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UK Black Pride’s Lady Phyll on Pride: ‘We need to be unapologetically ourselves’

The co-founder of UK Black Pride recites one of her favourite Zita Holbourne poems for Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley.

By Alastair James

“I’m fired with a flame that will burn out their shame. I may not rise to fame, but I can play them at their own game. And though they won’t give me a level playing field to disseminate all I yield, just remember I’ve combatted racism, sexism, fascism, and oppression simultaneously not in succession”, is one line from the London poet, Zita Holbourne’s ‘Progression’ that speaks to the subject of Pride.

Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, 46, the co-founder of UK Black Pride, who reads the stirring and defiant poem as part of Attitude’s series Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley, says there’s a clear link to Pride.

“The connection for me where it comes to Pride is that we need to be unapologetically ourselves, we need to progress in all levels, and be transformative just like our ancestors were”.

‘Progression’ from Holbourne’s poetry collection Striving for Equality, Freedom, and Justice speaks to fighting and overcoming many types of discrimination and oppression. It’s a poem that clearly speaks to Lady Phyll’s own journey and fight to tackle discrimination.

She created UK Black Pride in 2005 as a way of bringing the community together and highlighting issues of systemic racism and how those can be challenged.

Much like the collection it comes from, the poem is strong, defiant, and full of struggle. But by the end, Holbourne is determined that none of the things people have held against her will hold her back. It’s certainly a message the LGBTQ community can relate to.

Lady Phyll closes her reading with a reminder that Pride is about the community: “I hope everyone has a safe and brave Pride, celebrate together our differences, bring us closer and let’s just remember Pride is about the people.”

Also taking part in Speaking of Pride is swimmer Michael Gunning, trans author and journalist Juno Dawson, and comedians Rosie Jones and Tom Allen. 

Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley, is part of Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna, that runs from 17-27 June at, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@attitudemag).

Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna, is to benefit the Attitude Magazine Foundation for LGBT causes – this year supporting ten amazing organisations including AKT, Black Trans Foundation, Curly’s Legacy, Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Food Chain, Kaleidoscope Trust, LGBT Youth Scotland, Mermaids, Stonewall UK and Switchboard LGBT.

Each will receive at least £1000 courtesy of our sponsors Klarna, Bentley, Clifford Chance, Slingsby, Swatch and Taimi and individual supporters.

To donate £5 please text ATHOME5 to 70480 or see our Virgin Money Giving link here. Visit for more details.