By Brent Dorian Carpenter
One year ago, Kim Jones described Pride as her top priority. It seems some things never change. The DBG Pride Board member and founder of the women’s group Pink Ice Productions is still multi-tasking and looking out for the needs of her beloved LGBT community.
“I was raised in Highland Park,” said Jones. “I went to Highland Park High School and Palmer Park was my spot even as a teenager.”
Community involvement is in her genes – and yet, she is not interested in titles such as “activist.” Rather, Jones saw a need and moved to fulfill it.
“I wouldn’t call it activism, per se. I got involved after finding out that we had a Black Pride in Detroit and looking at the schedule of events and seeing that there were no women’s events during that season. The year that I became interested, the only thing going on for the ladies took place just before a large men’s event. I became active with DBG Pride after visiting various cities. I know that Detroit can and should be one of the pinnacle Black Prides, like ATB [in Los Angeles] and DC’s Pride. I wanted to be as instrumental as possible in making that happen here. It has been a learning process for me. I have gained a ton of knowledge on the makings of a functional organization.”
Jones’ experience is paying off in unexpected ways. She was recently selected to represent Detroit in the International Federation of Black Prides, an appointment she calls “a surprising honor.”
“I had the opportunity to meet other Black Pride organizers from several different states. We all have the same challenges and struggles, some greater than others, but our commitment is the same – to become great in our state. Being selected to work with them gives me the opportunity to assist Prides internationally. It still hasn’t hit me how big this is for me personally, but I can say that I am totally honored.”
Even as the faltering economy has sent her back to school to pursue a Business Administration degree at the University of Phoenix, she is deep in the planning stages of several events for the upcoming Hotter Than July.
“This year I have a lot of projects on my plate,” Jones said. “I am working with Hospitality and we have been putting together events that are produced by DBG Pride. We took the VIP reception on a different curve this year, so instead of performance entertainment we will have a visual arts venue spotlighting artists in the community and curated by one of the art galleries here in the city. There will also be a women’s film festival, a jazz brunch in Harmonie Park and the Closing Party, which is tagged as Battle of the House DJs. We are doing a lot of new things this year; there has been a ton of positive energy and great ideas around me.”
A deeper inquiry reveals another motive for Jones’ seemingly inexhaustible efforts.
“I am planning to relocate within the year, but I wanted to insure that there would be something around for ladies. Don’t get me wrong Ñ I know that there are several ladies out here that are doing big things event-wise, but I guess I feel like you have to teach what you have learned to your peers in order for them to succeed. Everything I’ve done has not been great but I know to never give up. I have been working with a few women who want to do the party scene here, but not on their own at this time. The name of the organization is Spanish Fly Entertainment and they will be hosting Sunday Nights at Club Q starting June 12. It’s just my way of giving back and working together for success. They have worked very hard to make Spanish Fly happen, and I have done the same to help keep it out there for them. It should be a really great summer for them.”