On Saturday, April 14, Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project and the Black Intelligent Ladies Alliance (BILA) will be making history with their Black in Time dance party. The dance party, set to be held at Sweets Lounge and Restaurant at 2 Schreck Avenue, pays tribute to Buffalo’s LGBTQ African American bar and party scene.
“The event will celebrate bars and parties that attracted large numbers of LGBTQ African Americans, not only as places to have a good time, but as important sources of refuge and movement building.”
And yes, there is a historic element upon which this dance party is based. According to organizers, the black LGBTQ community was not welcome in white-owned gay bars in the 1970’s/80’s. In turn, the ostracized contingent set out to establish their own social scene, including parties with names like Just Us and Jack Your Body. Black in Time is a celebration of black-owned bars, ranging from Little Harlem Hotel in the 1940s to A Touch of Class in more recent years, all of which provided a safe haven for black LGBTQ subcultures, despite the fact that they were not considered alt establishments. Instead, they were simply welcoming establishments that understood that any form of discrimination was not acceptable.
“The centerpiece of Black in Time will be a dance party, featuring DJ Remmz, playing music popular in African American LGBTQ parties from a period of over 5 decades. The venue will also include an exhibit room, displaying pictures and memorabilia from the bars and parties being celebrated. Throughout the night, filmed stories from members of the community will play, sharing stories about the bars and parties that meant the most to them.”
Black in Time will begin at 8 p.m. at Sweets Lounge and Restaurant (2 Schreck Avenue), and continue until midnight. The sliding scale admission fee is a suggested donation of $5 to $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.