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R&B Icon Adina Howard to Highlight Pride Month Celebrations in Birmingham

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Central Alabama Pride Inc. on June 9 will feature R&B icon Adina Howard. (Provided)

By Sym Posey | The Birmingham Times

June is Pride Month, and the city of Birmingham along with Central Alabama Pride Inc. (CAP) will celebrate with more than a dozen events, including Pride Fest on June 9, which will feature R&B icon Adina Howard, who rose to fame in the mid-1990s with her debut single “Freak Like Me.” Also performing will be house music diva Robin S., known for her hit song “Show Me Love,” as well as local, regional, and national talent.

“A lot of folks are excited about Adina Howard,” said CAP President Josh Coleman. “The most outreach we received when we posted on social media was folks really anticipating her. I’ve spoken to [Howard], and she’s super excited to be here.”

Pride Month is a time to recognize the LGBTQ+ community and spread a message of equality and acceptance. The Magic City’s Pride celebrations began on June 1 with the Funky Food Truck Festival at Cahaba Brewing Co. and will continue throughout the month with events like the annual Pride Parade on June 8 in the Lakeview community.

Central Alabama Pride Inc. President Josh Coleman. (Provided)

Coleman said the celebrations are more than just gatherings—they are moments to embrace, remember, and educate.

“It’s a happy time for not only us but for the community,” he said. “We do this solely for the community. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s rewarding to see people enjoying themselves, especially during the parade and the festival, without any borders.”

CAP, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to spreading the message of equality, wants to make Pride Month activities accessible to all, Coleman said.

“We see other Prides across the country, and I understand why things are expensive and that it takes a lot to produce and be successful. … Look at places like Nashville, [Tennessee], and Atlanta, [Georgia, where] they charge a little bit for their festivals. … Five or 10 dollars might not seem like a lot, but for some folks it can be, especially young people,” he said.

Since Birmingham’s first Pride celebration in 1979, this annual outdoor festival has brought together the LGBTQ+ community with food, music, and live entertainment.

Beacon of Hope

“When I came to Birmingham at age 18, [Pride Fest] was like a beacon of hope. I remember how much fun I had. It was my first Pride, and it was the first time I saw people really living their authentic selves,” said Coleman, who is originally from Cullman, Alabama.

The CAP president came to Birmingham in 2013 and has been part of CAP since 2015, when he started volunteering with the organization.

“I worked at McDonald’s all through high school and was a general manager. I left and became a director of operations for a 28-store Pizza Hut franchisee, and then I moved to Birmingham. That’s when I kind of started volunteering and doing different stuff with different boards and agencies. That and the Pride work really ingrained me in the community,” said Coleman, now in his third year planning the event.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, “[CAP] rebranded and restarted the entire organization,” he said.

“In 2022, we had a volunteer sign-up, and [one volunteer] came and worked all day. I mean she was one of the best volunteers. At the end of the day, she thanked us for letting her volunteer and then she told us her story. She said her child had recently committed suicide because they weren’t accepted at school and … not much [when] they were at home. I believe it had just happened. She said she saw this call to volunteer, and it was a sign,” Coleman recalled.

“She’s volunteered every single year since she signed up. Seeing that and the impact that our work is doing by being able to uplift the community really resonates with me, and I hold stories like that very near and dear,” said Coleman, adding that the work he does has allowed him to have encounters with many people from all walks of life.

“Finding My Rainbow”

This year’s Pride Month is special to Coleman for another reason — his first book, “Finding My Rainbow,” will be released at a Book Launch Party on June 12, at 6 p.m., at the Magic City Acceptance Center (3130 3rd. Ave. S., Birmingham, AL).

“It’s a book about me coming out as a gay boy in a small town, Cullman, Alabama, and growing up to do what I do now,” said the CAP president, who is the city of Birmingham’s first gay LBGTQ+ liaison.

“I had this crazy idea to write a children’s book, but it started as a long form book about me,” said Coleman. “All the book bans and everything that was happening not only in Alabama but across the country [seemed like] the silencing of people and the diluting of queer voices to me, [so] I believed I could turn what I had written into a book for children. [“Finding My Rainbow’] is not only for those who identify as LGBTQ but also for others that want to be supportive. It speaks to the power of love and acceptance.”

