Jasmine’s Juice – Jodie Abacus, a big, about-to-blow, refreshing London Soul Sound.

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear south Londoner Jodie Abacus’ new music.
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JASMINE WITH JODIE ABACUS.

We’ve been bombarded with some amazing raw grime and hip hop this past few years from the London music scene but where has the R&B and soul gone? Did it really die?
How refreshing it is to hear new R&B coming out of south London. With so much focus on grime and rap in recent years it’s nice to see happy, dancey, classic, soul music back on the forefront of youth culture…after all, we cant all be serious all the time or we’ll be really depressed.

Well Jodie Abacus music reminds me of all my fave acts rolled into one….Pharrell, Stevie Wonder, Kool and the gang and more.
His Singles – She’s in love with the weekend and Good Feeling are big jams!
His infectious, melodic song hooks are real feel-good music that just makes me wanna dance and smile.
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I caught up with him at BBC Radio 1 studios this week and he revealed that his album’s coming out around September this year, so keep a listen out for that and check him out on the usual soundcloud and spotify platforms. He’s got a few really exciting live summer dates coming up (that I’ve been forbidden to mention), and although he’s been touring solidly for months is still loving it and misses being on a road!

His first big break was his song ‘’I’ll be that friend’’, which had musical tastemakers and key influencers all buzzing about him had me hooked.

I spotted him on soundcloud and spotify early, and then checked out his videos on YouTube. I loved his Roundhouse gig! He clearly loves paying musical instruments, I can see Alicia keys and John Legend in their with old classic sounds with a modern London twist.

Jodie released his debut single ‘Good Feeling’ on Household in June. Less than a year later, South London’s fastest rising talent announced that he’s currently working with Bristol house legend, Julio Bashmore, as well as preparing to embark on a European support tour with fellow neo-soul icon Jamie Woon this spring. With a recent sold-out London show and key support from the likes of Stereogum, Noisey, The Fader as well as Annie Mac, 6Music’s Lauren Laverne and 1xtra tastemaker MistaJam, Jodie has cemented his status as not just a key player in London’s bourgeoning “future funk” movement, but also as one of 2016’s most infectious new stars.

One of the most exciting new artists to emerge from the UK of late, South-London based singer Jodie is a complete breath of fresh air. With a penchant for marrying up-tempo funk rhythms with a twist of modern soul, the singer has been hailed by the likes of i-D, SPIN, Stereogum, Complex, Noisey and more as one of the leading new voices in London’s “future soul scene”. With only a handful of tracks released so far, Jodie has managed to not only top the likes of Hype Machine, but has already won wide-spread support at radio from BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra, with single ‘Good Feeling’ winning the latter’s illustrious ‘Record of the Week”.

Also, I Love that he’s called Jodie ‘’Abacus’’- I can already see journalists writing hundreds of cheesy, fun headlines about ‘’adding up the chart hits’’, ‘’counting on him to bring back soul’’.
We’re counting on you son!

Jasmine’s Juice – Jay Sean – The Comeback King!


Jay Sean is the comeback king.
I’ve known him for years, from way back when he started as a rapper in a duo called ‘’Compulsive Disorder’ in Southall- yes really- to his MTV solo R&B singer days, to his UK signing at a label, to his UK departure from his label, to his American international big signing, to that departure, but like a phoenix that roses from the flames you can never hold passion and ambition down.

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JASMINE WITH JAY SEAN.

This fortnight he flew back home to the UK with his gorgeous wife (who’s a power player in the fitness game herself!), and their young daughter, to see his family and reconnect with the UK’s media. For a whole week he was everywhere from Radio 1, Capital, TV, radio, print press, blogs, vlogs and more. This guy’s team has his media game tight.

His single MAKE MY LOVE GO , that’s all over the radio and online currently is a duet with Sean Paul, a cover of the old Maxi Priest classic ‘’close to you’’. We caught up with Jay to get the lowdown on new music.

‘’Make My Love Go is a song that I wrote probably about 8 months ago now and it was a song that came about because that day I happened to be listening to… I was just having a little party in my car on the way to the studio, I happened to listen to a lot of old bashment, reggae, dance hall records from here and I just felt some type of wave when I got into the studio: I was like man that music was so sick like, I would love to use like a little vibe like that in one of my songs so I went into the studio and I said: guys we’re doing a dancehall record today. They were like dance – ok. I was like: no lets make it sexy and lets make people move. So of course by the time it was finished, we were like oh man I should totally give this to Sean right now. So I called up Sean Paul and I was like: Sean, I think we got another one bro, I really got a good feeling about this one. And that’s it, he loved it, he hopped straight onto it and next thing you know its my next single!’’.

Of course over the last couple of years, I haven’t just been at home twiddeling my thumbs, I’ve been in the studio like a mad man, but just silently getting on with it. Just creating different vibes, different feelings, I’m trying to create songs that can be timeless so they are not based on something that is hot right now. And that’s really a hard thing to do so I’ve been writing songs like that and I have a tonne of stuff like that, so you can expect a lot more music from me.

Regards Jay’s upcoming new album he didn’t give much away ‘’You know I’m a fan of collaborations and so definitely some really cool names and maybe some unexpected names in there too and nothing sadly that I can tell you about now’’.

WITH ZAYN MALIK AND NAUGHTY BOY CONTINUEING TO FLY THE FLAG FOR ASIAN ACTS IN THE MAINSTREAM WORLDWIDE, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?

I’m so proud every time I see a brown faced do something in music right now and not because I’m trying to like, not on a racial thing, but more for a case of how hard it was for me to try and break down a few stereotypes and all those things that held me back from being an artist. We are in a day and age now where I think people look past a lot of that. Everybody knows what Asians are like, we know that Asians do more than just studying hard and we know Asians can go out on dates without having to get married to them. We know all of these things, we know Asians can be funny, we know Russel B. all these people, Aziz and Sari, we’ve seen a lot of people come forward and we know that Asians can see and produce music, they’ve seen me do it, they’ve seen Zayne Malik do it, they’ve seen Naughty Boy do it, Richie Rich, we all have had a lot of commercial success so every time I see them doing it, it just makes me proud, it makes me happy. The same way that Asians feel proud of me when I came up, is the same pride I feel for people like Zayn.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE ASIAN LADIES…?

I’ve been asked so many times why aren’t there more asian female artists in the music industry, in the mainstream music industry and I don’t think there is any one answer, you can’t say because their not good looking enough, that’s not true, Sonna Rele is gorgeous; it’s not because they can’t sing, she can sing her arse off more than anybody else can but she’s pretty much the only person I can name, that I know who’s off my radar and that’s because A I know her personally and B she got signed to Neyo but I don’t know why there’s not more. I don’t know why, I know that there’s girls out there who can sing amazingly, like I said, they look great, they can dance, they can do all of that, maybe it just really comes down to the song, honestly I’ve just said it comes down to the song. The reason why I’m back is because people like my new song, I could come back with a song that they don’t like that much and they’ll be like: oh I don’t know.
But I think you just have to connect.

ONE BIG MUSIC GENRE THAT’S BLOWN UP IN THE UK SINCE YOU’VE BEEN LIVING IN THE USA IS AFROBEATS…..

Afrobeats doesn’t exist in New York, Afrobeats doesn’t exist in America, it exists in certain parts of LA and certain parts of New York. The cool hipster places they know what’s up, just like they also know about the grime scene but on a mainstream level, it doesn’t. What I’m always trying to do to be honest with you is to push that forward. I have songs that if they pop off in America that will put England on the map on a whole other way and that’s what I’m trying to do, is moving a scene forward. That would be the biggest achievement for me if I could do that

RECENTLY THERES BEEN TALK OF MANY MUSIC ACTS OR CELEBRITIES CULTURALLY APPROPRIATING…..FOR EXAMPLE BEYONCE WEARING INDIAN COSTUME IN COLDPLAYS VIDEO, MILEY CYRUS SUPPOSEDLY INVENTING TWERKING AND THE KARDASHIANS INVENTING ‘’BOXER BRAIDS’’….IS IT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION OR CELEBRATING CULTURES?

I am all for anything that is entertaining, because at the end of the day the world that we live in right now is all about entertainment, it really is. And it used to be about talent first in this industry but it’s not that so much now because like I said if we have a got a 100 great singers, what sets them all apart? If there is some odd particular reason because he or she is quirky or they’ve got a good fashion sense or because they do this and they bring this culture into their thing, great I’m all for it. I’m all for expression, that’s it. Whatever, if you can pull that off and that’s really you, good luck to you.

SO MANY INTERNATIONAL MUSIC ACTS SEEM TO BE LOOKING TO THE UK FOR MUSICAL INSPIRATION THESE DAYS, HOW MUCH RESPECT DO YOU THINK BRITISH HIPHOP AND R&B GETS ABROAD?

Hip Hop and RnB scene grow and blossom. I can’t even tell you, when I started off in the music industry, I started off as a rapper when I was 14/15 years old, I started off as a rapper and people were like there is no scene man as a rapper. There was Black Twang, there was BB1, there was Funky DL, there weren’t hardly any acts, it didn’t exist and now all of the sudden we’ve got a whole scene it’s amazing, it’s incredible. And the thing about that scene, they’re not trying to be like Drake, they’re not trying to be like Future, they might listen to all of that. They do their own thing, that’s why it exists and that’s why it’s working because they stay true to themselves and that’s it. And that’s that is what I love about it.

ONE THING THAT WE ARE LAUGHING ABOUT NOW IS LYRICAL CONTENT AND UNDERSTANDING. WITH ACTS LIKE YG, FUTURE AND RIHANNA’S LATEST HIT ‘’WORK’’ ALL BEING CATCHY YET BARELY COMPREHENSIABLE IS IT ALL ABOUT THE HOOK AND MELODY- DO WE CARE ABOUT SONG WORDS ANY MORE?

I can tell you Michael Jackson is the perfect example, can anybody tell me what he says in: don’t stop till you get enough. Nobody knows. They don’t know but he’s just a vibe, he’s just singing, it’s a vibe. Nobody knows what he’s saying. Nobody knows what Future is saying ever! Nobody knows what Young Doug is saying ever! And until I covered work, none of my friends knew what Rihanna was saying either, but I heard work and immediately I was like that’s a smash, and I knew it because it’s a vibe and also it depends on the kind of song, all of those songs, what are they? They’re not ballads, they’re not songs you want to pay attention to and listen to the lyrics, they are tunes that you can dance to. So when you’re in a club and you’re drunk and the music coming on, you’re moving, you aint going like: oh my god, what a beautiful sentiment. You don’t go like: Oh did you hear what he said. You’re not thinking like that! You’re like aaeh yeah let’s go boom boom boom and that’s it, its just fun and you’re going with the vibe, so in those kind of songs, I don’t think lyrics matter. I’ve written songs with the most generic lyrics in the world but I did that intentionally because I knew that song didn’t need a deep sentiment, it just meant that people want to sing something and have fun, then I write other songs that are deep sentiments and ballads that will make you cry if you listen to the lyrics, that’s when its important.

Jay Sean is a big champion of his London hometown, so to end, we hit him with some quick faire London love questions.

WHERE IS THE FIRST PLACE YOU GO TO WHEN YOU FLY BACK TO LONDON?
First place I have to go back to when I land in London, standard is my mum and dad’s house, there is no way on earth I could land here and not go and see my mum and dad first. Because A I’m Indian and B that means (SLAP) around the face: How are you going to come to England and not see your mum?
So of course I have to go and see my mum and she will give me some nice Indian tea and make me a nice little omelette and do everything else I need to get done. Any clothes that I need. It’s beautiful. I miss them man, they are my only family.

TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP IN LONDON.
I was born in Hillingdon and I grew up in Southhall and then moved to Hounslow but I went to school in Hammersmith, Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, so it was very important that was being able to growing up in that area where it is very Asian in terms of its demographic but then going to school with non-Asians so that way, look you’re growing up with all walks of life that is very very important to me, to be able to get on with different people that it’s important.

THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE LONDON EATERIES?
Favourite restaurant or best meal, depends, I love going out, eating out in Knightsbridge, Kensington places like that, I’m actually going to Nobu tonight, so I do really like Nobu, Hakkassan, is also a big favourite of mine, Maroush, any Maroush restaurant I like.

FAVE LONDON SPOT TO RELAX IN WITH PALS?
In London definitely again I probably go down to Edgware Road, have some shisha, get a little drink and wine out over there.

