St. Louis Pride: A quick conversation with Black Pride’s latest helm steering visionary Damion Parks-Weekly

As someone who is only five years in as a part of the organization, I don’t find it fair to hold our current administration to the past and previous.

Black Pride

It was nice meeting with Damion last weekend, I have been very familiar with Black Pride back in my heydays. So, I wanted to get the opportunity to find out what is new with the organization.

I remember the days when Erise, Anthony and just recently Randy all held positions as President. However, I’d never attended many events in the past years, up until last Saturday.

I have truly been out of touch with the black LGQTB community, or lack there of. We really need more involvement, considering there are no black gay clubs for us to convene.

Here at Argus St. Louis, we want to be inclusive of all the black people of our community. Therefore Black Pride was truly one I had my eyes on.

So, I sat down with the newly crowned president Damion Parks-Weekly, to get a feel of what is in store for Black Pride in the metro.

1.How long have you been president?

Damion: About four(4) months.

2.Are you from St.Louis?

Damion: Originally from Birmingham, AL. I’ve been here in St. Louis for 10 years.

3.Is Black Pride a non-profits?If so, how do you raise money? 

Damion: Yes, we are a non-profit organization. We primarily seek sponsorships that help us execute our community events.  

4. Last Saturday’s convening was at a BBQ joint, can you elaborate on what it was about?

Damion: Before COVID-19 impacted the world, we were in a routine of gathering once a month at a local LGBT+ owned or friendly restaurant/bar. It’s our way of making the board of         directors available for the community to come by and chat with, get information and share any thoughts they may have. 

5.Do you have a board and who are the board members?

Damion: Yes, currently the Board of Directors includes Jordan Braxton, Randy Rafter, Latonya Kelly, June Glover, Monique Maxey, Kyrinn Jae, Shana Jones, Craig Greene and myself.  

6.How are you going to be giving back to the gay black community?

Damion: As it has always been in the over 25 year history of Black Pride STL, our efforts are to remain a resource in the black gay community of St. Louis. We don’t profess to be all things to everyone, but we will continue to do our part in the sharing and promoting of unity, resources and support. 

7.St.Louis is not a hotbed for Black gay nightlife, so what can be done to keep us all in the loop of things?

Damion: We continue to encourage our community, that they themselves must take an active role in seeking out these things. In the world of social media, it is very easy to stay connected. BPSTL frequently shares our current information on all of our social media platforms and we are currently working on a refresh of our website. 

8. Were you a part of the award ceremony put on by Black Pride?
Damion: I’ve been a member of the board for the past five(5) years, so yes I was part of The Accolades.

9.Who were the last 5 presidents over the years? 

Damion: Randy Rafter, Jamelle Butler, Audrey “AP” Pearson, Erise Williams, Chantel Rawls, Anthony Galloway, Erise Williams  

10.Back in the late 90’s to early 2k, there have been a lot of speculations of wrongdoing within the organization, do you have any insights? 

Damion: This was before my time. I have been told one thing or another, but it’s not something that I concentrate on. As someone who is only five years in as a part of the organization, I don’t find it fair to hold our current administration to the past and previous. Our goal is moving this organization forward with the refresh we know it needs.

11.As the new president, what do you see yourself doing differently? 

Damion: Honestly, just working to maintain the focus and consistent drive for the organization. This means I’ll be working forward and further in advance than the rest of the team, in order to make sure we stay consistent and relevant. 

12.Tell us about any schedule of events coming soon?

Damion: A full schedule will be out into the next two weeks on our website and social media platforms. And I encourage everyone to save the dates of August 3rd through August 6th for Black Pride STL Weekend 2023!  

Wow! Oh my, I can’t wait. Thanks for your time, I am looking forward to being more involved in 2023.   Damion: Likewise!

Warmest regards,
Damion Parks-Weekly (He/Him)President Black Pride St. Louis


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