SweetHeat Miami and Other Ethnic-Specific Gay Pride Celebrations Grow in Popularity

Around the time of her third visit to South Beach, Florida’s sun-drenched lady fest Aqua Girl, DJ and party promoter Myah Mustafa found herself noticing a conspicuous trend: Few, if any, of the bikini-clad lesbians around her were women of color. It’s an old storyline in a community united by sexual orientation, but often still divided along color lines. Mustafa felt compelled to do something about it.

“Aqua Girl was fun because it was different … but when it came down to it, it wasn’t for us,” says 25-year-old DJ and SweetHeat Miami creator Mustafa. Mustafa says when she originally attended Aqua Girl, an 11-year-old event with a largely white and Latina following, she was put off by the age-old party divider: music.

Myah Mustafa (aka DJ Dimples)

“They only played techno and house,” she says. “Not to say that [women of color] don’t like it, but we need a little bit of hip hop.”

Mustafa, who works as DJ Dimples, has used her own money to create a space for black and Latina lesbians called Sweet Heat. Now entering its third year, the May 13-16 event is picking up steam as a tawny counterpart to Aqua Girl, complete with celebrity guests and a four-day slate of sexy South Beach parties designed to highlight women of color.

The event has grown in popularity — Mustafa expects about 3,000 women this year — and flourishes as some promoters say women of color have more money to spend and want to spend it in places where they’re better represented.

 

Mustafa, who works as DJ Dimples, set out to create an event that would cater to the largely hip hop-centered musical tastes of black and Latina lesbians, pooling her own money to host the first SweetHeat in 2008. It was a success, though still a work in progress: Mustafa admits she occasionally sent would-be partiers to Aqua Girl events, going on at the same time, when there were gaps in her own programming.

This year’s SweetHeat lineup includes five DJs, a pool party, poetry event and a scheduled appearance by rapper Trina. “I wholeheartedly feel like they are extra comfortable,” she says of her patrons.

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