Ebony Pride cancelled
Search for new festival location proves fruitless; rally still to be held on Friday
Published Thursday, 25-Aug-2005 in issue 922
After an 11-day search for an alternate location, the Ebony Pride board of directors voted to cancel their annual festival on Monday. Originally scheduled to take place this Saturday at the World Beat Center and Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park, the board scrambled to find a new site for their fourth annual African-American GLBT Pride celebration after negotiations with the two cultural centers fell through Aug. 12.
A meeting with World Beat Center founder Makeda Dread a few days later failed to yield a new agreement, partially because Ebony Pride couldn’t get the proper paperwork to host the event prepared in time to submit to the city for approval.
Both Dread and Nancy Rodriguez, director of Centro Cultural de la Raza, had reservations about hosting the festival after concerns were raised about possible fire-safety violations. Dread told the Gay & Lesbian Times that possible maximum occupancy violations and questions about the presence of a sprinkler system inside the World Beat Center were initially brought to the attention of park officials and police by James Hartline, an extremist Christian activist and member of the ex-gay movement. Hartline instigated a communitywide controversy last month when he and the Traditional Values Coalition issued a press release to local media naming two San Diego LGBT Pride volunteers who were convicted of child molestation. He also protested San Diego LGBT Youth Pride and Ebony Pride’s film festival at the Malcolm X Library earlier this year.
Due to scheduling conflicts, The Center was unable to host Ebony Pride this year, but assisted Ebony Pride in trying to find another venue, as did the mayor’s office.
“The entire community has been really incredibly supportive,” Ebony Pride co-chair Ken Riley said. “We followed four or five leads – including a couple of churches and an art center on University – but I think the biggest problem was that it was so last minute.”
The fire department told the Gay & Lesbian Times that standby fire personnel usually need to be present at large-scale events, which requires a fee and issuance of a special events permit. Requests for special events permits need to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event.
“We could have really worked on this if we’d had more time,” Dread said. “…You really need an event committee, and to take the time to work in case you have these snags.”
Dread said she is in the process of getting approval from the city for two upcoming concerts at the World Beat Center, and said she is willing work on Ebony Pride’s planning committee next year to help them navigate permit procedures. The situation this year sparked the idea of holding an events-planning seminar for non-profits, she added, to help them learn how to obtain permits, write press releases and schedule entertainment.
Ebony Pride had hired two nationally recognized entertainers, singer Ira Levi and Jason “The Diva” Williams of MTV’s “Making the Band 3,” to perform at the festival, and has rescheduled them to perform instead at a rally this Friday, taking place at Redwing Bar & Grill in North Park.
On Saturday, Ebony Pride will also proceed with their previously scheduled bid whist tournament at Redwing and a dance at Shooterz.
Ebony Pride’s rally at Redwing Bar takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, and Saturday’s bid whist tournament begins at 7:00 p.m. Redwing Bar & Grill is located at 4012 30th St. Saturday’s dance at Shooterz starts at 10:00 p.m. Shooterz is located at 3815 30th St.