Bringing new meaning to “Party with a Purpose’”
The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc.
The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc. is a Houston-based nonprofit dedicated to assisting Black, queer+ people with overcoming barriers and ending stigmas and problematic narratives. During our partnership with the Normal Anomaly team, Spitfire developed and implemented a media outreach and engagement strategy for its Project Liberate initiative, a leadership program that helps build sustainability and lasting community impact by providing education, tools and resources to Houston’s Black, queer+ community. Spitfire partnered with The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc. as part of our continuing firm-wide commitment to support Black-led organizations dedicated to advancing racial justice in their communities.
To support and showcase the work of the Project Liberate cohort, the Normal Anomaly team also hosted the first annual Black Queer+ Advancement Festival (BQ+AF), an iconic, advocacy-driven festival that brought together the Black, LGBTQ+ community and its allies for an all-in-one celebration in service of HIV education. The Spitfire team promoted the event through an earned media strategy that led to news features in numerous high-profile national and local publications.
In the weeks building up to Normal Anomaly’s BQ+AF festival, Spitfire’s media outreach efforts saw massive success relating to festival promotion, discussions around transgender rights and fundraising efforts alongside musician Lil Nas X. Such stories were picked up at the local level in publications such as the Houston Chronicle and Outsmart Magazine, they garnered national attention on the pages of Billboard, Yahoo Entertainment and Ebony, among others, and they received recognition internationally in LGBTQIA+ outlets, such as Pink News, Pride.com, them. and Queerty. Our close work with Normal Anomaly’s founder, Ian L. Haddock, led to the creation and publication of a powerful op-ed on the intersection of racial and LGBTQIA+ rights.
Thanks to the success of our media outreach efforts and their own internal persistence, the Normal Anomaly team found themselves inundated with interview and media requests, which created the need for media training to ensure the entire team was adequately prepared. The training sessions helped participants think strategically about media outreach and interactions, long-term strategic planning and external engagement. Not only did the full Normal Anomaly team benefit from these training sessions, but their grantees did, too. We also conducted a full training with the Project Liberate cohort, who are starting their own businesses throughout Houston. We shared insight on messaging, campaigning, outreach and media engagement.
Our strategic media engagement strategy and media trainings that we tailored for the Normal Anomaly team gave them the capacity and skills needed to earn international recognition, promote the festival and exceed ticket sale targets. All ticket proceeds went directly back into programming and community work. This resulted in direct assistance for trans folx and people living with HIV and increased aid for transportation to job interviews and medical appointments. Community support was also apparent through the in-person donations to the Community Burial Fund, a homegoing service for the community to support those who have lost loved ones to HIV and AIDS.