The Duckie Family Legacy takes place at Rich Mix, February 17th. The night has been put together by filmmaker Campbell X and Kayza Rose, head of media at UK Black Pride.
We spoke to Kayza Rose to find out more…
1# Please tell us about the upcoming Rich Mix show Duckie Family Legacy…
Duckie Family was something Campbell X and I created to address the lack of diverse events for Queer People of colour. Duckie is an arts organisation founded 22 years ago for working class Queer people. They realised they lacked events/spaces that would serve the wider LGBTQ community – people in the community who are not white working class, as this is their main audience.
2# Why is it important for you to put an event like this together?
Legacy was created because there is a common misconception that POC have no LGBTQI history of their own, we do. We wanted to show how rich our contribution to society has been and continues to be. Taking a look back to acknowledge those who paved the way for us and those doing the work now. It’s also about archiving what we do and share so that future generations can see we were here.
Events like this are important because like the wider community, the Queer one has a racism problem. In terms of performance spaces there have been many issues with black face performances and POC not feeling welcome or safe in quite a few spaces. Events like ours are about celebrating POC on stage, about making sure we provide a place to take up space unapologetically.
3# You worked with filmmaker Campbell X on this project Mzz Kimberley & Sadie Sinner host … how did you find your team and more importantly in this current climate of minimum funding how did you pull this project off?
I’ve known Campbell X for around 5 years now and have been great friends for most of that time. We have worked on a few projects together so it feels natural and safe. In terms of the entire team of fantastic people of colour that make up the production team and the performers, they’re in our community. It’s important to support the work people do, not just speak to them when you need something.
In terms of funding, this money was in my Change Maker budget for me to create spaces/events. Change Maker is a programme created by Arts Council England to address the lack of leadership diversity in the arts. I joined Duckie on the Arts Council Changemaker programme in October 2016 to shake up what it means to be an Arts Producer in the UK in 2018. I’ve produced a season of innovative black queer events including the film, performance and clubbing triptych Duckie Family, the nourishing mental health format Family Dinner and a new QTPOC London youth theatre that opens early 2018. I was also tasked with updating the traditionally white-facing LGBT outfit Duckie with a more intersectional approach to producing art and culture
4# What was most challenging about getting this production together and what are you most excited about for people to see?
The most challenging thing really was not being able to have everyone. We have so much rich talent around if I could, I’d have them all. I’m excited for Queer POC to see a space that was created with them in mind and to feel they own the space.
5# How do you juggle being executive director of Black Out London, Head of Media Production at UK Black Pride and Organiser at Arts Council England?
When you find out, let me know! I just make it work, it’s important to do the things I do. All of them.
6# It’s clear you’re all about effecting change. Can you look back to the younger Kayza and say ‘yep, that’s where it all started’?
I just feel like the work is bigger than me. Like there is this thing that takes over me and I find myself just doing the work. I guess the ancestors are guiding me. Younger Kayza was doing the work, it’s just not recorded for anyone to find. I can think back to as young as 4 and remember helping in one way or another.
7# The Duckie Legacy features performances from LGBTQI creatives, which way does this production face, is it for LGBTQI audiences or for everyone to enjoy?
This space is for everyone to enjoy, all we ask is that the people attending respect the reason the space was created. Not all performers are LGBTQI, there are some allies taking to the stage also. This is important if we are serious about wanting people to understand us and speak up for us when we can’t find our voice.
8# The stereotype that African, Caribbean and religious black people are homophobic is portrayed in the arts quite a lot, of course, there are true experiences, but there are also black LGBTQI people who didn’t have negative coming out experiences. In your opinion how far has the evolution of the acceptance of black LGBTQI people come from within the black community and on screen and stage…? (Does it get tiring having to speak on behalf of the LGBTQ community?)
This is an interesting question/statement, thank you. We’ve all heard the stories that African Caribbean people don’t like/accept Queer people. This is true in some cases and in others, it’s not. I think that if we are going to speak about this then we have to go back to the reason some of these countries and religious people have a problem with Queer people at all, colonialism. We did not make the laws and we did not have the power. In my personal experience, I’ve met POC who are homophobic and those that want to help and support those less able to speak on their own behalf. The problem is representation, we don’t have enough of it. People salivate over black pain and so in the arts, you’re more likely to hear about the stories of our oppression and not our achievements. Life is tiring but the work is the work and it’s what I choose. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
9# Black Pride UK is growing every year, what can people expect from this year’s event?
Expect joy, comfort, a celebration of self, great food and entertainment. Please expect to dance until your legs ache and make new friends. Expect to feel among family.
10# What do you want people to take from this show and will you be putting on more?
I want people to take what they need (figuratively)! Family is a brand created by Campbell X and myself, we will be doing more events. As my friend Speech Debelle said, “The work can’t done.”
Duckie Family Legacy takes place at Rich Mix, Saturday, February 17th, 2018. Find out more and book your tickets here.