Y’all Means All Natchez announces Battle of the Belles and Beaus contestants

Published 2:05 pm Sunday, April 25, 2021

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Saturday night In the courtyard of Lansdowne, 2019 Battle of the Belles winner Devin Arnold announced the lineup for Y’all Means All Natchez event “Nina West heads South again,” which will feature women against men for the first time in the costume competition. 

The event will feature the battle of the belles and beaus held on the night of October 23. Tickets are not for sale yet, but they will be made available online through YallmeansallNatchez.org and you can follow their Facebook page for more updates. 

Devin Gammill, Kerry Dicks, Lee Carby, Drew Thompson, Hunter Rogillio, and Russell McSwain will battle in the drag event. Celebrity hosts Nina West and Jocelyn Royale will be at the event in the City Auditorium. Arnold challenged the six contestants.

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“You are going to have to chase me for the crown,” Arnold said. “I’m not giving it up that easily.”

Y’all Means All Natchez co-founder John Grady Burns said in the very first year the group raised $20,000 for Southwest Mental Health, and they hope to double that this year for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The group raises money for young people to have access to mental health services and is open to anyone in the community.

The fundraising weekend begins with Drag bingo on Oct. 21, Y’all Means All Natchez member Mel Zufall said. There will be a cocktail party with an after party upstairs at EPYK on Oct. 22. To attend the after party you must go to the cocktail party to get the password to enter the after party. There will be a book signing at The Nest on Oct. 23, and there will also be a tour of gardens and a tour of homes, he said.

Emily Fox is the president for the Four Rivers Chapter of NAMI. She said the chapter is in Brookhaven, Natchez and McComb, and is named Four Rivers because of the Homochitto, Bogue Chitto, Pearl and Mississippi Rivers. 

“We hope to expand to all of Southwest Mississippi, but we need your support,” Fox said. “We would really appreciate any support that y’all offer.”

She said NAMI is a grassroots organization working to provide support, education and advocacy for mental health. NAMI’s director for Mississippi is Natchez native Sitaniel Johnson Wimbley. She said they offer support groups at no cost to the people involved. 

NAMI offers support for families and training for businesses so people can learn about mental wellness, she said. 

“Anytime we can do something to increase the awareness on mental health in Natchez, Mississippi, I want to do that,” Wimbley said. “I still have family here. These are my stomping grounds. If I’m going to share and support mental health across the state, I definitely want to do it here.”

Conversations about mental health make a difference, she said. Burns said they believe in mental wellness through unity in the Natchez Community. 

“The more we accept people for who they are, the better health we all have mentally,” Burns said. “That is our goal. For everyone to accept people for who they are. We want to provide help for today and hope for tomorrow.”

Y’all Means All Natchez is still accepting donations for their GAYrage sale. This year’s event is Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, at 624 Franklin St, in the former location of The Guardian Shelter thrift store The sale will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.