The photoserie Black Queer Love is a collaboration between photographer Leonel Piccardo and queer activist Naomie Pieter for the recently launched human rights movement BlackPrideNL.
Black Pride NL is a human rights movement centering and celebrating the Black LGBTQIA+ community and other LGBTQIA+ communities of color.
The photoseries is a direct reaction on the graphic images/videos of Black people being killed because of police violence and other racial and anti-LGBTQIA+ violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Ahmaud Arbrey, Tomy Holten, Breona Taylor, George Floyd, Riah Milton, Dominique Fells and the trail of Orlando Boldewijn (may they rest in power).
The photoseries also responds to the lack of representation during the mainstream Pride celebration in the Netherlands and online. Piccardo and Pieter felt the urge to respond to this dehumanizing imagery and lack of representation by centering the Black LGBTQIA+ community through the concepts of love, healing, joy and (chosen) family.
The idea of the photoseries came to Leonel when he was standing under the shower. Frustrated by the lack of Black LGBTQIA+ representation. He felt the urge to amplify the imagery of vulnerability, community, intimacy, and joy of the Black LGBTQIA+ community. With his idea, he called Naomie.
The idea of the photoseries came to Naomie when she was busy setting up Black Pride NL, the recently launched human rights movement centering and celebrating the Black LGBTQIA+ community. Frustrated by the lack of funds she didn't know how to produce new images of the Dutch Black LGBTQIA+ community. Images that would center love and healing. But then Leonel Piccardo called.
Piccardo and Pieter knew each other before from a photoshoot where they worked together. Piccardo knew that Pieter is a queer activist so it felt logical to reach out to her. Together they started the journey that resulted in this ongoing photo series.
What does it mean to you to be Black & LGBTI+?
"Being black and LGBTI for me has never been a problem for me cause I accepted who I am, how I look, and how I act and feel. At a very young age, I came to the realisation some people just don’t understand. And that’s ok, I always knew who I was, and accepting it was probably the best thing that could happen in my life. I'm proud to say I am a fucking gay black man"
"Centering the Black LGBTQIA+ community through the concepts of love,healing, joy, and (chosen) family"
How does Black Queer Healing look like to you? How do you do it?
"I have accepted that healing needs to come from within myself. It is easy to seek healing from others. But the black and the queer communities often lie far apart. There are racist queer people and there are homophobic black people. Within me, it is the combination of being both black and queer that needs peace and love. So I come to the conclusion that the process of healing needs to circulate within me and my lifestyle.
Surroundings do have a big influence on that circulation. It is inevitable that there can be racism and homophobia thrown at me once I leave my front door. So at an early age, I have learned to stand solidly in my body and mind to prevent my ‘circulation of healing’ to be disrupted by any external influences."
What kind of images are you missing when thinking about Black LGBTI+ representation?
"I see every person as an individual. And being on the road a lot, made me see a whole range of different kind of spirits in the LGBTI+ community. Very special if you ask me. Love it with all my heart.
If we talk about the older Black LGBTI+ community I miss the older spirits who lived in different times. Once in a while, it is good to learn about their journey.
The problems they had to face, how they deal with a current society where the new generation is very open, opinionated, and free-minded. And I think I miss the black LGBTI+ families. Those whom you don't see in the clubs or festivals."
DJ Shug La Sheedah
"I am. I am not my age, my skin color, or my profession. I am not even who I say I'll be tomorrow. The I am, that I am, is free from all the ways I invent to stay calm and zen within myself. I think that I am first laughs at me hysterically and then smiles upon me lovingly. "Such silliness", I am might think. She's climbing mountains and scraping pots just to figure out who I am, so she may know who she is. Should I tell her she already knew who I was? Should I tell her that to know who I am, all she has to do is be still? Should I tell her she already knew who I was, before she opened her hunt on who I am? I'll play along for a little bit, let her search along for a little bit. Maybe, maybe just long enough until she falls down from exhaustion and sees me lying next to her. Then she'll surely smile, and quietly yet surely say, I am that I am."
Rellie Telg (Writer)
"I am everything, really. But to identify: Non-binary, genderfluid, omnisexual, androgynous, pussy-eating Queer Womxn with a Spiritual Dick"
Zulu Green for PrideRadio
Special thanks to the Subjects, who open their homes for us:
Sherry Jae Ebere
DJ Shug La Sheedah
Tieneke Sumter + Yentl Sumter
Andre Reeder + Ernistine Comvalius + Roy Wijks
Adwoa Rose Sarpong & Comfort Esther Kondeshon
Monai Nailah McCullough
Alexander Leslie & Guno Berkleef
Sean-Claude Neufville + Mike
Miguella Garcia + Zeni Winter
Elly Vineyard + Aitana T. Louboutin
Lawrence + Ashley
Showcased as part of the official launch of the BlackPride.NL, hosted at The BlackArchives in collaboration with Naomie Pieters.
28th Jul - 1st Aug 2020
OBA Amsterdam - Zwart Beweging
Showcased as part of an exhibition curated by The BlackArchives, commemorating 147 Years since the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands. this exhibition bringing together work from Leonel Piccardo, Airich, and others.
15th Oct - 15th Dec 2020