Rainbow Noir is a social, peer support and community action group and network, based in Manchester. The group have been creating spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people of colour to connect, see and celebrate themselves for over six and a half years! Rainbow Noir are one of our regular #HOMEinspires groups. #HOMEinspires provides £1 tickets to all our theatre shows here at HOME. We also run exhibition tours and building tours for groups, and work with groups all around Greater Manchester to find ways to connect them with HOME both as audiences and artists. If you work with a group and would like to get involved email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chloe Cousins, Strategic Lead for Rainbow Noir joins us to tell us more about the group, the exhibition ‘HERE’ and the Stud Life screening taking place in October as part of A City Seen, our quarterly film night where we showcase work made by different Inspire Groups, or invite them to lead on selecting the screening and discussion.
‘Home’ for lots of people who come to Rainbow Noir is a word that is used to describe the space we all create together and so it’s apt that we are taking up space in Manchester’s HOME! Our meet up socials are somewhere people often find themselves, and a community that for so many of us feels like family. Alongside our meet ups, Rainbow Noir exists to raise the visibility of LGBTQI communities of colour in the city and across the UK, of our experiences, of our needs and excellence!! It’s a platform to really shout about and celebrate who we are as individuals and as a community.
HOME is a really special space for us as a group; being a part of the Inspire scheme has allowed us to broaden the spaces we occupy and explore together. It’s given us opportunities to see shows together that speak to our identities and who we are. The £1 tickets have made film and theatre so much more accessible to people who might not have come to a somewhere like HOME before. In addition to our monthly meet up, group trips to HOME allows for a different space for people to meet and connect in, experiencing shows together is a really great opportunity to get to know each other better and welcome new people along. It feels really good to be able to come and see things en masse, especially to shows about gender, sexuality and race. There is something really important about seeing a show that you connect with on a personal level, with people who get it and who have an unspoken understanding of how you’re feeling watching it. Often theatre audiences, are largely white, which can really shift the energy in the room and how you feel sat there watching, especially if the show is about race. HOME has a really racially diverse programme of film and theatre and we are really appreciative of the hard work that goes into getting diverse audiences in to see them. We give massive big ups to the Inspire scheme and to Anne Louise for her love and care in reaching out to communities in Manchester.
The Rainbow Noir: HERE exhibition as part of the #HOMEinspires gallery is an exciting opportunity for us! The exhibition features portraits of a small selection of people who come to Rainbow Noir, of which 10 are mounted in the Inspire Gallery and a further 16 on screens around the building, taken by Manchester artist Tom Quaye. The platform for visibility has been amazing; lots of people have been engaging with us on social media after having seen the exhibition. And for me, walking into HOME and seeing our huge images of local queer and trans people of colour on the wall to greet me is just really cool. It fills my heart to see us up there, taking up and taking back a whole lot of space. Within LGBT+ communities, histories and movements we have been erased and side lined for a long time. It feels like there has been an awakening over the last few years, to people acknowledging the existence of LGBTQI people of colour, of our histories and contributions; I feel like we are slowly moving forward, and so this platform that the Inspire Gallery has given us over Pride season and into Black History Month is fantastic.
I’m really looking forward to hosting a panel on black queer womxn and masculinity after the screening of Stud Life, in October for Black History Month. “London-set Stud Life is a sexy, young and cool gay romance taking a unique look at a slice of British urban life”, written and directed by Cambell X, a black, queer person who I have massive respect and admiration for. Personally, Stud Life is a really important film, it was one of the first films (if not the first, I can’t remember!) that I watched where I saw black, British lesbians, queerness and queer masculine women on screen. As a young, masculine, \mixed race black lesbian, it was amazing to see a character who resembled parts of me on screen, who I could relate to in ways, who reassured me I wasn’t the only person like me, which when I was younger, was something I battled with. I’m super excited to be hosting the panel following the film and exploring masculine women’s style, energy and identity with three awesome black queer masculine women based in Manchester. Claud Cunningham, founder of Manchester’s iconic black queer night Black Angel, Samira Acquaah, one of two fierce front women for Manchester based hip-hop rock band AJAH UK and physics whizz Kelsea Gill aka DJ Butchgalriri. It’s going to be wicked, so don’t miss it! Rainbow Noir HERE is up until Monday 14th October 2019.
Stud Life will be screened at HOME Monday 14 Oct, 18:10pm. Because it is part of the #HOMEinspires programme, tickets for this screening as £1, for everyone.
Check out Rainbow Noir online at www.facebook.com/rainbownoirmcr and @rainbownoirmcr on Instagram and Twitter.
You can find more of Tom Quaye’s beautiful work on his Queers of Manchester and 0161 pages.