By Andrew Davis with Marcus Davis
The LGBT African-American community celebrated its own during Windy City Black Pride 2006, which took place June 30-July 3 in various venues around Chicago.
Among the events were a vendor fair that promoted everything from candles to condoms as well as an awards ceremony. ( Both took place at the Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker. ) The latter event, which occurred on July 1, honored a range of individuals and organizations that have made amazing contributions to the Black LGBT community, including Pat McCombs and Vera Washington ( as Executive Sweet, Inc. ) , Chicago Ald. Shirley Coleman, Test Positive Aware Network, Tut, Shelton Watson ( ADODI ) , Lois Bates and Frank Walker, a youth mentor who also received one of Windy City Times' '30 Under 30' honors recently. Also included were tributes to Ron Lee and Robert Ames, two well-known individuals within the community who recently passed away.
Bates, a trans-woman who was honored for her activism, drew laughs when she said that there were 'two boys, two girls and me' when she grew up. However, her parents drew admiration and a standing ovation when Bates pointed out how supportive they have been all along.
This year's Windy City Black Pride poetry slam, 'Slam for Life,' was also held at the Hyatt Regency on July 1. Hosted by spoken word artist Keith Green, the event featured poets from across the country competing in three rounds for a grand prize package worth over $300. Judges for the evening included C.C. Carter ( the event's founder ) and recording artist Tim'm West from Deep Dickollective.
A commanding presence and playful lyrical delivery by Chicago native Anthony Stanbifer impressed the judges and netted him first place honors. His win gave him the chance to perform on stage at the WCBP Park and Entertainment Festival, held the next day in Sherman Park, 1301 W. Garfield. Asked why he feels events like Pride are important, Stanbifer said, 'individual life makes you feel so isolated, like you're the only one. This gives it a face and lets you know that your not the only one.'
Other events that took place included an entertainment festival, workshops and a worship service. The festival and service both occurred at Sherman Park.
The aim of Windy City Black Pride is to build awareness of and pride in the diversity of the Black LGBT community. The Pride organization is the central resource to bring together LGBT people of African descent in the city of Chicago and through out the Midwest.