The inaugural My Hollywood Pride (MHP) wanted to have an event the Hollywood community could be proud of.
On that front, it was a success.
“It went amazingly,” marketing director Jameer Baptiste said. “Our vision came to life, our baby walked, our tree sprouted and we accomplished our goal as a united MHP family!”
On Jan. 22, the event was held along Hollywood’s Historic Business District. This Pride was different from what we see at Stonewall in Wilton Manors or Miami Beach, and that was by design. This was more of a street fair, with local businesses serving up their food and drinks and small vendors in tents selling cool jewelry, shirts, and other goods.
“Although they didn’t know how it would affect their business for the day, they walked into the experience with open arms, really exhibiting their willingness to participate.”
MHP was small, closing just a couple of blocks, but that fit the theme and the goals. There was no parade or over-the-top floats, but there were two stages. The main stage was hosted by South Florida legend Velvet LeNore. The dance stage kept the energy up with beats from DJs, including Citizen Jane.
This was a true family event, complete with a kids’ section, where Misty Eyez did drag storytime.
“It seemed as though they truly embraced the experience and allowed it to be a new part of the Hollywood experience.”
The party had a purpose beyond celebrating Pride in the community, it was about acceptance. Just a few years ago, the Human Rights Campaign Municipality Equality Index gave the city of Hollywood a score of 49 out of 100. When Mayor Josh Levy heard that, he couldn’t believe it.
“We looked at it, and in some ways we're a little embarrassed that it was as low as it was, but we knew we had a better story to tell.”
Levy and local leaders worked to improve city protocols and make it obvious that the environment for LGBT people is welcoming.
“Our score now reflects what we knew all along, that the city is a welcoming city and that we embrace the LGBTQ+ community.”
Baptiste said everyone is excited to do it again.
“We are still on a high and extremely excited about next year. So much so that we are starting to plan as we speak. Information will be trickling out sooner than later about what’s to come next. We’re definitely going to keep what makes us unique like our History, Art and Film activation as well as our Kids Zone but there’s so much more to come.”
To view photos of Hollywood Pride, visit SFGN on Facebook.