On a surprisingly cool Saturday night the movers and shakers of Atlanta’s Black LGBT community came together for the 7th annual Gentlemen’s Ball put on by Juan and Gee Small the founders of the Gentlemen’s Foundation. Brocade, sequin, silk, and velvet adorn the attendees who donate their time and money to support the foundation which raises money for scholarships, mentorship and support groups for gay, bisexual and transgender men of color. On this evening the foundation chose to honor allies and members of the gay community which included such notable names as author James Earl Hardy, comedian and V103 radio personality Joe “Miss Sophia” Taylor, activist Mickey Bee, actor and musician Jussie Smollett and Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams just to name a few. The theme for this year’s soiree was “Unapologetically Black”, something that all people of color could relate to giving the current political climate that the country is in. It was beautiful to see gay, lesbian and transgender men and women of color come together to support those that support them. Donations poured in throughout the night as honorees received their statuettes.
The Gentlemen’s Foundation has been committed to celebrating, supporting, empowering and mentoring Same Gender Loving, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer black men, as well as encouraging healthy dialogue on issues that promote development and growth public service, leadership, and networking.
The thing that I found impressive is that though the Gentlemen’s Ball is the highlight event the foundation dedicates an entire weekend to activism. On Friday attendees filed into the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to partake in a seminar on Black Empowerment hosted by Darnel Moore. The seminar addressed such community issues as the Black Dollar, Becoming Your True Self, Keeping it G: Green, Glowing and Growing (holistic health), and Using your voice in Politics and Activism. Saturday saw the ball and Scholarship reception and Sunday ended to the celebration with a every Atlanta socialite’s favorite meal brunch. The brunch took place at the Novare Event space held in the fashionable West Midtown neighborhood. A fitting and beautiful way to end a weekend of the celebration of all things unapologetically black, gay and proud.