Black, Gay, and Proud Celebration

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The Black, Gay, and Proud Celebration (formerly the BlackOut Weekend and Black Unity Celebration), is a Black Pride celebration produced by BlackOut Unlimited. The first annual BlackOut Weekend, BlackOut ‘97, was held between August 1st and August 3rd, 1997. Following ongoing exclusion and erasure of Black LGBTQ+ and Same-Gender Loving communities from mainstream Pride events, the BlackOut Weekend was created to cater to, highlight, and celebrate Cleveland’s vibrant Black LGBTQ+ and same-gender loving communities and cultures. The event featured three days of social events, workshops, and entertainment geared toward Cleveland’s Black LGBTQ+ and Same-Gender Loving communities. 

Held annually after 1997, BlackOut Weekends featured a variety of Black LGBTQ+ social, entertainment, and educational events. BlackOut Weekend events included the White Fantasia Party, an annual white-tie entertainment event, the Sweat Party, and the educational Symposium. The Exchange, an annual “all-day cultural and educational event” and conference, featured guest lecturers and workshops covering a variety of topics related to Black LGBTQ+ life. BlackOut Weekend events were held at various locations over the years. BlackOut Weekend celebrations typically culminated in the annual BlackOut Picnic and family festival hosted at Edgewater Park.

In 2000, the annual BlackOut Weekend was rechristened the Black Unity Pride Weekend. After 2003, annual Black Unity Pride Weekends were organized by an independent Black Unity Pride event board. That year, multiple organizations united to expand the event event into a four day celebration of Black LGBTQ+ pride in Cleveland. In 2004, the Black Unity Pride Weekend’s annual picnic moved from Edgewater Park to Kirtland Park. In 2005, the event was again rechristened the Black, Gay, and Proud Celebration and expanded the annual event into a full week-long celebration of Black LGBTQ+ pride. The annual Exchange conference was subsequently renamed the State of Black Gay America Symposium. The annual picnic remained at Kirtland Park through 2007.

In 2008, the annual picnic moved to Gordon Park for one year. Between 2008 and 2009, Black, Gay, and Proud was scaled back down to a weekend-long (rather than week-long) celebration. In 2009, the annual picnic returned to its original location at Edgewater Park. That same year, the annual State of Black Gay America Symposium split off from the Black, Gay, and Proud into its own event under the newly restructured Cleveland Black Pride Inc. The event continued annually as Cleveland Black Pride thereafter.

Additional information coming soon.


  • ““BlackOut ‘98 is Set for Independence Day Weekend.” Gay People’s Chronicle. Pride Guide 1998. Page B-29.
  • “Building Community is Goal of BlackOut ’99.” Gay People’s Chronicle. Pride Guide 1999. Page B-14.
  • Conley, Adam. “Conference Highlights Black Unity Celebration Next Week.” Gay People’s Chronicle. July 30, 2004. Page 5.
  • Cudnik, Doreen. “Two Events Will Celebrate Black Gay-Lesbian Culture.” Gay People’s Chronicle. Pride Guide 1997. Page A-11.
  • Cudnik, Doreen. “Black Out Grows in its 2nd Year.” Gay People’s Chronicle. July 10, 1998. Pages 1, 8.
  • Hlad, Dan. “Four Groups Join to Produce Black Unity Pride Weekend.” Gay People’s Chronicle.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “A White Fantasia and a Green Picnic Highlight Black Pride” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 14, 2009.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Black, Gay, and Proud Kicks Off With Awards Ceremony.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 5, 2005.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Enjoy A Cruise, Parties, and A Picnic at Black, Gay, and Proud.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 1, 2008. Page 1.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Ninth Year is a New Beginning for Black, Gay, and Proud.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 12, 2005. Pages 1, 7.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Seven Proves a Lucky Year for Black Unity Weekend Festival.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 8, 2003. Pages 1-2.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “SRO at Black, Gay, and Proud Events Leaves Folks Smiling.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 11, 2006.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “‘We Had a Ball’ at Black Gay and Proud Weekend.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 15, 2008.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Wide Range of Groups Come Together for Black Unity.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 13, 2004. Pages 1, 3.
  • Negron, Sidney. “Black Gay Pride.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • Oatman, Michael. “Black, Gay, and Proud Expands to a Full Week.” Gay People’s Chronicle. Pride Guide 2005. Page B-7.
  • Resnick, Eric. “‘Doing Our Own Work’ Self-Empowerment is the Focus of Black Gay Conference.” Gay People’s Chronicle. August 6, 1999. Pages 1, 4.
  • Roberts, Lena. “Full Weekend of Events Set for Black Pride in August.” Gay People’s Chronicle. Pride Guide 2010. Page 10.
  • White, Dana. “Tenth Black, Gay, and Proud Celebration is Next Week.” Gay People’s Chronicle. July 27, 2007. Page 7.
6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44102 (Edgewater Park)

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