Revellers descended on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday to celebrate UK Black Pride.
In what is the event’s 18th year, LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern heritage gathered in the sunshine to celebrate inclusivity and equality in east London.
At the event, were performers including Miss Banks, DJ Biggy C, and KSoul alongside a community stage where there were a host of panels to discuss different topics.
This year’s theme was legacy, not just to celebrate the work that has been done before to further inclusivity, but to empower future generations to take the fight for equality further.
“I’m here to celebrate black pride but also to bring visibility to LGBTQ people of colour. What I’m sending out today is we are queer; we are African, and we are here,” Amanda Kamanda told the Standard.
“I’m seeing a lot of diversity in terms of people of colour and all walks of life, and we all have one thing bringing us together and that’s black pride.
“This event is important for us as LGBTQ people of colour, it’s important for us to encourage visibility but to also promote unity, people coming together as one community.”
Also there was UK Black Pride’s founder, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, also known as Lady Phyll, 18 years after she and a group of women travelled to Southend-on-Sea where she realised that there needed to be space created for LGBTQ people of colour.
Although the event has grown into Europe’s largest celebration of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean heritage LGBTQI+ people, there were calls for greater attention to parts of the world where being gay is still not accepted.
“It’s important for us to be here and it’s so nice – I’m so proud to be LGBT, I really enjoy my life here in the UK.
“Our president told us that we should not be in Uganda. We are here to be free, because our President told us if we return, we will be killed,” said Nakanyeke Shakirah.
“I’m not scared anymore; it feels good to be free here. There many from African countries here, from Ghana, from Kenya, from South Africa.
“We come together, we bond together, we get ideas from each other. I used to be scared, but now I’m no longer afraid, I am free, this is a free country, but I want to be even more free than I am now.”
Nazir Uddin echoed a similar sentiment, adding: “In Bangladesh it’s illegal to be homosexual by law, and in Bangladesh there are lots if Islamic groups who try to find LGBT and kill them – in Islam its prohibited. You can’t be open to anyone, if anyone finds out about your sexuality you will be discriminated against and in most cases killed. This is why no one can promote LGBT rights.
“I feel so grateful to be in the UK, in a safe LGBTQ haven, where I can feel free to be myself.”