It’s sad that when we think of wealth and affluence, gays and lesbians are typically one of the last groups to come to mind. Outside of prejudices and homophobia against the gay community, there really isn’t an explanation for this misconception. Seeing that African American gays hold some of the best-paying jobs, why is it that most people seem oblivious to black gay wealth.
Throughout my research for this article, the premise that all gays are not the same continued to pop up. This theme was echoed in the 2006 article by author and advocate Herndon L. Davis when he stated, “Far too often the estimated $610 billion U.S. gay/lesbian market is tracked without significant regard to race or ethnicity while vast assumptions are made that all gays are basically the same, having similar interests and needs.” Davis added that a major challenge of black gays is, “…not being recognized as a viable marketing niche.”
You might wonder why the black gay community doesn’t receive the same respect as white gays when it comes to the aspect of finances. The primary issue is dollars spent by black gays and lesbians aren’t tracked as accurately as those spent by members of the white gay community. Events within the black gay community generally aren’t registered with the Conventions Bureau, so there’s no way to track their impact on the community at large.
There’s no denying that the large number of black gay individuals in the closet hinders the appearance of black gay affluence. The major excuse of corporate sponsors is they don’t understand the distinction between ethnic groups within the gay community and don’t see the need to spend money in multiple sectors of what they feel is the same demographic. What these sponsors are missing is the amount of money generated by black gay events. Atlanta Black PRIDE generally attracts more than one million visitors to the area resulting in tens of millions of dollars being infused into Atlanta’s economy.
I sat down with a few of Atlanta’s power brokers in the black gay community to get their take on the subject of black gay prosperity in Atlanta.
Tina Crittenden and Angela Laster-King are business partners who also happen to be life partners. Laster-King is a native Atlantan and an entrepreneur who is dedicated to empowering women. Crittenden, also an astute businesswoman and investor, is committed to teaching women the path to prosperity.
Laster-King attributes diversity to her success stating, “One of the reasons I’ve survived in this tough economical climate is that my sexuality doesn’t define me.” She stressed that it’s important for any entrepreneur to look outside their comfort zone to take advantage of opportunities regardless of their viewpoint.
Crittenden agreed by saying, “When I think of wealth, I think of earning enough money to take care of finances and not having to worry about day-to-day expenses, not necessarily the sexual orientation of who that money is coming from.”
Laster-King added, “Our success is because of our hard work as a team regardless of the fact that we’re a couple.” –jl king
Look out for Part 2 – Coming Soon