newest 2010-11 pageant winners: Ms. TN Diamond Diva, Ms Q-Tip Chanel, and the newly-crowned Mr. Esquire.

The Brothers and Sisters United (BASU) Network, Inc. will be recognizing organizations and individuals who, since the group’s inception in April 1996, have maintained at least a 10 year working relationship. The recipients of the 2010 BASU Legacy Awards are: Nashville PRIDE Inc., Brad Beasley, DJ Ron, and Joyce Arnold from 91.1 Queer Talk WRVU Vanderbilt Radio, and longtime volunteers Malcolm Griffin, Anthony Hardaway, Robert Conley and Phil Michal Thomas.

“Selecting this group of people and businesses who have collaborated with us for so long is very special to us and shows that LGBT based partnerships do have longevity,” said Jenkins.

Additional activities include an opening reception, the official Friday night kickoff party hosted by SHOX Productions & LowKey Inc., live music & entertainment, a Fashion & Hair Show by Charles Lord & Roger Kittrell, book signings, a spoken word event, a town hall meeting, our annual benefit party on Saturday night including a Halloween costume competition, workshops, couples’ recognition, free & confidential HIV and STD testing, vendors, and the annual Black LGBT Film & Cultural Fest.

"Searching for financial partner and sponsorships, balancing board and volunteer maintenance, and keeping the overall LGBTQIA communities engaged is something that we all face regardless of how large an actual event is," said Jenkins. "Each of us try to do the best that we can, and always appreciate when people actually come out and support the efforts put forth by the planning teams and committees." 

For more information and a complete listing of Black Pride dates, times, and locations or to sign up to volunteer for this year’s celebration, call 615 974-2832 / 615 259-4866 x 269, or e-mail NashBlackPride@aol.com.
 
You can also find and follow Nashville Black Pride at: www.myspace.com/nashvilleblackpride, www.facebook.com/nashvilleblackpride, www.twitter.com/nashblackpride, www.youtube.com/nashvilleblackpride.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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