UK Black Pride: Yasmin Finney and Emilé Sande celebrate as event smashes records

Yasmin Finney and Emilé Sande

Celebrities including Yasmin Finney and Emeli Sandé, and politicians including MP Dawn Butler joined a record-breaking UK Black Pride in London on Sunday (14 August).

Founded in 2005 by LGBTQ+ legend Lady Phyll, this year’s UK Black Pride hosted more than 25,000 people, the highest number of attendees since the event began.

The event, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, broke to record for largest Black Pride in the world, Lady Phyll announced at the event.

Speaking to the packed crowd, she said “We have just been announced by the Federation of Black Pride that we are now officially the largest Black Pride in the world… Look at this!”

A guest on stage added: “Bigger than New York, bigger than Los Angeles, bigger than San Francisco!”

Dr Lady Phyll added in a blog post that UK Black Pride is “eternally indebted to the loving power of the Black queer women who founded and maintain” the event and to “those who continue to show up in spirit and flesh to ensure” the communities have a Pride celebration “all their own”.

“We are grateful to those who express power rooted in a firm belief that equality is not a pipe dream or a nice-to-have, and those who harness their power to positively impact the lives of those who have been left behind and forgotten,” she wrote.

Celebrities in attendance included Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney – spotted by PinkNews in a gorgeous black dress and waving a trans Pride fan.

Emile Sandé, who came out as queer in April, was also at UK Black Pride, along with TV presenter Gok Wan, musician Sadie Sinner, drag icon Vinegar Strokes and DJ Biggie C.

Crowd attends UK Black Pride 2022 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Gok Wan attends UK Black Pride 2022 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

MP Dawn Butler and Emeli Sandé attend UK Black Pride 2022 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Dreya Mac performs at UK Black Pride 2022 (Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images)

Aaron Carty and the dancers of The Beyonce Experience perform on stage at UK Black Pride 2022 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

UK Black Pride, Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent started as a day trip to Southend-on-Sea, and has since been held at larger and larger venues.

The event has seen celebrations at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and Haggerston Park. The 2022 edition was the first in-person Black Pride since COVID-19, with a virtual version taking place last year.

A not-for-profit team was also at the event giving out free monkeypox vaccines.

Dr Will Nutland – co-founder of Team PrEPster, a project of The Love Tank which promotes health and wellbeing for under served people – told PinkNews the group brought supplies of monkeypox vaccine to the Pride event after noticing a disparity in who was able to get the vaccine. 

“We know there’s huge inequity in who’s getting the vaccine… we’ve seen great super-vaccination events happening at places like Guy’s on London Bridge,” Dr Nutland said.

“We also see from that the vast majority of people who are in line for the monkeypox vaccine have been white, cis gay men. 

“So we wanted to try to address some of those health inequities by working with our colleagues from Barts Health and Homerton to make sure we could get vaccine right into the place for those people who currently haven’t been first in line to get it.”

According to the latest data from the CDC, there have been 31,799 confirmed global cases of monkeypox in its current outbreak, as of Friday (12 August).