UK Black Pride – Europe’s biggest community-led, not-for-profit support group for African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – is proud to have confronted racism and homophobia inside and out of the Black and LGBT communities for the past eight years. This is why we are deeply troubled to have learned that the organizers of Manchester Pride have made a bizarre decision to book a racist, homophobic act that goes by the name of ‘Queens of Pop’ to perform at their community Pride event this August. You can form your own opinion by checking out Mai Sabai’s blog about this.
UK Black Pride has written to the organizers of Manchester Pride to register our disagreement with their invitation for the Queens of Pop group to perform. If you agree with us that the Queens of Pop act’s substance and material is offensive then please take two minutes of your time to write a letter (or copy and paste the model letter we have presented below) and send to Manchester Pride via this link: http://www.manchesterpride.com/contact/ You could also help to share this email among your friends and networks. The more pressure we can bring to bear down on the organizers of Manchester Pride, the more likely we are to be able to secure zero tolerance to racism and homophobia.
Having never heard of this group before I have watched their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD8e4CMJbBI and find it extraordinary that Manchester Pride- a high profile community LGBT organisation – would choose to associate itself with performers and material that has clear racist and homophobic connotations.
Black face is a form of entertainment based on crude racist stereotypes which has, over the centuries, disseminated a view of black people that mocks, dehumanises and encourages violence against them (see http://black-face.com).
This Queens of Pop video is not ironic. It is a cheap attack on a famous man, Will.i.am, using language that would not be out of place at a BNP, EDL or KKK rally. It is plain old-fashioned homophobia, mixed with some of the oldest and most pernicious forms of racism using the mask of ‘ironic entertainment’ as cover. It also jokes about Will.i.am being a rapist.
As a community Pride organisation you have a clear responsibility to support and represent the diverse communities in all that you do, including who you ask to perform, especially as many of your audience will be experiencing racism and homophobia in their day to day lives.
If you allow Queens of Pop to perform, the message that booms out loud and clear is that you are happy to support racist, homophobic acts and material, that Black LGBT people are not welcome, respected or safe from ridicule at your event or in your organisation.
I ask that you take the only sensible decision available to you and, uncomfortable as it may make you at the furore it has caused (including opposition from UK Black Pride, the most representative and successful Pride event for Black LGBT people in Britain), remove the Queens of Pop act from your event with a clear public statement reasserting your commitment to the diversity of LGBT people you serve.