LGBTQ Community Reacts To Recent Gayborhood Racism

Protest outside ICandy nightclub on September 29th. Photo by Ernest Owens.

Protest outside ICandy nightclub on September 29th. Photo by Ernest Owens.

Following the recent controversy surrounding the reveal and admittance of a video showing ICandy owner Darryl DePiano using the n-word repeatedly, Gayborhood community leaders have sounded off on their thoughts on social media and in protest.

Here are few Facebook reactions:

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Later Thursday evening, it was announced that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the Office of LGBT Affairs will be holding a hearing on racism in the LGBT community on October 25th. This comes after weeks of activists calling for the Office of LGBT Affairs to address acts of racism in the community.

The Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC), which called for a boycott of ICandy and Woody’s earlier this week, held a protest outside of ICandy yesterday. The organization initially entered the bar passing out “Anti Blackness” free drink passes with the racist quote from owner Darryl DePiano scripted. The protest had roughly 30 members of the community present and after initially entering the facility and protesting, police were called by the establishment and BBWC took their protest outside of the building. No arrests were made.

G Philly was on location to film moments from the protest:

During the protests, the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club released a statement supporting the boycott of ICandy:

“The video that surfaced today is a stark reminder of the absolutely unacceptable racism that exists in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood,” reads the statement from Liberty City’s Board of Directors. We in the LGBT community know what homophobia feels like, but it is time that we do more to understand and stand up against the ways racism affects the lives of queer people of color in our community. The comments made by the owner of ICandy, an establishment that presents itself as a safe space for a vulnerable community, are only a symptom of a much deeper problem in our community. People of color already face too much hatred in our country today and we believe that every member of our LGBT community, no matter their race, should feel equally as welcome and secure in the safe spaces we have carved out. Liberty City plans to remove ICandy from our GOTV Bar Crawl, and will not host or participate in any events that happen at that venue. Further, we plan to use our platform to continue to call out racism we see in our community, and we plan to do as much as we can do to make space at our table for communities of color. We all need to do more to make the Gayborhood a welcoming place for every LGBT Philadelphian.”

After the protest, BBWC released the following statement exclusively to G Philly after receiving information about the recent public statement made by PCHR and Office of LGBT Affairs:

We know that this is a statement that is much of the same. The power structure is not “allowing” people to testify! We have already been testifying and We will continue to speak truth to power. Our stance remains firm, divest divest divest from institutions who are anti- black. We are done looking to white supremacist systems for justice or reprieve. Divest. This is movement time.

Video Surfaces of ICandy Owner Darryl DePiano Saying the N-Word

ICandy owner, Darryl DePiano, in Philly Gay Calendar interview in 2011.

ICandy owner, Darryl DePiano, in Philly Gay Calendar interview in 2011. Screenshot from YouTube.

A YouTube video posted publicly on September 27th titled “ICandy Philadelphia Owner Uses the N-Word” has been circulating on social media. The video first circulated in the comments section of G Philly’s story on the recent boycotts on September 27th. In the 21-second video, it appears as though two men (never pictured) are in an office with a surveillance monitor and a business desk; heard off camera is an exchange between the men conversing about black people, white people and drink passes.

Here’s the transcript:

Guy No. 1: “And Ricky Peterson, nig, nig, nig, nig, niggers — everyone of them. (laughs) Does Ray ask you for drink passes — white, obnoxious white, but white?”

Guy No. 2: “No he’s never asked me.”

Guy No. 1: (laughs) “There you go, and he was definitely your real boyfriend. All three of them that ask you for drink passes are niggers.”

Background voice: whispers “oh my god” and the video ends.

The YouTube account, called “Gay By Gay,” claims in the video’s title that Guy No. 1 in the video is Darryl DePiano.

“It makes me sick, I am never setting a foot in there again,” said Daniel Hart. Hart, who has performed at ICandy for various drag shows and musical events, shared the video on social media the moment he was informed about it through his friends. “I hope my friends who host shows there reconsider their venue..… the gayborhood is totally not a safe space and it depresses me consistently.”

Since the appearance of the video, numerous attempts by G Philly to reach DePiano for comment had been unsuccessful. Then, earlier today, DePiano confirmed on Facebook that he is the man overheard in the video. He says that the video was recorded about three years ago. And he apologizes.

Darryl DePiano

The video comes at a time of concern over racism in Philly’s Gayborhood, a topic G Philly has been covering actively.

In response to the video, and before DePiano’s Facebook admission, a protest calledAddressing Gayborhood Racism at Icandy!” was scheduled for 5 p.m. outside of ICandy.

Activists Call for Boycott of Woody’s and ICandy Over Alleged Racism

Protesters outside of Woody's on September 23rd.

