Milwaukee Bucks to host fourth Pride Night

Pride+Night+is+one+of+several+theme+nights+the+team+hosts+at+Fiserv+Forum%2C+others+including+%22Star+Wars%22+and+Halloween.

Photo by Gary Dineen

Pride Night is one of several theme nights the team hosts at Fiserv Forum, others including "Star Wars" and Halloween.

The Milwaukee Bucks will host their fourth annual Pride Night Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Fiserv Forum to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

Throughout the year, the Bucks hosts theme nights, including “Star Wars” and Halloween-themed evenings. The Pride Night is held in collaboration with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, which help to sponsor and provide resources for the evening.

Johnny Watson, executive producer of arena and event presentation for the Milwaukee Bucks, said Pride Night is one of his favorite theme nights to host.

“(It’s) the energy and the storytelling behind it,” Watson said. “There are so many incredible organizations and community leaders in the city that are part of the LGBTQ community.”

Watson said that for the Bucks as an organization, inclusivity and diversity are important. So four years ago, when it came time to pick a theme night, the organization looked at different demographics in Milwaukee. The LGBTQ community stuck out. Watson said that when they approached the NBA about the evening, the NBA wanted to build support and focus on the community as well.

During the event, there will be a special performance from local artist Betsy Ade. The halftime show will be a drag show with a video demonstrating the performers’ transformation until they are in full makeup and dress. Throughout the evening, there will be different highlights on community members, including the in-house DJ for the Bucks, DJ Shawna. The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, an organization of different businesses and corporations that are LGBTQ+ allied in the state of Wisconsin, is also being highlighted. Different photos, videos and interviews will be shown, along with live shots of the audience.

For the themed nights, Watson explained that it’s their goal to blow these events out and really go over the top to make sure the fans understand it. For example, in some advertisements the event logo incorporates a rainbow as either a border or background behind the Bucks’ logo.

“This is reaching out to the community and doing these things and featuring the LGBTQ community at these games,” Watson said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

Students on campus may consider attending exclusively for the theme.

“I’d maybe attend that. … I’ve enjoyed every Bucks game I’ve been to (and) if I were to see how many people were supportive, that may be a positive thing,” Iona McPeake, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

McPeake also said it’s a good step to have events like this to bring some exposure.

Zelda Kieser, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and program assistant at the Marquette LGBTQ Resource Center on campus, said a sporting event would be an area of expansion in comparison to other events they could look into hosting.

Cory Forbes, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences as well as secretary of Marquette’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, thinks broader events like Pride Night are beneficial if they are meant to bring more awareness.

“I think it’s good that there’s a wider recognition and an awareness of LGBTQ issues and a mainstreaming of acceptance,” Forbes said.

 

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu