July 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm PST | by Jeffrey King
Say it loud: ‘I’m Black and I’m proud’

Jeffrey King is executive director of In The Meantime Men’s Group, Inc., a 20-year-old community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, empower, and extend the lives of inter-generational black men, respectful of sexual orientation through social, educational, health, and wellness programs and services. ITMT cultivates a safe space for African-American gay men to meet while providing a variety of services, including HIV/AIDS prevention, outreach, counseling and testing. (Photo courtesy King)

This statement is not an attack on white people. It is a statement to ALL who are sleeping while Black people are being sold out.

I’m alarmed and outraged that a small segment of the Black LGBTQ community would dare denounce their own history and ancestral struggle just to fit in, just to make someone else comfortable.

The struggle for true equality for ALL people continues not because we elect to fit in—but because people dare to stand up for what is fair and just. 

There are those within the LGBTQ community at large who would seek to neutralize the importance of LGBTQ Pride as a whole. There are those less conscious who question the importance and existence of Black LGBTQ Pride, in particular.

We will not be silent while the less conscious among us try to monetize our Black existence, our Black Pride. We will not dumb down to fit into someone else’s comfortable stereotype. We will not be ignored! We will not be neutered nor neutralized by those Blacks who dare to denounce our existence, our value, our gifts, our culture and our contributions to the world just to get in and sit behind some white door. 

We are here! Our past, present and future matters! Let us not forget that our people fought, bled and died to get us to where we are today. Let us not forget that an openly gay community organizer Bayard Rustin organized the March on Washington. It is the same strategy of nonviolent resistance that we saw used to fight for marriage equality, women’s equality, and the fight for immigrant rights in America today.

We Black and Black LGBTQ people stand on the shoulders of brilliant warriors who refused to be sold and to be sold out. We have a responsibility to stand up and be Black and Proud in our own LGBTQ community.

But first we must be honest about how far off track we’ve gone.  

I am calling on the true gatekeepers of the Los Angeles Black LGBTQ community to move beyond your memories of the At The Beach Pride celebrations and reclaim your position of not only gate-keepers of our history but as leaders of today charged with more than grabbing for a few dollars at the door. 

This year’s 4th of July celebration was nothing less than a co-opted disrespectful display of ego-driven narcissists grabbing for dollars. This year was not a reflection of OUR Pride, OUR brilliance, OUR artistry, OUR music, OUR history and ultimately OUR culture. You can call it what you want—but it was not Black Pride. 

 Next year must feature every aspect of who we are as a people. Yes, the parties will be there as long as there is a promoter who is willing to host a party.  That’s the easy part. 

But those of us who are older must ensure that our Pride includes more than a circus of nightlife parties and a parade. Let’s be clear that the “turn up” is only a small part of the PRIDE Celebration. 

So, to all woke people who will dare to STAND UP—please note that if you want to see and experience something different, you must take a seat at the table. And if the table that has been set does not accurately reflect what you desire to experience—then create your own! But make a contribution to ensuring that Black Pride 2019 is something that you can be PROUD of!

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