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UK Black Pride 2023: The date, London events and this year’s theme

The theme of the annual event this year is “Legacy”  (REUTERS)
The theme of the annual event this year is “Legacy” (REUTERS)

Since its inception in 2005, UK Black Pride has become Europe’s largest celebration of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean heritage LGBTQI+ people.

To coincide with the celebration, Swipe Your Sign, a brand-new and pioneering Black queer dating podcast, has been announced by BBC 1Xtra.

Geordie Shore's Nathan Henry and his Swipe Your Sign co-host, Ro Frimpong, from the Two Twos podcast, will entrust their love lives to renowned astrologer Celestial Tree in the BBC 1Xtra programme.

Celestial will match them with potential spouses based on their astrological signs and star signs. The podcast will debut on BBC Sounds on August 19.

Meanwhile, the yearly in-person celebration and protest event will also kick off Saturday, with the theme being Legacy. Here’s everything you need to know about UK Black Pride 2023.

What is UK Black Pride?

UK Black Prid is Europe’s largest pride celebration for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent.

“When myself and a group of Black lesbians set out to create our own Pride event, as the others felt exclusive and unwelcoming, we were told we’d never get anyway. That no one would support us and that any community built around a ‘Black Pride’ would fade away. Here we are, 18 years later. Bigger, bolder, braver and brighter than ever,” said Dr. Lady Phyll, the co-founder and CEO of UK Black Pride.

“It’s been a journey, and we have to thank everyone from the community that has been with us at every and any stage. 2023 marks a historic year for us, and to be able to return to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where we saw 25,000 people share their joy and queerness with us, is incredible.

“We cannot wait to welcome our family back and continue to leave a legacy for the next generation of Black and POC queer love and progress”.

When is UK Black Pride 2023 and where will it be?

UK Black Pride will celebrate its annual in-person celebration on Saturday, August 19, 2023, between 12 noon and 8pm.

The event was originally planned for the following day, but the organisers took the decision to move it to Saturday after it was announced a football match between West Ham United F.C. and Chelsea F.C. would be taking place on the same day.

“The safety, wellbeing and happiness of our UK Black Pride communities is paramount, and we recognise the potentially dangerous implications of having Black and brown LGBTQIA+ people sharing a space with a football fandom with a long history of racism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia,” its statement read.

Speaking in May, Opoku-Gyimah said: “To be able to return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where we saw 25,000 people share their joy and queerness with us, is incredible.

“We cannot wait to welcome our family back and continue to leave a legacy for the next generation of Black and POC queer love and progress.”

UK Black Pride 2022 was the first in-person event since 2019 after the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the 2020 and 2021 events being hosted online.

What is UK Black Pride 2023’s theme?

UK Black Pride announced the “Legacy” theme on Instagram on Wednesday, July 5, adding: “Over the last 18 years, we have forged a community that radiates love, acceptance, and unity.”

It also said that “Legacy” was the best way to celebrate the organisation’s achievements in the years since it began in 2005.

“LEGACY symbolizes 18 years of awe-inspiring progress,” the post continued. “It pays homage to the giants who paved the way for us and embraces the responsibility of empowering future generations to take ownership and fearlessly push for change.”

What are the London events for UK Black Pride 2023?

Main Stage

With everything from DJs and thought-provoking speeches, to a Tina Turner Tribute act, the UK Black Pride Main Stage has been touted as a celebration of the festival’s 18th year. DJ Big John will kickstart the action at midday, leading into a welcome from UK Black Pride Directors Moud Gouba and Pav Akhtar at 12.40. A couple of gaps are yet to be filled in on the schedule, but other highlights from the day include a performance from non-binary musician and dancer Kumari Suraj (featuring The Disco Housewife Party) and one from playwright, dancer and British actor Rikki Beadle-Blair. Dr. Lady Phyll, the co-founder and CEO of UK Black Pride, will speak towards the end of the evening at 7.50pm, before the last act, DJ Biggy C, hits the decks.

Community Stage

Hosted by UK Black Pride team members Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir (Head of Community Engagement), Josh Rivers (Head of Cultural Partnerships) and Char Bailey (Wellbeing & Education Officer), the Community Stage will provide a platform for emerging musicians, talented spoken word artists and thought-provoking discussions. Topics of conversation include mental health, digital misogynoir in the tech space and healthcare, as well as community building. Kicking off proceedings at 12.30pm, OUTpatients, North East London Cancer Alliance and Black Women Rising will discuss breast cancer and the Best For My Chest campaign, highlighting the importance of signs and symptoms as well as screening for the LGBTQIA+ community, before a panel explores the topic of reconciling faith and sexuality at 2.50pm. Black trans alternative folk musician [a]lliot, who sings about love, life, disability, and self-acceptance, will also perform, along with Tamil performance-poet Gayathiri Kamalakanthan.

The community stage schedule has been released on the website.

Official afterparty

Though pride-goers will undoubtedly party into the wee hours across the city, the official UK Black Pride Afterparty is scheduled to take place at Evolutionary Arts Hackney (EartH), where from 9pm to 3.30am, music and performances will take place in a celebration of pride, culture and community. A full lineup of DJs and performers is yet to be released, though early an early announcement includes London & Lisbon based DJ & Producer Don’t Call Me Tako, who explores the evolution and weaving of Amapiano, Afrohouse and Batida music, and south London multi-genre DJ Malika Green.