The co-founder of UK Black Pride said she was “blown away” by the community solidarity shown after more than 15,000 people joined the annual event on Sunday.
Europe’s largest Pride celebration for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent took place this year at a new venue, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, so that the number of participants continued to increase.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, known as Lady Phyll, is one of the co-founders of the event and the executive director of UK Black Pride.
Lady Phyll, who identifies as a lesbian, remembers a much smaller number when the event was established in 2005 in Southend-on-Sea.
“Our theme is power, and it’s about the collective power that we have within us for our communities, not hierarchical power but collective power for a movement that supports black and brown gay people 365 days a year,” a- she told PA.
“Every time I see this, it shows even more the importance of why we need black pride that our communities need to occupy places that they have not historically occupied.
“They need to be in a prominent place and understand that pride is political. It’s a protest, it’s a movement and seeing that, I’m just blown away and overwhelmed. I try not to cry but I know I’m going to break down later.
The nine-hour event saw around 50 performers on the main stage, including Emeli Sande who revealed earlier this year that she felt a ‘tremendous weight had been lifted’ after saying on social media that she was in love with a woman.
Sande said it took her many years “to find the strength to be myself”.
It was 21-year-old Vinay Jobanputra’s first time attending UK Black Pride and he was performing as part of Nazar, a group that incorporates different cultural dances.
Vinay told PA: “I came to UK Black Pride today for the first time, I’ve always wanted to come. I came because I think it’s important to find people who are like you. , who have had similar experiences to yours.
“It makes a difference to the usual pride you have in London which is mostly just a sea of whites, you don’t feel represented at all, you don’t feel like there’s has someone out there who can really relate to you.”
Vinay identifies as queer and gender non-conforming and believes it is important to be portrayed as someone from the South Asian community.
“We’re showing other South Asian kids, other people like me that queer South Asians exist, queer brown people exist, we’re here to party, we’re here to celebrate.
“I’m so excited to be here today. It’s such a great experience and we’re so lucky that there are things like that out there now and you have to think of the people who live in those countries where there are no festivals and think of them today. today. Think about why we are here, we are here to be seen.
André Bouges, 27, communications officer for Black Pride UK, came out when he was in his late teens.
“For me, UK Black Pride is about giving the community a really lovely safe space to be themselves at their full capacity to be with their chosen family, to really embrace all that makes them them.”
UK Black Pride’s latest in-person event saw more than 10,000 people gather at Haggerston Park in Hackney, after surging numbers meant it could no longer meet at Vauxhall Park in Lambeth.