Of all the things that bring us together – food, dance, film – I consider music to be a top connection point. One of my favorite questions to ask friends and strangers alike is who they would want to perform with and why. Parson James, singer, artist and small-town Southern boy much like me, didn’t let me down – his responses were Amy Winehouse, Adele and Johnny Cash. I spoke with Parson in my latest Conversations with Corey episode as AT&T recognizes Pride and the community that it celebrates.

Parson is one of 16 multi-talented emerging musicians handpicked by headliner artist VINCINT to join the AT&T Turn Up the Love music tour, a year round initiative to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, acceptance and allyship. Upon learning about Parson’s love for music – it began as a young boy at his family’s church in South Carolina, and later landed him in New York City shortly after high school – it was easy to see how his personal journey could serve as a beacon for others longing for representation on stage, and how the representation of empowering individuals, like himself, can have a positive impact on local communities.

As a company committed to providing access to equitable opportunities, we are proud to work with artists like Parson through our Turn Up the Love initiative so they can tell their stories while also helping to uplift and empower LGBTQ+ communities across the country.

“Authenticity mattered so much because I didn’t see someone like me growing up. I want to be that for someone else,” Parson said.

Since 2018, Parson has been a part of the Turn Up the Love campaign and says the experience has been “amazing and validating” for him as “a place where he felt seen.” His powerful experiences mean so much to me as a diversity leader because when we create an environment that has the right vibe, either on stage or in the workplace, we give people the opportunity to connect and do good.

Parson truly believes “visibility is key,” and as a performer with more than 3 million followers on Spotify, Parson has found not only his voice but his community.

Our conversation reenergized me to continue encouraging allies to step up and support the LGBTQ+ community. My sincerest thank you to Parson for his time and energy during this Conversations with Corey episode and I wish everyone a meaningful Pride celebration during his concert this month.  

You can watch our full conversation, here:

Looking beyond Pride, I invite you to get involved in your local communities and Turn Up the Love year-round.