Almost 50 years ago, Celebrating LGBTQ Pride was not a normal thing. Now, it is one of the largest celebrated events of diversity in the nation. Cities around the nation take a day to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Humans. This pass weekend, the garden city of Augusta, Georgia celebrated their pride, and BEAU Magazine was there to celebrate with them.
The pride weekend kicked off with the President Soiree, an event that gathered all the sponsors, special guest, and partners who help make Augusta Pride possible and thanked them over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. This VIP Event was only the beginning.
On Friday we were invited to “Augusta’s largest dance party” and were told to wear orange. Arriving at the Augusta common’s, in the downtown area, BEAU was greeted by friendly staff members that made us feel like home. As the sun went down, the glow sticks came out and the lights on when suddenly, Bebe Redxa came onto the stage. You might remember Bebe from popular songs such as “I Got you” and “Me, myself, and I” Bebe KILLED the stage and left everyone with a message, “Be you, and be proud of who you are!” This left everyone wanting more Pride! But it wasn’t until the next day that Augusta Pride was what everyone was waiting for.
On Saturday, BEAU met up with our Augusta Interns, Jason and Mckenna, two residents of Augusta, and asked them to tell us about Pride. Mckenna, a student at Augusta University told us her experience of Augusta Pride.
“The city of Augusta was full of love this weekend as the 8th annual Pride festival kicked into high gear. Every year is different, this pride was something different this year. There were no protesters and there was a feeling of safety that had not been there before. The parade started with an array of beautiful colors and people shouting out ‘Happy Pride! We love you!’ It was more accepting than it had been the past few years. Couples were holding hands and smiling. You could feel the love radiating off every person gathered around watching the parade. Augusta felt peaceful. There were smiling faces, and rainbow flags drifting through the hot summer breeze. The festivities began not long after, and my roommate and I found ourselves getting slushies at 11 am and singing the National Anthem. We listened to music and danced around with complete strangers while the sun beat down on us. I excused myself and went in search of the lady’s room, and that’s where I ran into the most adorable couple. I told them I was working on an article for a magazine and asked them a few questions, but the one that stuck out in my mind was when I asked ‘What made this Pride better than the previous years?’ The girl I asked looked at her girlfriend with so much love and simply answered ‘her.’ They shared a kiss and I had to compose myself because the cuteness factor was just too much. I wandered back out onto the street where there was vendors and LGBTQ information tables. I kept thinking to myself that there was so much love in this one small area of this little town I call home and it warmed my heart. Later in the afternoon I was introduced to Venus Delight, and just like her name suggests she was an absolute delight. She was so gracious and allowed me to take a few silly selfies with her and photograph her getting ready to perform. Venus did her Madonna impersonation and was killing it in a fabulous hand painted jacket that just screamed 80s. I seriously had outfit envy. She also called her mom and had the entire crowd sing her Happy Birthday. I was smiling from ear to ear and so happy to be a part of that. There is something so wonderful about knowing someone’s parent is supportive and encouraging them to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness no matter their sexuality. The King and Queen of Augusta Pride preformed in all their grandeur. There was a blur of perfectly contoured faces and old school rock n roll. Miss Koko Dove took the stage with one of the most impressive outfits I have ever seen. She was gorgeous and extremely charming. That girl could work! Up next we had our dashingly handsome Ameilio Vaughn Monroe who took on the full embodiment of Twisted Sister and the 80s with its hair metal glory. The sun started to hide behind ominous clouds, and the sky opened up and cried all over us a few moments later. People kept dancing and singing loudly, but unfortunately the festivities started to halt as people ran through the rain to their cars. I wish Pride hadn’t been cut short but as we ran to the cars with our possessions tucked under our shirts there was still an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Hopefully it carries through this town for the weeks to follow. “
Pride is different is every city, but it all serves one purpose: for the LGBTQ community to celebrate our culture and diversity.
To Learn more about Augusta Pride: http://www.prideaugusta.org or follow them on Social media @AugustaPride
Photo by: Jason Pritchard
Words by: McKenna Van Airsdale
Direction: Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez
Raised in the Hispanic Culture in the South and currently living the Holy City of Charleston, South Carolina has inspired as well as his passion for culture, fashion, and the social life Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez’s work. A graduate of The Art Institute of Charleston, Jonatan has a background in Fashion Design with a concentration in Marketing. His wide background ranges from styling, to marketing, event planning, and fashion design.
Jonatan’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue Magazine after receiving recognitions such as ‘Best in Theatrical Caption in Fashion Styling” from the Georgia literacy Association in 2013. Since then his work has been seen in Charleston Fashion Week, Lowcounty Live, Southern Living Magazine and Bravo. While working with the city of Charleston during special projects, such as Spoleto USA, Jonatan is a strong advocate of animal rights, LGBTQI equality, and education. Recently, he was named one of the youngest Hispanic activist in the lowcountry. His passion for children and to help others is his driving force to “Keep moving forward”.