Preview: Hotter Than July

Jason A. Michael
By | 2019-07-12T02:54:54-04:00 July 12th, 2019|Michigan, News|

He’s the new project coordinator for Hotter Than July and he’s making things happen; Jerron Totten is planning a big HTJ this year. He has also served as LGBT Detroit’s legislative advocacy specialist and social outreach coordinator since April.
“I was initially introduced to LGBT Detroit two years ago when I was on a trip to assist a friend who ran for Detroit City Council,” Totten said. “I immediately fell in love with the organization.”
After falling in love, it wasn’t long before Totten was coordinating Detroit’s Black Gay Pride. However, he said it hasn’t been without its difficulties. Specifically, in planning such a big event Totten said he has struggled to include community input from as many voices as possible — something that he says is vital.
“I think it’s important to engage the community as much as possible when attempting to create such an event for the community to enjoy,” he said.
Despite that struggle, however, Totten said that planning HTJ has ultimately been a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
“It has been tedious at times as you have an entire community looking to you to deliver good, relevant programming,” he said. “Overall, working with community members to make sure this year’s HTJ goes well has been an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

New and different

This year, Totten said HTJ will feature three new events, about which he is very excited. On Wednesday, July 24, there will be a mixer at Granite City Brewery from 6 to 9 p.m.
“This was formerly the opening party and resource fair,” Totten explained. “We wanted this to be an event where LGBT Detroit can engage with HTJ attendees and community members in a more relaxed and social environment.
“Additionally, we have added a sip and paint event which will feature a nude male model,” Totten continued. “We are very excited about this new event and we’re confident in its success.”
The sip and paint event will be held on Sunday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. at LGBT Detroit.
Finally, the third new event will be a career fair at Saturday’s picnic in Palmer Park.
That’s the event Totten said he is most looking forward to.
“As it is HTJ’s flagship event, we are always happy to see the over 10,000 people that attend,” he said. “There’s this strong communal feeling when you get that many people in this very specific demographic in one place.”
The House Stage this year will feature DJ Tone, DJ Daryl G, DJ Tony Peoples, DJ Fred and Ms. Honey. The Main Soundstage will be hosted by Ramon and Dolly The Mayor with DJ Romeo. Featured on the Main Soundstage will be Fitness by Julie, Cierra Malone, J Jacobee, Deriko, Lambo, Nick Ferrari, PhreshSyndicate, Myles Simmons, B. Ward, Donald Lamb and Brandon Barz.
“While many aren’t new to the HTJ Soundstage, some will be making their HTJ debut,” Totten said. “We appreciate all of them for sharing their time and talents with us.”
And for his efforts Totten has earned a great deal of appreciation himself. Longtime HTJ planning committee member Robert Tate commended Totten on his ability to put the event together.
“I think he’s doing a really good job to have just stepped in and pulled off everything,” Tate said. “We’ve been working pretty good together with no complaints. He’s doing a really good job.”

The complete Hotter Than July schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 23
Candlelight Vigil
6 p.m. to dusk
Admittance: Free
Merrill Plaisance Street and Woodward Avenue and Blue Spruce Memorial Tree, Palmer Park, Detroit
This vigil is the traditional opening ceremony for the Hotter Than July celebrations

Wednesday, July 24
Hotter Than July Mixer at Granite City Brewery
6 to 9 p.m.
Admittance: Free Admission, Cash Bar
Granite City Brewery, 100 Renaissance Center Suite 1101, Detroit
A new event, the Mixer will feature music by DJ Tony Peoples

Thursday, July 25
From Stonewall to Heaven: Dinner and Learning at Hotter Than July
7 to 10 p.m.
Admittance: $5, limited to 30 RSVPs
The Marvin Lee Social Justice Center, 20021 Greenfield Road, Detroit
This event will feature a panel discussion looking at 50 years of LGBT activism.

Friday, July 26
Hotter Than July Annual Summit
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admittance: $75
The Marvin Lee Social Justice Center, 20021 Greenfield Road, Detroit
It’s had many names throughout the years, but this conference is a traditional part of the Hotter Than July celebration. This year, the event will look at the topic of building coalitions in LGBT communities of color and the future of gender.

Friday, July 26
Hotter Than July SWEAT Masquerade Party by DJ Tony Peoples
8 p.m. – Midnight
Admittance: $15
The Marvin Lee Social Justice Center, 20021 Greenfield Road, Detroit

Saturday, July 27
Palmer Park Picnic
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Admittance: Free
The flagship event of Hotter Than July, the picnic will feature a career fair, onsite HIV testing, two stages full of entertainment and much more.

Sunday, July 28
Worship Service
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Admittance: Free
Tindal Recreational Center, 10301 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit

Sunday, July 28
Sunday Brunch
Noon – 3 p.m.
Admittance: $25 and tickets must be purchased in advance.
The Charlevoix Gallery, 14505 Charlevoix St, Detroit

Sunday, July 28
Sip & Paint
6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Admittance: $35, which includes all painting materials and two glasses of wine
LGBT Detroit, 20021 Greenfield Road, Detroit
Another new event this year, it’s sure to become a quick favorite.

For more information about the event, visit lgbtdetroit.org/hotterthanjuly.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason 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 having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.