Jonny Woo in his city of inclusivity
07 June, 2019 — By The Xtra Diary
FROM solemn commemorations of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary to the abhorrently cynical launch of the M&S lettuce, guacamole, bacon + tomato (LGBT) sandwich, Gay Pride month will impact Londoners in all sorts of ways this June.
And Diary couldn’t help but notice the recent transformation of the Strand, which now displays a rainbow of colourful banners celebrating diversity and inclusion.
In an unorthodox team- up, international drag artiste Jonny Woo (pictured) has collaborated with the slightly more mundane Northbank Business Improvement District (BID) to launch a summer-long initiative called #Northbank Together.
Mr Woo’s poem You Know My Name, which lovingly describes the charms of the Strand, forms a poetic trail in shop windows along the famous thoroughfare and neighbouring Villiers Street. Featuring lines such as: “An artery pumping life into your London’s beating heart, since way before your own humble start” and “From a song, a magazine, a cigarette or a game, you know my name”, Diary is curious to see whether Jonny Woo can add to the legacy of Williams Blake and Wordsworth and TS Eliot, who all used the capital as their muse.
“London is the world’s most diverse city and all of its residents are entitled to reap the rewards of its world-leading status. Inclusivity is about making others feel safe and welcome and if done collectively we don’t need to worry about our own interests as someone else will be looking after us too,” Mr Woo tells Diary.
“I grew up in Medway, so Charing Cross was always my entry into London. I have a romantic and historic affection for this part of London so I’m thrilled to see it not only being given a bit of TLC by the BID but also proudly supporting inclusivity and diversity.”
At the launch this week Jonny Woo wore an outfit created by A-list designer Julian Smith, consisting of a lilac dress and a pair of killer heels (see above).
He took a walk under the newly installed flags, delighting visitors, commuters, and passers- by.
Westminster Council has also joined in the fun. Councillor Ian Adams, who has the wordy full title of “Member for Hyde Park Ward, Cabinet Member for Public Protection & Licensing, and LGBT+ Lead Member”, said: “Westminster truly is a city for all and it’s wonderful to see diversity and inclusion celebrated by the Northbank BID. Whether you’re new to the area or a regular visitor or local resident, I hope you find enjoyment and inspiration from this imaginative and eye- catching campaign.”
Diary salutes poet and drag queen Jonny Woo, who is clearly a man of many talents. It seems unlikely that William Wordsworth could have pulled off that outfit with such aplomb.