Atlanta Black Pride weekend has remained a staple during Labor Day Weekend for 26 years. This year, the five-day celebration will include special appearances by Kandi Burruss, Jussie Smollett, Joseline Hernandez, Natalie Nunn, Stasha Sanchez, Saucy Santana, Big Latto, Jhonni Blaze, Erica Banks, Jerrie Johnson, and more.
The festivities kicked-off on Sept. 1 with an Atlanta Black Pride Weekend Opening Reception presented by the City of Atlanta and Mayor Andre Dickens.
Melissa Scott, managing partner for Atlanta Black Pride, recently spoke with Atlanta Daily World to provide insight on one of the biggest festivals to take place during the holiday weekend.
What are some of the special things attendees can expect at Atlanta Black Pride this year?
We have a permit at Piedmont Park for about 20,000 people for the Pure Heat Community Festival. Kandi Buruss will be honored. And Joseline Fernandez will be receiving an award as well. This year, for the first time, we will be activating a youth area for the LGBTQ safe space, basically for the kids to enjoy themselves.
Can you provide historical context of how it started?
This is a 26th annual Atlanta Black Pride Festival and the 10th annual Pure Heat Community Festival. Twenty-six years ago, a group of Black LGBTQ individuals got together and they decided to throw a backyard barbecue which took place during Labor Day weekend. And as the years went on, the weekend grew. And then obviously sponsors started getting involved and it became a little more centered around health, unity, and those types of things versus just being a backyard barbecue. But now, along with the music and parties, it has some educational and health aspects.
Can you talk about the economic impact this event will have on the city of Atlanta?
The weekend itself actually brings estimated gross of around 250,000 people to the city. It roughly brings about $40 million to the city of Atlanta.
How does COVID precautions play a role in the festival?
We are offering COVID vaccines, COVID testing, Monkey Pox vaccines, and Monkey Pox testing. We’ve actually already started a Monkey pox initiative where we started vaccinating people before the festival. We’ve already started that process of getting the Atlanta people ready. We’ve got people that we know are coming in from out of town and we’re letting them know that they should be getting vaccinated.
Headlining this year’s 10th annual Pure Heat Community Festival are 2022 honorees Joseline Hernandez (“Joseline’s Cabaret”), Kandi Burruss (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”). Burruss will receive the annual Humanitarian award; Natalie Nunn (“BADDIES SOUTH”) will receive the all-new Pioneer award; Stasha Sanchez (“Legendary”) will receive the annual ICON award. Hernandez will receive a Trailblazer awards; Smollett will receive the first-ever Alvin Ailey Trailblazer Award.