Pride Month ended on a high note for many members of the Black LGBTQ community on the South Side of Chicago. The season came to an end with lots of love, health resources, and outreach, a live performance, followed by the meet and greet with R&B singer-songwriter Tweet.
On June 30, The Promontory in Hyde Park served as a meeting place for the LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer] community of Chicago and neighboring states. Nearly 1,000 people attended Love Fest and The White Party combined. Both events featured the option to dine at Promontory’s restaurant, have drinks at the bar, view vendor tables, enjoy music and dancing.
Love Fest catered to the men with health and outreach while The White Party event was for women and featured a sultry live performance by Grammy Nominated R&B Singer-Songwriter Tweet. The singer is best known for the 2002 chart-topping classic Oops (Oh My), an ode to self-love, featuring four-time Grammy Award winner Missy Elliott.
“Love Fest is an annual event that Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus has been doing for the past 14 years,” said David Dodd, Board Chairman of the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus. “We started in 2005. The event initially started as a way for people from various parts of the community to come together to support them… at least at that time the HIV epidemic that was happening here in Chicago. Over time the event evolved a little bit. It’s more of [a focus on the] holistic health of our community, specifically Black, Gay, Queer, Cisgender, and Bi men.”
Erik Glenn, Executive Director of the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus states, “Love Fest is important for our community to really anchor the Black Pride season, and make sure that there is a daytime opportunity for men in our community and just Black LGBT[Q] folk in general, to come together and feel that sense of togetherness and connectedness.”
Materials from Project Veda, Chicago Department of Public Health, University of Chicago, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Lighthouse Church of Chicago, and Equality Illinois were distributed.
The White Party, code named Lipstick and Lace, was presented by Man-Man Productions. It focused on “breast cancer, HIV awareness, and catering to the Lesbian community of the Chicagoland area and all around the nation,” said Brian Chapman, Assistant to John Flemming of MadMan Productions. “We are trying to get women to come from all around the world to come here and have a good time, without the drama. To come here and unify.”
At 1:30 am the room was packed with eager fans awaiting Tweet’s performance. Everyone was on their feet when she took the stage. Tweet looked stunning in a white suit, straw hat with black ribbon and white brim, gold accessories embellishing her suit and black heels. Tweet performed four songs including “Party,” “My Place,” “Make Your Move” and her most popular song “Oops (Oh My).” The crowd went crazy over her Jamaican dirty wind dance at the end of “Oops (Oh My).” Tweet told the audience that she would be releasing new music soon.
Tweet took pictures and briefly chatted with every single fan that approached her after the performance. Her beautiful appearance mirrored the beauty of her voice and her energy. Tweet gave a show that left the audience anticipating more.
When asked what she thought about the event, Victoria [a fan] said, “I liked it. I expected her to do more songs, but it was nice.”
Love and pride flooded the streets of Hyde Park by sunlight and moonlight. Happy men bonded at The Promontory all day, and beautiful women dressed in white celebrated at night. The two events, though held separately, were cohesive. As party goers bid Pride Month farewell, there was love, unity, and happiness in the air.
Yakira Levi is a writer and copywriter who has been published in various publications and media platforms. She has provided brand writing and creative marketing services for music entertainers for more than 20 years. .