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Jascribble and the Jerking Chicken August 25, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Uncategorized.
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So today, was UK Black Pride, or at least one UK Black Pride event. Apparently the organisers of last years Black Pride (Black as in all encompassing non-white ethnicity, at least ideally, but mostly beautiful afro-caribbean gay men and a sprinkling of gay women) fell out between last year’s event and now, so there were two separate events. This resulted in a half-dancing malais of people fanning themselves in the heat of the dark club (rennaissance rooms, vauxhall) or eating craftily overpriced jerkchicken-an-rice-an-peeeeeeeeeeeas, all the while clocking ex-partners, making connections, or just having a laugh with mates. Myself and Kuch sought solace regularly outside to grab snatches of catch-up and form the beginnings of theories about societal issues and erm, gossip.

 I don’t think any kind of Pride is something to approach on little sleep. What with one thing or another, I haven’t had very much this week so am now ready to drop at any moment, but the enthusiasm and general joyous yawping that is a prerequisite at LGBTQ events just could not be summoned. Otherwise, the event was largely anticlimatic. After last summer’s richly inspiring UK Black Pride and Fire This Time events, this year felt like a nod to the kind of celebration that should have been built on, straightened up and polished til gleaming in the rare August sunshine. The entertainments, while not terrible, came across as very last minute and the crowd was too dispersed among the different rooms to form one mass of cheerers in the centre, rendering the singers, models and poets devoid of any smiling faces to bounce off, feed from, respond to. As pioneers of an anti-nucleic identity that stands up to eurocentrism to be recognised as people, not as novelties, tokens or outsiders, is it not necessary to run these kinds of events with a certain…gusto? The whole point is not necessarily a parading of sexual identity or even the definition of oneself by other-ness but to nurture the development of a community in which people feel they can belong- to promote fluidity of identity and especially that which transgresses between conventions of race, gender and sexuality. I felt especially a rift between the reality and circle of friends that I know who are multicultural and of various sexual orientations and interests and the feel of Black Pride. However- perhaps there was an unspoken agenda that aimed to focus or target in particular, specifically Black British people, and that I am projecting my own desire to appreciate the diversity of people within my life onto the event. Also, it is easy to feel like an outsider if you are one of the few mixed race people in a venue.

However, if you are going to celebrate something, celebrate it properly, not three hours late, with a lack of enthusiasm and bad organisation.There is enough problematic representation of queer people and brown people in society without even our own community seeming not to care. On a more positive note, the fact that the events did happen at all is a thumbs up, and it did happen in London, which is thumbs up even more. The organisers have proved that there is a substantial audience for events such as that in the Renaissance Rooms, but now the challenge will be to expand and make full use of the potential we have in the UK to openly diversify.

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