by Jennie Gritton
Chattanooga News Writer
First Annual Pride Ball held in Chattanooga
When most Chattanoogan’s think Pride, they go to other cities, such as Atlanta or Nashville, to enjoy large festivals with company sponsorships and parades that last for hours. In the past, there have been local Chattanooga events held to celebrate Pride, but in recent years there has been no annual event for Chattanoogans to call their own.
In response, one member of our community stepped up to the challenge. Iunike Stevens came forward and established an event titled Rainboechic’s First Annual Pride Ball. Iunike said that “[she] was trying to bring all cultures of GLBT community together to celebrate and to be ourselves because there isn’t a official Pride Celebration in Chattanooga .”
The event was held on June 18th at the Elk’s Lodge and brought in dozens of people throughout the evening. Unfortunately, on the same night as the Pride Ball, there were other local events occurring simultaneously, such as the annual Riverbend concert and a local club’s anniversary celebration. However, despite the competition, there has been a lot of positive feedback and everyone is looking forward to next year’s event.
This year’s Pride Ball featured free food and drinks, and a Rainboechik’s Mr/Miss Pride crowning. This year’s Miss Pride was Timeka Coulter and Mr. Pride was Nikesha "Lil Boi" Johnson.
Iunike is hoping to receive sponsorships to make next year’s Pride Ball an even bigger success. Inquiries about next year’s event should be sent to Iunike at [email protected].
Chattanooga Cares hosts Cut Up for Life in September
The annual Cut Up for Life, held in September, is a “collaborative effort of local and area beauty salons, their stylists, nail technicians and massage therapists who offer valuable time and skills to literally set up shop on the Walnut Street Bridge .” This year’s event will be on Saturday, September 10th from 11am – 5 pm. Chattanooga Cares facilitates the event. Any interest should be directed to Nicole Bellenfant at 423-648-9910 or [email protected].