Friday, May 15, 2009
Greed Is Ruining Pride- the Final Installment
From the Desk of King in Miami
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EXTENDED Disclaimer: It seems my commentary on “Greed Is Ruining Pride” has upset a few people. First of all, the intentions of my commentary, were to bring to light Prides and other “similar events” with their organizers, have seemed to change the fabric of what “Pride” is and defined as. Greed or this “packin’ them in at all costs” mentality is destroying, what so many have worked so hard for; unity, empowerment, self-expression, and fellowship- a chance to be with others just like me. I wanted to state that the opinions expressed in this article are SOLELY MY OWN, and not the views of AndresFlava or Mr. Andre Allen, himself. AndresFlava gives me full range to state whatever opinions I have on my mind WITHOUT edit or preview. The drawback to this is that my comments sometimes may come off as harsh and condescending. I do apologize for that. But you have a choice…ignore me …discredit what I say…or just tune me out. But given the fact many of you tune in to AndresFlava every day and have added myself to your Twitter family, you have decided to TUNE IN and listen even harder. Thank you! The mere fact that my opinion has caused a ripple in the gay world gives rise that my statements have some merit and validity. If my commentary has gotten people thinking and talking…this is GREAT. New ideas, new ways of thinking, always gives rise to the change in the status quo (ie. Barack Obama). For the past few days my commentary was in no way, form ,or fashion, a gripe session about any particular event or Pride. But an overview of things I have saw and noticed, last year and this year, regarding our community and I don’t like it. I am not going to sit back and bit my tongue, just for the sake of saving face. This commentary was completed in it’s entirety last Sunday (except for few lines towards the end), but due to the length, I decided to publish it, in installments. Here is my last and final installment of the commentary “Greed Is Ruining Pride”. Again, these opinions are solely mine, and not that of AndresFlava or my good friend, Andre Allen, who we all admire and respect.
Finally, we have Sizzle to lead the charge this year and keep this age of Greed moving forward in 2009. If you are on Sizzle mailing list…you received an email on April 1, 2009 at approprixmately 9:25am (at least that is when this email hit my inbox) that stated the following, “This is your official warning. The men and women are coming to Sizzle Miami in Huge numbers....If you've been stressed at the job or at home, just got laid-off or stress about getting laid-off, Sizzle is your perfect outlet…” When I say this I was instantly sick to my stomach and disgusted. What would drive someone to write, come to my “quality event” even if you have been laid-off from your job? Has Sizzle been paying attention to the news; unemployment at 8.5% and climbing, job fairs with thousands of people buying for a few dozen openings, middle-class folks struggling to make ends meet, unemployment to hit 10% before the end of the year. What is purpose of saying, come to Sizzle even if you just were just laid-off? It’s insensitive and crazy as hell to put that in black and white and PRESS SEND. The person who would do that, does not have the best interest of the person who lost their job or our community in mind! What was reasoning behind this? Just to make a few dolllars; considering the huge expense of attending Sizzle? What would drive someone to say that, where all the host hotels are $150 plus per night, covers charges for the night events range from $25 to upwards of $40 a pop (without a VIP card) and a very limited number of FREE events. I know alot of people missed this little email that Sizzle organizers sent but I did not. GREED WILL ALWAYS RUIN PRIDE.
Alot of my friends have asked me what do you have against Sizzle. I really don’t have anything against Sizzle personally. I have attended at least one event of Sizzle since the inception a few short years ago. But, I have attended Sizzle less and less in the past couple of years because I have come to dislike what Sizzle has become. Sizzle has driven many people away from Miami during Memorial Day weekend. About two or three weeks ago I did one of my weekends getaways to New York City and the Bronx. When the weather gets warmer I tend to go there more often. The last night, I was in NYC, I visited one of my favorite spots, Chi-Chi’s in the Village on Christopher St. I met up with some old friends and I met some new ones there too. And it just happen someone asked me,” Do you attend that Sizzle event?” and I replied, “I attend maybe one or two events, that’s it. Why are you guys coming down?”. And when I asked that , you should have the seen the look of disgust I got. They all replied, as in a chorus, “NO!”. You know I was floored and asked why. There were various replies, “over-rated”, “entirely too expensive”, “it’s only for the muscle boys who want to show-off”, “it’s for the younger crowd”, and the list goes on and on. I spent the next 30 mins explaining to these guys that Sizzle is just a small part of what Miami is about during Memorial Day weekend. I actually defended Sizzle on many points that I could; the others were right on point and I had no rebuttal. When I went to Noctural last year as part of Sizzle and spent $14 on a long island ice tea, and $20/25 dollar at the door. I knew at that point, I would never truly enjoy Sizzle again. I felt like I was being taken advantage of, on many of the nights with over-the-top cover charges and outrageous drink prices. But my main point to them at Chi-chi’s is that there is a lot of OTHER things happening during Memorial Day weekend, too. Sizzle had become something terribly out of touch with what Pride is about and with my city. I could care less if Sizzle doesn’t consider itself a “PRIDE”. Line-up a set of pictures from various events Pride and those who don’t officially call themselves a Pride and you won’t be able to tell the difference. And what I hated most about that conversation with those guys in Chi-Chi’s. is that they based their opinion of Miami was based solely off this one event, Sizzle.
There is a glimmer at the light of the end of the tunnel. Greed always breeds competition and behavior changes. Daryl Wilson will see it next weekend, when all the new promoters and events take center stage and moves his events to the sideline. And I predict the same thing will happen in Miami, when Sizzle begins to lose its flame. Sizzle is what is hot now, this year might be different though. I seriously doubt we will have the same crowds, like last year with the economy the way it is. Just to give you a heads up, Miami tourism numbers has decreased every month this year. It’s going to take a WHOLE lot of black boys here to make a dent in that statistic. But back to the topic at hand…Like the latest Sizzle email blast stated “Sizzle is not for all” (well, who is this event for then, I am confused?) but if something comes along that welcomes EVERYONE…. at that point other promoters will seize on the opportunity to offer something new and less expensive and more inclusive, something more like PRIDE used to be. And there will be a new fish in town, just like what is happening this year in D.C. It is already starting to happen based on my group conversation in Chi-chi’s. My conversations with my friends across the country, have not been much different. Many have opted to stay home or head to D.C.; which is another negative impact of greed, it keeps the ones we love in our community, apart.
I just hope that 2009 will not end like it did with 2008, with our gay community rocked by scandal and many of us left wandering what happened. Don’t left greed define our Prides. Be safe and have a great Summer Pride season. See you in Miami for Memorial Day, NYC for Pride in June, and Atlanta for Labor Day. Love you all!
King in Miami
Brought To You By Andresflava