100’s sign an open letter to reject ‘blackface’ performance at UK Prides

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the booking of an act performing in blackface at this year’s Durham Pride, we as LGBTQIA+ activists, organisations, individuals and allies are appalled to witness that Pride festivals across the country continue to book and promote acts that perpetuate racist stereotypes.

Blackface is a form of racism that dehumanises Black people turning them into objects that can be “performed”. It is a modern form of minstrelsy and has no place at Pride.

As we are coming into Pride season, a time of year where we should be celebrating our diversity, this ongoing issue continues to be an embarrassing stain on the LGBTQIA+ community.

In 1970 the first Pride was held in New York to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings. What is not remembered is that BAME LGBTQIA+ people such as Storme DeLaverie, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera sparked Stonewall. Without them there would be no Stonewall and subsequently no Pride. Considering this history it is abhorrent that in 2017 Pride festivals across the UK are booking racist acts that marginalise BAME LGBTQs further.

We are suggesting four ways in which Pride organisations in the UK can commit to ending racist performances for good:

1. Sign up to the Stop Rainbow Racism Code of Practice.

2. Consult established BAME LGBTQIA+ organisations throughout the planning process and when concerns arise.

3. Diversify your line up by booking BAME LGBTQIA+ performers.

4. Attend UK Black Pride on Sunday 9th July.

In the last year we have seen homophobia and racism rise dramatically, these struggles are connected, they often stem from the same hatred of difference. The repercussions of this have been particularly felt by BAME LGBTQs. We must come together as a community and stand up to racism as well as homophobia so that every LGBTQIA+ person in the UK feels welcome at their local Pride to celebrate their love and lives.

Chardine Taylor-Stone Cultural producer & Activist, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah UK Black Pride, Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Kayza Rose Black Out LDN, UK Network of Prides, Kevin Maxwell Writer & Advocate, Taranjit Chana GMB Race, GMB Shout, Jide Macaulay House of Rainbow, Dr Sita Bilani, Mobeen Azhar Journalist & Filmmaker, Rainbow Noir, Kesiena Boom Writer, Dr Rob Berkeley BlackoutUK, Digital Pride, Tom Guy Student Pride, Peter Tatchell Peter Tatchell Foundation, Ruth Hunt Stonewall, Ben Hunte Television presenter & Journalist, John Amaechi OBE, Aderonke Apata Human Rights Activist & LGBTIQ Advocate, African Rainbow FamilyJuno Roche Writer & Campaigner, Tony Fenwick MBE Schools OUT UK, Intersectional Femsoc Society University of Bristol, Scottee Artist & Writer, Jack Munroe Writer & Political commentator, Duckie, Gal Dem, Women’s March London, Kate Hutchinson Wipe Out Transphobia, Eleanor Margolis Writer, Marilyn Misandry Drag Queen, Dirk Hemmings, Roz Kaveney, Vie Compton, TransLeeds, Anton Johnson LGBT Officer at Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils, David Braniff-Herbert Trade Union and Equality Organiser, Alan MX, Carlos Gonçalves da Costa, Shon Faye Writer & Journalist, Juno Dawson Author & Activist, Leng Montgomery Diversity Consultant, Marcus Stow Journalist, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Sable Litmag, Mwice-Margaret Kavindele / Sadie Sinner The Cocoa Butter Club, Jackson Forster / FKA, Dr Nick McGlynn, Dr Leanne Dawson, Campbell X Filmmaker, Marlene Ellis, Tobi Blackman Dictionary Pudding Promotions, Jack Ash Activist, Sadie Lee Artist, RVT Future, Dr. Ludovic Foster Community worker & Artist, Natasha Nkonde, Dr Ruth Pearce, CN Lester Author, Dorothea Smartt Poet & programme manager at Inscribe, Roman Manfredi Artist/Filmmaker, Looking At You Productions, Jac Nunns, Angie West, Matters of the Earth, Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman Scholar-Activist in Black Studies, Birmingham City University, Travis Alabanza Performance Artist, Pratibha Parmar Filmmaker & Professor, Big Joanie, Linda Riley Diva, Topher Campbell Actor & Director, Patrick Lilley, Paris Black Pride, Marvina Newton Angel of Youth, Mike Jackson Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners/Migrants, John Gordon-Russell Writer, My Questioning Culture, Laks Man Gaysians, Tris Reid-Smith Gay Star News, Valentino Vecchietti Intersex Activist, Elizabeth Coggins Feminists Rising, Wail Qasim Journalist, Woteva DIY Film Festival, Jacob Englesberg Eyes Wide Open Cinema, Jo Reid Glasgow University LGBTQ+, Ciara Maguire Free Pride (Glasgow), The Marlborough Pub and Theatre, Mzz Kimberley, Stephe Meloy Vice Chair of Lewisham LGBT Forum, Dave Muritu Chair of Equality University and College Union, Sonia Long Community Organiser, Black Lives Matter UK, TUC LGBT Committee, Jamie Starboisky, Carrie Lyell Diva, Evelyn Asante-Mensah, Chloe Davis, Karen Doyle Movement for Justice, Kartel Brown DJ & Filmmaker, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE

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