Pride Fort Lauderdale will host the fifth annual Caribbean PrideFest on Saturday, May 11 from 2 – 8 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The FREE festival will feature food booths, vendors and live entertainment all afternoon.
Amara La Negra, Dominican-American recording artist and star of MTV’s “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” headlines the festival, which will include performances by steel drum bands, singers, dancers and drag performers. Kitty Meow (Shawn Palacious), a Bahamas native, will be the mistress of ceremonies.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Amara for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you an entertainer even as a child? Did you perform for your parents or when did it start?
I started when I was 4 years old. I was hired by Univision to be on the very popular Sabado Gigante, and I was on that show for six years. I also did beauty pageants, commercials for Disney, and many other thing—I did a lot of things growing up.
You have worked with some big names in the music industry. Do you have a favorite or is there one that has helped you?
Not really, since I picked up inspirations from every person I worked with.
How did you get cast in the reality show Love & Hip Hop Miami?
My manager works with other cast members and he let me know they were looking for more talent. I went in and two weeks later I got cast.
Tell us about filming Love & Hip Hop Miami?
It has its up and downs! You meet great people, but there is also a lot of drama. The filming is for a lot of days and the hours are long, so it is very stressful.
How exciting was it to be signed with BMG?
I was very excited since I knew they would push my music.
What should we expect from your future music?
I’m working on my album now that will be out anywhere form the summer time to the end of the year. We are finishing up the final touches, and I am really proud of it.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
Most people don’t believe it, but I am a little shy. I am also a perfectionist!
What should our readers expect from your performance at Caribbean Pride?
I’m going to be myself, so it’s going to be fun, energetic, and have a Caribbean undertone. It will be a full hour of entertainment!
Is there anything else you want to talk about?
My children’s book, “Amarita’s Way,” is available now… I wrote this book to empower the younger girls. The next season of Love and Hip Hop Miami is about to start taping, so please keep an eye out for that. Also my EPN is available, and I am the face of Skyy Vodka.
For more information on Amara, follow her at: Instagram.com/amaralanegraaln
Pride Fort Lauderdale, producer of the annual Pride parade and beach festival held each February and next year’s Pride of the Americas celebration in April, assumed responsibility for the cultural festival at the request of SunServe, the local LGBT social services agency that had sponsored the small festival for the past four years at Richardson Park in Wilton Manors.
Pride Fort Lauderdale’s board and the Caribbean PrideFest committee include members of Bahamian, Cuban, Dominican, Haitian, Jamaican and Puerto Rican descent and the organizers are eager to broaden the festival’s appeal and introduce the local LGBT+ community to the rich traditions of the Caribbean communities that now call South Florida home.
“In South Florida, LGBT+ people are basically free to live their lives the way they wish, but go just 40 miles off our shore and LGBT+ people are ostracized, criminalized and face bodily harm just for being who they are,” said Pride Fort Lauderdale president Miik Martorell, a Cuban-American. “Even here, the Caribbean LGBT+ community is sometimes overlooked and we welcomed the opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the spirit of the islands in this unique setting.”
Sponsors for the event include: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Our Fund Foundation, Hotspots Media Group, Ambiente magazine, Outclique magazine, Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and SunServe. The public is invited to attend and organizers are expecting up to 2500 people at the festival.
Hourly parking is available at Governmental Center Parking Garage, 151 SW 2nd St., and Riverwalk Center Garage, 150 SE 2nd St. Scooter and bike parking areas will be available at Huizenga Plaza. Visitors from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties are encouraged to take Brightline to the festival.
For more information, go to Facebook.com/CaribbeanPrideFest.
Following the festival, Noche Latina Saturdays will host the official after-party at the Manor complex, 2345 Wilton Dr. in Wilton Manors, from 11pm (no cover before midnight) to 4am. That night they will be featuring a free raffle to win tickets to the Alexandre Pires concert on May 30th at the Venue Fort Lauderdale, as well as performances by Kalah Mendoza and Champagne Bordeaux with music by DJ Ricardo Torres.