One of the the main topics I write about here at LADYHOOD journey is equality. It has bothered me year-after-year that I have not been able to attend the annual Pride Fest, the Equality March or Pride in the Street, in my own city. This year, of course I am busy with my daughter and building my brand and business, but I made a commitment that I had to be there to support my LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters in their fight for equality and freedom; to live in peace and to love who they desire.
Pittsburgh Pride 2017
On Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, Pride Fest was hosted on Liberty Avenue between 6th Street and 10th Street, with over 100 vendors, games, entertainment and multiple stages with performances that uplifted and empowered those in attendance. On Saturday, as provided by The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, Jennifer Hudson performed for Pride in the Street. Pittsburgh Pride
According to their President Gary A. Van Horn Jr., days prior, “We’re excited to welcome Jennifer to Pittsburgh for the first time…She’s been a fierce advocate for the LGBT community using her influence in music and film to bring people together, which is what Pride is about. We think everyone will be excited to see — and hear — an amazing performance.” Jennifer Hudson to headline Pittsburgh Pride in the Street
I was unable to attend this event, but from the Snap Chats, Tweets and News Feed on FB, I know J. Hud made her mark in the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh.
Image Source: showclix
Sunday morning, The EQT Equality March 2017 began at PPG Paints Arena and ended at Liberty Avenue. This march for equality consisted of “floats, marching, people proudly showing who the LGBT community is in Pittsburgh.” Pittsburgh Pride
Pittsburgh Pride Fest 2017
I was so excited to attend my first Pride even though I could not make all events. I was able to participate in Pride Fest on Sunday, June 11th with my best friend and two of her good friends. After parking in the Strip District, we headed to Liberty Ave. in the blistering heat carrying our water bottles. As soon as we reached the street, the colors of the rainbow shined proud throughout the entire crowd. People walked together hand-in-hand, smiling, laughing, singing, dancing… it was beautiful seeing members of the LGBTQIA+ community and heterosexual supporters, like myself, join together to celebrate Pride and equality.
The vendors consisted of tables to win Pride merchandise, food stands and food trucks, but we were interested in the alcohol vendors. At first we decided to try the bars on Liberty Ave. but you needed a wrist band that cost $10, but you still had to pay for your drinks, so obviously we did not take that route. For those with money, this was a great option because the wrist band allowed you to take your drink from bar-to-bar.
The street vendors served a 12 oz. cup of well-liquor for $8 and a few others had specialty drinks that ranged from $10-$15. This was extremely frustrating because, you could easily spend $20 in a hour on two drinks. The performances were uplifting and kept the crowd pumped, but buying drinks was extremely difficult. At first, I almost decided not to drink because of the prices, but I gave in to the music and got in line to order.
So once, I got a few sips in, I realized why the drinks were $8 each, because whoever the bartender was, had a heavy hand. Two sips in, I could feel my body temperature raise. I would only need two drinks with the amount of alcohol in each cup. My best friend and I lost our group, but we drank, danced, walked up a down Liberty Ave.
To cool off, we decided to sit by the August Wilson Center, and watch the performances on stage. After a bit, we decided to try to find our friends we came with. Out of know where, I ran into other friends, family, and people I have not seen in over 10 years when I attended CAPA High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. I am not sure why I was shocked, but I never realized that I have a well-rounded group of people in my life that also have the same beliefs that I do; that everyone should be treated as equal.
We all learned that we had mutual friends and decided to bar-hop together up-and-down Liberty Ave.
It felt so good to be surrounded by individuals that I knew, who all have the same values; who love, love, and who strive for equality for all.
The best part of my day was when this guy came up behind me and whispered, “selfie” and immediately started dancing behind me. I grabbed my phone and started snapping shots…. the lighting was horrible but the love was real and that is what PRIDE is all about.
I cannot wait to go back to Pride Fest in 2018. Nothing is perfect, but the people are always perfect. I smiled the entire time because downtown Pittsburgh was literally filled with love and light!
If you have never been to Pride Week or a Pride Fest in your hometown, go and show your support because your voice matters. Support equality and lets open our minds to our differences. #equalitymeansequality #Pride2017