London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1975 - 2010

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • The archives of rukus! Federation Limited, referred to by rukus! as the 'rukus! Black, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (BLGBT) cultural archive' consists of collected diaries, letters, minutes and related papers, magazines, pamphlets, flyers, posters, journals, books, photographs and prints, audio-visual material, memorabilia and ephemera. Records relate to individuals including activists, DJs, club promoters, writers, artists and magazine publishers; community organisations; and subjects including sexual heath, black lesbians and women and night clubs.

    The records mainly cover London-based individuals and activities where the largest proportion of the BLGBT community has been based in the United Kingdom, but they also document the community on a national to international scale, for example with reference to initiatives in Nigeria, Africa and New York, United States of America.

    The collection consists of the records of rukus! Federation Limited, dating from 2000-2010 (catalogue sub-section references LMA/4571/01 - LMA/4571/03) including foundation papers, minutes, campaign letters, event and project material including programmes, flyers, photographs, recordings and press coverage, and general publicity concerning the organisation. These records document rukus!' creation of the Black, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (BLGBT) cultural archive.

    Also included are the records of founders of rukus!:

    - Ajamu, records dating from 1975-2010 (catalogue sub-section reference LMA/4571/04) relating to his personal life, photography career and community work. Included are records of 'Negro Twinz' Music Band and Black Review Publications Limited (both organisations based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire), and Ajamu Photographie Limited (Ajamu's photography business). Records include correspondence, recordings, photography event printed material and other papers.

    - Topher Campbell, records dating from 1994-2010 (catalogue sub-section reference LMA/4571/05) concerning the films he produced under Gorgeous Films including 'The Homecoming: A Short Film About Ajamu' (1996), events relating to his theatre and film company The Red Room, his involvement in London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and other activities. Material includes flyers, audio-visual material, photographs and press articles.

    The records in the 'rukus! Black, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (BLGBT) cultural archive' (LMA/4571/06) largely consist of collected material organised by rukus! and arranged by individual, organisation, subject or format. As well as collected items, this section includes further records of Ajamu documenting his involvement in wider community initiatives, and the records of the following individuals which were presented or donated by them to rukus!:

    - Valerie Mason-John alias 'Queenie', records dating from 1984-2005 (series LMA/4571/06/01/08) including newspaper articles, theatre posters, flyers, programmes, photographs and videos. These records were presented by Valerie Mason-John to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    - Reverend Rowland 'Jide' Macaulay, records dating from 199--2010 (series LMA/4571/06/01/10) consisting of articles, letters, flyers, CD and cassette, badges and stickers mainly relating to House of the Rainbow and Metropolitan Community Church. These records were presented by Reverend Macaulay to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    - Simon Nelson, records dating from 1999-2005 (series LMA/4571/06/01/12) consisting of posters and flyers mainly relating to Terrence Higgins Trust and Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust, articles and interviews including video recording. These records were donated by Simon Nelson to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    - Andrew Prince, records dating from 2002-2008 (series LMA/4571/06/01/14) consisting of flyers, magazine and newspaper articles mainly relating to Black Pride Festival organised by Outburst. Includes Andrew Prince's original civil partnership certificate. Presented to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    - Dorothea Smartt, records dating from 1982-2008 (series LMA/4571/06/01/15) consisting of published books, poems, flyers, photographs and oral history workshop cassettes. These records (with the exception of two items under reference code LMA/4571/06/01/15/037, 039) were presented by Dorothea Smartt to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    - Roy Thomas, records dating from 1983-1986 (series LMA/4571/06/01/17) consisting of his personal diaries with enclosed greeting cards from 'Carleton' (Ajamu), postcards, papers and photograph. Diary entries include personal daily thoughts and occurrences, his attendance at Huddersfield College, attending popular and gay events in northern England. These diaries were given to Ajamu by Roy Thomas and Ajamu presented them to rukus! Federation Limited as part of the rukus! archive project.

    ACCESS: In addition to the material subject to access restrictions under data protection legislation, some records have sexually explicit content which is not suitable for individuals under the age of 16 years. These records are available by appointment only.

    Audio-visual and digital records are available by appointment only. A further deposit made in 2016 (accession reference B16/186) remains uncatalogued and is available by appointment only.

    These records were catalogued by individuals who joined the rukus! volunteer project supervised by Richard Wiltshire, Senior Archivist, London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) with assistance of Ajamu and Topher Campbell between 2011-2014. LMA would like to thank all volunteers who contributed their valuable time to produce this catalogue which was completed in February 2015. Additional scope notes to audio-visual records were made during the Speakout London Heritage Lottery project in 2016.
Extent: 5 linear metres
Classification: BUSINESSES
Former Reference: Records were formerly box-listed and kept in boxes numbered 'RU [number]'. The former box numbers are given in this catalogue
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

The Collection Tree View below shows the catalogue level, document or item described on this page in the hierarchical context of the collection it belongs to, identified in the tree by the open folder icon and highlighed text. Browsing the collection tree can be a useful way to find similar or related documents.

You can click the arrows next to the folder icons to explore the collection, opening and closing the levels of the Collection Tree. If you click on a title, you will leave this page, opening instead the page of the catalogue level, document or item you selected. Only the DOCUMENT and ITEM levels describe physical documents. The COLLECTION, GROUP, SERIES and SUBSERIES levels provide structure for the collection, but are not physical documents. See Help-Using the Catalogue for more information on our levels of catalogue description.

