For queer people, summer is our unofficial season. With Black Pride dominating Memorial Day weekend followed by Pride Month in June, the events celebrating our ever-evolving LGBTQ culture are endless.
On July 21st, Black queer-owned Slay.TV will add its name into the mix with the inaugural Slay.Fest, a “celebration of Black Queer and Trans artistic excellence that aims to bring together cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers, artists, and the overall LGBTQ community.”
In a press release, Slay.TV co-founder and CEO Sean Torrington says the festival will provide “a new platform for filmmakers and artists to celebrate diversity.”
“We feel it’s more important than ever to promote, support, and protect our own narratives,” he says. “From handpicked screenings to dope performers and amazing panelists, we are proud to present this inaugural program and honored to those artists who are making it possible.”
Torrington tells INTO that Slay.Fest is especially important today, during a time when queerness is under attack.
“Slay.Fest is a celebration of our existence,” he says. “We’ve always been here, and we are going to fearlessly show that we are unapologetic and bold with our expression of self. It’s extremely important to have a safe space to do so, especially for the next generation of kids that will slay.”
Some of those people who will be slaying at this year’s festival include performers Davi Akei, Boy Radio, and Punk Adams and headliners Dai Burger and Cakes Da Killa. There will be a short film presentation with projects featuring Pose stars Angelica Ross and MJ Rodriguez. There will also be panels on holistic wellness, a discussion of representation in media, money, and empowerment, and “the women’s experience,” which promises to examine and discuss sexism, exotification, healthy relationships and partner violence as well as sex and mental health through a queer feminist lens.
“I really want this to be a space to celebrate the culture, the kids and the cool,” Torrington says. “It’s an inclusive space for Black queer, trans, fem-men, and non-binary people to express and embrace ourselves unapologetically.”
Torrington wants to use his growing platform to help other creatives tell their story and have equity in the brand for Black queer people.
“The future is to keep slaying,” he says of Slay.TV. “We have several original series, films, and documentaries. We’re planning more events around the country and are expanding our platform to a Media House. We currently have a podcast network where we host our first hit podcast Hella Single with Lamont Baldwin.”
But his latest project is one that will also take center stage at Slay Fest: A blockchain solution for funding QPOC in media called Slay.Coin.
“[Slay.Coin] will also allow people to have equity in Slay. It will essentially be our company,” he says. “Our co-founder and Blockchain pioneer James Felton Keith will give a product overview of Slay.Coin and the value proposition of using a blockchain to raise money for the future growth of inclusive media.”
Slay.Fest will take place in the new Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fisher Building on July 21st.