IF YOU COULD LIVE IN ANY LONDON BUILDING WHICH WOULD IT BE?
Really now it would be number one Hyde park, you can’t get any better than that.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR THE DAY?
If I was Mayor of London for the day, I know I would let everybody ride around on quad bikes and I think imagine how fun that would be with one of those quad bikes or go-karts. I’d get all the cars of the road and everybody can go round in go karts, that would be amazing, that’s been a dream of mine to be able to do that to be honest.

WHY IS LONDON THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD?
The reason why I think London is so special and no one can really mess with it like that, is that we definitely have our own little vibe that only Londoners understand. Even when it comes down to London sense of humour or fashion or anything like that, it’s just us, it’s very typically a London English thing, it’s very unique.

Jasmine’s Juice – Feminism Dead At The Asian Awards 2016, It’s All About The Men.

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SADIQ KHAN, EMELI SANDE, GURINDER CHANDHA, JASMINE DOTIWALA, NAUGHTY BOY AT THE ASIAN AWARDS 2016.

This past week saw the 6th annual Asian awards, which seeks to honour and celebrate the very highest achieving Asians from across pan-Asia and internationally – held at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel.
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ACTRESS LINDSEY LOHAN AT THE ASIAN AWARDS 2016.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

Perhaps you will have seen the sexy ladies adorning the red carpet in the press the next day, or heard that mayoral candidates Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith both attended, or that international music star Naughty Boy won an award.
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LONDON’S MAYORAL CANDIDATE SADIQ KHAN AND HIS WIFE AT THE ASIAN AWARDS 2016.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

The things that can be guaranteed at any Asian focused events are, that there will be glamorous exotic women dressed in all their blinging finery. Even women who are not Asian will wear saris and bindi’s looking breathlessly beautiful and men who are not Asian will indulge in their Aladdin dressing up fantasites…(and we won’t call it cultural appropriation as its celebrating Asian culture).
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

You can also be sure that the food will be incredibly tasty. Curry is not cited as the national favourite dish of Britain for no reason. We Asians taught you Brits about seasoning and spice many centuries ago when you brought it back from the Empire and by God, there will be amazingly succulent food, like the salmon and prawn starter or the vegetable curry or giant tender lamb cutlets served up for the main course this year.

You can also be sure that the organisation and presentation will be second to none as the finer details; punctuality, pizzazz and excitement are things Asians are known to be sticklers for getting perfect.
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NAUGHTY BOY WITH JASMINE.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

I was sat on a very high achieving, power player table with Naughty Boy and his team (Ria, his lawyer, his publisher – all women, his manager Riki Blueu), Emeli Sande and her colleague, as well as Glyn Aikins – A&R Director, Virgin Records.

Straight after dinner, Eastenders actress and Global Citizen ambassador Rakhee Thakrar spoke on behalf of Global Citizen, the charity that The Asian Awards had chosen to partner with this year. Amongst other priorities, she spoke about women and girls equality across the world, emphasising that ‘’Instead of victims, women and girls can be powerful leaders’’.
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EASTENDERS ACTRESS RAKHEE THAKRAR
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

Naughty Boy was presented his Outstanding Achievement in Music award by his good friend and muse, singer Emile Sande. In his acceptance speech Naughty Boy (Shahid Khan), was keen to celebrate and acknowledge his Asian and British values ‘’ “I love Bollywood, curry, my mum…I’m a British Muslim…I represent us all”
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EMELI SANDE PRESENTED HER PRODUCER NAUGHTY BOY WITH THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT TO MUSIC AWARD.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

The one thing that the awards did very well was ethnic diversity of attendees. From the Big Bang Theory we had Actor Kunal Nayyar, boy band members from JLS, MP Keith Vaz, to wayward actress Lindsey Lohan, singer Beverley Knight, ITV News host Ranvir Singh, actor/ TV presenter Tim Vincent, Actress Amber Rose Revah, actor Neet Mohan, Hollyoaks star Mandip Gill, model/actress Emma Noble, to reality show stars (from lots of reality shows!) like TOWIE, to footballers from Spurs and the usual one-time model-actress-presenters. There were even ex partners of reality show stars like Alex Reid who used to be Katie Prices’ one-time beau. In a nutshell, there was a great mix of ethnicities.
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BEVERLEY KNIGHT AT THE ASIAN AWRDS 2016
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

(I did have a lil chuckle to myself when ladies like Lizzie Cundy and former TOWIE face Jasmin Walia turned up looking stunning in really skimpy outfits though. Jasmin’s was slinky and sexy in a way that your average sari is, form fitting, belly showing yet (as my mum would say)‘’respectable’’. Lizzies too, was a stunning lace, totally see-through, neck to toe dress, that was so sheer it was naked, but with white knickers. I could practically hear the elder more traditional generation of Asians who found this distasteful, muttering and praying for her soul as she swanned past them.
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LIZZIE CUNDY LOOKING GREAT.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

We had as many non-Asian attendees and presenters onstage than ever before, with the likes of the very funny Alistair McGowan hosting the ceremony and Beverley Knight presenting an award.
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FORMER TOWIE FACE JASMIN WALIA.
Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

The stage management and exciting buzz of the night both within the ballroom and worldwide was second to none. As the chair of judges, Lord Billimoria of Chelsea stated in the programme ‘’I was most impressed when last year #theasianawards trended number 1 on twitter, which shows the global appeal of our winners’’
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

Therefore it was disappointing to get to the end of the evening only to realize that a man had won every single award.

Yes okay, The Founder’s Award went to Mother Teresa, but she doesn’t really count does she? I mean 1) she’s dead and 2) she wasn’t Asian. So not one Asian woman alive was acknowledged on the night.
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

I decided to sleep on it to see if it felt just as big a deal the next morning. It did. It brought back all the memories of growing up in Southall as a young girl, feeling awkward around Asian families who expected me not to be opinioned or ‘mouthy’ as they called it. It reminded me of the looks of disapproval when I used to attend the ballet school up the road or any of the after school netball and athletics clubs wearing body clinging sports wear. It reminded me of all the young Asian boys being doted on by their mothers and the daughters being expected to cook, clean and behave meekly.
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

It reminded me of the disgust on my mothers peers faces when I was on TV presenting youth culture show The Word. Lots of whispered asides about me bringing shame to the community. Set aside the fact that my parents are Zoroastrian, not your typical Indian family, with much more liberal values and viewpoints than your average Asian family. It reminded me that in the Asian community where I grew up, girls and woman were most definitely second-class to men and should remember their place. Sitting in a corner subserviently.
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

Seeing just men winning awards was disheartening. The message that sent me home with was that Asian women just haven’t achieved anything this past year. Did zero for my inspiration levels. Made me feel the way I always felt growing up around the Asian community. Women aint s*&@. It’s all about the men.
Seriously its 2016. Does the culture still have a gender equality issue? Is that a stupid question?
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

A part of me couldn’t believe that an awards show that professed to represent the whole of the pan-Asian diaspora hadn’t seen fit to ensure that their award winners reflected gender equality. Especially since their chosen charity was Global Citizen who champion female equality strongly. It made me question whether, even if it were a simple coincidence that all the judges this year, found the men to be the genuine winners of every category, that an event producer still hadn’t stepped in to insist that surely they could find one or more high achieving females this past year?
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

I played devils advocate with myself. What if there were no female Asians that had achieved anything? Why is that? If we don’t champion them now, will they ever be on future judges spectrums? I checked the awards goody bag, which had a booklet with more information. The founders welcome, the judges, the sponsors. I looked at the past winners ‘’Roll of Honour’’ lists. It reaffirmed my concerns. Women were sparse.
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Then I looked at the judging council. Out of thirteen, two are women, Gurinder Chadha OBE and Lady Michelle Mone. Says it all really.
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

In a world where women get paid less for doing the same job as men and fight for recognition daily, it seems Asian women have less of a voice and recognition than the rest.
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What message would a winner’s line-up like this send to young Asian girls? That there are no aspirational female elders?
My mum tried to appease me “come on, you’ve been to India with me, you know what its like, ignore it, we taught you that women are important”.

‘‘Ignore it’’. That same old message. Keep your head down. Don’t ruffle feathers. Asian women should be deferential. I hesitated writing about this. Do I always want to be seen as a complainer? Will they or other events blacklist me?
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Photo credit – http://www.a2zphotography.co.uk/

Discussing it with my friend he said ‘’it’s a case of picking your battles, there are injustices at every turn, which ones are worth your time and energy? If fear is the only thing preventing you speaking out, then absolutely you should. But if the Asian Awards is not high on your list of priorities – is it worth it? Bear in mind whatever you write about you are ‘promoting’ in some way. Sometimes you can be just as effective by ignoring someone/thing rather than stoking flames. How important are the Asian Awards? ‘’

Then I remembered ‘its better to stand for something that fall for anything’ and that did it. They are important. It is important to call out injustices when you see them. I know hundreds of Asian women that are killing themselves working hard to be taken seriously, if our own pan-Asian community doesn’t take this seriously will anyone else ever?

Also the Asian awards might consider what their event might look like if women did not attend. Who would write about it? Who would be photographed looking attractive on their red carpet?

I asked Founder Paul Sagoo about this. His response ‘’ its biggest issue I try to solve every year. We even encourage our judges to go down that route but as its meritocratic we have to go on the basis of achievement and not discriminate on the basis of gender. It will be fixed next year to some degree, as we will be introducing a “woman of the year” category.
BTW we did try Deepika Padukone for cinema but she wanted to accept in person and could not attend because of her filming XXX 3. But it is something I am totally aware of‘’

Still feeling rattled.
Do I have an important and valid point or should I let it go?

Jasmine’s Juice – Miles Ahead…Just Two Days In The Life Of Miles Davis.

MILES AHEAD

This week I was invited to an early, special-screening of the new Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, and came away feeling inspired by this film that focused not on his life, legacy or chronological narrative, but the story of just two crazy days in his life. It’s everything we like to think a Rock n Roll music stars life is like 24-7.

MILES AHEAD

Miles’ album Kind Of Blue is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music but In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis (Cheadle) virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past.

A wily music reporter, (the things us music journo’s do to get interviews!) Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) forces his way into Miles’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest compositions. Miles’ mercurial behavior is fueled by memories of his failed marriage to the talented and beautiful dancer Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Miles was married many times but it was during his romance and subsequent marriage to Frances that she served a s muse to his music. It was during this period that he released several of his signature recordings including the groundbreaking “Sketches of Spain” and “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

The idyll however, was short lived. The eight-year marriage was marked by infidelity and abuse, and Frances was forced to flee for her own safety as Miles’ mental and physical health deteriorated. By the late ‘70s, plagued by years of regret and loss, Miles flirts with annihilation until he once again finds salvation in his art.

The film seems to operate on two speeds. The present scenes are fast and dangerous, while his past is cooler, more controlled and often romantic.
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Here’s what the film made apparent to me:

ITS IMPORTANT TO GET A FAMILYS CO-SIGN WHEN PLAYING A LEGEND.
Don Cheadle explained how he became involved with the film ‘’Over the years I was approached by various people, some of whom were close to Miles and others who just wanted to see a movie about him; and they said that if anyone should play him it was me. I’d already been in a number of standard bio-pics and I had no interest in making another since I found them full of contrivances and fabrications. You know, “based on a true story.”
Shortly after Miles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I was approached by his family. They pitched me several different takes but I didn’t spark to any of them. To me, they didn’t go far enough in trying to capture his enormous creativity and dynamism. So we shook hands and promised to keep in touch. As I pondered it further, I began to imagine a film that would capture Miles as who he was, a man full of drive and forward momentum but also mercurial and dangerous, the real O.G. original gangsta. And I realized that it would never happen unless I wrote it. So I asked the family if they were okay with that and they said “Cool. Do it.”

GETTING FILMS MADE IS TOUGH. GETTING FILMS MADE ABOUT BLACK CHARACTERS IS TOUGHER, BUT CROWD FUNDING HAS MADE THINGS POSSIBLE!
Over the years we’ve all heard about how tough it is to make films about or with black characters. After several setbacks including one of the largest recessions in global history, Don Cheadle’s MILES AHEAD finally locked down partial financing before turning to IndieGoGo to raise the funds to make up for the shortfall. “It actually felt right that we used a social platform to complete the film” observed Cheadle “since Miles was someone who made social music’’.

