Great Black Britons
celebrates Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender
Month by paying tribute to Black
Gay Achievers and Icons
Great Black Britons and Every Generation are this month celebrating
the achievements of gay black men and women, who have throughout
history have stood proud and in their own ways have asserted their
right to be open about their sexuality and have changed the political,
social and cultural landscape of Great Britain by challenging
intolerence and ignorance.
is so important for us to remember our African sisters and brothers
who are LGBT and who have gone before us. Lorraine Hansbury, Audre
Laude and amongst the many whose names are known, but there are
many more who have struggled and contributed and who our white
sisters and brothers ignore and marginalise. LGBT History Month
is important as a spur to ensure that we record and celebrate
the achievements our community of who have made life better for
others. Sometimes just being, and just being out is a victory."
Linda Bellos - proud to be out and proud of my African
gay men and lesbians perform a central role in our past, present
and future. their contribution is too often ignored. the list
is a key way of letting communities, black or white, gay or straight,
celebrate that contribution. It shows that black lesbian and gays
have lived lives that challenge homophobia and racism, that have
made a significant contribution to our society, and that they
will continue to do so. We hope that by celebrating black lesbian
and gay achievers, we can encourage debate, share stories of success,
and help us better understand the diversity of our commmunities."
Berkeley, Vice Chair, Black Gay Men's Advisory Group
would be nothing without black. The queer heritage is also a black
heritage. There can be no history of modern LGBT life without
celebrating black involvement and achievement. Ted Brown was one
of the pioneers of the Gay Liberation Front in 1970-73, and he
is now the main motivator in Black Lesbians and Gays Against Media
the 1970s, the soundtrack of much of gay (and straight) life was
the music of Joan Armatrading. In the 1980s we were blessed with
black queer icons like the film-maker Isaac Julian, the academic
Kobena Mercer and the photographer Rotimi Fani Kayode. Today,
we have an out gay peer, Lord Waheed Alli, and out gay singers
like Skin and David McAlmont.
LGBT people play an important part in LGBT clubs, culture, politics
and protest. They always have and always will.
freedom struggles of the black and queer communities are intertwined.
Despite the differences between racism and homophobia, both black
and gay people share a common experience of prejudice and discrimination.
We know the pain of exclusion and marginalisation. That gives
us a common interest in working together to challenge all oppression.
United we are strong, divided we are weak.
Black Power slogan of the 1960s, Black is Beautiful,
was the inspiration for the Gay Liberation slogan of the 1970s,
Gay is Good.
Gay Liberation Front allied itself with the black liberation movement,
supporting black activists like the Mangrove Nine who were framed
by the police in the early 1970s. We adapted many of the black
civil rights tactics, like sit-ins and freedom rides, to challenge
shops, pubs and restaurants that refused to serve poofs
soundtrack of the first-wave 1970s gay freedom struggle was black
soul music. Later, in the 1980s, the dance music of gay clubs
was black disco. The contribution of black culture to queer life
is immense. Pink would be nothing without black."
Tatchell, queer human rights activist since 1969
list is compiled of individuals from the UK and internationally.
Please contact us if you would like us to include others at firstname.lastname@example.org
is not normal it is just common, out of one we are many and we
are proud to BME!" BLUK - Black Lesbians UK.
welcome you feedback, so please let us know what you think!
Waheed Ali Former television producer, entrepreneur and politician
who became the first openly gay life peer in the House of Lords
Beadle Blair Actor, director, writer, musician who wrote the
screenplay for the film Stonewall (1994) and wrote, produced and
directed the Channel 4 series Metrosexuality (2001). His new play
Bashment opened at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Bellos Activist. Linda has been at the heart of grass roots
community activism for over thirty years. In 1981 she became the
first Black woman and the first Black lesbian to join the Spare
Rib feminist collective, and in 1985 she became leader of Lambeth
Cecil Belfield Clarke (1894-1970). British (from Barbados)
doctor who practised in the London Borough of Southwark for nearly
fifty years from the 1920s to the1960s. Also an activist, he supported
the work of the West African Students Union and, in 1931, was
a founder member of the League of Coloured Peoples.
Actor whose most famous screen role was the Liverpudlian sailor
who has a brief encounter with Jo (Rita Tushingham) in A Taste
of Honey (1961).
Fashanu (1961-1998) Sportsman. He became the first professional
footballer to declare his homosexuality, but his career was affected
by homophobia in both the Black community and in English football.
Forsythe (1907-1958) pianist, bandleader and composer. Innovative
jazz composer whose music frequently possessed wit, as well as
sophistication, charm and ingenuity.
'Hutch' Hutchinson (1900-1969) Cabaret star of the 1920s and
1930s who was the supreme interpreter of Cole Porter's songs.
Julien Director, screenwriter and producer (Looking for Langston,
Young Soul Rebels, Black and White in Colour, Frantz Fanon: Black
Skin, White Mask). His body of work constitutes a critique of
Black gay representation.
Kay Poet, playwright and novelist. Her first novel, Trumpet,
published in 1998, was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and
was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
McAlmont Singer who had a top ten hit with 'Yes' (1995) and
gave a high camp and glorious rendition of Shirley Bassey's 'Diamond's
Are Forever' (1997).
