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PRIM presents We Needed This, an event focused on celebrating the black queer community through music

As one of the ten winners of The Special Event Call Out we launched in partnership with Selina last month, PRIM presents We Needed This, a free DJ workshop for young black LGBTQIA+ creatives, which will be held at Selina’s new Camden location on Thursday 24 June. With only 15 tickets up for grabs, we spoke to K Bailey Obazee, founder of PRIM, curator, and professional storyteller about their upcoming event and why you should be coping your ticket right now.

PRIM presents We Needed This, an event focused on celebrating the black queer community through music

PRIM: a platform for storytellers

First things first, if you’ve never heard of PRIM, then let me tell you—you’ve been missing out. The unique online space is dedicated to educating, connecting, documenting and sharing the myriad of Black stories, experiences and words that exist. “Our goal is to make stories of African, Caribbean and Afro-Latinx fam accessible to all. From a pioneering author’s catalogue and written stories to video readings, films, documentaries, photography and more—you’ll find it all on PRIM. Stories created and told by us,” K explained.

Launched in 2019, PRIM was born out of K’s interest in not only knowing about their community’s collective history, but also understanding it in order to define who they are, how they express themselves and be valued as a queer black person. “I love engaging in stories, and when I can see myself represented in them it invigorates me. Our platform can serve to really move society into a lasting, more inclusive, community-oriented direction,” they shared.

PRIM has achieved a lot in such a short space of time, cultivating an engaged community ready to learn and educate. “We could not be more excited or proud of what we have achieved and the support of the community to get us here. We have so many amazing black storytellers who have contributed to the platform and we just love their work!” K added.

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We Needed This

After over a year of online events and video calls, PRIM, just like the rest of the world, felt the need to reconnect with its community, as well as with new faces, through a real-life event. And what better title for a first real-life event based on exchange and coming together than ‘We Needed This’?

“We really just wanted to create a space to come together and learn something!” said K. “Music is very intrinsic to the queer black community and not just in partying but in production, as a musician and also in supporting musicians.” We Needed This will consist of an evening revolving around a DJ workshop taught by two top UK DJs from the black queer community, Sippin’ T (also known as one of the co-founders of BBZ) and renowned producer A.G.

“Our young black creatives are the next generation of party-goers and organisers. Being able to do shit yourself and also collaboratively is vital for us. We hope this gives Sippin’ T and A.G a chance to pass on knowledge gained over years in the game and also create room for the young people to meet them, hear about their journey intimately and, of course, learn the art of DJing,” K explained.

PRIM is all about storytelling and sharing the myriad of ways and mediums individuals can use to tell their own stories. And music is a huge part of that. “We’re really wanting to reach out to young people and get them inspired by the work of safe spaces like Exist Loudly. We want to add to their work and support them, which is why we’re prioritising young people from their network.”

And if you’re still not convinced PRIM’s event is perfect for you, K has nothing but kind words, “That’s okay, if not now then maybe another time. It’s important people get involved in things when they feel truly ready. We’re here though and we always will be.”

If you do feel like this event might be the one, then make sure to get yourself a ticket here while they’re still available, and on that note, I’ll leave you with K’s contagious excitement about meeting you all, “It has truly been way tooooo longggg and we’ve missed being in a room full of gays!”

How black people found solace in cycling during the Black Lives Matter protests

In the deepest, darkest waves of lockdown, I vowed to use this opportunity to get fit. I swore I would prepare for next year’s marathon and even tried my hand at Chloe Ting’s workouts, which I can undoubtedly say are not for the weak-hearted. Nonetheless, I persevered with my daily squats not realising that I was actually prepping for several tests of personal endurances. While abiding by the regulations, I attended an array of protests with a spring in my step to counteract the stress, as I had found a physical activity that I actually enjoyed—cycling.

Cycling, in some form, has always been a political statement, and cycling while black is a political act itself. Britain’s long-held commercial representation of cyclists have predominately been of white people while, unfortunately for black cyclists, the cultural caricature the media presents answers to the title ‘roadman’.

We’ve long laughed at these humorous, underlying racist narratives but what the past few months have depicted is that regardless of wealth, profession or vehicle, black people are more likely to endure degrading stop-and-searches by police officers.

On the 14 June, one hot Sunday afternoon, I accepted an offer to spend the day cycling from Oxford Circus to Clapham Common with Chain Cyclists, a collective group raising money for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust with the motto ‘A cycle of change in the community’.

When Jason, Peniel, Ben and Emmanuel jointly rediscovered their love for riding, they didn’t expect the rapid growth. “It started as a way of keeping healthy and spending time with our friends. Once we realised how many people wanted to join us, we took the initiative towards doing something positive and have been going strong ever since.”

Despite the shifting decline of media coverage of those still fighting for black lives, many have continued spreading support for black activists, businesses and groups on socials, ahead of the first Black Pound Day in June. The second Black Pound Day happened on 1 August and will continue to occur every first Saturday of each month.

While financial support for black businesses is being encouraged, others have found comfort in showing up with their bikes and riding in solace with other black cyclists under the umbrella term ‘the Black Unity’. The bike ride event said to be “riding in the name of unity, empowerment and love” hosted by Black Cyclists Network joined forces with Chain Cyclists and Toksy Toks to organise the day. With the hopes of achieving equality, this event invited a multitude of other collectives to join the day and combat the taboo. And thus, a black cycling community was born.

Temi, founder of Black Riders Association was one of many invited to tag along for the day. In 2018, Temi agreed to join a fellow friend on a fundraising cycle from London to Nigeria. “As a keen traveller, I was taken aback by my friend’s bravery,” he said. “I’ve always cycled but never with intention, so when the opportunity arose to come along I took it and being of Nigerian descent I wanted to take this chance to go back and visit.” As he prepped and trained ahead of his trip, he began to source and search for information that led to his discovery.

“Blogs, shops, events and cycling groups were dominated by white men,” he explains, “It was hard to find black cyclists at the time, possibly because of the taboo, but I found a few who advised me on what bike to get and training tips.” Following the trip that took him around 14 countries in two and a half months, he noticed the budding interest in his journey which led him to create My Choice, a social enterprise making impactful change. “I felt that by increasing diversity in cycling and forming a group that encourages leisure and fitness, cycling helps make it more accessible.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a fellow cyclist, announced plans to spend £2 billion on a new cycling scheme in a bid to tackle obesity in the UK. Following the £50 bike repair voucher scheme recently introduced, Johnson has now promised cycle lessons for all. Additionally, new bike lanes will be introduced and GPS are set to prescribe cycling as part of the push.

Cycling culture is on the rise for diverse reasons. I hope that, alongside the introduction of these schemes, Johnson also start tackling the racial profiling of black cyclists so that marginalised communities can also reap the benefits. After all, we all want to work together to tackle climate change, right?