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YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT JAZZ OR MILES TO ENJOY THIS FILM.
In 2006, Miles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognized him as “one of the key figures in the history of jazz”. In 2009, the US. House Of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution recognizing and commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, “honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”. So, just so you get it, he was a pretty big deal in music full stop.
However Film Producer Pamela Hirsch reassures us ‘’MILES AHEAD is engaging and enjoyable purely as filmmaking a treat both for aficionados of Miles Davis’s life and music as well as audiences who know very little about him “Don has created a film that is truthful to Miles ’spirit, film he would have starred in. He was a complex character who lived a fascinating life and it’s all in there”.

MUSIC GENIUS’ LIKE TO STRAIGHT TALK, BUT ARE EASILY SUCKED IN BY THE DEVIL.
MILES AHEAD, inspired by events in his life, is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses, featuring a career defining performance by Oscar® nominee Don Cheadle in the title role, however it really shows that Miles embodied a very multi-layered personality that was hilariously funny, shot from the hip and suffers no fools. Yet like most musicians I’ve met, at some point during their careers, the escape-haven of drugs, alcohol, smoking and party life takes a hold, both spawning classic enhancing music and killing their souls simultaniously.

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MUSIC STARS ARE ALWAYS UNDER THEIR RECORD LABEL MASTERS THUMB.
More recently pop star Kesha has been all over the news accusing her record label of mistreatment of various kinds, like hundreds before her including Michael Jackson and Prince. Miles’ story shows that this is an age-old story. Whatever ethnicity or music genre you are from, the music star is always beholden to the record label master. The film underlines a record labels pressure on music acts.

MEN CAN MULTI-TASK! DON CHEADLE PLAYS THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS LIFE AND DIRECTS THE FILM TOO!
Written by Steven Baigelman & Don Cheadle, the film and its very small cast is also directed by Don Cheadle. The film shows that a typical day in the life of Miles was chaotic yet calm, lonely, full of despair, yet surrounded by people that just wanted a piece of him. Miles Ahead is beautifully shot and very cleverly edited with a simple, yet slick, repetitive edit style, in the way that it jumps from scene to scene, from the past to present and back again.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO PLAY ONE OF THE BIGGEST MUSICIANS OF ALL TIME, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED TO BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY PLAY A TRUMPET LIKE A PRO.
Don told us ‘’As a kid, back in fifth grade, I played the alto sax and I would listen to people like Charlie Parker and try to figure out how they were playing. It was much easier then to slow down a 78 record on a hi-fi to 33. Once I committed to learning the trumpet for the film, I played every day and still do. I’ve become completely geeky about it. I’d say I’ve gotten to the level of a good ninth-grade trumpet player.
The trumpet is a completely different instrument but it makes more sense to me than the sax. I understand the octaves and arpeggios better, but maybe that’s the benefit of being 48 and not 18. I watched film and video of Miles and I also had seen him perform in the early 80s shortly after the period in the film’’.

THERE ARE AT LEAST FIVE FEATURE LENGTH MOVIES THAT COULD BE MADE ABOUT MILES DAVIS’ INCREDIBLE LIFE. DON TELLS US WHY IT TOOK SO LONG TO MAKE JUST ONE?
‘’A big reason is that jazz has been swept into a corner and no longer seems to have relevance to a modern audience. Miles still has great name recognition and “Kind of Blue” still sells more than 50,000 albums a year. But while most people I asked recognized that he was a jazz musician, they didn’t know he played the trumpet and many confused him with Dizzy Gillespie. ‘Oh yeah, you mean the guy who blew out his cheeks.’
Miles’ music is not immediately identifiable like some oldie rock hit. You can’t sing it. It isn’t over in three minutes. Unless people hear it on the radio, they have no connection to it. Another reason is that music appreciation is no longer taught in public schools’’.

MILES DAVIS AND HIS PEERS EMBODIED THE EARLY ELEMENTS OF THE GENETIC HIP HOP BLUEPRINT DNA.
The youth of today loves a variety of music with hip-hop being a dominant genre. Miles was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader and composer widely considered one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 20th century, and before rap existed he was already doing sampling in his music, the only difference is that it was analog instead of digital. Miles epitomises the definition of ‘Swagtastic’ with his verbal slanguage, his over the top leery clothing and his deeply emotive sounds.

MILES DAVIS WAS AN UNDENIABLE DON. NO OTHER EXPLANATIONS NEEDED.
*DROPS MIC*

Miles Ahead is released in UK cinemas on April 22nd 2016.

Jasmine’s Juice – Sir Lenny Henry & Michaela Coel Win Big At Royal Television Society Awards 2016!

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JASMINE WITH TWO TIME RTS AWARD WINNER SIR LENNY HENRY.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

The great and the good from this years British TV industry, were out in force this week to recognize great TV content, at the annual RTS (Royal Television Society). AWARDS held at the plush Grosvenor House Hotel. I was on a table with my fellow RTS Futures Committee members (think naughty kids table at a wedding).

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JASMINE WITH RTS CHIEF EXECUTIVE THERESA WISE.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian /RTS.

Hosted by the charming and patient Richard Madeley, the RTS earlier this month had announced that their judging panel this year had changed to include more women and people from minority backgrounds. Onstage ot was revealed that the change now saw a more robust looking panel and now see’s 52% are women and a healthy 27% are black or minority ethnic.
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RTS AWRDS 2016 HOST RICHARD MADELY.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

The now traditional blue carpet saw ‎names like the Emmerdale cast, retired footballer Alan shearer,Grayson Perry, ITV News reader Charlene White, Formula One driver David Coulthard, presenters Ant & Dec, poet, screen writer and actress Michaela Coel, actor / writer Lenny Henry and many more dressed in traditional black tie.
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ARTIST GRAYSON PERRY AT RTS AWARDS 2016.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

RTS TABLE
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

After a slap up meal, Richard Madeley sped through 25 categories swiftly.

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RTS AWARDS 2016 TWO TIME WINNER- MICHAELA COEL!.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

The big excitement of the night was breakthrough star Michaela Coel, star of E4′s comedy Chewing Gum, who not only won the breakthrough award, but also won best comedy performance.
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WINNER MICHEALA COEL WAS THE NAME EVERYONE (including me, actor Femi Oyeniran and ITV News Charlene White!),CLAMOURED TO GET PICS WITH.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

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SIR LENNY WINS AN RTS AWARD!.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

The biggest award of the night went to Sir Lenny Henry, who was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Television Society alongside a judge’s award at the RTS Programme Awards. Unsurprisingly Sir Lenny looked exhausted. The task of driving diversity over two years is most likely draining him. I know just how stressful it can be to champion a cause that you’re passionate about whilst still wafting to remain mainstream and not look like you have a chip on your shoulder.
Onstage Lenny said that he was surprised to receive the fellowship, saying it was beyond his “wildest expectations”.

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SIR LENNY WITH HIS TWO BIG RTS AWARDS.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

A few years ago, whilst on an industry panel, Lenny had taken a swipe at me and my then TV channel MTV Base, lazily accusing it for being the root of all evil with young people. I defended the brand showing all the positive things that had come from it, but from then on in I saw Lenny as ‘the enemy’. I have since learnt to see more to him than that in recent years and admire his tenacity, and now stand alongside him in his journey to keep diversity alive, and hopefully we will look back in the future on it as something that only belonged to the past.

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ANT & DEC WIN AGAIN AT RTS 2016.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

To no-ones surprise presenters Ant and Dec (who won their first RTS award over 20 years ago), won the best entertainment performance award – again. Basically until they die, no one else has a look it. Just accept it and move on, but clumsy Dec admitted he had broken the award soon after receiving it!

I can’t believe that Emmerdale beat rivals Coronation Street and EastEnders to win best soap and continuing drama. I mean seriously, who watches this? Is it a country and regions thing? I’ve never met an Emmerdale fan.

My old MTV presenter Reggie Yates won the presenter award for his BBC Three programme Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia, which no one could deny, was just brilliant. Brave and ground breaking yet still respectful, this series has been fascinating and modern.

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JOAN BAKEWELL RECEIVES THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT THE RTS AWARDS 2016.
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

Broadcaster and journalist Joan Bakewell received the lifetime achievement award and made a very passionate speech about standing up for and supporting the BBC.

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JASMINE WITH FORMER CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER BBC- PATRICK YOUNGE- (NOW MANAGING DIRECTOR AT SUGAR FILMS) and DANIELLE LAUREN (SUGAR FILMS).
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

RTS Awards 2016 winners in full

Actor – Female
Winner: Suranne Jones – Doctor Foster, Drama Republic for BBC One

Actor – Male
Winner: Anthony Hopkins – The Dresser, Playground Entertainment for BBC Two

Arts
Winner: Handmade, BBC Scotland Arts Production for BBC Four
Breakthrough
Winner: Michaela Coel – Chewing Gum, Retort Television for E4

Children’s Programme
Winner: My Life: I Am Leo, Nine Lives Media for CBBC

Comedy Performance
Winner: Michaela Coel – Chewing Gum, Retort Television for E4

Daytime Programme
Winner: Judge Rinder ITV Studios for ITV

Documentary Series
Winner: The Romanians Are Coming – Keo Films for Channel 4

Drama Serial
Winner: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Carnival Films for ITV

Drama Series
Winner: No Offence Abbott Vision for Channel 4

Entertainment
Winner: Release the Hounds Gogglebox Entertainment for ITV2

Entertainment Performance
Winner: Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly

History
Holocaust: Night Will Fall Spring Films for Channel 4

Live Event
VE Day 70: The Nation Remembers BBC Events Production for BBC One

Popular, Factual and Features
DIY SOS: Homes For Veterans BBC Features Production for BBC One

Presenter
Reggie Yates – Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia Sundog Pictures for BBC Three

Science and Natural History
Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor Furnace TV for BBC Four

Scripted Comedy
Catastrophe Avalon Television for Channel 4

Single Documentary
Storyville: India’s Daughter Assassin Films for BBC Four

Single Drama
Coalition Cuba Pictures for Channel 4

Soap and Continuing Drama
Emmerdale ITV Studios for ITV

Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit
David Coulthard BBC Sport for BBC One

Sports Programme
Champions League Goals Show BT Sport
Monday Night Football Sky Sports
The Ashes Sky Sports

Writer – Comedy
Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan – Catastrophe Avalon Television for Channel 4

Writer – Drama
Peter Morgan – The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Carnival Films for ITV

Judges’ Award
Lenny Henry

Lifetime Achievement Award
Joan Bakewell

Jasmine’s Juice – Screen Nation Awards 2016 Brings Out The Stars!

The 11th Screen Nation Film and Television Awards 2016 took place at the Hilton London Metropole hotel this week. The awards – popularly known as ‘the black Bafta’s – was set up over a decade ago to celebrate diversity and reward excellence by a man named Charles Thompson MBE who was determined to give BAME creative talent a light.

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PECKHAM’S FINEST – JOHN BOYEGA AT THE SCREEN NATION AWARDS 2016.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

Showing his tenacity, when Charles was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2011 for his services to the global black film industry, on receiving the MBE he said: ‘Thank you, your Majesty, it feels good to know the Ancestors have guided me well enough to have finally taken a piece out of the British Empire’
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JASMINE PRESENTED LADY LESHURR WITH ‘BEST GRIME MUSIC VIDEO PROMO AWARD’- VOTED FOR BY THE PUBLIC! (GIRL POWER!)

Screen Nation is the UK’s only international celebration of black British achievement in film and TV and this years event was hosted by Brenda Emmanus (BBC London News Arts Correspondent) and Kojo (comedian and ITV2 Love Fix presenter).

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JASMINE WITH SCREEN NATON HOSTS KOJO AND BRENDA EMMANUS.

