"When we heal collectively we are powerful..."

This Sunday we’re set to host the official after-party for UK Black Pride. Since first launching in 2005, UK Black Pride has become Europe’s largest celebration of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean heritage LGBTQI+ people, and after a hiatus due to lockdown, this year Black Pride returns with the theme of POWER.

UK Black Pride will take place as an in-person protest and celebration on Sunday, August 14, 2022 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. The day event will scope a variety of things from a wellbeing tent with a series of talks, workshops and discussions; community stalls, with organisations offering their services and raising awareness; and a main stage, with a day-long programme of music, performances, speeches and DJ’s. There’s also a DJ tent, signifying how dance music is becoming part of the annual event. 

Dance music will be a core component of year’s event for the first time. Part of that, of course, includes the official after event taking place here at fabric. On Sunday, UK Black Pride present a party with Pxssy Palace, who bring their new concept OVERFLO, and Nazar hosted by HUNGAMA and Nafs Space.

Ahead of time we handed over to the voices of three figures behind the event this Sunday; Nadine Noor, founder of Pxssy Palace, Ryan Lanji of HUNGAMA, co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride Lady Phyll, and Andrew Demetry of Nafs Space. They speak about the purpose of POWER, how music promotes collectivity, the mission behind UK Black Pride, and what the community and allies can expect from this weekend’s party.

UK Black Pride is eternally indebted to the loving power of the Black queer women who founded and maintain us, and to those who continue to show up in spirit and in flesh to ensure our communities have a pride celebration all their own. We are grateful to those who express power rooted in a firm belief that equality is not a pipe dream or a nice-to-have, and those who harness their power to positively impact the lives of those who have been left behind and forgotten. We honour the power our communities continue to wield to ensure that our communities are defended and supported, loved and protected.

| Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyima, on the theme of Power (via UK Black Pride).


What are you celebrating, what are you protesting?

We are celebrating so much, Black Pride being back, being surrounded by so much trans joy and launching our first festival OVERFLO which is only a few weeks away now. We are protesting for trans healthcare and trans rights.

Why does music play such a significant role in giving power and bringing communities together?

To move and to dance together is so healing and when we heal collectively we are powerful and we can see that throughout history as many a movement started in a underground club full of queer and trans Black and Brown people.

What current challenges exist when you’re creating spaces for community and how do you overcome them?

Gentrification and the attack on queer/sex positive nightlife is the biggest one at the moment, more queer friendly venues are shutting down and making way for expensive flats and offices who don’t want noisy clubs. we have not found the solutions to overcome this but are meeting with our queer nightlife workers to support each other.

Allies have to pay more for this event, why have you chosen tiered pricing and why is it important for QTBIPOC spaces? 

Because qtbipoc are economically & disproportionately affected by capitalism, so should be paying a smaller fee and also this ensures that the party centres them. Allies and wider society should be supporting us.


What are you celebrating, what are you protesting?

We’re celebrating our continued survival and power, and the fact that we’ve managed to survive and thrive under such strenuous conditions. Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global reckoning about the importance and sanctify of Black life, in the wake of ongoing state-sanctioned violence against Black people across the world.

We’re also celebrating our visibility - even as our representation is being commodified and tokenised, we know that we can resist it and continue to struggle for the recognition, respect and pay we deserve. This is why it’s so important to have spaces that are created exclusively with us in mind. We need to remind ourselves of our worth because of the push back we get against our identities in the world. Black Pride is a space for us.

Why is it important that you’re bringing nightlife into UK Black Pride for the first time?

The We Will Be Heard survey revealed that our communities don’t often feel welcome in mainstream LGBTQI spaces, so this is a direct response to the needs of our community. UK Black Pride is about protesting, but also a celebration, a space for our joy. We have performers and music to highlight the historic and ongoing struggle. But with the after party, we want to keep the jokes, laughter and celebration going and provide a space where people can let loose, unwind and free up themselves for the more challenging conversations that are brought up in and around pride. We are happy to be working with fabric, an iconic music venue with a huge music rapport & we are very excited to be contributing to this legacy.

Why is nightlife important for queer people of colour?

Nightlife is really important to the Black queer community because we’ve often been restricted. And this is about making visible and platforming PoC and Black queer club nights, and bringing to the public consciousness that night life is an important part of how we express ourselves and create community. We’re affirming that there is community in nightlife, and we want to be a part of that.

Queer nightlife has been under threat for years in the UK, why is it important for you to incorporate nightlife into UK Black Pride?

We often find ourselves excluded or at risk of violence in other non-QTBIPOC spaces, so it’s especially important to make spaces that are for us and by us, so we can experience clubbing in safety and not have to worry about being misrepresented.

What are you looking forward to this year at UK Black Pride?

Seeing the communities that UK Black Pride has built, come together in our Power.


What are you celebrating this Sunday, and what are you protesting?

NAZAR is an intentional and euphoric queer happening for both the SWANA (South West Asia & North Africa) & South Asian community curated by Nafs space and Hungama (East London’s Queer Bollywood Alt Night). We are bravely coming together to create activism, visibility and unity through sound system culture. By celebrating our cultures and queerness in the same space we can act as an artery of strength for those who need a beacon and fight for those who don’t have a voice. 

Music has a long history in bringing communities together for pride, protest, celebration and resistance. Why does music play such a significant role in giving power and bringing communities together? 

Music is a ubiquitous language that can disarm our notions of tradition and unlock the beauty of human bodies coming together as a prismatic force. We are stronger than our parts together and the dance floor is where the magic of movement has created culture in ways that have shaped change.

What current challenges exist when you’re creating spaces for community and how do you overcome them?

Currently it’s important to celebrate everyone no matter where they are in their journey and allow our space to act as an unadulterated space for change, unity, hope and courage. The euphoria experienced on the dance floor at Nazar and the beauty of all of our diaspora’s coming together has been life changing for many involved. 

Allies have to pay more for this event, why have you chosen tiered pricing and why is it important for QTBIPOC spaces? 

This question is for UK Black Pride to discuss - but traditionally it’s important for NON-QTBIPOC people to understand they are supporting the queer economy and allowing those a chance to celebrate their truest authentic self without coming at a cost to them (unlike the majority of history). We all talk about paying it forward and this is a time where that notion comes into play.

Revisit our interview with HUNGAMA's Ryan Lanji here, and buy tickets for UK Black Pride Afterparty at fabric here.