BLACKOUT is the biannual leather run of ONYX, a national organization founded by and for men of color who enjoy the leather lifestyle and believe in inclusivity. Since their first BLACKOUT event back in 1995, each year They’ve brought together hundreds of leather folk and friends from across the nation and around the world. Anyone interested in education and exploration to empower and expand their sexuality, in a fun and nurturing environment is welcome!
In 2022, BLACKOUT 27 will be hosted by ONYX Deep South, Inc (ODS), a 501(c)(3) charity promoting education and welfare for people of color who identify as male within the LGBTQ+ community from October 6-10 in Fort Lauderdale. ONYX Deep South envisions a world where people are ensured equality and equity regardless of sexual identity, age, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, ability, and experiences.
BLACKOUT is open to EVERYONE – They welcome not only their members but their friends, allies, and supporters and anyone who’s willing to embrace them, literally anyone, regardless of race, gender expression, sexuality, age, or other demographics. For a beautiful, if brief, moment every two years, BLACKOUT creates and sustains a space where racism, transphobia, misogyny, and other forms of discrimination do not exist.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Stephen and Pusckatt from ONYX Deep South for this exclusive Hotspots Interview:
How and when did ONYX Start and when did ONYX Deep South begin?
Pusckatt – ONYX is an organization formed and operated by BIPOC Men who enjoy the leather and/or kink lifestyle. Founded in 1995, ONYX looks to provide education and serve as a bridge for BIPOC Men to the greater Leather community. The founding fathers of ONYX were: Mufasa, David M., Steve B., Nate G. and Wes G.
The ONYX Deep South chapter is centered in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area and covers the entire state of Florida as well as the Caribbean. In early 2017, a small group of men in the Fort Lauderdale area held a meet and greet with the intention of forming an ONYX chapter in South Florida. It was their goal to not only create safe spaces for the BIPOC LGBTQ+ community, but also positive representation. As a result of their hard work and dedication, the ONYX Deep South chapter was ratified by vote in September 2017 at BlackOut 22 in New Orleans, LA.
How and when did each of you become involved in ONYX Deep South?
Stephen – Steve known as Daddy Steve or MagicMan was a founding member of Onyx in Chicago as well as a founding member of Deep South.
Pusckatt – I became involved in ONYX Deep South in 2019. Since my involvement I held positions as Road Captain and currently the President of ONYX.
At what part of ONYX’s history did Blackout start?
Stephen – The 1st Blackout was our 1yr anniversary weekend that included a dance and a brunch the next day. It has grown from there adding more events and is now held Bi-annually. It moves around the country hosted by different chapters.
How excited are you guys that Blackout 27 will be right here in our backyard of South Florida?
Stephen – Deep South is one of the newest chapters and is extremely excited and honored to welcome our members and friends from everywhere to our home base here in Fort Lauderdale. We want to showcase all that makes this area a destination and an ideal home for an Onyx chapter.
Pusckatt – Words cannot express how delighted we are to host Blackout XXVII here in Fort Lauderdale. The past few years have been depressing. We have witnessed countless acts of violence that have taken the lives of our siblings. We have endured a pandemic that shut the world down and robbed us of our ability to have that human connection we desperately crave. But here, we are safe. We get the chance to show our ONYX family how wonderful our local community is.
Is there a lot of pressure on the two of you to produce a successful weekend?
Pusckatt – It takes teamwork to produce a successful event this size. The entire ONYX Deep South membership has worked diligently to ensure a successful weekend. There is always a certain amount of pressure, but the ODS membership has shared with the lift of production, which minimizes the stress.
There are many parts of the Blackout weekend including ONYX University, The Brotherhood Awards/Recognition Brunch, The Annual General Meeting for Full Brothers, The Bar Crawl. Can you explain what each of these entails?
Pusckatt – There is a list of events over the weekend. The opening party will be at Eagle Wilton Manors ONYX Deep South home bar. The event is named Leather, Lace & Lace Ball. This Fetish theme event would include a night of dancing and entertainment. Then we have the ONYX U on Saturday. ONYX U allows participants to attend educational workshops around leather/kink/BDSM-related topics. We will have our Bi-annual General Meeting/ Awards/Recognition Brunch for ONYX members on Sunday. During this time, we discussed ONYX business and recognized the hard work members from all nine chapters are doing.
You have added an event this year: “Kink, Cocktails and Cruising,” tell me more about this event?
Stephen – This is our Saturday night Yacht Party. We want to feature one of our exciting local experiences that caused Fort Lauderdale to be called the Venice of the Americas. This is a Blackout event that is unique to us and will make our weekend memorable.
You are both very passionate about this organization, tell our community why?
Stephen – As a gay Black man who is also interested in exploring leather Onyx is there as a network of support. My personal beliefs are consistent with the mission of the organization. Having a brotherhood and an organization that has a motto to Educate-Explore and Empower is priceless
Pusckatt – Yes, you are correct. ONYX has been committed to volunteerism, community service, and charitable contributions in support of an array of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other community organizations. ODS has a longstanding reputation within our community for promoting respect, inclusivity, diversity, and safe spaces for all people to gather.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to: blackout.onyxmen.com.