On, Monday, October 3, 2017, The Gentlemen’s Foundation hosted their 6th Annual Gentlemen’s Ball (powered by UPS) at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel. The 2017 theme “We Are Royalty” celebrated all people of color identifying as LGBTQIA. Additionally, the black-tie gala ball and awards ceremony celebrated individuals within the LGBTQ community who have been committed to social change and enhancement of the quality of life. Guests and honorees for this year’s ball included Tarell McCraney (“Moonlight”), Tracee McDaniel (founder of “Juxtaposed Center for Transformation”), Amiyah Scott (“STAR” on FOX), Charles Stephens (Writer/Creator of The Counter Narrative Project), Darlene Hudson (“State of Black Gay America Summit and Southern Unity Movement”), Julian Walker (“BLACKBIRD,” “Being Mary Jane” on BET), Jack Mizrahi, Melissa Scott (VH1 “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”), Chief Joel Baker (City of Atlanta Fire & Rescue Department), Sharon Lettman-Hicks (Executive Director/CEO National Black Justice Coalition), Coriology, Tyra B, Derek J (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”), Miss Lawrence (Bravo’s “Fashion Queens”), Jussie Smollett (“EMPIRE” on FOX), Kelly Price, Bevy Smith (“Radio Andy” on Sirius XM) and more.
Under the theme, “We Are Royalty,” this year’s fundraising gala and celebration was the signature event of The Gentlemen’s Ball Weekend, September 29th through October 1st, 2017. The three days of programming were filled with activities for guests and allies to recharge and reimagine their lives. Empowering experiences included: a health & wellness fair, workshops on love, relationships and financial planning, along with parties, mixers and socials before and after the ball. On Friday, September 29, ball attendees were invited to two free panel discussions with tastemakers in the business and entertainment industry’s. Special panelists included Ryan Anderson (“SunTrust Bank”), Vaughn Alvarez (“CR8 Agency,” Publicist), Gocha Hawkins (WE tv, “LA HAIR”), Melissa Scott (“Traxx Girls”), Lisa Cunningham and more.
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On Sunday, October 1, following the ball, The Gentlemen’s Foundation hosted a “Royal Brunch,” that featured a special Q&A with current select Atlanta Mayoral candidates. In attendance were Mayoral candidates: Cathy Woolard, Ceasar Mitchell, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Laban King, Michael Sterling, Peter Aman and John Eaves. All candidates addressed important issues impacting the city of Atlanta and it’s LGBTQIA citizens.
The Gentlemen’s Foundation was founded by Juan and Gee Smalls, an African American Atlanta based same-gender loving couple who also serve as certified relationship counselors, philanthropists, and life coaches. The foundation is a non-profit organization committing to broader social change and encouraging individual and collective empowerment as well as public service, leadership, philanthropy, and networking.
To learn more about The Gentlemen’s Foundation visit: www.TheGentlemensFoundation.org
Photo credit: 1) Amiyah Scott. 2) Angela McCoy. 3 Avian Watson. 4) Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen, III. 5) Brandi and Angel McCoughtry. 6) Coriology. 7) Darlene Hudson. 8) David Bridgefoth, DBQ Magazine. 9) Dwight Eubanks. 10) Gee Smalls, Tammy Peay and Juan Smalls.