Mason John aka "Queenie" British entertainer and
playwright. Author of Talking Black: Lesbians of African and Asian
Descent Speak Out.
Siffre Chart topper of the 1970s ('It Must Be Love') who returned
to the charts in 1987 with the number 4 smash hit (Something Inside)
'So Strong'. Also a celebrated poet.
Nri Currently starring as Adam Okaro in the Bill, he is also
a writer, director and filmmaker. He has worked as an actor for
23 years starting at the RSC. His theatre roles include Ariel
at the Old Vic, Oedipus in Manchester and Lymon in August Wilsons
The Piano Lesson. His TV work includes This Life (both series),
EastEnders, Family Affairs, Arabian Nights, and the American Mini
series Only Love. Film appearances include Bernardo Bertollucis
Besieged, David Hares Strapless, and Long Time Dead.
Otitoju Managing director of Challenge, one of the leading
providers for diversity and equalities training in the UK. Femi
has been actively campaigning for LGBT equality for many years.
Blackman Writer and director and former programmer of the
KLesbian and Gay Film Festival
Former lead singer of rock group Skunk Anansie currently forging
a successful solo career
Rotimi Fani Kayode (1955-1989) Founder member
of Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers
in London. He experimented with colour photography of the black
male nude, using symbols derived from his native Nigerian culture.
The homoerotic desire of black males was explored in his book
Black Male / White Male of 1988 and his contribution to Ecstatic
Antibodies (1990). His vigorous use of colour and original use
of symbolism seem to reflect both Nigerian tradition and the new
possibilities of expression and political debate in London in
Baldwin (1924-1987) American writer who was one of Black America's
most articulate spokespersons in the 1960s. He is now regarded
as one of the best American essayists (Notes of a Native Son,
The Fire Next Time, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room).
Bentley (1907-1960) American/Trinidadian entertainer of the
Bledsoe American opera singer who created the role of Joe
in the musical Show Boat (1927) and introduced the classic 'Old
Brown American composer who was Paul Robeson's accompanist
(and right-hand man) for over thirty years. He was a gifted arranger
of Black Spirituals.
Cullen (1903-1946) American poet, writer, editor. An influential
but stylistically atypical figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
Heath (1918-1991) American actor and folk singer whose performances
on stage (Deep Are the Roots) and British television (Othello)
were acclaimed in the 1940s and 1950s.
Hemphill (1957-1995) American poet who first came to wide
public attention as one of the contributors to Joseph Beam's path-finding
In the Life (1986), an anthology of Black gay male writers.
Hughes (1902-1967) American poet and writer, Hughes was a
central figure in the Harlem Renaissance (The Big Sea, Montage
of a Dream Deferred).
Hunter (1895-1984) American blues singer and songwriter. Hunter's
'Down Hearted Blues', as recorded by Bessie Smith, became the
best-selling blues record of 1923.
Larsen (1891-1964) Caribbean-American novelist associated
with the Harlem Renaissance (Quicksand, Passing)
Locke (1886-1964) American author and educator, and leader
of the Harlem Renaissance.
Lorde (1934-1992) American writer, poet and activist (Sister
Outsider: Essays and Speeches).
McKay (1889-1948) Jamaican-American novelist associated with
the Harlem Renaissance (Home to Harlem, Banana Bottom).
'Moms' Mabley (1897-1975) American comedienne, popular at
the Apollo Theatre (from 1939).
Mathis American singer. Sinatra and Elvis are the only male
singers with more hit albums in the USA. Mathis went to number
one in Britain with 'When a Child is Born' (1976).
Simon Nkoli (1957-1998) South African activist who founded
the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW) and
was later involved in Black gay choirs and sports groups.
Rainey (1886-1939) American singer who is credited with popularising
Smith (1894-1937) American blues singer who was known as the
Empress of the Blues.
Strayhorn (1915-1967) American jazz musician and composer,
he was Duke Ellington's right-hand man
(1947-1988) American singer. This sassy, outrageously camp and
flamboyant disco diva hit the pop charts with the classic 'You
Make Me Feel Mighty Real' in the late 1970s.
(1896-1977) American actress and singer who introduced 'Stormy
Weather' at the Cotton Club and starred on Broadway and in Hollywood
Rustin (1910-1987) Civil rights and gay activist, best known
as the organiser of the 1963 March on Washington
Winfield (1941-2004) American actor who was nominated for
an Oscar for his portrayal of a sharecropper in Sounder (1972).
Bourne (some of the images sourced from his private collection)
Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History eds. Robert Aldrich
and Garry Wotherspoon (Routledge, 2001)
Constantine Simms, author, The
Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month - http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk
Gay Men's Advisory Group - http://www.bgmag.org.uk
Lesbians UK - http://www.bluk.org.uk
to Z of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people - http://gayinfo.tripod.com/
the Mask - A website magazine on lesbian and gay affairs in
cultural resources for LGBT communities - http://www.queertheory.com/cultures/ethnics/queer_african.htm#authors
London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival - http://www.llgff.org.uk/
Federation Ltd - rukus! Federation Ltd is a ground breaking cutting
edge enterprise dedicated to celebrating and show -casing the
best in challenging work by Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans
artists nationally and internationally.
additional information, press images or interviews please contact
07813 823 095
Topher Campbell 07855278795