Empowering Voices: The Indelible Legacy of Lady Phyll and the Rise of UK Black Pride

Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah, widely celebrated as Lady Phyll, has emerged as a formidable force in LGBTQ+ advocacy, extending her influence far beyond our borders to make a significant global impact. Her commitment to championing equality, diversity, and inclusion has not only positioned her as a source of inspiration but also as a beacon of hope for many. Through her instrumental role in co-founding UK Black Pride, Lady Phyll has played a pivotal role in celebrating the intersectionality of Black and LGBTQ+ identities, thereby illuminating the unique challenges and experiences this community faces.


Lady Phyll’s narrative is deeply rooted in her upbringing in London, enriched by the diverse cultural heritage of her Ghanaian parents. The adversity she encountered, marked by racism, sexism, and homophobia, ignited a fervent zeal for activism. This drive propelled her into relentless advocacy for marginalized communities, through various roles within the public sector and the expansive field of LGBTQ+ advocacy. Her career is a testament to her lifelong dedication to dismantling inequality.

In 2005, the inception of UK Black Pride marked a transformative moment in acknowledging and celebrating Black LGBTQ+ identities. Recognizing a significant underrepresentation of Black LGBTQ+ individuals within mainstream Pride events, Lady Phyll, alongside a group of committed activists, initiated an event that was both a celebration and a powerful declaration of inclusivity and solidarity. What began as a modest gathering in Southend-on-Sea has blossomed into Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American descent, attracting thousands of attendees from across the globe.

Under Lady Phyll’s visionary leadership, UK Black Pride has transcended its status as an annual event to become a dynamic movement advocating for social justice. It steadfastly opposes racism, homophobia, and all forms of discrimination, actively advocating for the rights and dignity of Black LGBTQ+ individuals. Employing an intersectional approach, Lady Phyll’s activism acknowledges the complexities of identity and the compounded impact of discrimination, driving efforts towards fostering a more inclusive and unified LGBTQ+ community.

Beyond the achievements of UK Black Pride, Lady Phyll’s advocacy has reached the international stage. Her tenure as the executive director of the Kaleidoscope Trust saw her championing LGBTQ+ human rights globally. Currently, as the Chief Executive Officer of UK Black Pride, she continues to lead with distinction, advocating against homophobia and transphobia and promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality in countries where it remains illegal.

Despite numerous accolades recognizing her contributions to social justice and equality, Lady Phyll remains grounded, continually focusing on the ongoing struggle for equality. She is dedicated to amplifying the voices of those who are marginalized or silenced, underlining the persistent nature of this fight.

Lady Phyll’s legacy within the LGBTQ+ and Black communities is both profound and lasting. Her leadership has not only cultivated a space for celebration and solidarity but has also spotlighted the intricate challenges at the crossroads of race, sexuality, and identity. She has inspired a new generation of activists, motivated by her example, to aspire to a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their background or who they love.

Her foundational role in establishing UK Black Pride has spurred significant advances in inclusivity and representation within the LGBTQ+ community. The event has evolved into a formidable expression of unity, resistance, and pride, serving as a crucial platform for dialogue, cultural expression, and political activism. Under her guidance, UK Black Pride has grown in scope and influence, nurturing a sense of community and belonging among those who often find themselves on the periphery.

Expanding her activism beyond UK Black Pride, Lady Phyll has made significant strides in areas such as workplace equality, mental health, and the broader civil rights movement. Her efforts to combat discrimination have led to collaborations with trade unions, educational institutions, and other advocacy groups, thereby amplifying the impact of her work. As a leading voice in the media, she challenges stereotypes, confronts injustices, and advocates for comprehensive policy reforms.

The story of Lady Phyll and the creation of UK Black Pride stands as a powerful testament to the efficacy of community mobilization and the enduring pursuit of justice. It highlights the importance of creating spaces where individuals can freely celebrate their identities, without fear of discrimination or exclusion. Through her actions, Lady Phyll has emphasized the need for solidarity, empathy, and proactive engagement in combating oppression.

As UK Black Pride continues to flourish, it serves as a beacon of hope and an exemplar of intersectional activism. The success of the event reflects Lady Phyll’s exceptional leadership, vision, and unwavering commitment to the cause of equality. It embodies the potential for transformative change when communities unite in support of one another, showcasing the vibrant power of diversity and the enduring strength of collective action, resonating deeply with audiences in the UK and beyond.