It was glamour all the way with the red carpet heaving with men in their black tie smarts and ladies in their regal gown finery.
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SCREEN NATION ‘BEST PERSONALITY’ AWRD WINNER ALISON HAMMOND.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

The night was attended by film and TV actors, actresses and directors; plus musicians and many of the nation’s best-loved celebrities and stars including:
Alison Hammond (Strictly Come Dancing), Ainsley Harriott, Arnold Ocen g (The Good Lie), Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard musical/singer), Bonnie Greer, Cecilia Noble (Danny and the Human Zoo) , Charlene White (ITN News) , Danny John Jules (Death in Paradise), Danny Sapani (Penny Dreadful), Charles Venn (Casualty), Denise Lewis, Eleanor Fanyinka (Holby City) , Geff Francis (Holby City) Jermain Jackman, John Boyega (Star Wars), Joivan Wade (Dr Who) , Osy Ikhile (Mission Impossible) , OT Fagbenle (The Interceptor) , Simon Webbe, Sinitta and many more.
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SCREENNATION 2016 WINNER – ACTOR MALACHI KIRBY WITH TV CHEF AINSLEY HARRIET.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

The great thing is they recognize diversity not just in ethnicity, but also age and gender. As well as the numerous British young film talent they also bestowed this year’s leading honour; the Outstanding Contribution Award upon iconic African-American action star Wesley Snipes.
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THE INCREDIBLE BONNIE GREER AT SCREEN NATION 2016.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

‘Best male performance in a film winner South London Peckham actor John Boyega told us ‘’when you’re in a movie like Star Wars you’re not thinking of the world, you’re thinking of your family and an award like this and acknowledgment is really important to me’’.
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JASMINE WITH SINGER BEVERLEY KNIGHT AT THE SCREEN NATION AWARDS 2016.

Beverley Knight told me ‘’in the absence of diversity in mainstream ceremonies across the board in all mediums, its important that SNA has come along and filled a huge gap. Diversity is the big watchword of the moment. And SNA are saying ‘this is what diversity looks like’’. Even with the Brit awards I recall Soul-to-Soul and that infamous Craig David moment where he was overlooked. British acts of colour are always seen as not being British enough. Awards like MOBO and SNA act as fire under peoples bums’’.
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JASMINE WITH BLUE SINGER / BUSINESSMAN SIMON WEBBE.

Blue member and singer Simon Webbe stated ‘’social media has had a massive impact on change. The grime music scene used it to blow up and get recognized and the SNA and other brands are also using it to celebrate cultural diversity- not just black people’’
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SINITTA BROUGHT ALONG HER VERY YOUTHFUL LOOKING MUM, THEY POSED WITH ACTOR/ WINNER CHARLES VENN AT SCREEN NATION 2016.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

Sinitta raved ‘’SNA lifts up the black British talent, we appreciate, salute, honour and respect your craft and hopefully the world is watching’’.

Kassian Franklin said ‘’I never felt I was represented accurately onscreen. Every black man was an urban thug which wasn’t me’’
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ACTOR / WINNER O.T. FAGBENLE WITH SINGER BEVERLEY KNIGHT.
Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

Honoured with the highly prized Edric Connor Trailblazer Award went to the legendary and Desmond’s fame actress, Carmen Munroe whose acting career extends over half a century and has broken many racial barriers.

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MULTI-TALENTED TV/FILM ACTOR JOVIAN WADE AT SCREEN NATION 2016.

Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

A slew of Classic Movie awards were presented honours for their 25th anniversaries – Boyz n Da Hood, Mo’ Better Blues and New Jack City were matched by two strikingly different female ensemble classics that hit their 20 year milestone – Waiting to Exhale and Set it Off. Each classic movie was directed by and featured talent, who had gone on to become Hollywood’s biggest names.
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ITV NEWS HOST CHARLENE WHITE AT SCREEN NATION 2016.

Babylon set the Classic Movie standard for the UK in its 35th anniversary year.

The Screen Nation Awards is fully recognised by the industry and has evolved over the years to become a prestigious event in the UK show business calendar. The night was exciting, buzzing, full of glamour and positivity and it’s clear that the future of diversity- at least in the British film and TV scene- with Screen Nation at it’s side, is in a healthy place.
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Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

OFFICIAL WINNERS LIST 2016.

*** Winner in Bold and in red
HONORARY & MAJOR AWARDS
Outstanding Contribution WESLEY SNIPES
Edric Connor Trailblazer CARMEN MUNROE
Classic Film (UK) BABYLON
Classic Film (Intl.) MO’ BETTER BLUES
Classic Film (Intl.) THE FIVE HEARTBEATS
Classic Film (Intl.) NEW JACK CITY
Classic Film (Intl.) WAITING TO EXHALE

UK SCREEN AWARDS
Emerging Talent
WINNER Anthony Welsh – various
Fisayo Akinade – Banana, Cucumba, various
Melanie Liburd – How Sarah Got her Wings, The Grinder, Runaway Island
Michaela Coel – Chewing Gum
Osy Ikhile – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, In the Heart of the Sea
Weruche Opia – Bad Education, When Love Happens

Rising Star
Cherrelle Skeete – Danny and the Human Zoo
Eleanor Fanyinka – Holby
Franz Drameh – #Legacy, River, The Flash, Residue
Joivan Wade – Dr Who, The Interceptor, various
WINNER Malachi Kirby – Jekyll & Hyde, Dough
Mckell David – Urban Hymn, #Legacy
Mention:
Danielle Walters – Chewing Gum
Kadiff Kirwan – Crims, Chewing Gum
Kai Francis Lewis – Second Coming

Favourite Female TV Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Alesha Dixon – Britain’s Got Talent
WINNER Alison Hammond – Strictly Come Dancing
Charlene White – ITN
Jamelia – Strictly Come Dancing, Loose Women
Otlile Mabuse – Strictly Come Dancing
Rochelle Humes – Xtra Factor

Favourite Male TV Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Ainsley Harriott – Strictly Come Dancing, various
WINNER Charles Venn – Casualty
Danny John Jules – Death in Paradise
Idris Elba – Luther
Melvin Odoom – Xtra Factor
Richard Blackwood – Eastenders
Mention:
Anthony Ogogo – Strictly Come Dancing
Reggie Yates – Various

Female Performance in Film
Freema Agyeman – North v South
Gugu Mbtha-Raw – Beyond the Lights, Concussion
Letitia Wright – Urban Hymn
Nadine Marshall – Second Coming
Naomie Harris – Spectre
WINNER Nathalie Emmanuel – Fast & Furious 7, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Male Performance in Film
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – Concussion, Trumbo
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Z for Zachariah
Daniel Kaluuya – Sicario
David Oyelowo – Captive
Idris Elba – Beast of No Nation, Second Coming
WINNER John Boyega – Star Wars

Female Performance in TV
Azuka Oforka – Casualty
WINNER Cecilia Noble – Danny and the Human Zoo
Freema Agyeman – Sense8
Georgina Campbell – After Hours, Tripped, The Ark
Marsha Thomason – Safe House
Natalie Gumede – Jekyll & Hyde
Nathalie Emmanuel – Game of Thrones
Mention:
Antonia Thomas – The Ark, Musketeer
Camilla Beeput – Partners in Crime
Leonie Elliott – Danny and the Human Zoo
Wunmi Mosaku – Capital

Male Performance in TV
Adewale Akinuoye Agbaje – Odyssy, Game of Thrones
Ariyon Bakare – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Charles Venn – Casualty
Danny Sapani – Penny Dreadful, Danny and the Human Zoo, Bastard Executioner
Gary Beadle – The Interceptor
Gef Francis – Holby
Idris Elba – Luther
WINNER Kascion Franklin – Danny and the Human Zoo
OT Fagbenle – The Interceptor
Mention:
Aml Ameen – Sense8
Ashley Rice- Doctors
Lennie James – The Walking Dead, Critical
Lenny Henry – Danny and the Human Zoo
Nicholas Pinnock – Fortitude, Mid-Winter of the Spirit
Paterson Joseph – Safe House

UK SCREENCRAFT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Diversity in Factual Production
Arthur Ashe: More Than a Champion – BBC
WINNER Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners – BBC
Inside the Ku Klux Klan – C4
James Brown: Mr Dynamite – BBC
Sammy Davis Jnr: The Kid in the Middle – BBC
Sports Life Stories: John Barnes – ITV
Mention:
7 Wonders of Brazil – BBC
Black and Blue: The story of Chelsea’s Paul Canoville – Sky
Fighting for King and Empire: Britain’s Caribbean Heroes BBC
Nina Simone and Me Laura Mvula – BBC
Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of the South – BBC
What Happened, Miss Simone? – Netflix

Diversity in Drama Production
Danny and the Human Zoo – BBC
Death in Paradise – BBC
Luther – BBC
Safe House – ITV
WINNER The Interceptor – BBC
Mention:
Capital – BBC
The Musketeers – BBC

Independent Spirit Film Production
As it Grows – Dalian Adofo
WINNER Looking for Love – Menelik Shabbaz
Mandela, My Dad and Me – Daniel Vernon

Achievement in Film Production
#Legacy – Noel Clarke
Second Coming – Debbie Tucker Green
WINNER The Hard Stop – George Amponsah/Dionne Walker

Favourite International Movie (made by or featuring British talent)
PUBLIC VOTING
WINNER Beasts of No Nation – Idris Elba, AmaK Abebrese, Jude Akuwudike
Beyond the Lights – Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Aml Ameen
Captive – David Oyelowo
Concussion – Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Star Wars – John Boyega

Favourite African UK Movie (made by or featuring significantly British based talent)
PUBLIC VOTING
Basira in London – Phillippa Chiedu Abraham
Murderer in Law – Tolu Yesufu
Nana Means King – Nana Obiri-Yeboah & Wojciech Dudzicz
WINNER The Cursed Ones – Nana Obiri-Yeboah & Maximilian Claussen
When Love Happens – Seyi Babatope

Favourite Comedy Production
PUBLIC VOTING
WINNER Chewing Gum – E4
Javone Prince Show – BBC2
Venus v Mars – Sky Living

Favourite Grime Music Promo
PUBLIC VOTING
JME ft Giggs – Man Don’t Care
WINNER Lady Leshurr – Queens Speech 4
Lethal Bizzle – Fester Skank
Meridian Dan – German Whip
Section Boyz – Lock Orf
Skepta – Shut Down
Stormzy – Shut Up

PEOPLE’S CHOICE W. AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL SCREEN AWARDS – 3
PUBLIC VOTING

Favourite Film
PUBLIC VOTING
30 Days in Atlanta
WINNER Beasts of No Nation
Fifty
O Town
Taxi Driver
Thy Will be Done

Favourite Male Screen Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Abraham Attah
Anthony Monjaro
WINNER Oris Erhuero
Wale Ojo

Favourite Female Screen Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Eku Edewor
WINNER Gayle Ngozi Thompson-Igwebike
Nse Ikpe Etim
Omoni Oboli
Uru Eke

Jasmine’s Juice – Girls I Rate Champions Women In The Music and Creative Arts Industry!

This month hasn’t just been one day of international women’s day activity; there have been events every single day. In the same way that October in the UK is black history month, (as if black history weren’t a part of the wider UK and world history), we have to make an effort to engage, champion and remind everyone that women are great and to be celebrated in March.

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GIRLS I RATE IN MUSICWEEK!

Women in business, older women, young women, women in music and more are holding events hoping to empower themselves. My inbox has been full of invites to celebrate women, from GOOGLES IWD event, Downing St IWD event, South Banks IWD event and many, many more.

There’s something infectious in the air, and shouting out loud about diversity, is this year’s ice bucket challenge.
In the past we always spoke up at injustice, but today with social media, the game has changed. In a hot minute disgruntled social media users can take down individuals and whole brands!

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MUSIC TRIO STOOSHE REPRESENT AT THE FIRST ANNUAL GIRLS I RATE DINNER.

In hours editors of newspapers and gatekeepers for brands can be shamed into making apologies and explaining. (See this weeks MUSICWEEK editors comments after their hot ‘’30 under 30’’ who are apparently the future of the music business, were featured. The list didn’t look very diverse, and predictably social media outrage rained down upon Musicweek, and within a couple of hours Editor Mark Sutherland was explaining himself.

With all the various groups fighting for diversity in class, culture, ability, ethnicity and more, the big one, that frankly its ridiculous that we even need to discuss, is equality for women. I mean what is this, the ice age? Women actually get paid less for doing the same job as men? What?

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TERRI WALKER CHAMPIONS HER FEMALE PEERS AT THE GIRLS I RATE DINNER.

We are and have always been essential to the human race. We are present, yet not prominent or even equal in every industry. We multitask like an Olympic athlete but are still fighting for an equal playing field to men when it comes to salaries, benefits and profile?

Music artist Kesha has been in the headlines after her court case accusing her label and producer Dr Luke of the predictable casting couch style went global.
Of course women in music have been speaking out about equality in music for decades. Bjork, Annie Lennox and Adele have been as outspoken about girl power as ginger spice was. Jeeze, it probably resonates as far back as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald.

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GIRL POWER AT GIRLS I RATE.

Even the MTV Awards stage sees ladies squabbling about seism and female equality. Look at last years Nick Minaj VS Taylor Swift drama. What’s good Taylor?

