This July 20 – 22, 2018, will mark the first Black LGBTQ+ Pride event in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A three-day schedule of education, celebration, and empowerment, Black Pride RVA will span several areas of Richmond, each with important connections in the lives of queer Black Virginians.
Richmonder Lacette Cross is one such important connector. Known as “Rev. L” to many, her life’s passion and work as a pastor, teacher, writer, theologian, ethicist, and community leader led her to spearhead this first-time series of events celebrating the uniqueness and diversity. We were lucky enough to catch up with Lacette just prior to the event weekend, and she shared insights into the passion and purpose of the upcoming Black Pride RVA.
Who are the driving forces behind Black Pride RVA?
I joined several passionate and dedicated locals to form the group UGRC. We are “Us Giving RVA Connection” with a main focus on improving the health and wellness of Black LGBTQ+ folks in the Greater Richmond area.
What do you hope to accomplish with Black Pride RVA?
Our theme is “Pride with a Purpose.” We see the need to help raise the voices and experiences of Black folks and People of Color (POC) in the Queer community, at existing Pride events, and throughout the year.Black Pride RVA is our way of promoting the health and wellness of Black LGBTQ+ people through celebration, education, and empowerment. We want to build and strengthen a community grounded in justice, equality and love.
What’s the best way to support Black Pride RVA as an Ally, for those not a member of the Black LGBTQ+ community?
That’s simple ~ Show up, think unity, and embrace diversity.
There are a wide range of activities, spanning the weekend, at different locations throughout Richmond. Tell us a little about what’s happening, and where.
Our first event is a Dinner & Drag Show on Friday, July 20 (7:00 pm). It will be a night of night of music and fantastic Drag performances, great food, and fun. It’s held at Godfrey’s, a 20+ yr. old entertainment mainstay in Richmond, focused on diversity, inclusion, and showcasing the best in Drag talent and dance music in RVA.
Saturday, July 21, we have two events: Our “Day of Purpose” Pride event (9:30 am – 4:00 pm) will be held at Diversity Richmond. A long-standing community center and “home away from home” for many in the LGBTQ+ community, Diversity Richmond is our local mother ship providing resources and fostering respect and dignity for the Richmond community.
Saturday evening is our Official Black Pride After Party (9:00 pm – 1:00 am) at the historic Hippodrome. The “HIPP” is a beautifully restored theatre located in RVA’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. Once known as the “Harlem of the South,” the HIPP is truly a one-of-a-kind venue and entertainment mecca for all.
And as our grand finale, Sunday, July 22, we are holding our Closing Worship Service (11:00 am) at the Third Street Bethel AME (614 N. 3rd St.). Spanning over two centuries, it is the perfect house of worship to give thanks for our hard work, celebrate our relationships, and most importantly – share our Faith.
To say you’re a busy person is an understatement. When you’re not the clock, where are your favorite places to visit, eat and explore?
I love taking a day trips to Buckroe Beach in Hampton. Locally, I enjoy Kitchen 64, Southern Kitchen, McLean’s, Travinia and new to my list is Legend’s Grille at Willow Lawn. My favorite parks in @OutRVA are Manchester Dock / Slave Trail green space and Libby Hill Park. I also love to experience a good sunset at the Boat House in Hopewell. The Appomattox River is gorgeous in that area.
Lacette Cross (pronouns: she/her) is a Richmond transplant, growing up in Oceanside, CA. For over 20 years, Lacette has lead youth development programs in faith based and community focused organizations. She’s is the Founder at Will You Be Whole with Rev. L, Pastor at Restoration Fellowship RVA, and formerly Director of Volunteers & Outreach with Side by Side, a Richmond-based organization dedicated to creating supportive communities where Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth can define themselves, belong, and flourish. Lacette is an active community leader. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work form Catholic University, a Master of Divinity from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and a Master of Theology from Union Presbyterian Seminary. She enjoys exploring the RVA food scene, spending time with close friends, and reading a good book.