Raving inside the Ministry of Sound from 12-8pm would never have
been my first, second or even third choice of activity on a
scorcher of a Saturday. But for the sake of UK Black Pride 2012, I
went along anyway.
I didn't need a map to direct me there from Elephant and Castle
station, either - it was a question of follow the gays to the
source and voila - black queer heaven!
Outside (though still concealed from passing travellers by a big
strategic banner) was a barbeque grilling corn and burgers - this
is where the sunshine revellers were soaking up the rays and
Past security and inside the murky, less-then-glamorous bowels
of Ministry of Sound was a dancefloor, leading off to - you guessed
it - several more dancefloors. Despite the sun still being high in
the sky at 6pm, in here it might as well have been 4am - beers were
being guzzled, hips were being grinded, and people were partying
like it was, well, Pride!
The DJs and performers were fantastic - the night culminated in
a performance by British soul sensation Omar Lye-Fook. There was a
range of ethnicities shaking it - even Stonewall chief Ben
Summerskill made an appearance. I would however have liked to have
seen a little more representation from my Asian and Middle Eastern
sistas - where are you hiding girls? That said, everyone was
ridiculously friendly and there was none of that prissy mean-girl
attitude which seems to engulf many a lesbian bar in the Soho
There were a few grumbles about visibility - the irony of having
a Pride event indoors (though done for fear of rain) was certainly
not lost on me. The point of Pride is to be out, one slightly
frustrated punter told me. Look at this big banner. Pretty as it
is, it's so people on the street can't see us gays in here. We're
Internalised homophobia? Perhaps. Pride is about showing the
world you're proud, she goes on to explain. What we're doing here
is just another party. There's nothing proud about it. But when I
ask whether this many people would show up to a public parade
through central London, if that was the ask, she admitted - no.
Many of these people are still in the closet, either to their
families, or their friends - or even themselves.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder and executive director of UK
Black Pride explains how Black Pride "works from inside the Black
LGBT community to support Black and LGBT people who are grappling
with the rampant racism and homophobia that continues to blight
sections of these communities, while supporting individuals coming
to terms with their sexuality.
"Ultimately, what is being sought by the organisation of an
annual UK Black Pride festival is social, spiritual and political
nourishment that will give succour to those confronting the
double-edged bigotry of racism and homophobia."
It's perhaps for this reason that one of Black Pride's primary
priorities is to create a safe space for its community - because
sadly, the spaces many Black LGBT people often inhabit are riven
So, one step at a time, it seems, is the way go about progress,
and UK Black Pride is propping up that ladder. Here's to the
PICTURED: DENISE & FLO AT UK BLACK PRIDE 2012
PHOTO CREDIT CHRIS JEPSON (CHRISJEPSON.COM)