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Parties – Queering Caribana

KAPOW! DJ T'N'T promises an upbeat, lively time at Toronto Black Pride.

If you find the calypso and soca rhythms of Caribana intoxicating but are concerned that dancin’ real close to some beauty at the parade might get you the wrong kind of attention, local DJs and party promoters have a suggestion: Toronto Black Pride, running Fri, Jul 29 to 31.

“Toronto Black Pride is about positivity, love and unity,” says T’N’T, event coordinator and board member for Toronto Black Pride.

“Caribana brings in a lot of black queers from across North America,” she says. “So we wanted to make sure that there was a space that lets you be you. You can enjoy the parade during the day and party at night without worrying.”

This is the first year that the weekend is operating under the official aegis of the US-based International Federation Of Black Prides. The weekend has expanded to include three parties, a boat cruise and a film festival. “It’s important that the new cultural element is there,” says T’N’T. “With the film fest we’re showin’ the life of black queers.

“Hopefully we’ll have something new each year.”

The extensive lineup of films includes: Butch Mystique, Debra Wilson’s documentary on black lesbians challenging gender roles; The Cookie Project, a doc on a male cop turned transsexual lesbian; episodes of Noah’s Arc, a new TV series focussing on black queers (producer Jasmyne Cannick will be in attendance); All God’s Children, a look at the African American response to homophobia; and Rodney Evans’s recent feature Brother To Brother. Screenings start at 1pm on Sat, Jul 30 at the Hilton (145 Richmond St W); tix are $30.

T’N’T notes that US tourists find a few things different up here, like the 50/50 mix of men and women at the parties. “We’re not so big as the US events, so we party together. But we’re growing.”

T’N’T regularly spins with DJ Blackcat at Goodlife on Saturdays. The weekly urban sounds party used to be at Papi’s and has now relocated to a larger venue, the sexy Swallow Lounge (292 College St). Goodlife co-presents a trio of parties, aka the Urban Jungle Weekend, along with Toronto Black Pride. T’N’T, Blackcat and guest JJ Rock take up most of the spinning duties.

“The music will be hip, upbeat and lively,” says T’N’T.

First up is the Black On Black party at the Laurentian Room (51A Winchester St) on Fri, Jul 29; wear black and bring a flashlight, it’s going to be dark up there. Cover is $10. Saturday sees the weekend’s main party, Survivor, at Swallow. Dress code is army gear/gangsta-look and tix are $15 advance or $20 at the door. Sunday starts with a cruise aboard the Obsession 3 departing from the pier just east of Yonge and Queens Quay at 1pm sharp, returning around 6pm; tix are $50. The weekend winds down back at Swallow with Pretty In Khakis; come dressed in khakis and white Ts. Tix are $10.