Dallas Southern Pride organizers predict crowd of 10,000-plus

‘Drag Race’ star JuJu Bee, dance parties, pool parties to highlight city’s annual black Pride weekend

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Angela Amos
Angela Amos

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend Dallas Southern Pride, the premier annual black Pride event in North Texas, on Sept. 23-26.

Promoter Kirk Myers said that the event is moving from a regional event to a nationally recognized circuit party.

JuJu Bee from “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” will be one of the performers featured over the weekend. She will be at the Brick on Friday night, Sept. 24.

Myers traveled to Cleveland to see JuJu Bee perform.

“She’s very personable,” he said. “She gets out and meets everyone and is overwhelmed by the response.”

He said she didn’t realize she had such a large African-American fan base.

“A lot of people thought she should have won,” he said.

Myers said GloTV will be in town filming the Masquerade Ball on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of a new reality series about the emerging ballroom scene in the black LGBT community.

Dallas Southern Pride has always been scheduled to coincide with the Grambling/Prairie View Classic football game generally held the first weekend in October at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park. This year, the game was moved back a week, so Pride moved, too.

Myers said he hopes the move encourages more people of all backgrounds from Dallas to participate in some of the events. With Dallas Southern Pride coming the week after the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Myers said he believes people will still be in the mood for more Pride celebrations.

“That party is really an opportunity for the mainstream LGBT community to party with us,” he said.

Myers said several things indicate this year’s event will be larger than ever. He said the Convention and Visitors Bureau has been very supportive. More sponsors have signed on this year as well.

To close the weekend, the Signature Black Party will be held at the host hotel on Sunday night. SizzleMiami, the largest black circuit party that attracts more than 100,000 each Memorial Day, is sponsoring the event.

Myers said that the various promoters represent the diversity of the community. To attract women, they added Her 4 Her last year.

T.D. Davis, a Her 4 Her organizer, said that the theme for Dallas Southern Pride is “Taste of Dallas — Best of Both Worlds.” She said the women’s events “bring different flavors to Dallas.”

The women’s parties begin with Bourbon Street at Victory Tavern near the American Airlines Center on Thursday, Sept. 23, presented by Sophisticated Fridays.

DeMarco Major from Logo’s “Shirts & Skins” will host “New York — A Taste of the Big Apple” at the Radisson Love Field, the host hotel, on Friday evening.

The Saturday afternoon pool party has a South Beach theme and “A Night in Paris,” the Saturday night party at Wendy Krispin’s in the Design District, has a French flair.

Sunday’s brunch with Church of the Solid Rock features New Orleans soul food.

“We’re continuing to build the Her 4 Her brand,” said organizer Angela Amos.

Amos said all of the most recognized women’s organizations in the Metroplex participated in organizing the weekend’s events.

“I’d like to keep building the alliances and reaching out on an individual level,” she said.

On Saturday, several workshops presented by Glamour Girls and Alpha Lambda Zeta, a nationally recognized gay fraternity, will be held at the hotel.

“Then Sunday is a concoction of everyone,” Davis said.

After Sunday brunch and worship, both the men and the women head to Bachman Lake Park for a picnic. Myers said the food is being provided by Buffalo Wild Wings.
That event is free.

The organizers all said additional highlights and entertainment are still being booked for next week’s events.

A full schedule of events is available at DallasSouthernPride.com and Her4Her.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dallas CVB raffling off Super Bowl tickets

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Despite the common stereotype that gay men don’t like football, I am willing to bet there are some out there who would be thrilled to get to go to Super Bowl XLV, not to mention the lesbians who are football fans.

And with the NFL’s championship game coming to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington next February, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving even those of us who couldn’t normally afford a Super Bowl ticket a chance to see the big game firsthand by raffling off two Super Bowl XLV tickets,valued at $2,500.

The raffle tickets are $50 each and will be available through midnight on Oct. 31. The random drawing will be held Nov. 1, and the winner will get two tickets to the championship game on Feb. 6, with “premium seats,” according to CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones.

You have to be 18 years or older and reside in the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia to be participate in the raffle. But if you meet those requirements, you can buy as many of the $50 raffle tickets as you want to. Credit cards are accepted, and the raffle prize doesn’t include airfare, lodging or other potential expenses of attending the game.

