The World Pride & Power Organization will host the First Annual World Pride & Power Conference in an effort to foster unity, empowerment and inclusivity in SGLBT communities of African descent and their allies. Why should you attend? You should attend if you are a person of color, an activist, a poet, a writer, a politician, or an entrepreneur. You should attend if you are wise elder or a youth. You should attend if you are seeking inclusivity and wanting to connect and commune with your own kind.
I had the absolute privilege to speak with one of the Founders of the Conference. Ifalade Tashia Asanti! Tashia Asanti is an award-winning activist, journalist, fiction writer, filmmaker, poet and initiated Yoruba/Ifa priestess. Tashia is the author of two best-selling books, The Sacred Door: A Spiritual Guide to Power Living and The Seer: Legacy of Stone and Spirit.
Azaan: know you are an Award Winning Journalist, Poet, Author, and Film maker, what are some of the other things you are involved in?
Tashia: One of my deepest passions is African history (pre-slavery) and African spirituality. I have founded a Yoruba temple in Denver, the first Ifa temple in the State of Colorado. Our membership has expanded to several states. We hosted an international conference in 2003. The healing work of my temple brings me indescribable joy. Another of my passions is being a grandmother. I'm blessed to have grandchildren at a young age and therefore my partner and I get to do lots of fun activities with our three grandsons. This too is among the greatest pleasures in my life.I am also working on the sequel to my first novel and I am still touring with and promoting my first novel, The Seer. I am also working on the film adaptation to The Seer…
Azaan: Tell me about WPP Conference, when did you get the idea to create it and why?
Tashia: There was, in my humble opinion, a gap in the services that other LGBT organizations were providing to our community. Many orgs seemed to cater to a single audience. I wanted to create an agency that would reach across social, class and cultural lines–one that would unite, empower and heal communities of SGLBT African descent and other communities of color. I also wanted to create an org that would reach out to and create bridges with organizations across the African Diaspora and one that would connect our struggles to the struggles of our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa. I feel strongly that we have a lot to learn from their work and vice versa.
Azaan: Who are some of the conference organizers and what roles do they play in the community?
Tashia: I invited conference organizers from 14 U.S. Cities and 9 Countries. This model is already being imitated by other groups. The organizers are social justice activists, journalists, agency directors, mothers, fathers, partners and supporters of the vision and mission of the World Pride & Power Organization.
Azaan: As a conference organizer, I'm sure you have a vision and high expectations, what are your goals for the conference?
Tashia: To facilitate a conference gathering that will increase unity, empowerment and inclusivity among SGLBT people of African descent and other communities of color.
Azaan: Who would you like to reach; is there a specific age group, level of education, financial background, etc?
Tashia: Everyone and anyone who identifies as same gender loving bisexual and transgender and everything in between, as well as our allies and supporters.
Azaan: As a passionate activist, what is your objective for the community as a whole?
Tashia: To do my part in making ours a more whole, healed, unified community in which individuals and families may thrive and coexist in peace and cultural understanding.
Azaan: Some of the invited key note speakers are World Renowned Spiritual Teacher, Best-Selling Author Dr. Malidoma Some, and Nationally celebrated Civil Rights Activist & Author Michael Eric Dyson, who are some of the other invited speakers?
Tashia: Carrie Broadus, one of my sheroes, whose activism and dedication in the field of HIV/AIDS has saved thousands of lives. Cleo Manago also laid the groundwork for work around the idea of, “same gender love” and affirming our culture as SGL people of African descent from an afri-centric perspective.
Azaan: Tell me about some of the workshops and the Conference Highlights?
Tashia: Highlights of the World Pride & Power Conference include:
Historic World Pride & Power SGLBT Pan African Forum with activists, journalists and anti-racism workers dialoguing about the primary issues impacting African-Americans and effective strategies to cultivating productive responses to oppression and discrimination;
Amazing Keynote Speakers From Around the World–Invited Speakers include
• WNBA Basketball Star-Sheryl Swoopes,
• Best-selling Author & TV Personality-Dr. Michael Eric Dyson,
• New York Times Best-Selling Author & Renowned Spiritual Teacher–Dr. Malidoma Some',
• The amazing Bishop Yvette Flunder,
• Cultural Gatekeeper, Health Educator & Founder of AmASSI Cultural & Mental Health Centers-Cleo Manago,
• HIV/AIDS Pioneer-Carrie Broadus,
• West African Activist and Spiritual Teacher-Rev. Davis Mac Iyalla and
• Director of Behind the Mask South Africa-Thuli Madi!
