Black, Brown & Queer Fest puts the spotlight on intersectionality

Photo Credit: Jen Vesp

This weekend, Black, Brown & Queer Fest puts intersectionality where it belongs: Front and center in the conversation. Designed to showcase and appreciate Boston-based queer and trans artists of color, the free community festival takes place this Saturday (August 24) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Somerville’s Union Square Plaza.

Boston slam poet and hip-hop artist Oompa collaborated with the Somerville Arts Council on the “multi-disciplinary arts festival” to highlight artists from across the creative spectrum, from rap and punk music, to poetry and drag performances. The complete lineup includes DJ Lady Ly, Porsha Olayiwola, Golden, Red Shaydez, Brandie Blaze, Paper Citizen, Optic Bloom, Mint Green, Neon Calypso, Neon BLK (pictured above), and Just JP.

“This festival will be a celebration of Boston QTPOC artists and their contribution to the arts community/scene,” explains Oompa. “Often, QTPOC artists are asked to bring one part of themselves to the table and to leave or hide others. What is a safer space for one identity does not cross the intersections into other identities, and often QTPOC artists leave feeling exploited and unseen as a result. This festival is loud about wanting to name, create, and cultivate a space that sees QTPOC artists as whole people with intersectional stories and selves to share.” 

After working together on the Evolution of Hip Hop Festival last year, the Somerville Arts Council came to Oompa with the idea for Black, Brown & Queer Fest. With an aligned vision, the project came to fruition as one of the council’s many Somerville-based festivals for 2019.

“I think of the Somerville Arts Council/City of Somerville’s festivals that we produce in Union Square (this is one of eight this year) as a chance to give a platform to marginalized communities and artists who have more barriers in the way of getting a platform and a place to be heard,” Nina Eichner, special events manager of the Somerville Arts Council, tells Vanyaland. “This group of artists have to combat racism and gay oppression to make work and be artists so we wanted to provide a platform for them to share their stories, be heard, and celebrate with their community and allies.”

The rain date for the fest is this Sunday (August 25); check out all the details on the event’s Facebook page.