Gay Atlanta Promoters Rant About Losing THOUSANDS of Dollars on Events…Do They Have A Valid Point?


Juan & Gee Smalls were featured on the site before  as the first black, gay male couple to be featured on HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’. (Click here to watch their episode) Now the G Spot Productions owners want to remind y’all they have a mortgage to pay and really don’t care to keep losing money because “Atlanta is BLACK AND GAY AS HELL!” I don’t want to give too much away in my little paragraph. But honey they are pissed serious with EVERY word written. Get comfy and take a gander.

“Where is the SUPPORT for the BLACK GAY COMMUNITY?” – An OPEN LETTER to YOU.

Everyone keeps asking us, “What’s the date of the next Gentlemen’s Ball?” and in the interest of being totally transparent with you, the honest answer is simple: We don’t know. We are elated to hear that so many of you are looking forward to the 2014 festivities, but harbor an equal amount of anxiety about it as well. As you may or may not know, The Gentlemen’s Ball is an extremely expensive event to produce and ticket sales only cover about half of the total cost so what it really boils down to is the need for increased monetary support.

Let’s play the numbers game. The first year it cost us about $50k to produce the ball. We received about $25k in ticket sales and sponsorships and $25k was our own investment (which we expected). The second year we upped the ante; it cost us approximately $65k. We received about $50k in ticket sales and sponsorships and $15k was our personal investment (although our goal was to just break even). Based on the numbers, we experienced tremendous growth over the course of the year but ultimately ended up in the RED. Unfortunately, that can’t happen again.

The Gentlemen’s Ball’s mission is to raise awareness and most importantly, MONEY, for various non-profit organizations that support the LGBT Youth who continue to endure the physical violence, mental anguish and gut wrenching shame that the overwhelming majority of us experienced while growing up and continue to battle. We also aim to celebrate the outstanding men in the black LGBT community who have overcome those adverse odds and can now stand tall in their truth. This event is one that is very near and dear to our hearts. In fact, it is more than an event, it is a MOVEMENT! We are very proud of the work that we have done over the course of the last two years and endeavor to continue that work with more dynamic initiatives in the future.

This movement is bigger than any one person or any one company. It’s about community. We know that many of you share the same passion for equality and unity that we do so we ask that you stand in this fight with us – together. For far too long, black gay men have been marginalized; bullied into a corner of shame and self-hate. The Gentlemen’s Ball is a vessel that is here to proclaim “NO MORE”! NO MORE will WE be humiliated, brow beaten, and physically attacked because of who we are. NO MORE will we be shackled by the debasing labels of queen or DL or faggot or sissy. NO MORE will we allow the belief that we are impulsive, sexual, disease-spreading creatures to plague the minds of the masses. We have a message for society; one that is rooted in truth. There is more to us than what is currently portrayed in the media. We are proud, productive, dynamic, educated, giving men in this society . We teach your kids, prescribe your medicine, fight for you in court, sell your houses, diagnose your sicknesses, and even lobby for your rights in the political arena. We support you in too many ways to name and it’s time we get that support in return.

In order to consistently produce the caliber event that you have come to expect from us, we need more sponsorship dollars! PERIOD. Millions and millions of dollars are given away each year by large corporations in the form of grants. Each year we apply and are either denied or outright ignored. The time has come for more corporations and businesses and PEOPLE to take stock in the black gay community; to invest in us as much as we invest in them. We spend money just like everyone else and we deserve the reciprocal support.

We can’t end this letter without addressing the lack of support in our very own community. Atlanta is BLACK AND GAY AS HELL! We SHOULD NOT face these types of challenges with such a strong presence. Why don’t we support each other? Don Lemon, Mayor Kasim Reed, Congressman John Lewis, to name a few, have all been asked to support The Gentlemen’s Ball by JUST SHOWING UP, but they have all declined. We even tried to PAY Don Lemon to host one year but our request fell on deaf ears. What are they all afraid of? Why won’t they support US but will run to similar events held in the White gay community? Are we not good enough for them? We are perplexed.

This is where we need your help. Many have suggested we setup a GoFundMe account or something of the like, but we say no. We believe our tickets are priced appropriately and that payment constitutes your monetary contribution as an attendee. It’s time for the businesses and corporations in our own backyard like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Delta, and Suntrust Bank to support the black LGBT community on a larger scale just as they support our white counterparts. It’s also time that our community leaders stand up and recognize us! If you share our passion, believe in our movement and demand the respect and support from mainstream society, share this post, forward it to potential sponsors, tweet about it, talk about it, send it to a friend that could help. All that we ask is for you to simply do anything you can to get the word out.

We are determined to bring you The Gentlemen’s Ball in 2014 and beyond, but we NEED your help to do so. Are you with us?