A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will go to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, which operates The Bridge homeless shelter.

For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, go here.

—  admin

Out & Equal convention coming to Dallas in 2011

Largest LGBT national convention should have an $8 million economic impact on city, officials estimate


DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

George Carrancho
George Carrancho

The 2011 Out & Equal convention will be held in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, officials with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We’re excited to host the 2011 Out & Equal Conference in Dallas,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the CVB. “With its more than $8 million economic impact to the city, it will be the largest LGBT convention held in Dallas to date.”

Jones said that convention and leisure travel to Dallas has increased in the past five years.

“We were selected to host this convention in part because of our strong, cohesive LGBT community,” he said. “This community support is essential as we continue to promote Dallas as a top LGBT destination.”

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a national organization based in San Francisco advocating from within companies for workplace equality for LGBT employees. They provide a variety of services to companies and employee resource groups and offer diversity training specific to LGBT workplace issues.

There are 18 regional affiliates, including ones in Dallas and Houston.

Tony Vedda, executive director of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, said his group partnered with the Dallas CVB to bring the convention to the city.

“They were looking at several cities,” he said. “We’re thrilled they chose us.”

Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force held its annual Creating Change conference in Dallas for the second time.Officials estimated the impact of that conference at about $4 million for the city.

Vedda said that successfully hosting one LGBT event helps bring the next one.

“It shows the rest of the world that Dallas is a welcoming city,” he said.

Vedda said that the GLBT Chamber works well with the city. When the area was bidding on this season’s Super Bowl, the GLBT Chamber was asked to send a letter supporting the bid.

Vedda said that these events are very important to the city’s economy and has a positive effect on LGBT-owned businesses, especially in Oak Lawn.

“When we bring in conferences, those people leave lots of tax money for us,” he said. “That’s money that local residents don’t have to spend for services themselves.”

Veronica L. Torres, director of diversity and community relations with the CVB called the convention a big win for Dallas. She said this was the largest LGBT convention the city has booked.

Each year different groups partner with the CVB to stage events, like the Dallas Bears who host the annual Texas Bear Round Up and Dallas Southern Pride which holds its annual black gay Pride each fall, Torres said.

In addition to Out & Equal, the CVB helped book Reaching Out MBA for Oct. 2011 at the Fairmont Hotel. Torres said that 500 to 1,000 people are expected for that convention. In Sept. 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Band Association will meet at the Melrose Hotel.

Torres said she is hoping a small meeting of GALA choruses managers in Dallas next month translates into the convention of LGBT choral association booking the city. They would take over the all of the performing arts venues in the Arts District.

“Dallas is our hometown,” said George Carrancho of American Airlines Rainbow Team. “We’ve been a partner of Out & Equal for at least eight years.”

Carrancho worked with the CVB and GLBT Chamber to bring Out & Equal to Dallas.

He said Out & Equal recognizes the work of the airline. American’s chief commercial officer, Virasb Vahidi, will be the opening speaker of this year’s convention in Los Angeles, and Denise Lynn, vice president of diversity and leadership strategies, is up for the Out & Equal’s Champion Award, given annually to an ally.

To help Dallas win the convention, Carancho said he offered the convention an aggressive discount program.

“This is a big win for American and a big win for Dallas,” he said.

Vedda said that a number of things work in favor of the city of Dallas including the annual press tour for travel writers.

“We get beaucoups of great coverage,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of showcasing Dallas and Fort Worth as welcoming cities.”

Vedda said groups are impressed by the corporate support the local LGBT community gets.

“And not every city can call the mayor, ask him to come to help us sell the city and he does,” Vedda said.

Vedda said the GLBT Chamber continues to work with the Dallas CVB and they have their sites set on several additional conferences, conventions and LGBT sports groups.

“We’re always working on bringing new stuff to Dallas,” he said.

Officials with Out & Equal declined to discuss the 2011 convention, saying they do not announce the coming year’s convention until the end of the convention for the current year.

The 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Summit is scheduled for Oct. 5-8 in Los Angeles.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens