Caribbean LGBTQ+ people get a Pride event in Wilton Manors
If you think all Pride events are in June, think again.
PrideFête, An LGBTQ+ Caribbean Festival will be staged from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in Wilton Manors’ Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve.
Most Pride events typically take place in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, which is a pivotal moment in gay and lesbian history. But the organizers of PrideFête want their event to stand out, according to planning committee member Jasmen Rogers.
“August is right before people are going back to school and they are rounding up traveling season,” she explains. “We just thought this was a good way to close out the summer. We wanted to be sure to have it in 2022 [after canceling for two years because of the pandemic], and we know June is packed with other Pride events.”
PrideFête will have food booths, vendors, deejays, singers, steel drum bands, dancers and drag performances, as well as appearances by:
- WEDR-99 JAMZ radio personality She-J Hercules
- TikTok performers The Hart Twinz
- Artist/author/choreographer Octavia Yearwood
- Miss Azucar Plus 2022 winner Natsh D’Witshes Venom
“We reached out to food vendors to represent all part of the Caribbean diaspora,” Rogers says. “No one island … defines the Caribbean. We have to represent many different cultures — all the West Indies, Spanish-speaking [countries] — in the most authentic way that we could.”
Along with Pride Fort Lauderdale and the City of Wilton Manors, the festival is being produced by Wilton Manors Entertainment Group (WMEG), an event and marketing company that also publishes gay-themed Hotspots! magazine. Rogers is also the marketing and events coordinator for WMEG.
The last time the event happened, back in 2019, it was called Caribbean PrideFest and changed venues to Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale after four years in Wilton Manors.
This year, the festival returns to Wilton Manors.
“Wilton Manors has a special place in the LGBTQ+ culture, where it is affectionately known as ‘the gayborhood,’ ” says Rogers. “We wanted the LGBTQ+ communities to access [the festival] very easily, almost like a coming home.”
She adds that changing the name of the event was “to be more of a reflection of Caribbean culture. Fête is a word used all around the world. [It means] bright colors and costumes, dancing and partying in the street. We wanted to make sure that whatever we put on directly aligned with how Caribbean people celebrate, how we are, with the addition of Caribbean LGBTQ+ people.”
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Rogers — who has worked with civil rights, labor, feminist and health organizations and founded Folding Chair Consulting, a political consulting organization — says having a Caribbean Pride festival separate from the other Pride celebrations is important.
“Black and brown Caribbean people need a safe space where they can all be their authentic selves,” she says. “We know there is a lot of homophobia in our communities, no more than other communities, but also in several places it is illegal to be gay or dangerous to be gay. We need a Wilton Manors celebration that celebrates every part of who we are.”
WHEN: 6-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022
WHERE: Richardson Historic Park & Nature Reserve, 1937 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
COST: $5 pre-event; $7 at the gate. VIP tickets (air-conditioned indoor area, private VIP bar, five drink tickets and Caribbean hors d’oeuvres) available for $50 pre-event and $75 at the gate.