Black Pride UK – another phenomenal celebration
UK Black Pride was held in London over the weekend and it was definitely one of the highlights of the year. Black Pride seems to get bigger and bigger each year, and for the 2019 celebrations they took over Haggerston Park in East London.
Why Black Pride matters
Ahead of this year’s event, we caught up with Josh Rivers, Head of Communications for Black Pride.
Black Pride seems to meet such an obvious need to celebrate and create a safe space for a community within a community. Is this a model that you’d encourage other intersections within the LGBTQ community to explore and adopt?
We always like to make clear that UK Black Pride was not the first event of its kind to create a safe space within the community for people to celebrate who they are. This model has a long queer history, from the literary salons of Harlem in the 1920s to queer Black club nights in the 80s. There continues to be a need for these types of spaces, ones that focus on uplifting sections of the community without interference from outside forces, because we still do not have the equality, understanding and solidarity we need. We are always encouraging and supportive of spaces that bring our community together, whether digital or physical, and imagine they will be around for a long time. There’s a great deal of work to do.
It’s widely acknowledged that it was the black trans women and black drag queens who were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots 50 years ago. Is that an important part of Black Pride’s story?
Well, the QTIPOC community is unique in that we’ve never forgotten where we’ve come from, nor the people who’ve made our modern movement what it is today. You’ll find that it’s people and organisations outside of our lived experience who have the work to amplify and centre the people they’ve typically ignored and erased from the movement. So, as ever, we’ll continue to highlight the contributions of the sex workers, drag queens, trans women
and gender nonconforming folk who not only started this movement, but who continue to be shining beacons of how we fight for the world we all deserve to live in.
Are there any specific social or political issues that Black Pride is currently focusing on?
UK Black Pride always takes an inclusive and expansive approach to our politics because our politics are intersectional. We understand that socioeconomic disparities continue to disproportionately impact the lives of QTIPOC, that homelessness and drug misuse are a very real and growing problem and that transphobia continues to have a toxic impact, not only in our community but much further afield. We’re also acutely aware of the struggles faced by our communities outside of the UK because those problems manifest on our home turf – HIV rates in Black men who have sex with men, for example, are a concern.
How do you hope that Black Pride makes people feel?
We hope they walk away feeling seen, loved and recognised. We hope they fill themselves up on the energy of Black and brown people sharing in each other’s melanin magnificence. We hope they are revitalised, ready to continue taking on the world and fighting for the future we all deserve. Mostly, though, we hope they feel so loved, so wanted, so special, so
valued, so very human.
All the photos