Amplifying Black Voices: The 16th Century Life Expectancy Exhibition

October 17, 2023
4 min read
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As we commemorate Black History Month, it's essential to spotlight the rich tapestry of narratives and experiences within the Black community. This blog we’re focusing on the ‘16th Century Life Expectancy’ exhibition, which dives deep into the prevailing misinformation concerning the Black trans community. In conjunction with this exhibition, we're happy to introduce Rico Jacob Chace, a passionate activist and one of our speakers dedicated to Intersectionality and Trans/Non-Binary Equality.

Navigating the "16th Century Life Expectancy" Exhibition

The "16th Century Life Expectancy" exhibition confronts a statistic that has followed the Black trans community for years: Black trans women are often reported to have a life expectancy of only 35 years. This statistic emerged from a 2015 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, revealling the tragic average age of Black trans homicide victims in certain parts of Latin America.

While this statistic is indeed jarring, it has been misconstrued, taken out of context, and endlessly circulated on social media. This distortion fuels fear within the global Black trans community, wrongly positioning their life expectancy alongside that of individuals living in the 16th century - a bizarre comparison that vividly illustrates the harm of misinformation.

At the core of this exhibition lies a contemporary portrait series featuring five prominent Black trans individuals. Their involvement serves as a powerful statement, emphasising the perils of misinformation, both deliberate and unwitting, and shedding light on the bias, discrimination, and racism they grapple with daily.

Meet the Visionaries

Talulah-Eve is a trailblazing model who made history as the first trans contestant on Britain's Next Top Model. With her vibrant presence on social media, she shares her journey with her dedicated 70,000 Instagram followers.

Amani Cosmo, a resident artist at the Tate and a collaborator with the Baxsan Collective, has initiated a collective aimed at providing a space for Somali LGBTQIA+ individuals to unite and exchange their stories.

Ebun Sodipo, an artist, focuses on crafting art that envisions a brighter future for Black trans people. Through her work, she seeks to unearth and celebrate the stories of Black trans individuals that inspire joy rather than pain.

Kim Tatum, known as Mzz Kimberley, boasts a successful career where she has worn many different hats - from being a singer and actress to becoming the iconic face of the Heaven nightclub in the 90s. Today, she directs Mzz Kimberley's LIFE, a production company that spotlights trans art.

Lastly, Rico Jacob Chase, an outspoken activist who tirelessly advocates for the rights of both the LGBTQIA+ and Black communities. We are thrilled to present Rico Jacob Chace as one of our speakers on Intersectionality and Trans/Non-Binary Equality.

Rico is the Head of Trans Inclusion at UK Black Pride, whom the 16th Century Campaign is in collaboration with. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the harm caused by misinformation while empowering allies to engage with their MPs. As part of this campaign, Rico has interviewed MPs who have demonstrated solidarity, shedding light on the importance of collective action.

Join Rico Jacob Chace for a Transformative Workshop

As one of our speakers and workshop leaders, Rico is available to lead the '16th Century Life Expectancy Workshop'. In this session attendees can expect to delve into critical topics that demand our attention.

The workshop outcomes include:

  • An exploration of gender, sexuality, and gender expression.
  • Rico's personal journey, from an activist on the front lines to a champion of Trans individuals in parliamentary forums.
  • In-depth discussions on intersectionality and its significance in the lives of Black Trans individuals.
  • A deep dive into the extensive history and accomplishments of Trans/NB people worldwide.
  • An update on the forefront of change in the realm of LGBTQIA+ rights.
  • Insights into being an effective LGBTQIA+ ally, both within and beyond the workplace.
  • A comprehensive look at UK Black Pride's 16th Century Campaign, empowering allies to tackle misinformation and advocate for Trans/NB rights.

As we commemorate Black History Month, let us honour the multiplicity of voices often overlooked. The "16th Century Life Expectancy" exhibition and Rico Jacob Chace's workshop provide a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from these profound narratives. If you are interested in booking Rico to come to your workplace, send us an email at to enquire!