MotorBall Ready to Rev its Engine Again

By |2016-06-02T09:00:00-04:00June 2nd, 2016|Guides, Pride Guide|

DETROIT – Get your motor runnin’ and get ready to head out on the dance floor because MotorBall is back. An official after party of Motor City Pride, the main event will take place Saturday, June 11, at St. Andrew’s Hall. There will also be an opening party on Friday, June 10, on the rooftop deck of Brigg’s Detroit.
“MotorBall is a really exciting event,” said Maxwell Cameron, executive director of World AIDS Day Detroit. “It gives participants the opportunity to continue celebrating Pride after Motor City Pride closes, hear some awesome music, and have a great time all for an important cause, which is raising funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS.”
The first MotorBall was produced in 1994 by Geared For Life and was originally known as the GEAR Party, which stood for Generating Education, Awareness and Respect. That first party raised $15,000 for area HIV/AIDS organizations. Subsequent parties were a huge success and the event continued for over a decade until it was retired in 2005.
“The focus was taken off raising money so we decided to just stop it,” said Derek Zachariah, a member of the original planning committee. “It was at a time when it just wasn’t profitable to do something like that. We weren’t raising as much money as we should have been for the cause. Expenses got out of hand so we just stepped away and said if we couldn’t originally do it for why we started, we just wouldn’t do it at all.”
Then, in 2014, the 20th anniversary of the start of the event, organizers had the idea to revamp it and give it one more try.
“We decided to bring it back just as a one-time thing,” Zachariah said. “We lined up a new charitable organization to benefit from it and we got a lot of those people involved. We brought it back and it was a huge success. It was so successful we thought maybe we could turn it into an annual thing. The following year we were even more successful and this is now the third year since the hiatus and we’re hoping to grow it even further.”
This year MotorBall’s organizers anticipate that more than 850 people will attend and help raise money for HIV/AIDS services in Michigan.
“Last year MotorBall was close to being sold out,” said Terry Ryan, a member of the planning committee. “We anticipate this year there will be even more enthusiasm for this amazing event.”
Scheduled to appear at this year’s MotorBall are a wide variety of entertainers that includes adult film stars Casey Everett, Johnny V and Wesley Woods. Also in attendance will be Rocco Steele, Detroit’s own Sabin, and DJs Chris Spinazzola and the Perry Twins. Also at the opening party: the legendary drag queen, DJ and adult film director ChiChi LaRue will be in the VIP lounge.
“We try to select entertainers who have broad appeal,” said Cameron. “Particularly with our DJs, we look for nationally recognized talent that will draw a good crowd, energize the event, and make the crowd want to dance.”
This will be Spinazzola’s second year in a row at the event.
“I had a great time last year,” said Spinazzola, who is based in Chicago. “I tore that dance floor up. At least, that’s what I was told.”
Zachariah said MotorBall is like no other event that takes place in the city.
“I enjoy putting an event together that’s something that’s unique to Detroit,” he said. “You don’t see it often. It’s not like we’re just taking over a bar and doing a special bar night. We’re actually bringing in talent from different places that we don’t usually see in Detroit. We’re trying to make it special and kind of make it feel like you’re in a different city.”
But the money stays here. All the proceeds from this year’s MotorBall will go to World AIDS Day Detroit.
“We are a not-for-profit organization so all of the money we raise goes to help the community,” Zachariah said. “We are 100 percent volunteer so all of us take of our time. We don’t get paid for it. We do it because we see a benefit for the community in it.”
And there’s no doubt that benefit is substantial.
“I think people would be surprised to find out how successful MotorBall has been in raising money for important HIV/AIDS services,” said Cameron. “Since its inception, MotorBall has fundraised more than $200,000 for HIV/AIDS in Detroit. So while we strive to produce a premier event, we also want to make a difference in the community.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.