Sincerely,

Juan & Gee
www.TheGentlemensBall.org
www.facebook.com/GentlemensBallAtl

Don Lemon seriously turned down an appearance for a gay charity event as much as he pulls out his gay card?

What can Juan & Gee do to get more community support for their event?

Comment below.


20 Comments

  • GayBlackTravel
    25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    It’s all about the numbers and building REAL relationships with sponsors at the end of the day. If they are really serious about raising sponsorship dollars then they need to hire a professional who has the relationships with major sponsors and who can sale. Just because you have an event doesn’t mean that sponsors are going to jump on board and support. It’s a BUSINESS. What’s in it for the sponsors? Does the event have the NUMBERs so support a sponsorship? Does their mission align with the mission of the sponsor they are reaching out to?

    • Gee Session-Smalls
      25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

      We definitely need experienced help. We have done all that we can in regards to securing sponsorships, but have fell short…which is why we wrote the letter. We need help and make no bones about it. I’ve went through a few Sponsorship Managers that have reached road blocks as well. I am hoping that the letter will find us the right people to assist. thanks for your comment.

      • Tobias Hiram
        26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

        Until you secure the numbers that the corporations and government officials feel are right for them you can forget sponsorship. You might as well do local fundraisers and
        silent auctions. Even a memory book with advertiser because without support of other black gay men and the numbers sponsorship is not an option.

  • Steven Austin
    25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    Don Lemon prefers the White men, though. We all know that. Anyway, it would be smarter if they just tried to get supporters of notoriety, even if they are female or not Black…just to help with all of those kinds of things. As I said before, another part of the reason that I’m sure people have declined attending is because this event just comes off as another time for gays to be elitist, exclusive, and flashy. I don’t know that people even knew that it was a charity event in the first place.

    • Gee Session-Smalls
      25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

      We actually do not have a problem with attendance. We sold out last year. The black gay community has supported us tremendously. I’m sorry that you miss the message behind the event and only receive elitist, exclusive and flashy attitudes, because it is definitely not the message we want to convey. It’s about being a proud, black gay man ultimately. I hope you will attend one year. Maybe your perspective would change.

      • Steven Austin
        25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

        To clarify, when I said “attendance,” I meant the celebrity attendance you mentioned having trouble with. I read the part about selling out, which is great, but if you’re selling out, and you’re still in the red, it sounds like a budget review would be in order. I just don’t want to come off like a firestarter because I applaud what you’re doing…

        • Gee Session-Smalls
          25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

          Yes..we were referring to the lack of support from our politicians who support events of the like in the white gay community. Maybe they are ok with white gay flashy events but not black gay flashy events? Who knows…at any rate, thanks for your comment sir.

          • jacobi
            27 Nov 2013 | Permalink |

            are yall really together cause if so he is cheating on you .. he sucked my dick and sallowed my nut when he was in st louis a few weeks back smh.. fags are so messy

          • jacobi
            27 Nov 2013 | Permalink |

            are yall in a open relationship

  • Xavier
    25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    The problem is Atlanta is HIV Hell and no one wants to be associated with the debauchery that comes with black gay pride, which according to media reports is “only” a black problem. That being said, it also sounds like more volunteers are needed to canvas the area and make the tireless calls to corporate heads; therefore, someone that is tireless, aggressive, smart, and opportunistic with superb articulation abilities is needed. Another issue, you are in the bible belt, which is never good for any black gay anything. I agree with the gofundme.com suggestion, as it allows folks that are better off to make contributions they can afford. Finally, I think it would be necessary to show sponsors that not only are we celebrating gay pride, also we are educating black gays on very critical topics/issues, which inspires altruism. Yes the goal is to party and have a good time, but also to have enough $$$ left over to create even bigger events. Good luck with everything.

    • Gee Session-Smalls
      26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

      Good point on the bible belt. Thanks for the comment.

  • QAries
    25 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    Though I am not gay or male, I certainly support your advocacy. However, I must echo an earlier sentiment that this event must be treated like a business (like any other not-for-profit). I have been in the event business for 17+ years and can tell you from experience that a business plan (that includes a marketing strategy…which is in essence what you are looking for ) are of the utmost importance here. Many spokespersons, celebrities, or persons of notoriety will not associate their ‘brand’ with an event without the numbers or proper organization and understandably so. Without having these elements in order your gala may come across as another over glorified house party (not meant to be offensive). Delegating funds to get these things in order will prove far more important than décor, especially if you desire longevity.
    Also, please don’t limit yourselves to monetary donations…don’t hesitate to barter…the first example that comes to mind is a silent auction…if an individual is not willing or not in a position to offer funds maybe they can offer services or items/products up to be auctioned…just a thought.
    Once you’ve taken these steps it may also prove beneficial to look outside of the Atlanta area (or even Georgia) for support. For example, recruiting someone from another area that has been involved with developing LGBT support (that are consistent with your goals for the future) may be just what you need. This will not suggest that Atlanta’s community is not good enough but that you are looking for support and examples of where you want to take awareness in the future. (I so hope that that makes sense.)
    I hope that this is helpful in some small way.

