Remembering Flip Fraser

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I had heard of a theatre performance I knew I must see and a group of us travelled to Nottingham armed with our tickets. I sat on the right hand side of the stage in the middle of an audience who became more ecstatic as the different heroes and sheroes made their appearances on that evening in the late 80s. These icons (mimicking wax dummies on entrance) gracefully floated across the space, in fineries of the time; proudly entered with a sense of great achievement, holding the appropriate instrument; engaged in a warrior dance, with necessary weapons; or, humbly and unwittingly stumbled into the spotlight, reflecting on why they were being portrayed. The deep voiced narrator gave the audience a clear understanding of those being presented. The audience applause became louder as the images came and went.

Whilst all were shouting, applauding or being aghast by the presence of the various strands of our history, I wondered what difference this evening would make on us tomorrow and whilst we had a full house tonight, I wondered about the masses who need to be told but were absent. Following of the many encores a man of stature was pulled onto the stage where he punched the air with a great sense of achievement.

I met Flip in 2007 when Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame performed in Leicester. This would be the third time I had seen it. We agreed there needed to be a legacy and talked of how this learning could be enhanced and widened and, promised to make contact six weeks later.

It took a further four years to meet this man again due to NHS bundling’s and recovery period etc. I however returned to the point of believing there was a definite need for a Heritage Impact Centre, an educational space with performance, imagery, text and sound bestowing our yesteryears on those who visited. Flip and the team I created here in Leicester began the conversations to bring about this centre and during that time I got to know the man behind the figure running onto the stage at the end of each performance, punching the air with clenched fist with all his might before leading the audience into the rendition of ‘we need a hall of fame’.

Flip’s creation of Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame caused me to have this vision and whilst there are some who would like to undermine the ability of delivering this, The Race Equality Centre has begun to provide elements of the concept.

Flip Fraser – I knew you personally for too short a while but I have known your creation from the first year of its production. I am rejoicing in your achievements rather than bemoaning your passing as I know your heroes and sheroes are awaiting you.

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