The music industry has been under the fearful spotlight for years panicking that music doesn’t sell anymore and it’s a dying industry. But look at the so-called saviours of the industry this year that are doing things on their own terms. Adele and Beyonce have chucked the status quo to the kerb and doing it their way.

Women are finding a new voice and with unity and strength in numbers, they are not to be messed with. If all women had the courage to unite and speak up, each small step would make a difference. You have to call out bullshit in order to change it.
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JASMINE WITH GIRLS I RATE FOUNDER CARLA MARIE WILLIAMS.

WHO

This past week star songwriter (Beyonce, Girls Aloud, Kylie) and music manager Carla Marie Williams made much press in the UK, on Channel 4 News, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 and more after launching her GIRLS I RATE dinner– Nominating Women in the Creative Industries. Carla Marie has also been songwriter for a roll call of stars such as Kylie Minogue, Girls Aloud (with an Ivor Novello nomination and BRIT Award for her contribution to the single ‘The Promise’), Alesha Dixon and The Saturdays to name but a few. She is also a singer and artist mentor with a long history of managing, championing and developing some of the UK’s freshest songwriting and musical talent, as well as running various workshops for community groups and public speaking.

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JASMINE WITH BRAINY BEAUTY LIZZIE CUNDY AT GIRLS I RATE.

WHAT

Carla hosted a star-studded Gala Dinner on a moored yacht on The Thames overlooking the South Bank, in celebration of diverse women’s movement GIRLS I RATE.
A glittering Gala Dinner saw any women from the UK music industry gather to champion one another.
With over a 150 attendees aboard The Yacht London, the evening was a uniquely intimate, ticketed gathering that catered exclusively for the GIR nominees.

The inaugural Gala Dinner to launch GIRLS I RATE will be a new annual fixture in the GIR calendar. Across the year, GIRLS I RATE will offer a whole host of empowering and inspirational events, luncheons, dinners and gatherings for members to encourage member growth, engagement, teamwork, support and communication.

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VICKI BAIN MADE AN INSIRING SPEECH.

The evening included keynote speeches from Vick Bain (CEO of BASCA) and Kanya King MBE (MOBO CEO), a champagne reception and 3-course meal created by former Atomic Kitten and Celebrity Masterchef winner Liz McClarnon.

The star-studded event saw the likes of Liz McClarnon, Preeya Kalidas, Stooshe, Terri Walker, Jorgie Porter, Kelle Bryan, Jessica Huie MBE and Lizzie Cundy walk the red carpet and come together to toast the occasion. Other celebrities in attendance included Angel Cole – Britain’s Next Top Model finalist, Lizzie Cundy – Radio Presenter and personality, Zara Holland – Miss Great Britain and more successful all making their mar in the industry.

WHY

GIRLS I RATE, aim is to seek, nominate, celebrate and champion diverse women in the Creative Industries and we caught up with some of the ladies on the red carpet who were buzzing with excitement.

Carla told me “lt was wonderful and inspiring to connect 150 women together to launch this rapidly rising female movement. Bringing together the rich mix of diverse women “I Rate” within the industry in one room in recognition of their talents and achievements was such a gratifying experience. GIRLS I RATE is not only about celebration of success, it is also about creating future platforms to empower, mentor and support the next generation of diverse GIR girls and young women coming through across the industry. It is the start of something game changing, and we’re in it for the long haul.”

Former Atomic Kitten member Liz McLarnon helped put the delicious dinner menu together and also said ‘‘One of the main challenges is that people believe that women are equal and we’re not. It’s not equal and we’re still fighting for something people believe is already okay. When I was younger it was all about make up and the young girl thing and no respect as a musician, and now people just think I’m too old…so it goes on. My one regret is not knowing my own mind and being told what to do all the time by men’’.

Female trio Stooshe enphasised ‘’if women stick together, that can enable a movement and inspire younger women to know that they are supported and embraced. we see too many men in suits everywhere we go. Where we were signed to a label it was mainly men running the label and telling us what to do and never bothered to get to know us or what we were about so we’re happy that now we can express ourselves as we want to, our manager is now a woman so we feel more supported’’

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JASMINE WITH PREEYA KALIDAS AT GIRLS I RATE.

Actress, broadcaster and musician Preeya Kalidis stated ‘’it’s a brilliant initiative, when I got the call from Carla I was down. There are so many women in this industry I know who I admire and respect and its great that we come together to recognise and support each other. To be able a point of call or contact to reach out to when you need an ear, network or mentor is important. Keep pushing, persevering and don’t take no for an answer’’.

TV presenter and model Lizzie Cundy gushed ‘’I love it when women do well in business. I was in a football business where women weren’t allowed to be now I see Karen Brady and I love that things re changing. People think that women don’t know about football or politics, I have so many examples of when people have asked ‘what would you know, you’re a girl’ so I’m fighting for women’s rights. You have to believe in yourself and make sure you’re not paid less than a man doing the same job. Women are just as good and sometimes better than men at the same jobs, don’t underestimate us’’

Carla Marie Williams made a speech on the night. It was so passionate, I asked her to share it with me so that I could share it with you.

I can’t tell you the countless times I would sit amongst my male friends back in the day one of 5 guys discussing the girls from the endz they rated and the masses of girls they didn’t. I always use to want to fly high among these opinions and impress my male peers coz I wanted to be a Girl they Rate. From a young age I would bring together masses of girls in my year at primary school then later in my area that I rated. If the boys could do it so could I, so could we! So today my aim was to bring together and sit amongst women I rate to celebrate each other and be the first annual gathering to landmark our successes, build a network and to create a voice that will be heard

My aspirations today aren’t just to highlight inequality of men and women but forge the gap in the community amongst women. I admire how men work together build together and take their personal and professional relationships seriously ….For years I would sit and anguish over the lack of female presence in our industry I would battle with my female colleagues and peers as to why their passion to support and see each other win was so minimal but then I realised I was talking with the wrong people! the only way to find like minded women was to create a table a platform for like minded women and see who would come to the table.

So there we have it! Girls I rate! 90! like minded women all at one table in one room! We’ve started with 90 who knows what the future will hold but I’m grateful for all who I know or am now getting to know for their support and may we continue to be those special girls that both boys & girl rate!

Thank You Girls I Rate!

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JASMINE WITH MOBO AWARDS CEO KANYA KING.

MOBO Awards CEO Kanya King also made a speech, which once again I want to share with you all.

‘’Today is International Women’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate the contributions women are making in all facets of life. Women are without doubt the backbone of our society, however they are still greatly outnumbered in many sectors of the workforce such as the Creative Industries.
The Creative Industries are a major driving force for our economic growth. They contribute to the UK economy and account for nearly 6% of all UK jobs so more opportunities would seem apparent therefore.
When I started working in the music industry I found it a very isolating experience. There were not many senior women and no one really spoke to each other unless they were passing each other in the corridors at an event. I am now fortunate to have a fantastic network of friends (like Jasmine Dotiwala) and we talk about anything and everything and at the same time provide much needed support and guidance. No one is being judged, this is invaluable. It is like being able to do what you want knowing there is a safety net underneath you.
Looking back it has now been over 20 years MOBO has inspired and influenced a generation of artists to aspire to greatness. Every act who has ever been nominated or won a MOBO Award has their own story to tell.

Last year we got to tell more stories beyond the realms of music when we launched the MOBO Season – a month of ground breaking cultural and educational event under the banner of #RiseWithUs. The Season was set up to not only celebrate established talent but also future talent from across the creative arts. Underpinning the Season we created nearly 30 MOBO fellowships.

This is why I am proud to support Girls I Rate to celebrate and champion women across the creative industries so when Carla approached us a little while ago, it was a no brainer for me and for MOBO to become an official partner of this great initiative. 

Carla and GIR have been a fantastic supporter of MOBO’s emerging talent initiative MOBO UnSung, which is our nationwide talent competition which supports and develops the next crop of urban music talent via a 12 month artist development programme including seminars, workshops, a nationwide tour and studio sessions. As part of this Carla last year ran a fantastic songwriting workshop and this year we will jointly go one better and provide the female members of the UnSung class with a two day studio session which will provide them with another brilliant opportunity.

Empowering the next generation and providing them with opportunities to develop as people is essential to the future of this country, so to see what the GIR initiative represents and how it will inspire many young ladies is hugely positive and we therefore look forward to continuing our work with Carla and Girls I Rate.

Overall it is fantastic to see more women supporting other women. Everyone has their moment to shine because it is all cyclical so it is nice to be part of a group whereby you get to champion others and offer advice. This always comes back to you even if it is not from the person you were initially helping.

So here’s to you, a toast to all the wonderful ladies doing inspirational work and supporting others. We salute you!’’

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JASMINE AT GIRLS I RATE DINNER WITH MOBO CEO KANYA KING AND BUSINESS WOMAN JESSICA HUIE MBE.

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THE GIRLS I RATE AFTERPARTY ON THE BOATS TOP DECK WAS HOT!

The Gift Bags were actually really very cool! They included: a Superdrug Gift bag with £50 worth of products, Stonehealth Clinic £100 voucher, Aria Hair & Mica Beauty Voucher, Fake Bake Honey Brûlée Bath Drizzle, Well Woman Vitiabiotics, Active Woman Multi Shakers, Baylis & Harding Limited Edition Gold Hand Wash, Red Bull, SensatioNail Starter Kit & LAB2UK brushes.

GIRLS I RATE is supported by MOBO Organisation and will offer panel discussions, workshops, mentoring and work placements across the year and beyond, more information can be found at ‪www.girlsirate.com‬‬.

The GIRLS I RATE purpose and mission is to:
* Celebrate and highlight the successes of diverse women in the Creative Industries,
* Encourage equal opportunity for women in the industry and create a platform of “Voice”
• Connect them to build an industry-wide network, with engagement across all ages and ethnicities
• Stimulate collaborations across industry boundaries
• Provide debate, discussion and support
• Create opportunities for the next generation of women wanting to enter the creative industries via NEET (Need for Employment Education and Training)

It takes the Carla’s of this world to brave the storm, and speak up when her peers may not be so brave, or worry about negative repercussions.
We need more Carla’s to stand up and be counted. After all, they say if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

In the pursuit of excellence there is no finish line.

Jasmine’s Juice – WE Day UK. Stars Join Students To Make the World A Better Place.

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RITA ORA, FLEUR EAST, BEATRICE YORK AND HOLLY BRANSON LEAD THE FEMALE FACES CHAMPIONING CHANGE.

All red carpet pics including London360 microphone, courtesy London360.
All other red carpet pics and stage pics courtesy Justin Goff.

This week Rita Ora, Princess Beatrice, Clive Owen, Laura Whitmore, Labrinth, Professor Brian Cox, Holly Branson and many more led 12,000 British school children towards embracing and fighting for a brighter, fulfilling future at the annual WE Day UK event at Wembley Arena.

School children and from all over the UK were joined by celebrities who all turned up just after 7am, to celebrate the good thoughts, words and deeds that they had put into action by volunteering in recent months.

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JOE JONAS AND HIS BAND DNCE WORK THE WE DAY RED CARPET.

In a nutshell, you couldn’t buy a ticket to this event. You had to have offered your services to do some good in your local community to win a ticket to WE Day. Teachers had bundled up their classes to reward them for the day, being entertained by pop stars Labrinth, Fleur East and Rita Ora, as well as hearing from their student peers about the great work they’ve done over the past year.

WE Day (founded by Craig and Marc Kielburger), is a series of educational empowerment events celebrating young people making a difference in their local and global communities, and brings together inspirational speakers, presenters and performers with tens of thousands of students to celebrate the power young people have to change the world. Its aim is to inspire 12,000 young leaders alongside their passionate teachers.

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THE BROOKS AND TALLIA STORM GET CHATTY ON THE WE DAY RED CARPET.

A-List WE Day speakers included Holly Branson – who leads on putting the UK event together, presenters like MTV stars Laura Whitmore, Becca Dudley and Bluey Robinson and performers like Tallia Storm and poets like Karl Lokko.

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RITA ORA LOOKING ROMAN REGAL ON THE RED CARPET.
Pic courtesy Justin Goff.

On the very cold, wet red carpet world-renowned speakers, presenters and performers explained why they were passionate about helping change the way young minds work.

Clive Owen explained ‘’my daughter went for a trip with Free The Children, then we went as a family and it was incredible. The great thing about WE Day is they host these annual events in Canada and the USA and you can’t buy a ticket, you have to earn it by doing good things’’.

