Competition is the ugliest word in the LGBT community, especially among the people of color. We will say that until we turn blue in the face. It is the very unnecessary action that furthers divides our people in a time when we need to stand united wile facing opposition from the outsiders.
Competition in the LGBT community emphasizes the insecurities of particular notables within the community that commence to shade or wage war against their more competent contemporaries. The tactics of the insecure involve mostly badmouthing because their actions or successes are proven fruitless and are exposed as finding relevance or desperation for popularity. Within the LGBT people of color demographic, that resonates widely among the party promoters, Black pride organizers and people whose popularity are based solely on their looks and promiscuity rather than talents, personality or skills.
In any particular city, residents having more than one option to find a place to socialize with friends, dance and meet new people is a plus for them as they feel the quality of a good social life appears to be diverse. However, in cities such as Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and several other populous towns, partygoers are innocently tangled up in various wars among party promoters and club owners who wish to monopolize on their city’s LGBT people of color rather than sharing the wealth and promoting unity in the spirit of community. The promoters size each other up as competition and are willing to go at great lengths, mostly verbal attacks and underhanded actions using the legal system, for selfish gain while the community faces the casualties of their favorite spots, party nights or alternatives to the existing party that may not suit their tastes.
On one hand, being the most successful event promoter seems rewarding as long as one knows that their gig is not the only option for the community to follow. One understands that house party is an option. A movie theatre is an option. A restaurant is an option. Nowhere is also an option. People, regardless of gender and sexually, are entitled to choose where they will be entertained and where they will socialize. Thus, the successful promoter executes to the best of his/her ability to please the demographic the party or event serves.
Recently, people of the LGBT community of color may have seen promoter wars reach to an extensive, yet alarming, level. A week after the Memorial weekend festivities, we, at The G-List, have heard great reports coming from the weekend’s most popular destinations – (Sizzle) Miami, Washington DC (Black Pride) and (Inferno) Puerto Rico. Thousands of a gays and lesbians of color flock to these destinations to kick off their summer in full party and reunion mode. Wasn’t it great that we, as people of color, had events catered specifically for us at multiple destinations to choose from during that holiday weekend? According to particular party promoters, they rather suggest that every gay man of color come to their city because that is where real men go. In an exchange of subtle shade in marketing among party promoters in DC and Miami, the war climaxed to a press release war between Sizzle Miami’s CEO Dwight Powell and the men of Omega Entertainment.
Our two very reliable sources confirmed separately that the war began when Omega Entertainment urged their potential party attendees that their parties, and being in DC overall is the place to be while diminishing other groups as men who are not of good quality, in particular Sizzle Miami.
Apparently, the insults and subtle marketing verbal jabs continued until Dwight Powell, Sizzle Miami’s CEO, addressed the ruthless tactics head on with the following press release:
WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN!
For the 11th year in a row, Miami was again the place to be and be seen this past Memorial Day Weekend. But you already knew that. A local promoter in DC just posted their numbers and incorrectly stated that DC was the event of choice this year. This is actually the first time every replying to such emails, and because I don’t want anyone to be misled, I have decided to take these allegations and statements head on.
The 3 promoters in DC (McGregory from Omega Ent., Darly Wilson, and Mario Harris from Wassup N Atl) unfortunately also suggested and stated all year long, that DC will have the “real” men and that Sizzle will have the “ladies”. This statement in itself is extremely offensive and one that we would never make here in Miami. We host all men and women of the gay and lesbian community. All colors, sexual orientations, gender…. Simply everyone. One of the things that has made Sizzle Miami great over the years is the fact that we provide an atmosphere where all men and women are comfortable and relaxed without having to be ashamed of what or who they are. THAT IS WHAT SIZZLE MIAMI IS, WHAT WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT, AND WHAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE – WE ARE HERE FOR EVERYONE! So the next time you hear a promoter say they have the “real” men or “real” women, please do stop them in their track and remind them that they are speaking about you, your friends, your brothers and sisters, uncles or aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. Please do not allow this crap to continue. Be proud of who you are, and as ask that promoter do the same.
Here are our numbers compared to the numbers claimed by a promoter in DC and afterwards you do the math. You will agree that Sizzle Miami was again the #1 Choice this past Memorial Day Weekend.
Thursday: Off The Hookah 1,850 (DC Promote – 0)
Friday: Mekka Miami – 6210 (DC Promoter 2700)
Saturday Pool Party – 1750 (DC Promoter 725 on Sunday)
Saturday: SoHo Studios – 5700 (DC Promoter 950 – Not sure where the other 1750 from the night before went)
Sunday: Club Space – 6775 (Between 10pm-10am) (DC Promoter 2400)
Monday: Bongos – 1550 (DC Promoter – 0)
Sizzle Miami is #1 again for a reason – We welcome and accept everyone as they are. In Miami we want all of you to be yourself. Don’t be misled by such horrific language and self-hatred as to what’s “real” or not. As the owner of Clik Magazine from way back in since 1998, I have seen us progress and come way to far only to return to the shadows and be ashamed of who and what we are. As I write this tears of passion drops down my cheek as I imaged and hear such ugliness from these types of promoters. ALL I CAN SAY IS BE YOU!