    • Gee Session-Smalls
      26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for feedback..it helps! I do admit its hard to see this event as just a business because of the passion and message behind it. That is something I will have to address.

  • Tobias Hiram
    26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    First of these men have the right to feel what the feel and
    the bottom line is the so called “out and open black gay community” does not
    support anything black and gay. I refused to be labeled by this term of hatred due to the idiotic behaviors and ideals of the “community”. Go to anyone
    of the so called “groups” and it is all the same. A bunch of lame sorry ass sissies and queens who are bitter, hurt and alone because of their self-bashing beliefs about so called “gay relationships”: Mad at the world because any self-respecting masculine msm does not want to be a part of their bullshit. New Flash: MAN THE FUCK UP!!!!

    When you hear them rant and rave about “black gay men” it like they are talking about a secret society they are not aware of at all. WAKE UP YO!!! If you claim to be “black and gay” then you are a part of the very community your constantly bash. I thank God I am not a part of the community and rejected from it because the only masculinity found in the gay community is in their porn. It is a community of self-hatred and loathing of themselves. They
    support the feminization of men and the bashing of anything masculine as “acting straight”. WTF? Is not the point of being gay is because you
    are attracted to MASCULINITY!!! If I wanted a woman would get the real
    thing. Gay men are attracted to MASCULINITY so if you would not date yourself. Why the fuck would someone masculine who likes men want you.

    The only problem with these brothas are money management and trying to be to fucking grand and glamorous for a community of men who do not give a rat’s ass about them. When it comes to black gay men, “if it not about fucking, it not worth attending”. BOTTOM LINE: If you know an event is to put you in the red, then cut your cost. One the one hand, I agree that Black gay men
    don’t wand will never support their own shit because of their warped
    mentalities and fucked up ideologies. But, these so called promoters are just trying to impress folks who don’t give a fuck about them. Simple math: If you can afford a $65k event cut your fucking cost and stop trying to show the fuck out. It amazes me the amount of self-loathing so called “black gay men” have for each other as if they are not a part of the community they constantly bash and tear apart. Until the black gay community start loving themselves and feel they are worthy to be loved, you will have the same shit on a different day.

  • Tobias Hiram
    26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    Pay close attention to the end. THE LAW OF ATTRACTION AND GAY RIGHTS

  • Derek Lamont Stewart
    26 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    If the issue is reaching size critical mass that will trigger advertiser support perhaps you need to cast a bigger net by co-promoting or making the event a destination event where other cities are involved. Of course either of these ideas opens up a whole other can of worms but you guys are up to the challenge.

  • Mack W Jackson
    27 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    It’s simple, Increase ticket prices, Get recurring sponsorship at a set or increasing level, Get sponsors to attract other sponsors, get a gay-friendly NAMED EVENT SPONSOR at a higher $ level and with promotional tie-ends, pay someone with ideas like these a commission for implementation.

  • jacobi
    27 Nov 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    QUESTION HOW LONG HAVE YALL BEEN TOGETHER.. BECAUSE NOW IAM PISSED UNLESS YALL HAVE A OPEN RELATIONSHIP YA BOI JUAN WAS IN ST LOUIS A FEW WEEKS AGO SAYING HE WAS SINGLE AND WAS SUCKING DICKS.. SMH I HOPE HE DONT GOT NOTHING CAUSE I WILL DEF BE REPORTING IF I FIND OUT HE DO

  • Reo Martel Langster
    8 Dec 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    Listen at the end of the day…its not about who is wearing the latest trends in clothes its about money and right now this couple seem to be in the red. And while i belive in the message of trying to do the right thing with this ball..in a realisitc world we can’t afford to come. It’s nothing shady it just the way it is…the prices for the tickets men can pay the rent with or pay a carnote with (Just keeping it real) A ticket should cost roughtly around $125 to $200 tops anything over that is too high. And you dont have to three course meal you can either have Hors d’oeuvres or hire an atlanta catering company and have a buffet and at a certain time take the food out. In reality the men who come can eat before or after the ball is over. You gotta think outside the box we are still in a recession and money is tight for everyone.

  • Eddie Seron Pierce-Publisher
    9 Dec 2013 | Permalink | Reply

    This is symptomatic of the larger issue with the African American community in general. We are the largest consumer but get the least back from corporations such as those listed above. Black gay men have even more disposable income as evidenced by our clothes, cars, vacations, jewelry, Beyonce concert tickets etc. We all need to remember and act on our power as consumers. Remind these corporate entities that we are as multi-faceted as our hetero-caucasian counterparts with our own businesses and economic interests. Wall Street figuratively should be a two way street.

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