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LABYRINTH STRATED AND ENDED THE SHOW WITH PERFORMANCES OF ”LET IT BE” AND ”EARTHQUAKE”.

Pic courtesy Justin Goff.

Holly Branson told us why celebrity inclusion is important ‘’I think its really great for celebs to get involved because instead of just being that singer on stage or that person on TV, they’re actually coming talking about global world issues, and its to make kids understand that these are real people that really care about other things and that the kids should do the same. Princess Beatrice and myself are going to be speaking about friendship and working together as well’’.

African-Norwegian singing duo Nico and Vinz told London360 ‘’ today is all about the kids. It’s very inspiring to see people do good things for other people like here today. Giving really gives something back into your heart. Small things also matter, so you don’t have to do a lot in order to make a difference’’.

Lord Rumi Virdee laughingly regretted his age ‘’I think it’s so important; the movement of giving young people a voice and making them proud of a community. I wish opportunities like this were around when I was at school because it would have really inspired me to get involved in the community and help others’’.

Seeing it all in action really did make you believe that the WE Day movement of social change is sweeping not just the nation, but also the wider global youth movement. 12,000 youth were chanting joyously ‘’ we are powerful, we are determined, we are great!’’

MTV presenters Laura, Bluey and Becca kicked off the proceedings with a brilliant, long, inspirational monologue about how students can use their imagination to make the world a better place. ‘’One day we will look back at today and see a world before there was a cure for cancer and child poverty!’’ ‎

Holly Branson clearly takes after daddy with her good will entrepreneurialism, whilst her pal Princess Beatrice references her grandmothers’ good work onstage too. (Highly connected best buddies!)

We heard from young people who had done small things like hold sponsored silences in protest at the lack of education for other youth across the world, cake bake sales or simply giving a hungry, homeless person a snack.

Others had been volunteering with foreign aid overseas, helping build and support villages and even set up their own much bigger charities and organisations. Student Trae James from Hackney was a great speaker, his fellow speaker Salina Zubair sounded like she had a bright future as a politician as did young Deng Yan San.

Holly Branson and Lord Rumi Virdee urged the arena to go silent for 30 seconds ‘‘we encourage everyone to think of a cause they care about and have a moment of silence to think about making it happen, do something small to make a big difference’’.

Rita Ora made an impassioned speech by telling the audience about her journey from being a refugee in Kosovo to making it in the UK and why we should be more empathetic towards refugees and migrants and see them as people like us that would make our country a better place.

Professor Brian Cox made a beautiful, sobering speech about planet earth and our place in the solar system, accompanied by incredible photos of outer space. He finished with a quote from Carl Sagans prose – now 26 years old – the Pale Blue Dot speech ‘‘the earth is where we make our stand, cherish this pale blue dot. The only home we’ve ever known’.

This year alone over 200,000 young people will come together in 14 stadium gatherings across the UK, Canada and the U.S. to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative. WE Day is just one of many positive youth movements of our time, but it feels like it could be the biggest if they manage to fulfill their aim of setting it up in every country across the world.
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TALLIA STORM SPEAKS AT WE DAY.
Pic courtesy Justin Goff.

‎Scottish soul singer Tallia Storm shared her story of being in Miami and seeing David Furnish sitting two tables away from her at a restaurant. She confidently took a once in a lifetime chance approaching him, and gave him her singing demo-tape to pass to his partner Elton John. You can see where this is going right? Elton called her two days later and aged just 14,Elton asked her to warm up for his show in front of thousands of his fans. Tallia evangelised ‘‘after I worked hard to find my storm within, I worked hard to find the next one. You can live your dreams too!’

Throughout the day, breaking up the speaker’s turns, we were treated to performances by Labrinth, Fleur East and Joe Jonas’ band DNCE, which saw the arena on their feet and jumping about beside themselves with breathless excitement.

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12,000 KIDS AT LUNCH TIME ALL HYPER EXCITED DANCING AND DOING THE CANDY DANCE TO DJ MELODY KANES TRACKS BLASTING LOUD ACROSS THE SPEAKERS.

This movement of young people leading local and global change feels powerful. It celebrates and inspires this generation’s shift from me to we—towards acting with intention, leading with compassion, and a belief in the power of community. According to research by Mission Measurement, 89% of teachers have seen students demonstrate more consideration of local and global issues, and 73% of teachers have seen previously disengaged students become more involved in school life.

Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin spoke to the arena in sign language via an interpreter and told us ‘courage plus dreams equals success! Dream big no matter what life throws your way!’

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MARLEE MATLIN SPEAKS VIA AN INTERPRETER AT WE DAY.
Pic courtesy Justin Goff.

More than a one-day event, WE Day is connected to a yearlong free educational programme, WE Schools, which provides educational resources and campaigns to help young people turn the day’s inspiration into sustained action. WE Day and WE Schools are cause inclusive, empowering young people to find their passion and create the change they want to see. Together WE Day and WE Schools are a blueprint for building the next generation of global change-makers.
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ACTOR CLIVE OWEN, MTV HOST BECCA DUDLEY, LORD RUMI VIRDEE AND SPENCER WEST SPEAK ON THE WE DAY RED CARPET.

Kate Winslet told us kids that at school bullied her & called her ‘Blubber’. She learned there’s no thing as perfection. ‘’The red carpets and photos from Hollywood that you see on TV and magazines aren’t real. YOU are real. WE can change the world!’.

Even though young people these days are always told they have no future to look forwards to with huge debts, unequal access to education, a shortage of jobs and no chance of ever buying their own property, 74% of teachers say since WE Day activities, their students are now more optimistic about their long-term future.

Backstage Sam Branson shared ‘’I’m always proud of my big sis, Holly has sucked me along with her on this WE Day journey and its great. Charity is simply involving yourself with things that you’re passionate about, we’ve been doing it since we were kids, if you give good energy out of your (I call it a) love tank, you give it out and you get it back’’.

As WE Day is about young people doing good things at school, we asked Sam and Holly what kind of school kids they were. Sam joked ‘’Holly was always head girl! I didn’t really apply myself till I left school, but then my friend told me that your brain is like a muscle and it can grow so I started getting a thirst for knowledge’’
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HOLLY AND SAM BRANSON.

Holly ‘’that’s why I think education needs to change, I was lucky I enjoyed exams but not everyone learns like that, so we feel really passionately about the exam process in the UK and feel that it needs to change’’

Holly continued ‘’ I went to Vancouver to see WE Day originally and was keen to bring it here to the UK. As soon as you bring people here, you see the change in the children. A day job is really important because obviously you need to earn money but if you can give something back then I think you grow in yourself and you’re also helping others at the same time. We were lucky from a young age that we weren’t mollycoddled, we were told from very young about all the issues that are out there and so it makes you want to make a difference. It gives you something to get out of bed in the morning for’’.

‎My favourite quote from the day was by Northern Irish adventurer, athlete, rower, author and international motivational speaker Mark Pollock – who became the first blind man to race to the South Pole ‘’Sometimes the challenge chooses you, its what you do with it that counts’’.

Jasmine’s Juice – O2 ALI EXHIBITION, 10 Reasons Muhammad Ali Puts Today’s Boxers In The Shade.

This week a new exhibition ‘’I AM THE GREATEST. MUHAMMAD ALI’’, detailing the extraordinary life so far of the great man, opens at Brooklyn Bowl at London’s O2, and it’s a must see for both boxing fans and fans of greatness.
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I was treated to a special pre-opening launch viewing and shuffled out, shadow-boxing afterwards on an inspirational high.
Its incredible that this is a celebration of a living legends life, as many of these exhibits tend to be put on posthumously after someone has passed away.
Here are xx reasons you won’t want to miss this:

1. Its boxing history.
The circular presentation room is full of incredible new, rare, personal memorabilia and artifacts from the biggest Ali fights. Medals, trophies, replica belts, archive photos and film, personalised robes, fight contracts, letters and more. All these have been sourced from across the world from fight fans, friends, collectors and the Ali family legacy. Photos and quotes from his big fights with Frazier, Foreman, Cooper and more are on show. My favourite room was the screening room where you can sit inside or outside a boxing ring to watch back numerous, fascinating video clips of Ali’s journey in his heyday. You leave feeling you’ve just shared quality time with an icon. It’s emotional to consider how much this man has seen, endured and left to us as a legacy.

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ALL PHOTOS – RICHARD PASCOE.

2. It has the Ali family co-sign.
A huge bronze statue of the great man stands centre-stage and each room that sits on the room’s circumference showcases a special era of his life. Ali’s wife Yolanda ‘’Lonnie’’ Ali herself came in to oversee the whole room and give the exhibition her blessing. (I wondered if she wished that more of Ali’s paraphernalia were still in her family’s possessorship)

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3. His quotes are now the stuff of myth and folklore.
There are brilliant quotes from the man scattered and blown up everywhere, that are just as relevant today as they were way back when he first stated them. (In fact, I think that a DJ should mix all Ali’s quotes into a house beat. We’d surely all use it for gym and life motivation).

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4. He told us #AllLivesMatter.
There’s one room that some may find uncomfortable being in. I called it the #blacklivesmatter room. This room is full of quotes and film footage from his time speaking, fighting for and bringing awareness to not just the black community’s causes, but freedom for all of mankind. The films in this room show amazing old archive footage from marches and demonstrations with MLK and Malcolm X during the time of segregation. Changing his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr to Muhammad Ali because he didn’t want to keep the name that the white man had given him is highlighted.
There are also a few quotes about his dedication to Islam and Allah, which made me wonder whether if a boxer had said them today, would he be considered a terrorist?

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A CASSIUS ALI

5. He was a heavyweight in and out of the ring.
When he was drafted to fight for his country he refused and told media ‘’you think this is about two choices; go to prison or fight. But there is another choice – get justice!’’ Which led to the quote ‘’ my conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail’’

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6. He had fashion swag
Ali had the swagger of a rapper way before Liberace and Puff Daddy rocked bling. There were personalized, branded dressing gowns and clothing on display as well as shots of him with his pal Elvis, who had also lent Ali some of his blinged out suits and gowns for public occasions.

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A ELVIS ROBE

7. Ali was a lyrical poet before rap was an actual thing.
Not only did Ali already have the pompastic hip-hop posturing in dress, but also he was magniloquent in rhyme with his now infamous quotes. In his early days he was known as ‘’The Louisville Lip’’. He had a hype-man to bounce off in some media interviews, but was also more than capable of being his own hype-man, as seen on many an occasion when he blustered all the way from his dressing room to the ring. His lyrical dexterity was more bragadocious than Busta Rhymes and his sidekick Spliffstar. Check his ode to Sonny Liston;

Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat,
if Liston goes back an inch farther he’ll end up in a ringside seat.
Clay swings with his left, Clay swings with his right,
Look at young Cassius carry the fight
Liston keeps backing, but there’s not enough room,
It’s a matter of time till Clay lowers the boom.
Now Clay lands with a right, what a beautiful swing,
And the punch raises the Bear clean out of the ring.
Liston is still rising and the ref wears a frown,
For he can’t start counting till Sonny goes down.
Now Liston is disappearing from view, the crowd is going frantic,
But radar stations have picked him up, somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they came to the fight?
That they’d witness the launching of a human satellite.
Yes the crowd did not dream, when they put up the money,
That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny.

8. He was comedic, raw, and boastful as hell.
Ali is the only real life Rocky and the king of grandstanding ‘’I trained new for this flight. I tussled with an alligator. I told all of my critics. I told you all, that I’m the greatest of all time! If you wanna know anything about boxing, you come to Muhammad Ali!’’ He once said after one of his last fights ‘’It’s befitting that I leave the game the way that I came in. Beating a big man. I’m better now, I’m experienced now! Baam! Sucker you ain’t nothing, you ugly!’’ I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round.

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9. He has the biggest personality a boxer ever had.
Love the dedication and willpower of boxers today from Floyd Mayweather, to Tyson Fury, David Haye and more but seriously they’re all like wet blankets compared to Ali who wasn’t all mouth and no action like many today. Ali brought the chat, hoopla and knockout.

10. He always has the last word.
This is what he told David Frost in 1974. David Frost: What would you like people to think about you when you’ve gone?
Muhammad Ali: I’d like for them to say:
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience,
One teaspoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith,
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

Jasmine’s Juice – Grime Music Artists, Specialists and Gate-Keepers Speak Out on Brits 2016.