Protesters stand outside of Woody’s on September 23rd. | Photo by Ernest Owens

On Friday, the Black and Brown Workers Collective, an LGBTQ/racial justice activist group, organized a public demonstration outside of City Hall, ICandy and Woody’s. Roughly two dozen activists protested perceived racism at Gayborhood bars and what they say is inaction by the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs over the issue. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Philly Bi Visibility Rally

Now in its 18th year, Bi Visibility Day will now have a rally in Philly for the first time.

Now in its 18th year, Bi Visibility Day will now have a rally in Philly for the first time.

For its historical significance and attention to inclusion, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is the Philly Bi Visibility Rally. International Bi Visibility Day has been celebrated nationally since 1999, but this will be the first time Philadelphia has thrown an official rally for it. Sponsored by the Office of LGBT Affairs, the event plans to unite bisexuals and LGBTQ allies together with rainbow flags and signs proving that being bi is “not just a phase.” Read more »

Activists to Protest “Racism in the Gayborhood” at City Hall

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

The Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC), an intersectional LGBTQ/racial justice organization, is planning a direct action at City Hall on Friday, September 23rd, at 3 p.m.

In a formal statement released to G Philly, BBWC organizers Shani Akilah and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad said that “this action is in response to the lack of attention given to addressing anti-blackness in Philadelphia’s ‘Gayborhood’ by the office of LGBT Affairs and the director of that office, Nellie Fitzpatrick.” The organizers further remarked in the statement that the rationale behind the demonstration is “directly responding to the countless anti-black incidents, policies and culture that permeates a supposed safer space for Black LGBTQIA communities” and that the Office of LGBT Affairs “needs to address intersectionality.” Read more »

Patrons See “Covert Racism” in Recent Enforcement of Woody’s Dress Code

Woody's on 202 S. 13th St.

Around midnight on Saturday, September 17th, popular Gayborhood performer Kemar Jewel arrived at Woody’s with some friends to celebrate a successful FringeArts gig he’d just finished. To his surprise, for the first time in seven years of regular patronage of the bar, he was rejected at the door — and the reason puzzled him: Jewel was told he could not enter because he was wearing Adidas trackpants and sneakers.

“The bouncer told me that they couldn’t let me in with sweatpants and sneakers because that’s their policy,” Jewel, 25, says. “I was outraged … a place that I’ve called home for years had now flipped the script on me.” Read more »

Nominations Announced for 2016 Philly Drag Awards

The 2016 nominees for the Philly Drag Awards have been announced, and performer Iris Spectre leads the pack with a total of eight nominations.

Spectre will vie with Aloe Vera, Ariel Versace, Bev, Brooklyn Ford, Fahrenheit, Maria Topcat, Sutton Fearce, and Vinchelle for the top award of Drag Queen of the Year. Other highly competitive categories include Best Live Vocalist, which will see Britney Lynn, Lilli St. Queer, Pissi Myles and many other notable performers going head-to-head.

“As someone genderqueer and in love with performance, I’m so happy to be able to pursue what I love and showcase my talents across Philadelphia,” said Annie De Beers, a first-time nominee who will compete with Bella Cane, Donna Ria, Miss Troy, Lady Geisha, Robin Graves, and Sasha Magnolia for this year’s Breakthrough Drag Artist award.

The awards show will be held on Thursday, September 22nd, at Voyeur Nightclub (1221 Saint James Street) from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Formalwear is encouraged, and the cover charge is $10. If you are interested in mingling with the nominees, there will be a pre-show cocktail hour at 8 p.m. Read more »

Nellie Fitzpatrick on the Next Steps in Addressing Gayborhood Racism

Gayborhood sign

A month ago, after a number of stories detailing numerous complaints of alleged racism at Gayborhood establishments, I called on the Office of LGBT Affairs to take a more direct and visible stance on combatting the problem.

I made that call after being disappointed with the outcomes of an all-inclusive four-point strategy that came out of a series of town halls Philadelphia Black Pride initiated in the fall of 2015, which everyone in the community — business owners, patrons, government representatives, concerned residents — was supposed to be a part of. In the end, as more reports of alleged institutional racism emerged throughout this year, I felt that Gayborhood institutions had not kept up their end of the agreement and that no public accountability had been placed on those stakeholders, which was one of the four planks of the strategy. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Rasputin’s Room

Lil' Steph is back with an international extravaganza this Friday.

Lil’ Steph is back with an international extravaganza this Friday.

For its impeccable consistency in putting on one of the best gender-inclusive burlesque shows in the city, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Rasputin’s Room: The International Extravaganza. For the last four years, this spectacle has been giving patrons “sumptuous burlesque, riotous comedians and spellbinding chanteuses” every third Friday of the month. Now, the show’s producer and burlesque star Stephanie “Lil’ Steph” Aman is ready to show Philly what she’s learned from around the world. Read more »

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