UK Black Pride demands pride events stop using blackface artists
Pride events are being urged to stop booking blackface artists who “perpetuate racist stereotypes”.
More than 100 activists have signed a letter by UK Black Pride caling for the events to abandon using such acts.
It comes after PinkNews revealed Durham Pride had booked a ‘blackface Beyonce’ act to perform alongside stars like Jedward at their annual festival.
The organisers were forced to apologise and axe the performer who used skin darkeners to appear more like black artist Beyonce.
The open letter writes that black activists from the LGBT community were “appalled” to learn that blackface performers continue to be booked by pride event.
They wrote: “Blackface is a form of racism that dehumanises black people turning them into objects that can be ‘performed’.
“It is a modern form of minstrelsy and has no place at Pride.”
They added: “Considering this history it is abhorrent that in 2017 Pride festivals across the UK are booking racist acts that marginalise BAME LGBTQs further.”
Stonewall said Pride events booking “blackface” acts was a “serious issue that faces our community”.
In a statement, Stonewall said: “It has no place in society, let alone at Pride events, where LGBT people and allies should feel free to be their authentic selves.
“This Pride season, let’s learn from these lessons together, and ensure that all LGBT people feel proud, and that no one feels left out or excluded.”
Durham Pride was forced into a u-turn after booking a ‘blackface’ Beyonce performer.
Leanne Harper, a white artist who performs as Beyonce, who is black, caused offence as she usually applies skin darkener to her face in an attempt to look like Beyonce.
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When challenged on ‘blackface’ claims the 31-year-old reacted angrily, telling concerned patrons: “If your offended stay away.”
The singer, who claims to be the best Beyonce tribute act in the UK, had said: “should I not be allowed to perform as I am white?”
She continued: “I have dancers and family members of this origin I would hope they would tell me if black face was what my act was about?”
The pride dropped the performer after PinkNews reported the controversy.
The group had previously claimed they consulted a black and minority ethnic charity, who they say told them the ‘blackface’ was not an issue.