Like numerous past years, this years Brits have come in for a bit of a backlash by musicians and music fans that aren’t happy with the nominations.
Every year music stars like Noel Gallagher, Calvin Harris and their peers find a reason to slag them off.
This year however, with the dreaded ‘’diversity’’ buzzword on every industries lips, the focus has been on the lack of black and ethnic nominees, leading to the #BritsSoWhite hashtag trending.

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SPOKESPERSON FOR A GENRE- STORMZY IS FEARLESS.

The acts are too scared to speak out, naturally for fear of repercussions. Stormzy bravely tweeted about it and rapped 4 lines in his freestyle. ‘’ “What? None of my G’s nominated for Brits? / Are you taking the piss? Embarrassing.” Referencing Star Wars, the Croydon MC adds: “But I got The Force like Anakin / This year I’ll let that slide, stop panicking.”Stormzy continues: “But next year, I’m going on dark / Like wah gwan, is my face too dark? Last year, they told the mandem that to be nominated / You’ve gotta go on UK charts. So what do we do? We chart / don’t come here with your lies, don’t start / Deny our ting I’ll take you, calm.”

You gotta question it though; Not one British black nominee in a country where black music dominates the radio, TV, student union gigs and nightclubs? In 2016, even a dead act like Amy Winehouse can be nominated before a British black act?

And who HASN’T had an opinion? Laura Mvula said she would boycott it due to “the diversity issue” and said black children were growing up feeling they were “not acknowledged in society, in media and in mainstream music”. However, that powerful statement was extinguished as she added that she may go to the awards next year if she releases an album.

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LAURA MVULA LET LOOSE ON ANDREW MARR REARDING HER THOUGHTS ON ALL THINGS BRITS.

Before her, outspoken, always straight-to-the-point, Lily Allen wrote a long Facebook rant, slamming people who “work at major labels” for ignoring some artists in the grime and rap scene, and instead focusing more on their signed musicians. Lily stated “The Brit awards’ blindness to black British talent goes on, as incredible years for Skepta, Stormzy and Lady Leshurr are shunned for music Alan Partridge would approve of.”
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LILY ALLEN WITH GIGGS. SHE ENJOYS A VARIETY OF MUSIC GENRES AND SPEAKS OUT WHEN SHE SEE’S SOMETHING UNJUST.

Next James Bay, decided to avoid the question of diversity by dragging lily’s credentials ‘I can’t think of her last album, [or] when she last released something’, which lead Lily to compare him to a boring bay=leaf.
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So you get it, It’s a hot topic and everyone has an opinion!

This years Brits nominations in terms of diversity had all the people talking all of the time. I haven’t gone anywhere where people haven’t got an opinion, but often many in the industry are afraid to share for fear of reprisals.

The nominations are so white, but it would be a knee jerk reaction to say that the music industry is racist.

Hattie Collins who is a Music Editor for i-D Magazine says ‘’Race and ethnic diversity is woefully unrepresented in the music industry, as are again females in key positions, so of course you’re going to get the product of what these people are promoting and working on, and that is very much in the majority, male white British acts, which is unfortunate because there’s so much more happening out there. Brands and huge establishments like the ICA are spending money – people are prepared to invest in this culture (grime music) yet the one place where you would expect that to be – the music industry – seems unprepared to support it’’.

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ONE OF THE TOP MUSIC/ GRIME JOURNO’S IN THE UK, HATTIE COLLINS HAS CHAMPIONED GRIME SINCE IT’S INCEPTION.

Logan Sama is a grime DJ that has been championing the scene since its inception over many years ‘’I wouldn’t like to say the British music industry is racist because we do recognise International black successes. There’s never been a problem with black American artists performing these things or getting daytime plays on radio stations. I definitely feel like we don’t recognise our own. When its indie music its fine, it gets recognised. I think the music industry is changing. I think the people working in the music industry are changing. As a grime DJ I’ve been playing the music for over a decade which means that a lot of the people coming into the music industry as professionals have been listening to this music for most of their adult life – if you’re 21 years old – Wiley and Dizzee and Boy Better Know have been around since you were in primary school so the awareness has to be high and as we have a changing of the guard or people start to shuffle off into retirement or sideways into other roles or people promoted from within to the industry, it’ll just be normal that people are listening. When I started you listened to one genre of music, you were into drum and base, you were into Garage, you were into rock, metal and never should we cross paths in the middle. But now we’ve got the internet and they way music is consumed, its a lot more eclectic, there’s a lot more diversity consumed, peoples listening habits, genres – there’s a lot more diversity in sounds which is what music is all about. It’s not about colour. Its not about difference, its about things we can relate when we hear the music. So I think as we see those people coming though we’ll see more diversity in who are rewarded for that and I don’t necessarily think its a racism, I think there’s definitely ignorance, there’s a lack of recognition of the importance of black British musicians and the effects… how much they bring stylistically and inspiration to British music as a whole because it has tremendous impact.

B LOGAN
LOGAN SAMA IS AN ORIGINAL GRIME MUSIC CHAMPION, GATE KEEPER AND A MAJOR KEY-INFLUENCER WITHIN THE GENRE.

Logan continues; ”I feel like there’s still a lot of ignorance in this country when it comes to different cultures, but specifically black Britain in terms of many things but specifically how we enjoy ourselves – if I go to a festival and there’s a thrash metal band on and there’s a mosh pit in the middle and people are bouncing around and punching and elbows and stuff that’s alright – they’re going to go back to university tomorrow, no one really bats an eyelid – they look from afar and just let them get on with it. Whereas if I’m playing in a nightclub in 2005 and Pow from Lethal Bizzle comes on and people start jumping around energetically – the manager tells me to take it off. And we’ve had that since the So Solid era of not allowing black Britain to go out and enjoy itself, Its ok for you to go out and have fun but black Britain you’re not allowed to because we don’t understand how your culture works and we’re not going to make the effort to do so, its more work than its worth, so we’re just going to shut them down and you cant go out’’.

There’s been a lot made of the fact that this years awards globally have been all white washouts. First #OscarsSoWhite was a thing, then our very own BAFTAS were accused of lack of diversity in their nominations, with a protest outside the venue on the night called #BaftaBlackOut, but on the night, all seemed well in multi-cultured Britain when John Boyega won-the publicly voted for category-best newcomer, Idris Elba was a focus on the night and legend Sidney Poitier was honoured too.

The Brits are run by the BPI – British Phonographic institute – whose job it is to ‘’promote British music’’- I asked a number of music industry key influencers about how well they think it does that.

Hattie Collins;
I think the BPI does a great job at promoting mainstream record label music.. and also labels like Excel – large independents. In terms of reflecting the wider culture of British music, I think it does a pretty bad job to be honest.
With black British artists you’ve had Tinie Tempah or Beverly Knight. You’ve had the odd So Solid and Dizzee Rascal but they are very sporadic – it doesn’t seem to me to reflect what’s happening in mainstream and underground contemporary British youth culture, it seems to be largely ignored and I don’t understand why, particularly this year.

Big Narstie;
There is none, the only diversity there is in the noms this year is the Americans. I’ve said this for a while,… for our country to do good, we need to embrace our country.its like if an English DJ had a record from America and a record from England he would 100% disregard the record from England cos in his hearts of hearts he feels we’re not good enough to compete with then.

B NASRTIE JR
BIG NARSTIE JOINS CRAIG DAVID AND OTHERS ON THE JONATHAN ROSS SHOW.

VOTING ACADEMY

What makes fans angry is often the lack of transparency. For example do you know about how the Brits nomination process works? This past year 1295 were invited to join and 1113 registered. This group was made up of 55 artists and 121 managers. I’m not sure why they would be given a vote? Making up the rest of the numbers are retailers, concert promoters, business services, producers, independent labels, media, radio and honorary (aka the old guard like former music heads etc), major labels (50 registered for each label!…a massive block voting sway possible?)

The Brits told me that collectively the music media – print, digital, TV and radio press= have the largest percentage of votes with 31.8%, not record labels. The major record labels collectively make up only 14.7%. The voting is monitored by the electoral reform services, which is completely independent of the Brit Awards.

However my insider at a big music brand told me that ‘’you always see block voting happen, especially obvious when you check the COMPUTER IP addresses of the voters, and they all come from sequential computers in the same building, voting for the same artist’’.

Hattie Collins gives us some perspective;
We’re a small country and the effects of Grime have been really keenly felt and not just in its own scene but in places like the Barbican, the ICA. There are a number of books that have been done this year. If you look at any mainstream website like the Guardian to Pitchfork to FAder, you look at mainstream artists like Drake and Kanye West, these people are endorsing the music that we are making in this country and yet our own establishment for some reason is choosing to ignore that. That just tells me there is an endemic problem, not just necessarily within the music industry but within the UK and as much as we like to think we’re a very multicultural nation with our days of racism long behind us its just not true. To me it does suggest that there’s a problem within the establishment within society that we still continue to ignore young British, black working class people and their culture.

Apparently if Stormzy- one of grime music’s biggest stars this past year- had released his single ‘’shut up’’ a few days earlier, he would have been eligible. So he’s eligible next year.

GRIME is a big deal to British kids.

Logan Sama told me;
I’ve been playing grime for over a decade now since it started in 2001/2 and its always been a big melting pot of races and backgrounds because its come from the council estates and they are that – white people, eastern Europeans, along with west Africans, west Indians, Asians – everybody living together and growing up together which is why I love grime because its incredibly inclusive. Now days I have shows in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Taunton and Exeter – the length and breadth of GB. Its mainly students and students is a mixed bag. Not just playing to working class kids off the estates – I’m playing to the middle class kids – I’m playing in Oxford in a couple of weeks and there’s loads of uni kids there. We play to everybody and there’s a lot of white faces in those crowds. because there’s a lot of white faces in this country.

I’ve been playing grime for over a decade, I’ve watched the hip hop scene grow as well and I’m seeing sell out tours and see people sell numbers I never saw possible for independents and I’ve seen people break down doors, creating industry’s themselves where before they weren’t able to do that. I’ve seen people go on tours internationally and see love from enormous Grammy award-winning artists, I’ve seen people completely change their lives based on the success they’ve had, I’ve seen tens of thousands of kids go crazy to music that never got any major daytime radio play – it was entirely grass roots, specialist through social media so to see all that happen – this year’s been incredible for and I feel that deserves to be recognised.

LOGAN JAS2
JASMINE SPEAKS TO DJ LOGAN SAMA FOR CHANNEL 4 NEWS.

Big Narstie;
People thought the grime scene was just violent aggressive street kids drug dealers and gangsters, that’s what they thought for loads of periods of time, before I put on my BDL tour 2 years ago- I was the 1st artist to put on 2 independent grime tours, no promoter across England would put on a fully grime rave…you know why…the 696 form…scared of shootings and all of this bollocks, I put on 2 tours, not one problem, fully grime, no issues, after this everyone looked at me like whoa!…is this little fat shit making all this money across England on his own? Yeah I am! Because, why not!?
Remember the stigma that’s surrounding our scene is that it’s uncontrollable and it’s violent. I’m the hippie of the game, there’s been no bad incidents at my show, everyone gets drunk and has a good time and goes home, some of us get lucky (”pulling” arm gesture).

The grime scene is the true voice of the streets of London, England, we are generations and built from drum & bass and garage, whereas garage was Moschino nice girls, grime is more council estates I hate my life I wanna get out of this place, and boom…every kid from the demographics of 11-30 is on this stuff!
Its like when the Beatles first came out, you know your parents must’ve been looking at you like what do you mean, who’s doing the surf? sort it out Margaret…that’s what it is…its like the new generation wave in excitement on the streets of England.


Aren’t the Brits just a fair representation of what’s popular?’ Some have argued that there aren’t any grime / black artists this year who have been popular enough to deserve a nomination’?

Hattie Collins argues ‘’It’s just not true because yes OK if the Brits are about that and reflecting what’s popular then it should be renamed the major label awards because so many of these artists – I can reel off Stormzy, Little Simz, Skepta, JME, Lady Leshurr are hugely popular and this isn’t within just a small niche scene, this is within particularly see this on YouTube, you’ll see this on snapchat, you’ll see this on Instagram but you’ll see this in the charts. For an artist like JME to go to number 11 with a completely independent album and yet not get on the long list of nomination, let alone the short list of nominations tells me that something is really really wrong. Its one thing over the years – yes grime has been very underground, very niche genre for a number of years with the odd pop stand-out like Dizzee, like Tinie which has been recognised on occasion over the years but this year or the last 18 months, the genre really exploded. You’re seeing huge amount of presence not just here but in the States, in Japan. You’re seeing artists playing all over the world. You’re seeing huge figures on Youtube and yet this isn’t represented in the awards so this makes no sense to me and I feel like this year in particular there’s no excuse not to have these artists not reflected within the Brit awards.

