Apollo Theater hosts Black, Queer, and Here town hall

Tiq Milan, Lina Bradford and Sam Jay
Tiq Milan, Lina Bradford and Sam Jay speak on stage during Black, Queer & Here town hall at the Apollo Theater.
Daniel J. Vasquez

A town hall event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on August 11 marked the 25th anniversary of New York City Black Pride and fostered discussions highlighting the intersectionality of Black LGBTQ people.

The “Black, Queer, and Here” town hall was led by Native Son — an organization focusing on uplifting Black gay and queer men — and held in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery and the Apollo. Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin delivered opening remarks before folks shifted to a discussion about mental health issues and concerns regarding the monkeypox outbreak with Nancy Santiago of the US Surgeon General’s office.

Lee Soulja-Simmons, who leads NYC Black Pride, also led a discussion regarding Black Pride and its history. Panelists participating in other portions of the event included TV personality Kalen Allen; actress, DJ, and talk show host Lina Bradford; Hope Center executive director Lena Green; comic and Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live writer Sam Jay; Middle Church senior minister Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis; “Mathis Family Matters” stars Elliott Cooper and Greg Mathis, Jr.; Brooklyn Councilmember Chi Ossé; and others.

There was also a mashup performance featuring drag artist Kevin Aviance and rap artist Cakes Da Killa as well as music by The Illustrious Blacks.

NYC Black Pride events will also involve several other events beginning on August 17 and continuing throughout the week ahead. The first event on the official NYC Black Pride calendar is “Healthcare as a Human Right,” a discussion focused on wellness, which is scheduled to take place at the LGBT Center at 208 West 13th Street in Manhattan on August 17. The free event will kick off at 5 p.m. and conclude by 9:30 p.m. There are also several nightlife events, a beach day, a Black Pride Expo, and more. See a complete schedule of events at www.nycblackpride.com.

The town hall gets a preview from the outside.Adrian Childress
Iris House, which provides support, prevention, and services for women, families, and underserved populations affected by HIV/AIDS and other health disparities, offers testing outside of the event.Adrian Childress
On stage during a discussion at The Apollo Theater.Daniel J. Vasquez