Blog: UBE’s 10 Years of Magical Service

United Black Ellument (UBE) celebrated their tenth anniversary with a magical themed evening on October 20. The event took place at Quixotic Magikal World in Deep Ellum and featured tarot and palm reading, henna artistry, music and food! Of course, the Black Magic Crystal Ball wouldn’t be complete without a spellbinding performance by Vogue dancers (voguers).  Why the magical theme? Mpowerment Programs Manager Jalenzski Brown said, “We want all of our members to recognize the magic within themselves and that they are empowered with the tools and resources to end HIV.”
Jamil Davis, UBE Core Group Member attended the celebration and shared, “I think it was mesmerizing, to say the least. It was great to see people new to UBE mingling with those who are a part of other organizations, coming together for a momentous event like this to show their support. Since UBE is a group that publicly supports something as stigmatized as HIV and HIV awareness, witnessing community unity and participation was impressive.”
“Jet” Toriell Williams, a Voguer, also said of the event, “I enjoyed myself! It was the most inspiring, fun, and entertaining experience I’ve had this year. I really loved the atmosphere, as always—so welcoming and positive. There was so much to get yourself into and so much knowledge, who doesn’t love to learn? I can’t wait until UBE 20!”
Established in 2009, UBE creates new ways for young Black men ages 18-29 to come together, meet, socialize, and support each other. The program provides alternative social events and opportunities for same-gender-loving men to promote diversity, well-being, and strength as individuals and as a community. UBE’s spacious facility offers a safe environment to talk and encourage one another about issues that are important to their members, including safer sex.
UBE utilizes the MPowerment model, an HIV prevention program specifically designed to address the needs of young gay and bisexual men. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that Black men who had sex with other men (MSM) were disproportionately at risk for HIV compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Because of these statistics, the program evolved to focus on the needs of young Black men with an emphasis on sexual health and HIV prevention. Additional services and support are provided in the form of job searches, mental health groups, and healthy relationship discussions. In 2018, over 250 volunteers provided HIV prevention programming to over 11,000 contacts.
UBE not only provides a sense of culture and identity to its members, but it gives those same members the opportunity to spread the word about HIV prevention in fun and creative ways. A core group of volunteers plan activities throughout the year including game night, yoga, skate parties and the popular UBE Vogue Academy. MPowerment Program Coordinator Sam Jones says, “Instead of concentrating on the effects of HIV, we want to focus on the causes and provide constructive ways for our members to educate the community. By doing this, we are able to act on our mission: the intention of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.”
Congratulations to UBE for their 10th anniversary and commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in North Texas!

happy thanksgiving.
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