Poems to mark massacre at gay nightclub to be released on anniversary

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Poems by 16 LGBTQ poets are to be released on an album, We Will Keep On, in response to a documentary called Disarm Hate about the Orlando massacre at a gay nightclub in the US.

On 12 June, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Orlando police shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff.

The album will be released by spoken word record label Nymphs & Thugs, which commissioned the poems as part of their ‘Disarm Hate x Poetry’ project, part-funded by Arts Council England.

We Will Keep On will be released digitally on 12 June 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Orlando massacre. It will also be released on vinyl later in the summer. The commissioned poets are: Afshan D’souza Lodhi, Andrés Nicolás Ordorica, Andrew McMillan, Antonia Jade King, Buddy Wakefield, Dean Atta, Ella Otomewo, Emanuel Xavier, Joelle Taylor, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Keith Jarrett, lisa luxx, Oli Spleen, Ollie O’Neill, Patrizia Longhitano, and Reece Lyons.

Members of the public will be invited to submit their own responses to ‘Disarm Hate’ and the Orlando massacre. Both audio and text submissions will be published by Nymphs & Thugs. To support this, they’ll be staging four free virtual workshops, delivered by poets featured on the album.

Matt Abbott, of Nymphs & Thugs, said: “The core aim of Nymphs & Thugs is to fight social injustice and champion causes. In commissioning 16 of the world’s leading LGBTQ poets, we wanted to build a powerful message to engage, inspire, and support the LGBTQ community around such a tragic anniversary. The outcome is simply breath-taking. It’s a huge honour to be releasing this album.”

Profits from album sales will be donated to the Contigo Fund in Orlando and Stonewall in the UK. The 2020 documentary Disarm Hate follows nine LGBTQ activists on a road trip from Los Angeles to a national ‘Disarm Hate’ rally in Washington, DC.

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