Ella: Hi, I'm Ella from EachOther. I'm here today with Phil Opoku-Gyimah. Widely known as Lady Phyll, Phyll is the co founder and director of UK Black Pride. She is also the executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust which upholds the rights of LGBTQ+ people across the world. Hi Lady Phyll, how are you doing?
Phyll: Hi there Ella I'm really good thank you very much. Thank you for having me.
Ella: Please could you describe what you do in 15 words or less?
Phyll: So I'm the executive director of UK Black Pride, which supports LGBT people of colour in the UK context, through Pride, but also through activities of challenging racism and form of discrimination that touches our lives.
Ella: What advice would you give to a 10 year old you?
Phyll: I would say that you are loved, you are worthy, you're brilliant, you're beautiful you're amazing and there will be times where it feels like people don't like you, because of the colour of your skin because you're black. But just know that you are great and will go on to do great things.
Ella: Which is the most important human rights to you?
Phyll: The right to be a human without fear of being tortured, persecuted, vilified, victimised, stigmatise and being able to live as any other person.
Ella: What would you say was the most important lesson you've learned in the last few years?
Phyll: How important family is. And I don't just mean blood relatives. I also mean, chosen family. You know, UK Black Pride brings people together, who are not related, but it's often our chosen family because as queer people of colour, some of us have been ostracised or marginalised from our own families and, you know, felt somewhat abandoned. So chosen family, connection, solidarity, unity, support, and more importantly, love, which can come from chosen family or your own blood relatives.
Ella: Why did you co found UK Black Pride?
Phyll: We co founded UK Black Pride because at the time, when we were seeing wonderful and amazing prides around the UK. But there was also a heightened period of where the BMP were very, very vocal about how they see black people, how they see Muslim people, and it was right wing propaganda that set out to destroy our communities. So we had a battle, to not just only challenge, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, but also to deal with the racism that was coming at us full throttle. So there was a need, there was a necessity, there was a frustration, there was an appetite, there was a desire, there was so many different emotions that told us, we needed to find and occupy a space, where we had like minded brothers, sisters, siblings, that we come together to celebrate who we are, but also challenge together with the various shared commonalities that we have.
Ella: What are you most proud of when it comes to your work as director of UK Black Pride?
Phyll: I think I'm most proud of the amazing team that I work with who are so dedicated and committed to really holding up UK Black Pride as something that they know is born from them, it's by them, and it's for them. I'm also most proud of every single person that turns up to UK Black Pride, year on year, especially our most vulnerable because they show up and they own that space because it is their space. I think you've got a platform which you're using so beautifully to speak to others and create content that speaks to people's experiences. So it's important that you keep on doing that, I would say and this is not selfishly, censoring queer people of colour's voices within all of this at a time where we often don't feel that we're heard and just your continual support for UK Black Pride, you know, thank you for that.