“The thing that gets reaffirmed for me every time I attend a No Fly on the WALL event is just how much we all have in common. It always strikes me that a Black woman sitting across the room from me whom I’ve never met before can sing my whole life back to me without even realising it. There is a common thread that runs through us all. But what I’m most grateful for is the genuine connections that I’m able to make with these women every month. Some will just be for that moment and others will last a lot longer but I’m better for knowing them because each time I get to know myself a little more.” – Seyi Newell, Founder of TRiBE
In July 2013, soon after graduating from the University of Cambridge, writer, performer, and producer Siana Bangura founded No Fly on the WALL, an online and offline platform centring the voices of Black British women and Black women living in the UK. Inspired by conversations that were taking place online at the time and propelled into action by feelings of simultaneous invisibility and hypervisibility, Bangura curated an online space for new and exciting voices to lead conversations about everything from the vast and diverse experiences of Black British womanhood to Black masculinity and its relationship with Feminism, and how marginalised voices can learn to Take Up Space unapologetically.
Over the course of five years, No Fly on the WALL provided online and offline spaces in which to explore and interrogate the status quo, all the while advocating the power of building as a community, being in the room when possible, and networking and collaborating meaningfully.
The political landscape in Britain has changed significantly since 2013, when various grassroots and DIY organisations like No Fly on the WALL began. Since then there has been an upsurge of creative, radical, grassroots, and independent platforms providing a voice and representation for young Black women and Women of Colour in particular.
As we close the doors of the No Fly on the WALL Academy and embark on the challenge of organising differently, we have put together a collection of some of our best and most poignant pieces from across the years. We believe in the importance of archiving our personal and shared histories and hope that by adding to the canon of Black British Feminist literature, we continue to play a small part in empowering the disenfranchised to place their heads above the parapet, and refuse – always – to merely be a fly on the wall, watching as the world turns on its axis.
Voices in this collection include:
‘Head Above The Parapet’ will be published by the Haus of Liberated Reading on Sunday 8th July 2018. The collection is edited by Siana Bangura.