Administrative History:
  • rukus! Federation Limited was founded in 2000 by Ajamu and Topher Campbell and named after rukus, an African-American porn star and 'Federation' from Topher's love of 'Star Trek', space adventure fictional television and film series. The organisation has provided a programme of community-based work with Black Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual, Trans (BLGBT) artists, activists and cultural producers. rukus! described itself as 'a ground breaking cutting edge enterprise dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the best in challenging, provocative works by Black Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Trans artists nationally and internationally'.

    rukus! has focused on organising events, screenings, workshops, theatre performances, club-based events, debates and exhibitions including heritage and archive collections. These initiatives have been led by the founders and 'production team', Ajamu (see LMA/4571/04 for further information) and Topher Campbell (see LMA/4571/05 for further information).

    rukus! was registered as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital, and also a registered charity (number 1120584) with objectives to:

    'advance the education of the public of the black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans history, heritage, and lived experience in the United Kingdom by: -maintaining an archive of oral histories, photographic and other documentation and cultural artefacts; -conducting and promoting research into the lives and lifestyle of African and Afro-Caribbean LGBT people and into the positive contribution made historically and culturally by black LGBT people to the wider society; -Presenting the results of research and information from the archive';

    'preserve and promote religious, racial harmony and equality of African and Afro-Caribbean and LGBT people and to provide relief for such people';

    'promote equality and diversity and to eliminate discrimination in relation to African and Afro-Caribbean and LGBT people'.

    Based in south London, the rukus! mailing address was PO Box 53614, Southwark.


    rukus! has led many projects and events relating to archives, exhibitions, oral histories and book launches including:

    2005: 'Queens Jewels Exhibition and Archive Launch', The Globe Centre, East End, London.
    Film Party Launch during Lesbian and Gay Film festival for African American Maurice Jamal Director of Ski Trip and Dirty laundry.
    Ajamu and Topher Campbell guest Speakers at Pride Rally main stage, Trafalgar Square, London.
    Ajamu and Topher talks at London Metropolitan Archives third annual Lesbian and Gay History conference.

    2006: 'Queens Jewels'- launches the London Borough of Lambeth's first LGBT History month events. Largest Black Gay event in country.
    'Doin' The Low' with Keith Boykin (writer and former advisor to President Bill Clinton) in Association with London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
    'The Fire This Time' in association with 'Chroma Journal' held at Woman's Library, London 2005. A one-day event with workshops (Film, Photography and writing) and performances.

    2007:' In This Our Lives....The Reunion', which celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the first ever black gay mens' conference. London South Bank University.
    Thomas Glave - Readings and Book Signing at Gays The Word Bookshop : In Partnership with Outburst UK.
    Queens Jewels Opens at Homotopia Festival, Liverpool.
    Black Gay and Scouse, roundtable discussion with members of Liverpool's black LGBT community.

    2008: 'Open Space 2' - An event to explore and share the histories of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities connected to Soho and the West End.
    'Lambeth's Black Queer Pulse' - Informal discussions that shed light on the unique place Brixton holds within the Black LGBT experience in the United Kingdom.
    rukus! Wins Archives Landmark Award 2008.
    'Outside Edge. A Journey Through Black British Lesbian and Gay History', Museum in Docklands.
    'Glorious Outpourings', Brixton Library, Lambeth: Readings by Dirg Aaab-Richards, Steven G. Fulwood, Dean Atta and Jay Bernard.
    Steven G. Fulwood - Readings and Book Signing at Gays The Word Bookshop : In Partnership with Outburst UK.

    2009: Mangina Monologues, Soho Theatre, Soho, Westminster

    2010: 'Conjuring Black Funk' Book Launch by Dr. Herukhuti, Brixton Library, Lambeth.
    rukus! archive Launch, London Metropolitan Archives.
    Thomas Glave, Gays The Word Bookshop.

    2011: 'Crossing Deep Waters', London South Bank University.

    For further details on the cultural archive project see 'Love and Lubrication in the Archives, or rukus!: A Black Queer Archive for the United Kingdom' by Ajamu X, Topher Campbell and Mary Stevens (Issue 68) in 'Archivaria' published by Association of Canadian Archivists (LMA/4571/02/02/011).
Copyright: Depositor Third party
Source of Acquisition:
  • B10/069
  • Deposited by rukus! Federation Limited in 2010.
  • For discourse on the deposit of the archives based on an interview with Richard Wiltshire, Senior Archivist see paper:
    'New frameworks for community engagement in the archive sector: from handing over to handing on' by Mary Stevens, Andrew Flinn and Elizabeth Shepherd. Pages 67-84 in 'Heritage and Community Engagement: Collaboration or Contestation'. Ed. by Emma Waterton and Steve Watson. Published by Routledge 2010.
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Arrangement: Arranged as follows:
LMA/4571/04 AJAMU
Related Material: See also archives of Association of Black Photographers (Autograph ABP) held by that organisation which include further records of Ajamu, Ingrid Pollard and Rotmi Fani-Kayode;

Ajamu created 'An Archive of Feeling 2015' for his MA Queer Studies in Arts and Culture. This consists of three Glass Vitrine cases numbered 1-3 containing original letters, documents and artefacts from Ajamu's life. The cases expand on Ajamu's exploration of emotion and affect within Queer, Trans, Intersex People of Colour (QTIPC) archival activism. The art looks at archives sideways exploring 'the process of in-betweeness by juxtaposing unlikely combinations of items, objects and ephemera'. These items have not been deposited and are held privately by the depositor.

Duplicates of records in this collection were returned to Ajamu for transfer to Black Gay and Lesbian Archive Project, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, United States of America.
Content Note: Used for research in the Speak Out project, Oct 2015.