Black & Gay, Back in the Day

The brainchild of The Standard collaborator and HIV campaigner Marc Thompson, and journalist Jason Okundaye, BAGBITD is a digital photographic archive honouring, remembering and celebrating the Black British LGBTQ+ community over the last 50 years. In collaboration with Tash Walker and Shivani Dave of Aunt Nell, the makers of the award winning The Log Books podcast, they have created an 10 part series exploring black queer history through the lense of the Black & Gay photographic archive.

Landing in the midpoint of Black History Month, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the many voices and collaborators who contributed to the podcast, and the room filled with legends of the London LGBTQ+ community, including seminal Gay Liberation Front activist Ted Brown, voguer Roy Inc. and veteran nightclub promoter Yvonne Taylor.

Chantelle Ayanna provided the musical backdrop as guests entered the space, followed by an emotional welcome from podcast host and originator Marc Thompson. At the core of the evening was a rich intergenerational panel discussion with podcast collaborators Femi Otitoju, Jordan Onubogu and Fopé Anjanaku, hosted by assistant producer and participant Abi MacIntosh. They covered their experiences of making the podcast; a journey where each week a photograph from the archive is brought to life through the journey of a young Black queer person, to the deep and nourishing need for intergenerational conversations and spaces. It was a rich discussion filled with both humour, and the heartfelt sharing of their experiences.

“I felt there wasn’t anyone there to open the door for me, I first had to find the f*****g door! And then I had to batter at the door in order to be able to come out. I was so determined that other people shouldn’t feel that.”

  • Femi Otitoju on her takeaways from making the podcast

Closing out the evening was the legendary DJ and sound artist Ain Bailey, playing deep cuts late into the night as the furniture cleared and a makeshift dancefloor emerged by the booth.

Make sure you listen, subscribe and share the Black and Gay, Back in the Day podcast. You can also follow the archive on Instagram here. The panel discussion was recorded and will be made available as a bonus episode of the podcast at the end of the series.

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