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14 fabulous photos from UK Black Pride 2023: ‘People being their best selves is exactly what we need’

Celebrating its 18th birthday, the world's largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people returned to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park last Saturday. Here, Attitude meets some of the attendees

By Jamie Tabberer

Drag star Candy Campbell, singer Toya Delazy and BPUK attendee Rish! (Images: Felipe Chavez)
Drag star Candy Campbell, singer Toya Delazy and BPUK attendee Rish! (Images: Felipe Chavez)

Simon – he/him

“I’m most looking forward to seeing Ms Banks today – I’ve followed her music for quite a while. I’m here today with Black and Brown Rainbow. We volunteer; we’re a charity-based organisation. Anyone experiencing sexual violence, racism, immigration problems, come talk to us and we’ll steer you in the right direction.”

Noel – he/they

“I’m repping Tonic Housing today, spreading awareness. It’s community housing in Vauxhall – allowing people to have community in their later years. I think community housing is so important. In the LGBTQ community, as you get older, you can get quite lonely. I volunteer with them.”

Candy – they/them

“My name is Candy Campbell, [my IG handle is] @empressmaroondoll_, and I’m from Jamaica; I’m the Drag Queen of Dancehall and Mx Drag UK runner-up. I’m here to slay UK Black Pride 2023! It’s important because as queer, non-binary people of colour, we of course need safe spaces. To be around these wonderful, vibrant people, people being their best selves, is exactly what we need. My outfit is inspired by my culture from Jamaica. I am the Maroon Doll – my culture dates back to the Maroon history, with my legacy going all the way back to Nanny of the Maroons, who’s the only female heroine of the country. The black represents the people, and the white represents the intersection of all diversity.”

Sam and Sundi – he/they and they/she

“I’m Black and queer and I live in the UK – UK Black Pride is important. It’s important that there are institutions and events to not only find community, but galvanise and support ourselves. It’s getting real out here. It’s getting real, financially, socially, politically. It’s important we have these spaces to touch base, regroup, rebuild, plan. It’s hard to find other Black queer people sometimes, because not everywhere is as metropolitan as London. I travelled up from Wolverhampton” – Sundi

“I travelled from Birmingham. There are so many areas where, when you walk down the street, you get the funny looks. You’ll get heckled, names called. It’s so important there are spaces protected for queer people, but also people who are minorities. Trans and non-binary people as well. This, for me, is one of those spaces” – Sam

Monty – he/him

“For anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, it’s all about representation and safe spaces. For people of colour in the LGBTQ community, sometimes we feel even more excluded from some spaces. Having a space where we can be ourselves and feel so much love makes such a difference. It’s a joyful place, so I’ve got an outfit to match that. I’m wearing blue, pink and purple today – basically, the bi flag colours.”

Sudarson – he/him

“Why is UK Black Pride important to me? Unfortunately, there has been a lack of recognition, I guess, of people of colour in the larger mainstream. It can be fragmenting, or distancing. I’ve found this in my personal experience, the last 15 years I’ve lived in London. UK Black Pride embodies a lovely vibe and is more inclusive, [for] trans and non-binary people as well. I’m here repping the It Starts with Me campaign, which is all about HIV testing. And the goal of no new HIV transmissions in the UK by 2030.”

Blue – they/them

“There’s so much, hate, racism and discrimination against the Black community in the UK and all over the world. There’s a lot of anti-Blackness. As a POC person, as an Asian, I also see a lot of anti-Blackness in my own community. I feel it’s our responsibility as fellow POC people to show solidarity and to fight against that. It’s important to be actively anti-racist, not just say ‘I’m not racist.’

“My outfit is just what I wear normally! I didn’t really dress up today. Just cheap fishnets and a cheap lingerie piece. My jacket and my hat are from Jaded London, on sale! The pants are Cyberdog.”

Lucy – she/they

“My outfit today is all ASOS! It’s all I wear. [My harness] is from a vegan leather brand. And then Dr. Martens sandals. Who’s my LGBTQ icon? For the moment, Queen Latifah.”

Kemi – She/her 

“I volunteer for UK Black Pride – it gives me a sense of achievement and community. And I love being in safe space to dress up. Today my outfit is giving gay; it’s giving ‘please don’t think I am straight! Please ask me out! I am not straight. I am very much a lesbian.’ It’s giving Pride flag, it’s giving festival. My LGBTQ icon is Lady Phyll, hands down. Probably because I want to date her.”

Rish – He/him

“There’s a minority element to UK Black Pride. Many times, when you’re a minority within a minority, you don’t feel represented and feel like you don’t belong. Events like this make me feel Pride is for everyone. I’m keen to attend some workshops. There’s one on [the fact that] bi men exist later.”

Sophie – she/her

“For me, UK Black Pride is a place to experience joy, authenticity, and bravery. A place to be bold and joyful. The sheer mesh thing I’m wearing is from Christie Brown. She’s a designer from Ghana, which is where some of my family are from. Underneath, I’m wearing some lingerie from Coco de Mer. And some Percival men’s socks! I’m looking forward to seeing some of the tents. People from Greenpeace, and I think Decolonising Contraception might be here as well. I like the community vibe of the day.”

Keith and Han – they/them/he/him and they/them

“It’s important for me to be in a space where I can celebrate myself and my identity and find community. I made my outfit at home. I design and upcycle clothes. It’s a hobby that might become a business… But for now, it’s just really fun!” – Keith

“UK Black Pride is an easy way to celebrate queer joy, but also the intersectional queer joy of our identities, and the diversity in the community. It’s a space to see people like you, who you don’t necessarily get to see in everyday life. My shirt is from Malaysia, which is where my parentage is from. My mum brought it back for me recently when she went on a trip there. She very specifically went to the men’s section, because she’s kind of getting with the times now! I really like it because it reps where I’m from” – Han

Loyce – she/they

“You go through life having to hide little pieces of you and I just love being in this space with my community. This is space where you can just be yourself and dress like yourself and not have to hide anything. I bought this thinking it was going to be a light pink! It’s very neon, which is great. I just needed something last-minute, and this is what I got.”

Toya – she/her

“UK Black Pride, for me, is about representation: being seen, being allowed to exist. And actually, having a platform that means something to show it all off. I performed earlier! My name is Toya Delazy; I’m an Afrorave artist. The look I’m going for is tomboy, androgynous, sexy! Its Afrorave. I’m Zulu, so the hat is Zulu from South Africa. Traditional meets modern. Afrofuturism!”

For more information about UK Black Pride, click here.