A recap of Black Pride Week in NYC and the AfroPunk Festival in Brooklyn.
Many of you probably already seen on the instagram page (@publiclysexy) that I recently participated in NYC Black Pride and Afropunk Brooklyn! Anyone who knows me personally knows that I've been attending Afropunk for the past three years and that I am an ally to the LGBTQ community as well as a sexual health educator. So you know I had to give you a recap!
NYC BLACK PRIDE !
Black PRIDE has to be by far my favorite PRIDE celebration. I know what some of you are thinking, its because I'm black, but its actually for so many other reasons. Now please do not mistaken this as me saying the other pride events aren't awesome, because they are. But often enough people of color are forced to create their own spaces because some of our needs and concerns are left behind.
Black PRIDE addresses so many different issues/concerns/needs within the black community, from discrimination to addiction to mental health. During this year's PRIDE event, I got to see the documentary Party Boi- Black Diamonds in Ice Castles by Michael Rice (you can see the trailer here: https://youtu.be/8ICaluxQDPY WARNING graphic material). Party Boi is a documentary that takes an inside look on Crystal Meth and how it has been affecting black gay men and persons from the trans experience. The documentary follows a few men and a trans woman as they describe their personal experience and their friend's experiences with Crystal Meth.
One of the most common and main ingredients to risky sexual behavior is when there is substances involved. Whether its drugs or alcohol, both substances can impair judgment resulting in risky behavior that you otherwise wouldn't partake in.
Some of the other highlights of Black PRIDE was getting to meet some of the actors/actresses from the hit show POSE on FX directed by Ryan Murphy (he also directs American Horror Story). If you haven't seen POSE, I suggest you go check it out. It is based on the life of Blanca Rodriguez who is played by MJ Rodriguez and how she navigates creating her own House and family in the ballroom scene. Throughout out the series, there are several characters that struggle with different challenges such as body image issues, prostitution, gender reassignment surgery, and the HIV/AIDS crisis (the time setting is during 1980's).
Some of you may have been reading this and wondering what this may have to do with women's reproductive and sexual health. Well, take a step back and remind yourself that reproductive and sexual health concerns aren't just exclusive for heterosexual, cis-gendered women. Our transgendered, bisexual, and lesbian sisters face some of the same sexual health issues as heterosexual women. So educating yourself on what may be effecting their community will only give you a better sense on how you can be an ally and help connect your fellow sista to the resources she may need.
Its one of those events that allows you to be unapologetic about the person you are all while embracing the difference of others. Afropunk is described by "defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you" and trust me people do just that!
While at the festival I took advantage of my super supportive friends (Mellisa, Icesis, Lindsey, and Saara) and went out with their help to find people to interview. We set out and began asking both individuals and different organizations what being "Publicly Sexy" meant to them. Check out the Podcast page to hear what some of them had to say.
If you haven't been to Afropunk, allow me to paint you a picture. Imagine a sea of highly melanated complexions, afros, box braids, bright colors, outstanding individuality, and love. Afropunk is truly a place of inclusivity and everyone there embraces that.
There is a zero tolerance for bashing anyone based on their sex orientation, gender, age, ability, and appearance. I always count how many people show up topless, in chaps, or in just fishnets. Not because I'm judging, but because I'm simply observing how many people are truly comfortable bearing it all and being their authentic self. Now I'm not saying in order for you to be your authentic self that you need to be nude in public, but I do think its incredibly dope to be in a space where you don't have to be afraid to be sexually harassed for wearing something on the more revealing side.
This year's lineup was filled with artist that totally embrace sex positivity like Miguel, Janelle Monáe (yes she wore the pants :) ), Erykah Badu, Tyler the Creator (yea I know he can be debatable sometimes lol) and more. Make sure you check out www.afropunk.com for more highlights from the festival.
Feel free to drop comments or ask questions if you want more information about anything I wrote about above!
Until next time.
What makes you publicly sexy ?