UK Black Pride hosted its biggest event to date over the weekend as more than 25,000 people showed up to protest and celebrate.
The event, which was held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London on 14 August, was the first to be held in person since 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in 2020 and 2021’s being moved online.
The day saw performances from artists such as Emeli Sandé, Sadie Sinner and Gok Wan, with Dréya Mac delivering a show-stopping headline set.
Also present was Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney, who told GAY TIMES that the massive turnout made her “feel really humble”.
Those in attendance were treated to a number of stalls from community-focused groups and organisations, such as the Terrence Higgins Trust, Tonic Housing and NHS Barts Health which was administering free monkeypox vaccinations.
The theme of ‘power’ was at the core of UK Black Pride this year, something which organisers explained was a way to “honour the power our communities continue to wield to ensure that our communities are defended and supported, loved and protected.”
London gets its power from its diversity.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) August 13, 2022
During her closing speech, Lady Phyll, the co-founder and CEO of UK Black Pride, welcomed Ted Brown to the stage.
The activist was present at the UK’s first Pride march in 1972 and has participated in each one in the 50 years since then.
“You make this possible for us,” she told him. “We stand on the shoulders of giants and this is a giant. Thank you.”
Brown then reflected on the significance of that first event: “We had no idea how people were going to respond. We thought they might throw stones at us, we might be arrested. We even did a kiss at Trafalgar Square in public, which was against the law.
“And one of the things that we were doing was changing the narrative from, ‘Please stop hitting us so hard’ to, ‘You try that again’.”
Today,@ukblackpride broke the world record for the biggest Black Pride. 25,000 beautiful LGBT+ people of all shapes and colours from all corners of the globe. Our theme was ‘power’ and we served this with authenticity. Every deserves to be loved and valued without qualification. pic.twitter.com/mlso3fNIN4
— Pav Akhtar (own views etc.) (@pav_akhtar) August 14, 2022
She also announced that the number of people in attendance made the event the biggest Black Pride in the world.
“We have just been announced by the Federation of Black Prides that we are now officially the largest Black Pride in the world,” she declared, before using the opportunity to call for unity within the community.
“We are here, we’re here to stay,” she continued. “We’re Black and Brown queer people that need to love each other, that need to look after one another, that need to fight the racism, fight the sexism, fight the homophobia, fight any form of discrimination – fight the transphobia!”
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You can learn more about UK Black Pride here.