While Pride events around the globe have either been cancelled or postponed, Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI) has announced that MOBIfest, its annual free wellness festival for queer communities of color, will gather audiences virtually on Thursday, June 4th at 6pm EST to celebrate in the age of social distancing at mobifest.live.
In its third year of programming, MOBI remains committed to producing one of the only free festivals focused on seeing its attendees as their holistic selves. The festival is funded with support from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and Gilead with support from community partners such as GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), The New Group, Out in Tech, The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), New York Blood Center, SOULE, Bisi Alimi Foundation, and more. Additionally, many Black Pride organizers from across the country have joined the virtual festival, including Nashville Black Pride Birmingham Black Pride, Austin Black Pride, DC Black Pride, Jacksonville Black Pride, Harlem Pride, and NYC Black Pride.
“Since MOBIfest went virtual, we felt it was important to have Black Pride organizers be a part of the festival experience. They provide much needed space and visibility locally and continue to be staples in their communities. MOBI is providing a virtual space for those communities,” said Julian Walker, MOBI’s Celebrity Ambassador.
On Thursday, June 4th from 6 PM to 11 PM EST, MOBIfest will entertain viewers with live DJ sets, comedy segments, and performances from dancers, musicians, and the house and ballroom community. MOBI has previously curated MOBIfest over three days in New York City. The festival typically launches with an opening cocktail event followed by a community art exhibition and reception showcasing artwork submitted by queer artists of color. This all culminates to the main show with a full day of entertainment and performances. Previous headliners have included R&B heroines Dawn Richard and Sevyn Streeter. This year, MOBI has opted to curate a lineup of queer-only talent, including trans pop artist and activist Mila Jam; POSE choreographer and Ballroom icon Twiggy Pucci Garçon; Miami sensation Saucy Santana; Chicago’s rising 17-year old rapper Kidd Kenn, and NAACP Image Award-nominated artist Mykal Kilgore. Additional talent includes DJ BMAJR; drag legendary performer and queen of comedy, Harmonica Sunbeam; DJ Oscar Nuñez from Papi Juice; comedian, Paris Sashay; and dancer Shantoni Xavier, with more talent to be announced. Additional surprise guests will appear during the live event.
Due to COVID-19, MOBIfest will be live streamed on the MOBI website at mobifest.live. Despite the challenges faced by organizers, a few things remain the same: MOBI is peer-led and powered by a team of Black gay and queer men eager to carve out spaces for their community, and all the festival programming is free for viewers. This year, viewers can register in advance for access to the virtual festival online to get live updates and announcements. Additionally, people can join the MOBIfest Facebook event to share with their friends and networks. The day of MOBIfest, the main site will feature a live chatroom hosted by Virtual Watch Party Hosts like Kenni Javon, Ian Haddock, B. Hawk Snipes, Christopher “Maria” Natal, D’Ontace Keys and more to be announced.
#Community is needed now more than ever and #MOBIfest, our free wellness #Pride festival celebrating queer contributions to the arts, wellness, community and culture is going digital! ⠀ ⠀ Expect our same commitment to showcasing the best in queer talent and entertainment, while providing access to much needed wellness resources and care. ⠀ ⠀ Programming kicks off Thursday, June 4th! Register at the link in our bio + ‘mobi-NYC.com/MOBIfest’ to stay in the know and be the first to receive announcements and our livestream!
“The goal for MOBI has always been to link our community with various health and wellness activities while celebrating contributions to the arts, entertainment, and culture. We’ve hosted pre-festival events like a virtual fitness class with Jarad Lotts of Lit Fit, a lean and quarantine nutrition meal prep class with Moe Felican of Prep Your Game Up Meals, and will conclude the pre-festival on Saturday, May 30th with a self-care Saturday focused on professional development with Daton Ferguson-Haywood of Momentum Education,” said MOBI Founder and GLAAD’s Program Officer, Communities of Color, DaShawn Usher. “The pandemic has negatively impacted the world, especially queer people of color, so it was even more important for us to be resilient and continue to build community because there just aren’t that many options for us. Many pride events already exclude Black and Brown people. MOBIfest seeks to center the most marginalized, while showcasing and celebrating our continued resilience.”
Additionally, for the first time, MOBIfest will curate MOBIflix, a queer film festival curating creators of color on Saturday, June 6th featuring works from known directors and upcoming creators from public submissions. The program will run from 6 PM – Midnight EST and will stream films and shorts for queer communities of color to enjoy while quarantined. Ahead of the festival and in partnership with Director, Producer, and Writer Patrik-Ian Polk, MOBI will stream season one of Noah’s Arc for free on the site from June 1st – 3rd.
GLAAD is joining in supporting MOBIfest, in addition to over 30 national and international organizations. The full list of MOBIfest community partners include:
Austin Black Pride
Birmingham Black Pride
Bisi Alimi Foundation
Black Gifted & Whole
Counter Narrative Project
DC Black Pride
Global Black Gay Men Connect
Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC)
Impulse Group Houston
Jacksonville Black Pride
Meak Productions, Inc.
Men of D.I.S.T.I.N.C., Incorporated
Mount Sinai’s Young Adult Sexual Services (YASS)
Nashville Black Pride
National Black Justice Coalition
New York Blood Center’s Project ACHIEVE
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH)
NYC Center for Black Pride
Out In Tech
The Bros in Convo Initiative
The Brown Boys
The Each Other Project
The Gentlemen’s Foundation
The New Group
ABOUT MOBILIZING OUR BROTHERS INITIATIVE (MOBI)
Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI) curates experiences that celebrate the diversity of queer people of color while building community, wellness and personal development. The MOBI network features signature programming: MOBItalks, a personal and professional development series and MOBIfest, a citywide interactive wellness festival that celebrates queer voices in fashion, music, visual arts and media. With a focus on wellness, MOBI connects individuals to opportunities to better themselves before and during events.