UK Black Pride is a safe haven for the LGBTQI+ community
Sheila Udeagu and Emli Bendixen
09 Jul 2019
Photography by Emli Bendixen
This year, gal-dem went to UK Black Pride, the largest celebration for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent in Europe. The sun managed to pull through as thousands of joyous people decanted to Haggerston Park in east London to celebrate the black and brown LGBTQI+ community in the UK through music, performance and talks.
We were blessed with a high-tempo performance from Grammy-award winning artist MNEK, a stellar DJ set from collective BBZ, and a speech from Labour MP Dianne Abbot. But above all, the message that UK Black Pride is political, and the fight still continues was never forgotten. A day after the bigger mainstream London Pride, we spoke to guests at UK Black Pride about why it is loved so dearly, and what it means to feel proud.
“I’m here because I wanna be with my family. People who look like me. Who I resonate with. Who I’m comfortable around and who I can enjoy the safe space with.”
“I identify as a queer woman of colour and Black Pride is my way of feeling safe and happy while celebrating my identity!”
“I’m here because a year ago a friend and I decided that we needed to represent at Black Pride to show that there are Jewish people of colour in the community. The representation of Jewish people is very white; we wanted to show that there are Jewish people in Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Ghana and Jamaica, for example.”
Deji Tiwo and Michelle
Michelle: It’s beautiful to come to a place and see literally a park full of queer black people and allies. Everyone and their aunties are here. It’s a really beautiful situation of blackness, queerness, friendship and community.
Deji: It’s beautiful – especially when you don’t see yourself… A few years ago I would never have seen so many black and brown people.
Michelle: When I was 10 years old I’d never imagined that there were so many black queer people in London alone!
Jai, accessibility officer at Black Pride
“I always come to UK Black Pride. I’ve come here since the beginning. I believe in the cause, the safe space, the accessible space. It’s an amazing event to meet old friends, make new ones, see some amazing performances and be surrounded by love and acceptance and be part of the LGBTQIA community.”
“I’m here today because it’s one of the places I feel it is for me as a queer woman of colour. It feels like more of a community than I feel at corporate Pride. I feel more at home here.”
Mickey and Yasmeen
“Bit of cultural diversity, bit of inclusion. She’s Muslim and I’m black, nobody judges – no one’s really looked at us.”
Ulanah, Dunni and Sylvia
Dunni: “We’ve come here celebrate our gayness, to be proud, and be with other people of colour, to let it go and have a party!”
“I’m here to celebrate all the trans women who have been unjustly gone and murdered. I’m here to support them in solidarity.”
“This is alternative Pride for people of colour. It’s my first time here so I’m just checking it out and it’s right around the corner from my house”
Part of gal-dem’s 2019 Pride series