Bam! There you have it.
Here was the press release by Omega Entertainment that has sparked the DC Black Pride weekend vs. Sizzle Miami war. (Note: We did the best we could to clean up the sentence structure of this “press release” in order make it easier to read.)
DC RULED MEMORIAL WEEKEND…
The numbers are in and it is official, DC was the destination of choice for the fellas from all around the world this Memorial weekend, and naturally Omega Entertainment led the way. Check out what we’ve accomplished this historic weekend.
On Friday night at our main event, 2700 of you turned out to enjoy a 13 song performance by the princess of R & B Ashanti.
On Saturday afternoon we hosted 950 of you on the majestic rooftop of the Ibiza, and the emails are still coming fast and furious expressing how much you all loved this event.
Saturday night, 883 of you turned out at the Layla lounge for a truly grown, sexy and sophisticated event.
Our pool party Sunday afternoon, although we’ve changed the venue at the last minute, was packed to capacity with 725 in attendance.
At our Klimax party Sunday night, thousands and thousands of you turned out but because of the rigid and thorough and slow nature of security at Love Nightclub, we were only able to get roughly 2400 of you in the building. We’re sorry that some of you did not make it; hence the reason why we stress purchasing our pass which guarantees you admission to all of our events with a much shorter or no line, or to get to the venues super early. Great parties will have lines. It is that simple…
We also had record turnout at our other 5 events throughout the weekend. And one thing we’ve also done differently this year, is partnering with reputable local organizations like Us Helping Us and the Carl Vogel Center for disease prevention to provide you free and rapid on site HIV testing through our “Know your status and party for free” initiative. You might have remembered seeing the van parked outside of all of our venues. More than 60 of you got tested and got to party for free at one event or the other. Next year, we will aim to at least double that number and we’re looking for ways to provide on-site workshops at our hotel covering subjects meaningful to the improvement of our lives.
Amazingly, all major promoters in the city posted record numbers this year for Pride. Overall it’s been a wonderful and eventful weekend and DC was definitely the place to be.
Many of you have emailed us and requested that we do this more than just once a year. We’ve been studying the possibilities and we’re very close to adding at least one more weekend to the annual calendar.
If you are, or represent a business, a corporation or a merchant and would like your product or services exposed to the ever growing sea of fellas with tremendous buying power, who come to DC for this event every year, we’d like to talk to you. You have a unique opportunity to be a part of a growing movement here in the nation’s capital. Your sponsorship will help us keep cost and admission to our events low, thereby attracting an even larger pool of folks for your commerce. Your support will also help us continue great social outreach initiatives like better living workshops, disease prevention counseling and testing etc…
Really? Have we as a community become desperate that we have to post attendance numbers, actual or embellished, to prove that one group or destination is better than the other? Then, when one calls self “the destination to be,” do they feel chagrined when numbers from another destination stack against theirs to make them look like the stereotypical gay man who exaggerates their prosperity to impress others? At the same time, while one is boasting to be better than others, do they think they will attract corporate sponsors with poorly written, yet boastful, press releases that numerates their attendances rather than their contributions and needs? Though the community suffers from grandstanding truths and bashing others for personal gains, the promoters eventually become losers when they protray themselves publicly as menacing, insecure, selfish, incompetent people who result to messy tactics to be #1 or the monopoly.
Most importantly, as a community, we must stop this false sense of grandeur when it comes to the atmosphere of these party and events. While guys labeled as “queens” and “sissies” are meant to demean them as less quality or civilized people, they are the pillars of the LGBT nightlife, especially for men of color. Whether they party in effiminate clothing or performing Beyonce’s choreography on the dancefloor, many of them are the reasons why we still have parties and venues to go party because they are proud to be in a safe environment and celebrate themselves and each other as freely as possible. “Sissies” and “queens” travel to different pride destinations, party at LGBT circuit events or stay in their hometowns like the “real men” of the LGBT community. It is even laughable these days on how the people we may define as “real men” are defined as “queens” by others.
All destinations for the LGBT people of color have their “qualities” that we whisper among ourselves. Sizzle Miami has been gossiped as the place where you are most likely under the age of 25 and having beach bodies for the gods. Inferno Dominican Republic attendees are often assumed as people with lots of disposable income because they can afford to leave the United States. People who go to DC Black Pride are often considered too old or cheap to enjoy Sizzle Miami and are mostly visitors from New York, Philadelphia and Maryland. Atlanta Black Pride attendees are considered people who come to party and engage in the wild sex orgies for an entire weekend. For better or worse, every destination for the LGBT people of color has their “reputations” that we whisper among ourselves; yet, most of those characteristics are merely perceptions rather than truths. Let us not make these negative stereotypes clamorous at an organizer level using mass mail announcements where a group of people are made to feel less than because they exercised their choice to party elsewhere.
We have got to do better.