imageThere’s no doubt that Labor Day’s Black Gay Pride celebrations in Atlanta are the biggest thing about LGBT African-American life in the region. And no one argues that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is its nearest rival for drawing a crowd with an amazing lineup.

“It really is the second biggest weekend of the year,” says Mario Harris, organizer of the year-round Wassup N ATL parties, just one of the black gay party promoters that goes big for MLK Weekend and Black Gay Pride.

“We don’t call it Winter Pride for nothing,” Harris says. “People come from all over the world. We were worried about the snow and ice, but both host hotels are sold out, and people we thought might not come are showing up. I’m blown away.”

Wassup, Traxx Atlanta, Traxxgirls, Xtreme Entertainment, Ladies at Play and other promoters start early to make preparations for the onslought of people. Their parties and a few daytime special events will build each day toward Monday’s annual LGBT Bayard Rustin-Audre Lorde Breakfast, followed by the LGBT contingent in the Martin Luther King Jr. March & Rally.

How long does it take to plan such a big weekend?

“We actually handed out fliers for this weekend on Labor Day,” Harris says, noting that his group of “Freedom” parties that began Thursday are “all about men this year.”

“So often, we’ve always had female artists and personalties,” he says. “I had a dream for this year to have all male talent. Celebrities, models, singers. Just like Dr. King had a dream, we had a dream, and I’m excited it’s happening.

“It’s been hard to get male artists to perform in the past,” he adds. “They’re coming around to their gay fans, and it’s gonna be great.”

imageSpecial guests are the key to LBGT MLK festivities. In addition to Harris booking model, performer and boxer Ngo (top photo) on Monday, Chico DeBarge on Saturday, and more celebrities, models and porn stars from across the country all five days, the other party promoters are meeting him in kind.

Most notably, Traxx’s The Movement Party on Saturday features Keri Hilson (second photo) among several special guests. Over at Xtreme’s Lion’s Den bash on Sunday, the world gets a peek at the cast of the first black gay reality show “Tha Life” from the producers of “Real Houswives of Atlanta” and “The A-List: New York.” RHOA stars are expected to attend.

For details—from reverence to revelry and each and every DJ and special guest—click on the events:

FRIDAY, JAN. 14
Freedom to Indulge
with Wassup N ATL

Sunrise Bistro, 10 p.m.

Welcome to Atlanta Ladies Lounge
with TraxxGirls

Club Life, 10 p.m.

Traxx College Night: The Dr. King Edition
Club 91, 11 p.m.


SATURDAY, JAN. 15
“Epidemic Chronicles” DVD Release Party
with Lance Forrest

Outwrite, 2 p.m.

“Freedom In Art” LGBT Art Exhibit
Rush Center, 3:30 p.m.

Freedom to Splurge
with Wassup N ATL

Selam Nightclub, 10 p.m.

Secret Party with TraxxGirls
Club Inferno, 10:30 p.m.

The Movement Bash w/Keri Hilson
Traxx Atlanta, 11:30 p.m.


SUNDAY, JAN. 16
TraxxGirls Movement Ball
Scores/Underground Atlanta, 4 p.m.

Ladies At Play Winter Pride Bash
Peasant Bistro, 9 p.m.

Freedom to Celebrate
with Wassup N ATL

Tongue & Groove, 10 p.m.

International Male 2011
with The Lion’s Den

Club Europe, 10 p.m.

Traxx Showtime Sunday MLK Weekend
Scores/Decatur, 10 p.m.


MONDAY, JAN. 17
10th Annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast
Saint Mark UMC, 10 a.m.

MLK Day March & Rally
Auburn Avenue to King National Park, 1:30 p.m.

Freedom to Roam
with Wassup N ATL

The Side Bar, 10 p.m.