As the LGBT community continues to gain prominence and influence, both in and beyond Connecticut, you might be curious to know–who is behind all of it? How can we promote LGBT business ownership at a time when LGBT culture is not always produced by LGBT-owned businesses?
Ephraim Adamz is here to ensure that Connecticut’s queer events remain by and for the LGBT community. From DJing and nightlife promotion to video production and music, the Hartford-based entrepreneur is something of a Renaissance man–and he is especially passionate about local Connecticut queer talent.
We spoke with Ephraim about Pride, representation, and being an LGBT business owner in Connecticut. Ephraim Adamz is available for booking on Facebook and Instagram, and his music can be found on iTunes, Soundclound and Youtube–check him out!
CT VOICE: You’ve had a very busy Pride season this year—organizing Six Flags New England’s Pride Fest and hosting DJ sets at various Pride festivals in Connecticut and beyond. Why do you feel it is so important to recognize Pride each summer? What is your favorite part of every Pride season?
EPHRAIM ADAMZ: Every year is someone’s first Pride. I always return because of the newcomers that remind me of myself. Six years ago, I was in the closet, searching for liberation. An adult in my 20s that was still coming out, with no knowledge of what Stonewall meant. It is not taught in schools and I really needed guidance. Attending queer bars, community events, and getting involved in outreach has brought out some of my best traits. I’ve grown to have empathy, compassion, and confidence, and still be able to admit my errors. Sexual health, speaking with my doctor, not being afraid, knowing when to stand up for yourself, and meeting people who are different is something I encourage every person on planet Earth to do. In short, Pride to me means it’s never too late to love yourself. Self-care is so important.
There has been an ongoing prejudice that different music brings a “certain crowd”. My favorite part of Pride is challenging this prejudice. I’m the coordinator that’s not afraid to include Rock, Jazz, RnB, Hip-Hop, Pop, Latin, House, Bollywood, Asian, throwbacks, and new school music all in the same set. Music speaks to culture and age. The type of food trucks speaks to them, and many other things. I tell these board members that yes, we’re vegans who enjoy brunch with mimosas, but gays from the hood drink tequila and henny! Did you know that Bisexuals are people too? Are we going to have a Womxn night? I always have someone thank me for acknowledging that queer people come from all walks of life. I am just so happy to continue breaking down barriers.
CT VOICE: At World Pride in Manhattan, you had the honor of working with the cast of FX’s Pose. How was that experience? Are you a fan of Pose, and if so, what is it about the show that you love and admire?
EPHRAIM ADAMZ: Pose is making history with their spotlight on queer and trans people of color. I met Dominique Jackson briefly—she was so gorgeous and nice.
It’s very difficult to juggle my own intersectionality at times. Am I black enough? Am I too assimilating? Am I gay enough? Am I butch enough? What makes me a man, how I act or how I look? Am I ugly? Am I cute? Do I matter? Did I really do something or is this officer stopping me for the torture of it? I still ask myself so many questions. Content with more real-life issues and identities is greatly needed. I didn’t grow up with a RuPaul poster on my wall so I’m jealous. I’m glad things are catching up now though.
CT VOICE: As LGBT culture and media continues to gain prominence and popularity, how do you feel this affects LGBT business owners and cultural creators? How important is it to you that LGBT culture remains by, about, and for the LGBT community?
EPHRAIM ADAMZ: People like to stereotype and say “oh you’re gay, you must be a hair dresser”. The reality is those opinions stems from the fact that we’ve always been very influential in business, art, and fashion. The traditions started by black and queer communities are why your favorite pop stars are so fiercely fabulous. But entertainment is not where it ends. We’ve been your business assistant, clothing designer, stage director, choir coordinator, wedding planner, dance choreographers, computer technician, and more. We are just kept behind the scenes due to homophobia. If not homophobia than colorism. If not colorism then race, gender, age, the list goes on. We’ve always been here, but we are just not always allowed to be the face of it. When we do finally get to represent ourselves, we are deemed not profitable because of stigma.
CT VOICE: In addition to DJing, hosting and events production, you also operate an audio/video production business and produce music. How do you manage to balance these different business ventures while maintaining a coherent personal brand?
EPHRAIM ADAMZ: The short answer is internet and social media. Film has always been an interest of mine since middle school, so I taught myself video. By high school and college the wave of YouTube, Myspace, and Facebook took over. I had a head start and yet I still feel late! Now anyone can create a video with a cell phone!
Professionalism, high quality, and healthy numbers is what business people want. I’m going through very crucial stage right now where I have to tread carefully when it comes to compromise. Some clients see Pride as dollar signs, and that can be problematic in certain situations. Knowing my purpose, our history, and who I stand for really helps. When I feel stressed I can put it in a song. Oh, and drag queens! Everything I learned or admire about juggling business, DJ’ing, and music I learned from drag queens. They multitask a lot.
CT VOICE: You make a point to promote and collaborate with local Connecticut talent as frequently as possible. What is it about Connecticut’s LGBT scene that fuels your drive?
EPHRAIM ADAMZ: I was born in Hartford, CT! I moved to the south at age 2 and returned when I was 19. No matter where I travel, I will always show Connecticut love. One reason it’s important for me to shout us out is because we are surrounded by New York, Boston, Providence, and New Jersey. Our community has our differences like everywhere else, however we are still a force to look out for!