Lakeshore Community Pride, a newly formed 501(c)(3) organization specializing in fundraising events for local causes, launched this month at Muskegon’s inaugural White Party and Pride Ball.
“Launching at the White Party/Pride Ball event was the best way for our organization to express to the community that we all should have pride in who we are, in what we do, and in our community as a whole,” shares Crystal Murry, president and co-founder of Lakeshore Community Pride.
Drag King Karloz Michaels performs to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's song Same Love during the White Party and Pride Ball.
A group of friends that regularly meets at the Rusty Spoke bar and grill in Muskegon decided there had to be a way that they could give back to their community.
“Our organization is made up of a board of people with experience in a range of backgrounds, including business, military, public service, customer service, and entertainment, just to name a few,” Murry says.
Drag Queen La Reine Divine accepts tips from the audience during their performance during the White Party and Pride Ball.
Support in West Michigan
This diversity comes through in the way Lakeshore Community Pride wishes to support West Michigan.
Murry explains: “Lakeshore Community Pride's mission is to help provide for the relief of the sick, disabled, destitute, hungry, or otherwise disadvantaged in West Michigan. We want to also find a way to help younger people who are coming out and finding themselves, whether they are LGBTQ+ or whatever, so that they can come to us and say, ‘Do you know where I can go to talk to someone about what I’m going through?’”
Party goers take pictures of the drag performers at the White Party and Pride Ball.
White parties, where performers and partygoers dress all in white, have become a prominent part of Pride Month across the United States, with many using the opportunity to raise money for HIV/AIDS organizations. Pride Balls, complete with a rainbow flag color scheme and flamboyant outfits, are often the pinnacle of Pride Month celebrations.
Turns no one away
The Rusty Spoke has become the unofficial home to Muskegon’s drag community, putting on monthly shows to large crowds. The drag shows have attracted performers from across West Michigan and beyond, showcasing competition-winning drag queens and kings.
Drag King Ricky Jay performs to Michael Jackson's Song Man in the Mirror during the inaugural White Party and Pride Ball, organized and hosted by Jeffery Pienela, aka Drag Queen Barbie Dior.
Being an organization that celebrates diversity and turns no one way is very important to Murry. “We’re wanting to include everyone. We called ourselves community pride because we wanted to encompass everyone, we didn’t want to exclude anyone, we wanted to be all-inclusive.
“We want everyone — regardless of race, age, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. — to feel welcome and be a part of an organization that wants to make a positive change in our community with them.”
Lakeshore Community Pride can be contacted via their Facebook page