Writing this book has been “a journey,” he added. “It’s brought back emotions for me. Thinking about when I was young, the people talking, and the different things that have happened, it kind of hit me.”

The 46th Annual PrideFest will be held on Sunday, June 9, at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham. Gates open at 11a.m., and the daylong festival is a FREE event open to all!

Pride Month Events

Pride Fest is just one of the many Pride Month events taking place in the Magic City this year. Here are a few more:

PRIDE SKATE NIGHT

What: Roller skating, music, and socializing; organized by Central Alabama Pride Inc.

When: Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Where: Skates 280,7043 Meadowlark Dr., Birmingham, AL

Admission: Free, donations accepted at the door

Organized by Central Alabama Pride.

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

PRIDE IDOL

What: Singing competition with $300 prize for the winner, plus a spot on the main stage at Pride Fest

When: Wednesday, June 5; doors open at 7 p.m., in-person registration starts at 7:30 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m. (register online here)

Where: Saturn, 200 41st St. S., Birmingham, AL

Admission: Free, donations accepted

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

PRIDE GLOW BOWLING

What: Cosmic bowling, with black lights used to illuminate the bowling lanes and pins, giving a fluorescent effect in the dark

When: Thursday, June 6, 9 p.m.–11:30 p.m.

Where: Bowlero, 2908 Riverview Rd., Birmingham, AL

Admission: $20, includes unlimited bowling and shoe rental

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

PRIDE MILK & HONEY

What: Friday night dance party with music by DJ Coco, David X Daisy, Stevo Blaque, as well as performances by Twhat Weiland, LT Fresh, Luminarts Entertainment, and more

When: Friday, June 7 at 9 p.m.

Where: Saturn, 200 41st St. S., Birmingham, AL

Admission: $25 in advance, $30 day of show

More Info: Saturn website, Central Alabama Pride website, or Facebook page

PRIDE DRAG BUNCH

What: Brunch with drag show featuring Shannel, Alex Andrews, Tiffany Carrington, Green, Malik Carrington, Lauren Lou and more; hosted by Erika and Daroneshia D’nae Starr

When: Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m.

Where: Haven, 2515 6th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL

Admission: $35 general admission; $50 meet-and-greet with artists; $800 VIP tables for eight people, includes brunch buffet, meet-and greet, table beverage service (online tickets available here)

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

PRIDE PARADE

What: Mardi Gras-style parade led by Grand Marshals Joi Miner, a poet and novelist, and DIY Drag, a group of experimental drag artists; parade includes marchers, floats, organizations, businesses, and community groups

When: Saturday, June 8, at 8 p.m.

Where: Parade route along Seventh Avenue South, from 32nd Street South to 22nd Street South, in the Lakeview neighborhood of Birmingham

Admission: Free

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

PRIDE FEST

What: Daylong festival with drag artists, live music, vendors, food trucks, kids activities, other entertainers, and more, hosted by Kharris and Dominique Divine; lineup includes Adina Howard, Robin S., Mrs. Kasha Davis, Axel Andrews, Angeria Paris VanMicheals, Brita Filter, and other performers

When: Sunday, June 9, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Where: Linn Park, 710 20th St. N., Birmingham, AL

Admission: Free general admission; $100–$150 VIP, perks include food, drinks, meet-and-greet with artists (tickets available online here)

More Info: Central Alabama Pride website or Facebook page

“FINDING MY RAINBOW” BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

What: Family-friendly event to celebrate publication of “Finding My Rainbow,” a new book by Central Alabama Pride President Josh Coleman, which the author describes as a “heartwarming children’s book that tells the story of Josh, a young boy from Alabama, on his path to self-discovery and acceptance. Perfect for families, educators, and allies, this story celebrates the power of love and pride.” Party includes drag queen story hour hosted by Kharris, author Q&A, book signing, snacks, and drinks.

When: Wednesday, June 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: Magic City Acceptance Center, 3130 Third Ave. S., Birmingham, AL

Admission: Free, books available for purchase ($18.99 hardcover); RSVP online here