Grand Marshals to ‘Say Gay’ and lead the Palm Springs Pride Parade

PALM SPRINGS – Greater Palm Springs Pride announced today that not one, but four individuals and one national organization will serve as the Grand Marshals for the annual Pride parade scheduled for Nov. 6 in Palm Springs with the theme, “Say, Gay.”

Pride Grand Marshals to 'Say, Gay'Recognizing their achievements and community service, PFLAG is the National Grand Marshal, Rev Benita Ramsey is the Grand Marshal, Willie Rhine is the Community Grand Marshal, and Chef Andre’ Carthen is the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the 2022 Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade. The theme of the 2022 Festival and Parade is Say, Gay.

PFLAG is the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. Leading up to the 50th Anniversary of their first meeting organized by its founder Jeanne Manford, PFLAG is celebrated as the National Grand Marshal.

PFLAG’s network of hundreds of chapters and more than 325,000 members and supporters works to create a caring, just and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.

Pride Grand Marshals to 'Say, Gay'

Rev. Benita Ramsey

The 2022 Grand Marshal is the Rev. Benita Ramsey (they/them/she). A gifted Spoken Word Artist and wordsmith, Benita is a third-generation Pentecostal-style storyteller and preacher. Rev Ramsey is a justice and culture strategist and practitioner, a spiritual director, and a lover of books, words, rhythms & beats. They are an ordained minister and Pastor at Unity Fellowship Church-IE. They serve as a program support manager for the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council and executive director of Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance.

Willie Rhine (he/him/his), a 30-year resident of Palm Springs who is actively involved in the community and always says yes when asked to help, is celebrated as the Community Grand Marshal. Two of Rhine’s favorite words are “Be Nice.”

Willie discovered the joy of being nice and giving back in the early 90s when he volunteered his time and donated his construction skills working hands-on with HIV patients at the Special Care Unit at Desert Regional Medical Center.

Pride Grand Marshals to 'Say, Gay'

Willie Rhine

Rhine is the co-owner of two successful eateries in Palm Springs, EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge and 1501 Uptown Gastro Pub. EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities large and small.

Chef Andre’ Carthen (he/him/his) is recognized as the Celebrity Grand Marshal. From working with Vanessa Williams on Broadway to television & movies with Halle Berry and now in the kitchen, Chef Andre’ Carthen, a.k.a. the Fit Chef, is featured in Kathy Ireland’s book “Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success and Sanity,” and Janet Jackson’s book, NY Times #1 Best Seller “True You” where he contributed over 30 recipes for a healthy meal plan.

Pride Grand Marshals to 'Say, Gay'

Chef Andre’ Carthen

Chef Andre’ is the only African American appointed to the Nutrisystem Success Chef’s Council. Chef Andre’ has proudly worked with Kathy Ireland, a leading force for diversity, equal rights for all, and continuing the fight against HIV AIDS for over 30 years. He was recently the guest chef for St. John’s Hospital’s Gala “Beyond the Stars” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“The Grand Marshals stand out in their professions and are among the valley’s most active advocates for equality, diversity, and living their life lifting others,” Ron deHarte, president and CEO of Greater Palm Springs Pride, said in a prepared statement. Bestowing the Grand Marshal designation recognizes the recipient’s collective work of spreading messages of unity and equality while embracing love, positivity, joy, and kindness.

The marshals will ride in the Pride Parade on Nov. 6. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. at Palm Canyon Drive and Tachevah and proceeds downtown on Palm Canyon Drive. to the main entrance of the Pride Festival at Amado. The festival is free for all to attend.




Image Sources

  • PFLAG: Greater Palm Springs Pride
  • Benita Ramsey: Greater Palm Springs Pride
  • Willie Rhine: Greater Palm Springs Pride
  • Andre Carthen: Greater Palm Springs Pride
  • Say Gay 2022: Shutterstock