adrienne maree brown, Black Obsidian Sound System, Lola Olufemi & Tourmaline

Happy Birthday, Marsha!

On the birthday of Marsha P. Johnson, this event brings together several elements that celebrate the radical care and kinship characteristic of the Trans revolutionary. 

Screening, performance, reading and discussion with adrienne maree brown, Black Obsidian Sound System and Tourmaline, chaired by Lola Olufemi. Subtitles for the video will be available soon. The screening of Happy Birthday Marsha! was made available to audience members on the day via a private link, so the film is not available to view here. A Google doc of collectively collated links and resources made during the public event is available here


Abolition is the work of care. Care is the fabric of the abolitionist promise of freedom: freedom from the carceral, and capitalist state grammar of ‘liberty’ and ‘justice’. The abolitionist dream is one of new intimacies, speculation and healing. 


On the birthday of Marsha P. Johnson, this event brings together several elements that celebrate the radical care and kinship characteristic of the Trans revolutionary. A screening of Happy Birthday, Marsha!, a speculative short film about Johnson's life in the hours before she ignited the Stonewall Riots by Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel is followed by a performance by Black Obsidian Sound System, a QTIPOC-led soundsystem, and a reading by organiser and writer adrienne maree brown.


To close the ‘Revolution is not a one-time event’ programme, a discussion with adrienne maree brown, members of B.O.S.S and Tourmaline, chaired by Lola Olufemi, explores militant revolutionary love and queer and trans desire as central to abolition. What is the radical potential of care and community? What new forms of kinship can we build that finally lay the nuclear family and state control of communities to rest? New forms of life begin in speculative gestures: how can performance and artistic practice help us anticipate and craft what we seek to build? 


adrienne maree brown is the author of Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World and Octavia’s Parables podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.


Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S) was established in the summer of 2018 with the intention of bringing together a community of queer, trans and non binary people of colour involved in art, sound and radical activism. Following in the legacies of sound system culture we wanted to learn, build and sustain a resource for our collective struggles. The system, based in London, will be available to use or rent by community groups and others with the purpose of amplifying and connecting us. Members of the B.O.S.S collective are: Adae, Deborah Findlater, Evan Ifekoya, Gin Resis’Dance, Hakeem Kazeem, Jlte, Mellowdramatics, Phoebe Collings-James, Mwen, Shy One, Melissa Fundira, Mwen, Naeem Davis, Sadqueersclub, Onyeka Igwe, Shamica, ORETHA, Natasha Nkonde.


Lola Olufemi is a Black feminist writer and organiser from London. She facilitates workshops on feminism and histories of political organising in schools, universities and local communities. She is the author of Feminism, Interrupted: Disrupting Power (Pluto, 2020) and co-author of A FLY Girl's Guide to University: Being a Woman of Colour at Cambridge and Other Institutions of Power and Elitism (Verve Poetry Press, 2019).


Tourmaline is an artist and filmmaker whose work includes Salacia, Mary of Ill Fame, Atlantic is a Sea of Bones, The Personal Things, Lost in the Music and Happy Birthday, Marsha! She is also an editor of TRAP DOOR, an anthology on trans cultural production published by the New Museum & MIT Press.