Harlem Pride 2019 With Dominique Jackson

Harlem Pride feels small, yet intimate. Sidewalkkilla’s office is located just several blocks away, and when we walked over with our crop tops, it seemed that we were the only ones going to a queer event. Faint whispers of music carried over to us by the wind were the only indication that we were heading the right way.

I’ve personally always found it romantic that the stage is almost hidden under the awning of a bridge, surrounded by tall trees and flowering bushes. The bridge’s underpass, located on a sloped-down street, feels almost like a portal that transports you into a tucked-away gathering of the gayborhood.

It was surprising to see Dominique Jackson from Pose on FX, hosting on the mic. At some point during the event she taught us all a very powerful lesson: one of the community members was called to the stage to celebrate their hard work on a new show about female strippers called Pussy Valley that is coming soon to STARZ; they were hesitant to come up, but Dominique refused to accept the hesitation and proclaimed that we should accept when we are being celebrated. We haven’t heard anything truer and on point in a while.

Celebrations outside of the main stage had to be quickly wrapped up due to the pouring rain. Whoever was brave enough to stay was treated to a rap performance by the legendary Precious, followed by a vogue battle and her explaining that the dip is not a shablam or a death drop. Elektra… Oops… Dominique Jackson stayed under the bridge a while after the wrap up to catch up with her friends and fans.

One of the recurring themes during this Pride Month were mentions about companies and corporations appropriating LGBTQ+ culture and stealing our talents. Precious’s call to action was to steal our creativity back by being even more creative. As Aja, a Drag Race alumni, told everyone at Wynwood Pride, “Copyright everything you do, because your shit will get stolen.”

Alexey Kim