When life gives you lemons, you make a sweet nectar from the sour fruit. That’s PrideFête in a nutshell. A curated Caribbean safe space in which the LGBTQ+ community can enjoy without fear of shame, unacceptance, or violence. Like many hetero spaces the Caribbean experience can be hostile to LGBTQ+ existence. But we Caribbean LGBTQ+ folx, and our admirers, desire to celebrate our heritage without intolerance.
The music, the food, and the culture belong to us as well. And as much as some of us enjoy heading out to our traditional Carnival parties, a place that celebrates our culture while allowing us to be unapologetically us makes a world of difference. PrideFête is our Caribbean world, our Carnival party, our truth – that’s my favorite part of PrideFête.
That’s what PrideFête means to me. Hear what PrideFête means to other LGBTQ+ Caribbean folx as I pose the questions, “Why is PrideFête so important to you?” and “What’s your favorite thing about the LGBTQ+ Caribbean Festival?”
Kishi Chad, PrideFête Committee member
PrideFete is important because it provides a much-needed safe space for those of us that are of the Caribbean diaspora and part of the LGBT community. Many countries in the Caribbean region have laws and policies that oppress queer identified and rob us of living a peaceful life, in addition to violence, discrimination from houses of worship as well as being excommunicated from families. There are so many individuals, past and present, that could not and cannot be themselves for these reasons. Pridefete is a beacon of hope for what can be possible when you can celebrate all of who you are.
My favorite thing about Pridefete is being able to bond with my fellow Caribbean/LGBT family and friends as well as showcase my culture to those who aren’t Caribbean. It fascinates me that people I’ve known for years “come out” as Caribbean! Something else I enjoy is comparing and contrasting food, music, and how we grew up. There are so many languages, religions, and countries, but we have more in common than we differ and that unites us. Today I see LGBT spaces are becoming more aware of our cultural diversity and that differs from years ago when we just focused on sexual orientation. My culture matters to me and I’m very proud to be Caribbean!
Rashad, Mr. PrideFête 2023
My favorite thing is the music! I love to dance to the cultural music: Soca, Reggae, and Calypso music resonates with me. No matter what mood I’m in, soca makes it all better.
Sandyann, PrideFête Committee member
[1. It provides] representation, visibility and builds community and support. PridFête creates a supportive and inclusive environment where members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies can come together and have a great time.
[2. It] embraces cultural identity. The celebration of Caribbean culture at PrideFête allows you to connect with your roots and celebrate the rich traditions, music, and food that are an integral part of our Caribbean [culture]. It reinforces a sense of belonging and pride in your cultural background while also honoring your LGBTQ+ identity.
My favorite part of PrideFête is the celebration of diversity.
Sobourney, PrideFête Committee member
The joy!! Seeing everyone having a good time and being themselves makes all the planning and stress worth it.
Richard Forbes, PrideFête Committee member, Festival Stilt walker
My favorite aspect of PrideFête is the magic that is created when communities, cultures, and people come together celebrating as one. Also, receiving people’s expression of love and joy as I entertain them is one of many things I Love about PrideFête.
DJ SheJ Hercules, PrideFête 2022, 2023 Deejay
Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 and Guyana 🇬🇾
PrideFête is so important because I feel that it’s a way to express ourselves. As a female deejay that’s a part of the community, it’s so awesome to come to an event that I am able to play a plethora of genres and watch everyone enjoy themselves. PrideFête is [becoming] a staple for our community where we can get together and share our culture. We need more events like PrideFête so that we all [can] come together and party, reminisce, and enjoy the music. Each and every time I come to PrideFête I see people turning up to Soca, Dembow, Afrobeat’s and more.
My favorite thing about PrideFête is the blend of cultures. There’s no other party like PrideFête that has that, especially in the LGBT community. I also feel like the carnival costumes are beautiful from the dancers that come out and party with us. It’s amazing to experience. It’s something that is different and growing every year, I love that. I truly look forward to PrideFête each and every year!