World Pride & Power Awards honoring veteran and emerging leaders of color in the SGLBT community hosted by the one and only Jade Esteban Estrada and another surprise guest;
Conversations in Tongue & Spirit: The Ultimate Spoken Word Concert with feature performances by celebrated poets, Emanuel Xavier and Samiya Bashir and others TBA;
Late Night Eleda Discussion Circles for Brothahs Hosted by Ken Johnson, Cleo Manago and Rev. Benjamin Reynolds; Late Night Eleda Discussion Circles for Sistahs Hosted by Ifasade Queen Hollins, Onifa Adeola Karade and Torrena Dye.
Premiere Film Screenings Including African SGLBT Presence in Hawaii, Standing in Truth Documentary, Black Women & Breast Cancer and More!
Black is Back Fourth World Party featuring performances by groundbreaking recording artists;
An Authentic Interfaith Service & Gatekeeper Healing Ceremony celebrating Dagara, Agape, Buddhist, Native Indigenous, Yoruba & Liberation Theology hosted by the one and only Dr. Malidoma Some' with Gayle Fuhr (Buddhist), Iyanifa Onifa Adeola Karade (Ifa Priestess), Jan Ford (Agape), Joey Criddle (Native Indigenous) and others TBA;
Groundbreaking workshops on racism, media, anti-violence, holistic health, publishing, film & TV, spirituality, relationships, sexuality and more!
Azaan: How long is the Conference and what does each day consist of?
Tashia: 3 & ½ Days and each day is designed take participants deeper into self-reflection and collective introspection.
Azaan: Tell me about the Standing In Truth Documentary?
Tashia: This is a profound documentary featuring some of our nation's brightest minds. Tim Daniels, Tadhi Coulter and Brother Rory have master-minded a film that will touch every viewer regardless of age, cultural identity and spiritual background.
Azaan: Tell about some of the many Awards, and the selection process?
Tashia: The award committee received dozens of nominations from across the world. We were deeply moved by the work that many have put in behind the scenes with little to no acknowledgement. We selected recipients whose work has not always been recognized by the mainstream but has had a transformational impact on the communities around them. We are very honored to pay homage to the first World Pride & Power Award Recipients at our 2008 conference.
Azaan: Bishop Yvette Flunder is an absolutely amazing woman, can you tell me about the Award she received and about the impact of her Mother's passing?
Tashia: Bishop Flunder is an amazing force in the ministry and in the SGLBT community. Her work as touched thousands and the fact that she has remained an accessible leader despite her success and notoriety speaks volumes to the depth and power of her work. And I can only imagine the pain of losing one's mother in the midst of the never-ending work of the activist life. But I believe that such a loss would strengthen one at the same time it humbles you to the realness of our human existence.
Azaan: What does creating the WPP Conference mean for you as a person?
Tashia: It means that I will be bettered in the process and that I will have the deep blessings of reconnecting with many friends of old and meeting many new friends too. It means that I will be transformed by the work as much as I hope this work will transform others.
Azaan: One of the main goals of the conference is to create unity and inclusivity among people of African American Decent and communities of color, what can you add to that? What do you want the world to know?
Tashia: I want the world to know that we cannot afford to be divided. That we must find bridges to each other. And that we must move in a way that is kind, supportive and giving if we are ever be healed individuals and empowered communities.
As Tashia continues to raise the bar, we are called to do and become many things. Number one, whatever we can believe and focus our attention on, we can achieve! We can do absolutely anything, and become anyone! Number two, It is our inherent responsibility as SGL, LGBTQ people to strive to build and maintain a better community. As people of color, we have been segregated for far too long. It's time to break the chains of separation and unify.
Register today! It's not too late! Send your check or money order payable to World Pride & Power Organization, 9249 S. Broadway, #200-423, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 Want to be a sponsor of World Pride & Power?
The World Pride & Power Organization is proud to offer this first glance into the list of powerful recipients of the distinguished World Pride & Power Awards:
• Bishop Yvette Flunder,
• Carrie Broadus,
• Cleo Manago,
• Jeffrey King,
• Thuli Madi,
• Reverend Davis Mac Iyalla,
• D. Lisa Powell,
• Barbara Smith,
• Stephanie Dakara Wynne,
• Emanuel Xavier,
• Monique Davis & June Cummings,
• Angela Odom,
• Ifasade Linda Queen Hollins,
• Rayceen Pendar A'vis,
• Iya Omilade Ashara Ekundayo,
• Iya Osunaye Karen Nanina Ra Heard,
• Azaan Kamau.
Congratulations to all of our award recipients!
In Remembrance of Rev. Mother Ruth Langston 1933-2007
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant” Martin Luther King Jr.