"I do witness and experience a lot of racism within the community "
We catch up with Kaysa, head of media productions for Uk Black Pride 2017, and discuss the issue of racism within our community and how we can all work together to action some concrete changes.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers and explain what your role is?
I’m Kayza Rose and I’m ‘Head of Media Production’ for UK Black Pride. My role is to take care of any media produced on the day of UKBP and for any of our official events.
Can you explain what is Black Pride and how it started?
In August 2005 a social outing was organised to the sleepy seaside town of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. What began as a minibus trip to the sea, quickly developed into three coach-loads of lesbian and bisexual Black women making the first of a long and proud journey that has grown in size, stature and inclusivity.
During the build up to that one incredible outing in Southend the concept evolved for an annual UK Black Pride event the following year, where Black LGBT men, women and trans people, could foster a sense of pride in our identities. This enthusiasm from the patrons and sponsors who supported the launch of UK Black Pride on 18 August 2006 ensured the event was etched into LGBT history as the leading celebration of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American LGBT people from Britain, Europe and internationally. It also set the foundations to ensure that UK Black Pride becomes a permanent feature on the annual calendar of Pride activities.
Certainly, since 2006, UK Black Pride has grown from strength to strength because it has continued to secure the confidence, respect and support of the community, our friends and families. UK Black Pride’s organisers have maintained the core essence of being the only Black LGBT community Pride event to be genuinely designed, delivered and led by the full diversity of Black LGBT people.
Have you seen its popularity and need grow with the years?
In fact, the popularity and level of community interest that has been generated by UK Black Pride has been so overwhelming that the location of the event has had to be moved to a central venue. Every year we grow in numbers compared to the year before.
Do you witness a lot of racism within the gay community? why do you think that is?
I do witness and experience a lot of racism within the community and can think of many examples, one of which UK Black Pride supported a campaign against. The use of Blackface in performance.
Blackface is a form of racism that dehumanises Black people turning them into objects that can be “performed”. It is a modern form of minstrelsy and has no place at Pride.
In terms of why I think this happens? I’d have to say that as you’d have racism in the wider community you’d find it in the LGBTQI community too by default. Racist views aren’t isolated to the heterosexual community only. You’re not exempt because you happen to be LGBTQI.
Find out more about the campaign here
How do you think we could change people’s mentalities on questions of ethnicity and the general disparities in our community?
We have to want change, ALL of us , if not, it won’t work. Let’s start there, who is willing to do the work?
The recent news of the updated rainbow flag now including brown and black has created a lot of noise in our community. What is your take on it?
The changes mean nothing unless change comes with it. We can’t just add colours and think that creates true change. Again, I’m asking who is willing to do the work?
How do you see the ideal gay community in 5 years time?
Hopefully making sure equal rights and human rights are not eroded and ensuring prides and other places where people celebrate their diversity are a lot more welcoming.
What can we expect from black pride on the day?
Just come along between 12 noon and 9pm. The free event will feature a main stage from where UK Black Pride will blend live music, politics, and poetry in an inclusive and entertaining, family-friendly festival of community pride. With comedians; sports activities; education and welfare stalls, as well as world food and drink (or bring your own picnic) we guarantee something for all tastes.