June 24, 2016
Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar – 24.06.16
Today we are processing the results of the EU referendum.
Although it will be some time before we can begin to heal and come together again as a nation, we are continuing to look ahead for reasons to stand together.
And if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s pride. Pride in our diversity; a community that has different opinions, that is still connected and that stands for whatever it believes in.
So, in this week’s On Your Radar we are taking stock of what we remain proud of. As it’s Pride this weekend, what better time to support our communities’ diversity with the most fabulous party of the year.
Whether you’re taking part in the festivities, celebrating (or commiserating) the results of the painful EU referendum, or just happy Roy and his men are still at the Euros, here’s to standing up for what you believe in and who you are.
1. SECRET SAUCY SOHO
This Pride, we’re heading to Soho, the gay heart of London, to celebrate both the area’s diversity and its heritage.
Secret Saucy Soho promises to take audiences on a whirlwind tour through the city’s most colourful and flamboyant district. This doesn’t just focus on its gay legacy, but takes pride in the history and spirit of London; one that is facing extinction from soulless development, rising rent prices and gentrification.
For us, this is what pride is all about; accepting Soho’s rich past – warts and all – and rejoicing in being a little bit different.
2. TRAFFIC LIGHTS
Next we’re happy to share the most progressive of traffic lights, which follow in the steps of some of our European neighbours.
Selected London traffic light pedestrian crossings are being upgraded this month to symbols of gay pride ahead of the LGBTQ+ festival. The green figure has been joined by a partner, with the couple’s hands joining to show a heart between them.
At a time when gay communities continue to face threats and marginalisation across the world – Turkey’s gay and trans pride marches are among of the latest casualties of suppression – the initiative provides visual reminders of acceptance across the city.
While small, the symbols are just one of the way that London is showing its support for Orlando, according to its Mayor – and we’re particularly proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in a time of adversity.
3. MISS BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL
A show all about celebrating strength and pride is Miss Black and Beautiful – the first major exhibition of photographs by Raphael Albert, cultural promoter and photographer of black beauty pageants in west London from the late 1960s to the 1980s.
A response to mainstream fashion and lifestyle platforms where black women were largely absent or at best marginal, these competitions gave women of the 1970s an area they could own themselves and celebrate their heritage – a spirit we salute.
4. BRITS IN EUROPE
We may have left the European Union, but here at Unity towers we are still proud to be geographically and culturally European.
As Britons we have always explored the world, welcomed by and integrating with other communities. A project by a London photographer is a record of this, capturing just some of the stories of the 1.2 million Brits living across Europe.
Travelling across the continent, 70 ex-pats living in seven different EU member countries have been featured in this touching insight into how Europe affects us positively, even when outside our own nation.
The project, titled Brits In Europe, reminds us how interconnected Europe is, in or out of the EU, and the human stories it plays host to.
5. HOUSE OF VANS
A brand that has always been loud and proud about embracing creativity, Vans is bringing their ‘Off The Wall’ philosophy to a new space in London.
Promising to be a ‘home to the creativity that moves us’, it opens this week with Unbelievable Power, a collective exhibition gathering the work of Kingston University Illustration Animation students for their Graduate show.
As well as skate sessions, the House of Vans is also home to a free cinema, where you can catch lesser known contemporary flicks before they end up on your TV – fueling their ongoing commitment to building a creative community that unashamedly believes in their ethos.
6. FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL
And finally, if there’s little else for you to be proud of this week, look to the Euros for your fix. With England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all through to the next round of the tournament, almost everyone has a reason to celebrate this weekend (sorry, Scotland).