On Friday 7th July, we gathered Upstairs at the Ritzy in Brixton to party, to celebrate Pride and to launch the BlackOut Lounge.
The incredible response to our event ‘In The Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’ confirmed what we already knew; there is a need and a thirst for events and spaces By Us and For Us that celebrated our blackness, our gayness and our same gender lovingness. We knew we could draw a crowd of Black gay men and our allies.
In our conversations Black gay men told us how important these spaces are and how important it is to create and sustain community during these complicated and challenging times.
So we decided to build on that success and create the BlackOut Lounge, a series of semi-regular events where we invite a Black gay man to host an event or social space. He gets to curate the night and put his own personal stamp on it.
What better time to launch a new enterprise for Black gay, bi, queer and same gender loving men, than at the start of Pride weekend? Its that time of year when various LGBT+ communities come together to remind the world ‘We’re here we’re queer get used to it’ with a tsunami of rainbow flags that descends on the city (and just about every major city in the Western world) and we are all told to remember we’re in this together and ‘Love Matters’.
It’s also the time when the conversation about who is Pride for, who Pride events include and exclude, and who is and isn’t represented in the rainbow flag. Pride always has been and always will be political, no matter how many corporate sponsors it needs to survive. But it’s also a celebration of who we are, everything we’ve achieved and the road we’ve yet to travel.
We claimed a space in the heart of Brixton, with its long history of Black queer culture and filled that space with Black gay, bi, queer and same gender loving men laughing, dancing and having a good old fashion kiki so as to make visible and to affirm each other on the biggest weekend in the LGBT+ calendar.
We want to say a huge thank you to our inaugural host DJ Biggy C, our guest DJ and performers.
The amazing Mixmaster and legend DJ Biggy C pulled off a great night which included Special Guest Jay Jay Revlon, founder of English Breakfast.
They both threw down sets with a mixture of old skool and new classics making sure the dance floor rocked until the 2 am closing. The crowd were also treated to not one but TWO amazing comediennes:
Cola Bling and our headliner, Ava Vidal, had the audience throwing up those big belly laughs Black folk share when we are free.
We hope you enjoy this gallery of pictures taken by BlackOut UK contributor Wayne Nathan.
We’ll be running more Lounge events this year so subscribe to the BlackOut UK mailing list and follow us on twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more details. And if you’d like to host a night or know someone who could get in touch and let us know.
After all these events are FUBU (For Us and By US!)