We are delighted to welcome the awe-inspiring campaigner, Lady Phyll, as our latest Inspirational Role Model and to feature her moving answers to our latest IRM hot spot:
Describe your role in one sentence
To inspire, motivate and lead a team of dedicated and impassioned volunteers to deliver the intersectional celebration that is UK Black Pride.
Who or what has been your main inspiration in your career?
From the connection I feel to my ancestors to the women surviving and thriving without fanfare or acclaim, I’m inspired by Black and indigenous women. So much of our lived experience, as Black women and as queer Black women, is about fighting for the right to be heard, seen and valued, and so I’m inspired by women who won’t be quiet, who speak truth to power and who never let up. The women who inspire me, whether out and vocal activists, sex workers or mothers working hard to put food on the table, are formidable because they continue to survive against the odds, because they won’t be contained. I’m also incredibly inspired by my daughter; I want to help create a world she can be her best, most unapologetic self in.
What are the five words that best describe you?
Formidable, loving, loyal, powerful, beautiful
What are your favourite pastimes when you aren’t working?
I don’t have much free time but, when I do, I love listening to my daughter sing. There’s always a new book to read and one of my guilty pleasures is cocktails and dinner with friends and loved ones.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
There is plenty to be changed about the world, but if I had to change one thing, there would be no racism. Racism impacts the lives of every single person on earth and means that those who are categorized as ‘other’ (in whatever country they’re in) are subject to the most grotesque and harmful discrimination. So much more could be achieved in this world if we didn’t first have to overcome the racism that so blights our lives. But, of course, I can’t change that on my own. It takes everyone recognizing how racism shows up in their language, in their thoughts; for people to really understand what it is and how it works, so that they can stop perpetuating the racism that casts such a daily shadow on the lives of Black, brown and indigenous people around the globe.
What is your favourite holiday place – and why?
Anywhere I can plunge into the ocean!
What was the book which most influenced you when a teenager or child?
The bible was an influencer as a child and then, as a teenager, it was a book “Black like me” by John Howard-Griffin and also “When a caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou.
Do you like to live in the countryside or are you an urban person?
I prefer a bit of both. There is something so energising about the city, but escaping to the countryside or to the coast is essential; not only for cleaner air, but for space!
Including Stonewall and AKT, which charities do you support and why?
I’m particularly passionate about charities that support LGBTQ youth, survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence and prisoners.
What are your short, medium and long-term targets for UK Black Pride?
The team and I share the same ambition: we’d love UK Black Pride to be the go-to policy and advocacy organisation for Black LGBTQ people across the UK. We’d like to see our work be more year-round, including satellite events around the country. And we’d like to develop more of our editorial offering, to ensure that diverse voices have a place they can call home.
What initiatives – generally, professionally, personally – are currently top of your agenda?
UK Black Pride has just entered into an important and hard-worked-for partnership with Stonewall to ensure we have the operational and financial support to continue our growth, so I’m spending a lot of time at the moment ensuring this partnership gets off to the best start. Stonewall are a dream to work with and we’re thrilled that they have put their money and operational know-how where their mouth is to help ensure we continue to grow.
What are your biggest challenges in achieving an optimal work/life balance?
I find it very difficult to switch off and so I’m really working on taking a step back, delegating and getting more rest. We’ve much work to do!