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Annual “Hotter Than July” Pride Celebrates Black LGBTQ+ Royalty

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Detroit-based LGBT+ agency host six-day event celebrating Black heritage, sexuality, and gender identity.

July 8, 2019 – Detroit, MI – LGBT Detroit, the city’s premier black LGBTQ+ service provider, is launching the 24th Annual “Hotter Than July” from July 23rd through the 29th in select venues throughout Greater Detroit.  The agency hosted six-day event series, represents one of the largest in the Midwest and the second longest standing Black gay prides in the world, offering a range of intergenerational entertainment, educational opportunity, and advocacy forums promoting wellness and empowerment for Southeast Michigan’s Black LGBTQ+ community.  With a nod to the current moment of Black heritage revivals and reflections, the theme for this year’s “Hotter Than July Presents Kings and Queens” uplifts and pays homage to the real life, every day royals regally holding down both LGBTQIA+ and straight Black families and communities right here at home.  With leading sponsorship by (at&t, Between The Lines Newspaper, Community Health Awareness Group, LGBT Detroit and Swerv Magazine), Hotter Than July is a rare, multi-agency partnership, led by the LGBT Detroit team that involves key allies, supporters, and stakeholders of the Black LGBTQ+ community. 

Focused on in-person connections in an often technology connected community, series programming includes a Hotter Than July Mixer at Granite City Brewery, a “From Stonewall to Heaven: Dinner and Learning session, the SWEAT Masquerade Party, and restoring from it all at a Sunday Worship Service and Sunday Brunch.  From the opening Tuesday night Candlelight Vigil honoring those who have transitioned, too often from violence and illness, to the closing ceremonies at Sunday evening’s “Sip and Paint,” the event offers something for everyone within the Black queer and allied community(ies).  Throughout, Hotter Than July intends to affirm the past, present, and future of Black LGBT+ people.

“We feel honored to celebrate this great lineage of resiliency, innovation, creativity, and rejoicing in spite of that is at the heart of Black LGBT Detroit and its people.” said, Curtis Lipscomb, Executive Director of LGBT Detroit.  “Now more than ever is a time to stand up proud in our heritage, our dignity, and in all that we’ve accomplished and to fortify ourselves in preparation for all that’s left to do.  That’s what Hotter Than July Presents Kings and Queens is really all about.”

On the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and with international World Pride celebrations happening throughout the year, Hotter Than July ensures the centering of Black LGBTQ+ histories and movement work in a struggle that began with the resistance of a Black lesbian, Stormy DeLaverie, and a Black transgender woman, Marsha P. Johnson, that sparked a revolution and changed the world.  The all-day Hotter Than July Summit at the Marvin Lee Building on Friday continues their fiery example of advocates committed to social and racial justice for marginalized LGBTQ+ people.  Summit highlights include the Black LGBTQ+ origins of house music that has often served as the movement’s soundtrack, the clubs that served as sacred spaces for Black queer bodies, and networking and strategizing around the political agendas and ongoing fights for equity and justice that carry us forward to this day.

“There’s such divisiveness right now and a reckoning for a legacy of hurts that deserves both a meaningful response and a restorative justice,” said Jerron Totten, LGBT Detroit’s Social Outreach Coordinator.  “This gathering provides us an opportunity to get at some of that while exalting the magnificence of who Black LGBTQ+ people are in this great city of ours, and indeed throughout the country.”

The marquee event is the annual Hotter Than July Palmer Park Picnic, whose soulful beats, life giving performances, and delicious sounds and smells delivers the sunshine feel of a classic black family reunion.  In addition to three blood-beating DJs (DJ Tone, DJ Tony Peoples, DJ Darryl Gunter and hype woman Miss Honey Twista Sista), a mini-ball, and local talent show, this year’s Palmer Park Picnic is chockfull of some additional life enriching goodies, including yoga, a first ever LGBT career fair, and HIV and other STI testing to make sure the event is reaching the heart, body, mind, and pocketbook.  With over 40 vendors, agencies, and food stations servicing the event, the Palmer Park Picnic also offers a substantive opportunity for area small businesses to reach underserved communities, politicians and community leaders to speak directly to the black LGBTQ+ community, and advocates to build the relationships and obtain necessary feedback as the community looks toward the 2020 election cycle. 

“Come learn some things, hear some things, and celebrate some things with us, and maybe after all of that, you’ll be that much more energized to work with us on some things to correct both this state and nation of ours going into this next make or break election,” said Anthony Martinez, Hotter Than July event co-chair.

To learn more about the times and locations of Hotter Than July scheduled events, please visit the Hotter Than July site and get event updates through HTJ’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook social media platforms.

Contact: Jerron Totten, Social Outreach Coordinator
Email: jerrontotten@lgbtdetroit.org
Phone: 313-397-2127

Ashley Collins