Feeling largely ignored by festivities, two women add a feminine touch to Dallas Black Pride’s celebration
Rich Lopez | Contributing Writer
In the bustle of Dallas Black Pride weekend, a healthy dose of parties and workshops provide both entertainment and empowerment to the community. But for an event that gets questioned about its own celebration apart from Dallas Pride in September, a further division was being felt within the ranks.
While female attendees weren’t excluded from the celebration, according to Teedee Davis and Angela Amos, there was definitely a gap in the experience. So, they did something about it.
Dallas Her Pride launched its inaugural campaign in 2012, providing a distinct outlet for women attending and spearheaded by Davis and Amos. Although involved with creating female-based curriculum for close to a decade now, they saw the time to brand it so that women were just as visible as men in the goings-on.
“Even though we had been involved that long, it was time to start Her Pride last year,” Davis said. “Events were geared toward the guys as our needs seemed to be lost. So not only are we patrons, we’re event planners and we thought we’d go ahead and start giving an outlet to women to have a better and more worthwhile connection to Pride.”
Dallas Southern Pride and DFW Pride Movement are the two groups that put on Dallas Black Pride. DSP is more of a circuit party, where DFW Movement, a nonprofit, started planning more informational and entertainment events five years ago.
Amos has been involved with Dallas Black Pride since its late ‘90s inception and Davis marks her as a pioneer. But even today, Amos considers the pace of the evolution of this week’s events.
“We’re taking little steps at a time but obviously something was missing,” she said. “I think we’re in a good space today. Ours isn’t a separate celebration. We’ve reached out to Dallas Southern Pride and DFW Movement and integrated into the entirety of it. And they’ve embraced it.”
Outside of the two primary organizations, Dallas Her Pride has teamed up effectively with the Park Inn Radisson as their host hotel and venues such as Sue Ellen’s, Cherries and the Brick, which is the official nightclub for DHP.
And if last year was any indication, 2013 could easily mark another successful turn.
“Before last year, there wasn’t a way to gauge attendance, although we knew that the weekend would have about 10,000 patrons in total,” Davis said. “But last year, we could tally Web hits, party attendance and even hotel rooms to determine that we accounted for about 2,000 women at Pride. And we think we can increase that this year.”
Working with teams of volunteers, the Her Pride co-chairs’ first goal when planning 2013 was to simply make sure they could get as many people on board as possible.
“We had to rally the troops and get our volunteers and our counterparts on board with the vision,” Amos said.
But Davis and Amos admitted to starting late in their planning, which hit their own pockets to bring in a distinguished panel of experts and celebrities.
“In order to get funding, we had to have started earlier so we were behind the 8-ball already,” Amos said. “And not having our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status yet, we just needed to do something. So we just paid for it ourselves.”
DHP events are referred to as episodes and the empowerment episode would be The Conversation on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Downtown. Davis and Amos funded the panel. The panelists include Dallas’ Dr. Stephanie McVea, performer Tajir S. Hawkins, former Houston Comets assistant coach Alisa Scott, and former WNBA All-Star and 2000 gold-medal Olympian Chamique Holdsclaw, who now serves as an advocate for healthy living, education and mental health due to her own struggles with depression. The Conversation will be moderated by Q-Roc Ragsdale.
Her Pride episodes (which began on Thursday with a VIP Scandal-watching party) run Friday with both the fashionable Seduction party at the
Park Inn and The Player’s Ball at Cherrie’s both kicking off at 10 p.m.
After The Conversation, DHP switches gears with its annual pool party at the host hotel followed by The Black Affair at the Crowne Plaza
Downtown at 10 p.m. This event hosted more than 700 attendees in 2012 and this year features Houston burlesque troupe Feline Noir.
“We’re so excited to see our sisters in Houston add to the party and expand the celebration,” Davis said.
Also on Saturday, the Brick hosts the centerpiece party The Greatest Show On Earth, featuring DJ Solo and fire dancer Qoqo Phoenix. DHP teamed with Moscato Music Lounge to complete the weekend with a live music event on Sunday at Sue Ellen’s.
“Everyone can come and let their hair down and enjoy great music,” MML founder Nik Ceo said. “It’s the perfect close because it brings the community and even the straight world together for the thing we all love — music.”
But Davis and Amos remind people that first and foremost, the focus is women, as well as to have events that aren’t just for African-American gay women, but for all races, and even the men are welcome to come out.
“We didn’t add another Pride,” Amos said. “We’re very conscious of the event as a whole. We are adding to the experience and we like to say Dallas Her Pride is inclusive of all but specific to the women.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 4, 2013.