Logan Sama backs Hattie up ‘’I don’t think you can say that they haven’t been very popular – when you look at Stormzy’s numbers on social media or YouTube you cant argue he hasn’t been popular. When you look at Krept & Konan getting the highest charting UK hip hop album in history, only losing out to Ed Sheeran on the week the album was released and Ed Sheeran is an international monster of an artist, incredibly talented, but when you look at the sales numbers, they’re not as high as those on breakthrough. But that brings me back to my point that if you just used sales as metric then you really narrow down the artists and the types of music you’re recognising because I feel the mainstream record labels are becoming more and more homogenized with the music they’re releasing and spending marketing budgets on and lets not fool ourselves sales come from advertising and advertising is dependent on whether the company feels confident on a return on their investment and they’re not really taking tremendous amounts of risk in the music they’re putting out and the money they’re spending

JAS NARSTIE
BIG NARSTIE SPEAKS TO JASMINE FOR CHANNEL 4 NEWS.

Grime act Big Narstie says he knows his genre is big whether given mainstream credit or not ’’me being a black kid from Brixton and having a hard strong influence within hip-hop music, its only since i get out and see how small my demographic is, me spitting an authentic grime song from a producer that lives 2 doors from me would get me just here, but i spat on Coldplay spin the web and got played on Jo Wiley’s daytime radio, its what the country accepts really, for a long time the country hasn’t accepted that UK grime artist have that affect. on statistics and on paper its not seen that way. The Brits people aren’t on the scene or coming to a festival or a rave to see what’s happening, they just look at a piece of paper at the end of the day and say and see what’s sold and statistics’’.

So lets get straight to the crux of the matter. Which grime/ black acts this past year should’ve been nominated for a BRIT and why?

Hattie Collins jumps straight in there ‘’For best video 100% Lady Leshurr and Stormzy with 2 fantastic DIY videos made on an iPhone for no money at all but for Lady Leshurr one of those videos has had 20 million views alone same with Stormzy ‘where you know me from’ which was like – I don’t know the current view count but its in the multiple, multiple millions. For newcomer ‘Novelist’ could have had a nod in there. For best single 100%’Shut down’ – without a question. If you go to any party, any festival over the past year, that’s the one song that you’re going to have heard played over and over again. And this isn’t to denigrate anybody else that’s in any of the categories, I just feel that its really really lacking in nominations of this nature. And people like Skepta, like Stormzy could have popped up in best single, best video, newcomer and yet where are they?

Logan Sama enthuses ’’When I looked at breakthrough I expected to see one of Krept and Konan, Skepta or Stormzy. They’re the 3 names I expected to see – at least one of. To see none of them was surprising to me as a music professional but looking at the artists that were in there and maybe taking a step back and what I expect of the Brits and my perception of the Brits, I wasn’t that surprised because I kind of feel like the Brits isn’t for us and whether that’s something that’s acceptable is another discussion but I feel like Kanye being the only person, inviting any of these artists on stage and then the year we’ve had subsequently, the chart success Krept and Konan number 2 album, Stormzy effectively a free-style – they’re all great amounts of success but all the others in that breakthrough category also had huge amounts of success as well – big sales, ticket sales, light show, so I think its difficult to say that any of those artists deserved to be in there at the expense of anyone else. For me, I’m more looking at how can the Brits recognise these new forms of success. And these new signs of affect of popular culture that a lot of these independent artists are having now and that’s not just in grime, that’s in electronic music, in inde in terms of stuff going on right now that’s really grass roots, people directly interacting with their own fan bases and creating their own economy around being independent artists and if you’re just looking at did it chart, did it go gold or platinum, did I hear it on Radio 1 in the day time they’re all things that are difficult for those artists to attain because they dont have those connections and the budgets to attain them but they are still getting tremendous amounts of effect on popular culture, they’re still reaching millions of people

I think Grime artists already have this generation’s ears, eyes and money, so do they need the Brits support? Do these acts want a Brit anyway – aren’t the Brits a bit too middle of the road and mainstream?’

Hattie Collins explains ;’’I’m sure Skepta is losing no sleep as he’s counting the thousands that he makes per show around the world. JME went to number 11 so I’m presuming that he sold at least thousands of copies of his album at £9.99 or £7.99 a pop on iTunes. All that money is going to him less any distribution costs – he didn’t promote it, he didn’t market it, he has no team. So they’re happy working independently – lots of artists don’t want to be invested in the major label scenario because they do know that when they do get signed the tendency is to try and change them water them down so yes Skepta – is he bothered? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be acknowledging and be representing these guys, because they are doing I think super important and contributing loads to contemporary culture. And yet again, they’re being ignored’’.

Logan Sama says that Brits are important; ‘’I think everybody cares about getting a Brit – we are aware of it – we see it on ITV, its a big deal, a big show, big International artists, biggest British artists, of course it means something. No one is going to say I don’t want a Brit, I don’t think. Getting a Brit or getting nominated means something. When you look at the nominations and none of us are on there that means something because we deserve to be amongst those other names that are welcomed into the party – that’s why you’ve heard rumblings and lyrics where people are talking about not being recognised because it means something to be recognised by the Brits 100%. But when you are told to be recognised you need to do this this and this – we feel like we’ve done that and we’re still not recognised, there’s obviously going to be some sort of reaction there and resentment questioning because you’ve told us how the system works, we’ve achieved that and we’re still not recognised. So that shows you Brits are relevant and matter’’

Big Narstie told me; ‘’Of course we want Brits cos its a recognition of the fact that our British music which is authentically made in Britain is not being respected, long story short. How can dubstep, which only came up a few short years ago, win untold Brits?
It is important but as I said, but on the other hand, how can you really care about something you’ve never had…and bear in kind, we’ve always thought we’d never get that anyway. The whole setup is not for our kind’’


What would you say to those that say grime and UK hip-hop acts don’t sell….should success be measured on youth influence as well as simple sales?

Logan Sama;
Young people don’t buy music any more do they, they download they free stream etc The Brits is about popular music – it doesn’t mean its the high selling music – they’re not the same thing. They can be a measurement of what is popular but they’re not the only way. And I feel now more than ever that other avenues in which British artists are succeeding or redefining the terms of success and that influence over popular culture I think when you look at influence of artists like JME, Krept and Konan, Stormzy, Skepta have right now across the UK – being able to sell out shows, put their own tours together, able to release independently, Stormzy selling a quarter of million singles independently, entirely with his own in-house team. Big Sink deals, advertising sink deals, international sink deals with Lady Leshurr appearing on the Samsung ad in US – that’s a massive thing, that’s a huge amount of success but its not direct sales in the charts. So I think we need to look at all these things and re-evaluate what we judge as success in the popular music industry.

There was a huge reaction overall last year after Kanye West brought on a stage-load of British black grime artists. Much of it excited and disgusted social media. Apparently ITV’s ratings showed that was the lowest rating part of the show, but then Kanye is polarizing, this act was a last minute thrown together set and ITV spent most of its time beeping and muting improper lyrics rendering the performance simply unwatchable. Ultimately though, the general consensus was that it took a black American act to give some shine to black British acts.

Big Narstie;
It was good but then it was bad. It’s taken an American man to come and put us on our own national awards. I’d feel ashamed! ashamed! Imagine you’re from west London born n raised but you cant get into your local shop without a man from America? What type of stain are you? That is a stain! What other way to put it? It must be embarrassing innit! cos think about it, how many other English acts came on the stage before Kanye? But couldn’t do that with all the English acts there? This is what the problem is, its been years and years, in the making, its been drummed into our heads that unless you’re an American you cant make it in England in the hip-hop music or grime music.

Hattie Collins;
Which is unfortunate but that’s because people aren’t seeing it enough. I mean the Kanye example is a very extreme example. Kanye did a song that nobody had ever heard before – no one knew who those people were apart from the people watching it so probably kind of confusing but the ripple effect of that performance for the scene was significant, was important. Maybe this year they would have dropped again and the year after. it just takes time, you can’t expect people who have no idea about this music to accept it. But the Brits has a responsibility as a huge part of the music industry to take chances and to bring in people as readily as they do Years and Years or Philip George that they’re prepared to spend time and money on.

JAS HATTIE
JASMINE SPEAKS TO HATTIE COLLINS FOR CHANNEL 4 NEWS.

So we have the soldiers Stormzy, Lily Allen and Laura Mvula going on record to speak out, but should the industry be afraid of whistle blowing?

Hattie Collins;
Absolutely – the power of numbers and unity with the DSTRKT Nightclub scenario was that lots of people spoke up on it – it makes a huge difference. I understand the reluctance of some artists to be perhaps be vociferous against an established body and that could potentially have an effect on their own careers, but the people united will never be defeated, so I would encourage much more artists to come together, and make an issue of this, because perhaps in the past there wasn’t a place for grime but this year there was. But also this year FKA Twiggs, Lianne La Havas – outside of grime – there are people that really should have been nominated rightfully so and haven’t.

Why should the Brits care about black British music acts in grime and UK hip-hop?

Hattie Collins;
We’re not asking for the nominations to be overrun by grime artists or hip hop artists but some acknowledgement – one or two nominations here or there would have made a big difference and if they had invited Stormzy and Skepta to perform and even if it was on a medley situation – you know come represent, be more inclusive because the way the music industry is going. It seems that the record labels are still very stuck in this old model – music is now being digested in a very different way by people. You’ve got Rihanna making 25 million through Samsung to release her album. You’ve got JME going to number 11 in the charts with no promotion, no record label. You’ve got Skepta working with these huge American artists with no A&R contact. The old ways have changed and if the Brits don’t keep up with that and the British record music industry doesn’t keep up with at then once again, they’re going to be left behind.

The Brits should care about a hugely successful genre like grime for two main reasons. Brand reputation and commercial benefit.

1-Brand rep; if you listen to Radio 1, watch MTV or attend any student gig in the UK you will hear grime music. So the Brits are in danger of looking out of touch with modern day music trends by ignoring grime. Grime acts are doing well without the support of the Brits, but by not including them in your brand does it make your brand feel old media instead of new? Why when mainstream old skool players like the BBC and MTV and new exciting brands like VICE acknowledge the grime music acts on their playlists, do you think the Brits act as if they don’t exist? Are the Brits out of touch?

2-Commercial benefit. Urban music audiences have money. Lots of it. They are about and aspiring to the good life whether its champagne, designer goods or the latest tech-wear. Advertisers love using urban pop culture references to sell their wares. Look at the latest snack adverts for Mattesons. Even when i was working at MTV Base, all the advertisers wanted to place their ad’s there. They know black music fans have money, will spend.

Even if the voting academy don’t vote grime acts in cos they don’t like them, they don’t know about their huge national impact and influence, or they don’t sell, couldn’t The Brits give at least one performance slot to the genre to acknowledge its existence and show its in the know.

What should the Brits do to change things?

The Brits have never had a diversity breakdown of their voting academy- does that matter? I say it does. The voting panel should at the very least be representative of the general population.

The Brits have promised that by next years show in 2017, that 15% of their academy will be BAME and 50% will be female. This is a great start, and at the very least show’s that someone up at Brits Towers actually cares enough to try open a conversation up about changing things so they are a fair representation of music tastes in the UK.

Although in my own personal experience its not sex or race that counts on the panel its simply someone who knows the scene and culture.

Logan Sama agrees; I think to have a proper reflection of the breakdown of society should just be the base level – should be expected. If 15% of our population is black or Asian then that should be reflected. My most important thing though is that we are having people that are voting on these panels that are actually knowledgeable because I don’t necessarily think its prudent to assume that because someone is black/ Asian whatever that they more in touch with what is happening in the music industry for those artists. I’m certainly not black or Asian but I think I’m on point when it comes to grime. I would much rather have the people making these decisions are informed and qualified, than being of the right ethnic background – that’s more important to me as a music lover.


Like Woody Allen said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – so let us show up!

Watch Channel 4 News, Tuesday 23rd February,7-8pm, to hear the above and more speak about diversity at the Brits.