This July 13 – 17, Black Pride RVA is celebrating their 5th Black Pride RVA weekend in Richmond, VA. While known widely for it's early history, greater efforts have been made to dig into Richmond and Virginia's collective past and find more history and heritage reflecting Virginia's Black, Queer and Transgender experiences, to share with all travelers.

Focusing on the "now", our capital city's local business owners (including restaurants, distilleries, breweries, cideries, meaderies, wineries, shops, plus sports and event venues) have been hustling – investing, building and revitalizing their unique neighborhoods and districts.

Travelers can visit Virginia's Black Travel: Heart & Soul and websites and social channels to find Black-owned businesses and LGBTQ+ friendly hot spots and local favorites.

We were lucky enough to catch up with local Rev. Dr. Lacette Cross, whom we interviewed in 2018, the first year Black Pride RVA held their weekend of celebration, community and purpose. Learn more about Black Pride RVA weekend, and we hope to see you there!

It's SUPER exciting that Black Pride RVA is celebrating its 5th Anniversary. Will you share how the journey has been to sustain and grow momentum?

It is still amazing to me that we are celebrating 5 years of Black Pride RVA weekend. The journey has been both amazing and tumultuous. Highlights include receiving a grant for $100k to hire a part-time program support person, greater exposure throughout the greater Richmond area and strengthening partnerships with our colleagues and allies. The power of social media has significantly helped us increase our reach to people who still have not heard about us. Needless to say, the team has remained committed to the mission and purpose of the weekend. There is no greater joy than building a team that has become like family. Our bond is what helps us get through the tumultuous times with compassionate truth telling, some tears and lots of laughter and love.

Black Pride RVA has engaged so many local partners and festival visitors. Do you have any favorite stories over the years you’d like to share?

There are so many stories that come to mind. I’ll highlight three. The first story is from our first year. I was on a panel speaking at a community event when a young, adult Black girl walked up to me with the biggest smile and said “You planned Black Pride?” And I said, “I’m part of the team that did, yes.” With tears she told how at home she felt when she came to the day of purpose. It was like being around extended family and she was so happy we created the event.  

My second story is from 2020, the year of the pivot for EVERYONE! Since we had to do an all virtual weekend we were able to include Missterray from the reality show Love and Hip Hop Hollywood. Missterray is a Richmond native and was excited to give back to his hometown and kick out our 3rd annual weekend. It was definitely cool and humbling to have a homegrown reality star want to work with us and be proud that something like Black Pride RVA finally existed.

My final story is from last year’s weekend when we shut down a block in Scott’s Addition with our amazing community partner Richmond Triangle Players to host our first-ever block party.  And OMG it was such a success!!  There is no real joy had until you see Black, POC, Queer, Trans, Non-binary youth, young adults and people of all ages voguing, death dropping and dancing our hearts out in the rain in the streets.  My heart was so overwhelmed that all I could do was dance and cry.  We were so fortunate to offer an outlet for Richmond area BIPOC / QTPOC youth and young adults to come out and just simply have fun. I mean, who doesn’t like a dance party in the streets. It was definitely one for the history books!

We are LOVING your “Celebrating 5 Years in 5 Days” at different locations around Richmond. Tell us a little about what’s happening, and where.

Us Giving Richmond Connections’ mission is to foster healthy connections with Black LGBTQ communities.  Every year we do that by ensuring Black Pride RVA weekend events happen at as many local businesses and organizations who affirm, support and welcome Black LGBTQ persons.  This year is no exception!!  We made sure we partnered with local businesses and organizations to spread the love all across the year.  Each venue has a strong history and reputation for being welcoming and supporting of our diverse community.  

For all who have supported Black Pride RVA since year 1, we are returning to some of our favorites such as the Black History Museum and Diversity Richmond.  We are so excited this year to hold our Day of Purpose INSIDE at the Richmond Convention Center.  They continue to show up as a strong ally to both the Black community and LGBTQ community of greater Richmond.  Two new venues we’re proud to partner with are The Living and Learning Center at Virginia Union University, an HBCU and The Broadberry who is known for hosting great music acts and parties.  

Check out our full, updated schedule of events on our Black Pride RVA website, Facebook and Instagram.

What’s the best way to support Black Pride RVA as an Ally, for those not a member of the Black LGBTQ+ community?

Come out and party with a purpose with us. One way we build strong allyship and relationships within our communities is to show up as your full, authentic self – ready to listen, help and enjoy a good time. Always remember, celebrating Blackness is open to everybody and we at UGRC / Black Pride RVA are happy to see all of our white, Latinx, Asian, Biracial, multiracial siblings at any and all events. Do not let the divisive history of racism keep you from coming out to all the ways this annual weekend builds community and raises awareness through every amazing event the planning committee has put together.

In addition to showing up, we always welcome financial support through donations, sponsorships and in-kind services. If an ally wants to give they can find how on our Black Pride RVA website and social media channels. We like to remind everyone that Black Pride RVA weekend helps us raise nearly 60% of the income we need to continue offering programs throughout the year, and we welcome your donations and support.

When you are traveling in Virginia, what are a few of your favorite places to stay, eat, shop, and play?

Now that I consider myself a Richmonder, I really enjoy visiting Old Town Alexandria’s built up waterfront.  It has so many great restaurants, you can catch the water taxi over to National Harbor or just enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Potomac. I recently had some of THE BEST fried oysters at Blackwall Hitch.

Since I’m a water baby I love day trips to Buckroe Beach and recently I went to Fort Monroe to visit the First Africans in Virginia marker. Then I did a lovely walk along the waterfront which included an interesting exhibit about Barack Obama. Virginia has so much history, we just have to make time to learn about it and experience it.