UK Black Pride launch ‘Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here’ themed music festival on 9 July 2017

Press Release

For Immediate Release
London, 9 May 2017

UK Black Pride music festival to be held on Sunday 9 July 2017  
Free event will run from 12:00–21:00 at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London

Award-winning UK Black PrideEurope’s largest not-for-profit event for African, Asian, Arab, and Caribbean-heritage lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – has announced its thirteenth annual music festival will take place on Sunday 9 July 2017 in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The event is an integral part of the Pride in London week of celebrations. Join us!

Fifty years ago, on 27 July 1967, the Sexual Offences Act received royal assent and decriminalised homosexuality in the UK. The Board of UK Black Pride has decided to celebrate this anniversary by setting this year’s festival theme as: Past, Present, Future… Love Happens Here. The 1967 Act was the first step in a long journey towards a level of equality that LGBT people enjoy today. Since 1967, laws have been challenged, rights have been won, stigmas have been broken, and lives have changed for the better. The legacy of that landmark moment in LGBT history still has relevance to us today. Freedom is one thing. Since the 1967 Act set the age of homosexual consent as 21, it was taken down to 18 in 1994, before it was reduced to 16 – the same age for heterosexuals – in 2000. The 1967 Act rallied LGBT communities to expose how the democratic process violated the human rights of LGBT women and men by allowing legislation that was rooted in ignorance, injustice, and cruelty. Through their activism, early LGBT rights advocates argued that no one should be forced to live in dread of discovery because of who they are and who they love – an atmosphere of violent persecution that was officially embraced in British law and foist upon countries in the Empire over hundreds of years. Historians confirm that the backwardness of legislation jeopardized progress in fighting HIV, as well the epidemic levels of violence, discrimination and poverty that continue to affect Black and LGBT lives in this country and across the globe.

It is a legacy of Empire that so many LGBT communities across the world continue to live with under governments who still deny LGBT people access to many of the freedoms we have in Britain. The Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here-theme of UK Black Pride festival, which takes place on Sunday 9 July 2017, marks the 50th anniversary of decriminalizing homosexuality to celebrate and educate to organize and inspire the next generation of LGBT activists and supporters for the battles we must continue to confront and win. The need to act in the present could not be starker than the number of homophobic attacks since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The LGBT anti-violence charity, Galop, saw hate crime against LGBT people more than double, rising by 147%, compared to the same period in the year before the Brexit vote. The toxicity of the EU referendum debate spread to people from different racial and religious groups. It prompted Britain’s most senior police officer, the Metropolitan Commissioner, to describe a “horrible spike” in hate crime. The Mayor of London’s monitoring records also found a 164% increase in hate crime in the two months after the Brexit vote, with 2,300 race-hate offences in London, compared to 1,400 in the two months before the vote.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride Executive Director, said: “UK Black Pride’s message of Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here highlights the history of struggles LGBT people have overcome and gives visibility to the appalling level of hate crime against Black and LGBT people we are seeing at present. While each attack leaves many community members even more exposed and insecure, the fact is that Black LGBT people have always known how hard it is or our communities’ needs and ambitions to be understood or met. This is why UK Black Pride was set up, and it is why we believe in taking responsibility to better represent the interests of our diverse community of Black LGBT activists and supporters to the seats of power. Together we can change the mindset of those who are prejudiced against Black LGBT people by amplifying the fact that our lives have value and importance equal to any other.

“And just as Britain makes progress towards tackling discrimination against the LGBT community, the reality is that intolerance is still being fanned around the world. UK Black Pride members come from many of those places so understand why we must stand against assaults on the basic human rights of LGBT persons everywhere. By compelling our government, we know we can empower activists to call on their states to end the legalization of hate. By showing that love lives here, there, and everywhere. That it always did and always will. It is our hope that that we can move all states to change course and support the human rights and dignity of all LGBT people in Britain and abroad. This year’s UK Black Pride festival will see our community inject a global flavour into the heart of the LGBT community supported by Pride in London. This will be an inclusive event for all to enjoy!”

Pav Akhtar, UK Black Pride Director of Public Affairs, said: “UK Black Pride’s theme of Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here connects with current battles to secure the dignity and security of all Black LGBT people. Some of the battles for acceptance of Black LGBT people are in mainstream society, but others are rooted in struggles for space and inclusion inside the LGBT and Pride movement. UK Black Pride believes that things must change in the future and that all sections of the community must work together to improve how Black LGBT people see their paper-based rights put into practice, and extended to encompass every sinew of their existence.

“To achieve this, we need to channel the spirit of Pride as a protest for equality. Black LGBT people want to make the case for ending the economic policy of austerity, and for more investment to grow secure and sustainable futures with access to education and decent jobs at their core. We want an end to extortionate fees Black LGBT workers must pay to file discrimination cases at an Employment Tribunal. We want properly funded public services to deliver the equality in social protection we get. We want the NHS to make HIV-preventing PrEP medicine available, and police officers to be trained to engage with Black LGBT people. We know that to secure our vision of equality we also need to increase representation and secure more resources for Black LGBT voluntary sector groups to empower people to tackle discrimination and prejudice. Challenging homophobic and racist attitudes to transform society cannot be done without political will, grassroots action or funds.”

UK Black Pride maintains a strong identity as a grassroots-led movement. We believe the most effective way to secure LGBT equality, inclusion and justice is by opposing all forms of bigotry and putting people before profit. The Past, Present, Future…Love Happens Here theme signals our determination to stand up for LGBT love and equality against all purveyors of hate. Join us!

Notes for editors:

There are many ways to get involved in making UK Black Pride 2017 a success:

  1. For UK Black Pride media and sponsorship enquiries, email:
  2. For information about food or market stall bookings, email:
  3. For information about volunteering at UK Black Pride, visit:
  4. For information about UK Black Pride visit:
  5. For details about Pride in the Park visit: Pride in London

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