Over the past couple of years, people have asked me is it important, or necessary, to have a St. Louis Black Pride Festival. My answer is simple - YES! St. Louis black LGBTQIA individuals need to be celebrated, uplifted and empowered. Many of these things we don’t receive as members of the St. Louis LGBTQIA community.

The Official St. Louis Black LGBT Pride Festival gives black LGBTQIA individuals a chance to celebrate our unique heritage and culture. It gives those who are underserved a safe place of commonality and familiarity because of the lack of black representation among boards, staff and volunteers of LGBTQIA organizations. The black community, like other marginalized groups within the LGBTQIA communities, has varying strengths and struggles. One under-acknowledged event of historical significance to the black LGBTQIA community is the Harlem Renaissance Movement. Much like Stonewall, but many decades before, The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural explosion and new era for the African-American community, and it was spearheaded by some of the most notable names in the African-American LGBTQIA community.

We as a community like to recognize our struggles, honor our accomplishments and empower ourselves for the future. Black Pride provides such a platform. It is Black Pride’s mission to be a resource for our black LGBTQIA community operating as a catalyst to uplift and empower our community. Just because we choose to celebrate with our own culture does not mean all are not welcome. To the contrary, Black Pride welcomes all people regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

In this current political climate, social restlessness, economic uncertainty, systematic racism, and the ever-increasing number of transgender people, especially trans women of color killed each day, and the number of hate crimes on the rise, our St. Louis black community needs to come together and stand in solidarity with each other and, say with one voice, that we are here and our voices must not be silenced. Our work as a community will not be completed until every member of our beloved community is protected through equal rights and treated as equal humans.

In the summer of 1995, a group of individuals in the community came together, working with Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS (BABAA), to produce an event geared at reaching the African American LGBTQIA community called the “B-Boy Blues Festival.”

In 1999, the festival became St. Louis Black Pride, making it the nation’s second oldest Black Pride organization in the country. St. Louis Black Pride is a register 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Through its many years, St. Louis Black Pride has been operating according to its mission to serve as a resource for the St. Louis Metropolitan Black & Undeserved Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning and Asexual community, and to be a catalyst for unity, empowerment and pride.

St. Louis Black Pride's vision is to provide unique programming designed to instill pride, celebrate unity and embrace diversity within the LGBTQIA community. Further, to address issues in the black community, building relationships and partnerships to benefit LGBTQIA people of color, while advocating for justice and equality. Our goal is to improve the lives of the region. As we continue to take St. Louis Black Pride from a moment to a movement, we operate under the three core values to Engage, Educate, and Empower!

We invite people to join the movement by volunteering on one of the numerous committees that we have or volunteering at this year's festival. The 23rd Annual St. Louis Black Pride Festival will be held August 18-20 in the Grove. This year's theme is Rise Up! For more information about St. Louis Black Pride, the festival or to volunteer please visit our website: blackpridestl.org.

St. Louis Black Pride, It’s not a moment. It’s a Movement!

Here is our List of Activities for St. Louis Black Pride 2017 Weekend:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Black Pride Accolade Awards
6:30 p.m.
Missouri History Museum

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Black Pride at Six Flags
10:00 a.m.
Six Flags St. Louis

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Soapbox Ceremony
1:00 p.m.
Transgender Memorial Garden

Black Pride March to Festival
1:45 p.m.
Transgender Memorial Garden

Black Pride Festival
1:00pm – 9:00 p.m.
The Grove STL

Leon A, Braxton, Jr. is longtime community personality, activist and St. Louis Black Pride, Vice President.



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