22 Reasons Why Usher is The Best Commercial Male R&B artist of Our Time And Has a Place in The Legend’s Book.

I’ve worked with Usher for over two decades at MTV, Channel 4 and more.
From making shows like Making the video and Tour Diary’s with him, as well as having him turn up at my birthday party in Kensington, and not demand a VIP experience (cos everyone there from Lennox Lewis to Joe, Damage, Tim Westwood and The Honeyz were there too), to always being the ultimate polite affable professional. He’s sold over 50million records and counting and transcends geographical boundaries and age barriers. He is the Michael Jordan of R&B. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the facts below.

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(PIC COURTESY MERVYN LYN)

1- Usher Terry Raymond IV, this quarter performed sell out arena shows of his ‘The UR Experience’, at 23 cities across Europe including London, Manchester and Birmingham and had millions of fans from teenagers to mature adults singing alongside him for a solid two hour hit fest. He switched up most of his classic old hits and remixed them with a live band keeping us all on our toes! There were loads of fireballs and fireworks too.

2 – For the past two months he’s been all over Europe to places like Montpellier, Paris, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Zurich, Vienna, Nottingham, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham and finished off in London, a full tour, no dates missed, no extra desperate tabloid features of bad behaviour to help him sell tickets. He’s a straight professional showman. Even after years in the game theres no question about the standard of his vocals- he TORE IT UP. His brand is his bond.

3 – He’s a pioneer. Before there was Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Omarion, Mario, Ne Yo, and the rest of the great pretenders, there was Usher. Check his YouTube video view numbers. They’re in the 100millions. Yes, that’s 100,000,000 and counting. He’s been holding the R&B torch since he was a kid. The others merely follow in his footsteps.

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(PIC COURTESY MERVYN LYN)

4 – Before Kris Jenner became the ultimate momager to Kim, Khloe and the rest, Ushers mum Jonnetta Patton was THE music industry momager, and everyone knows and respects her.

5 – Before Jay Z and Kanye had celebrity girl friends, Usher had one of the biggest ladies in the game with TLC’s Chilli- check them out in that hot video for U Got It Bad.

6 – But of course in true celeb style he then cheated on her in real-life, and made the hit song and video Confessions to ‘’tell it all’’. Way before Taylor Swift made it a thing.

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7 – His introductory debut single, Call Me A Mack, highlights him singing and rapping and was released 22 years ago in 1993 when he was just 14, and the video featured Janet Jackson and Tupac with their Poetic Justice acting cameos!

8 – At an age when most 36 year olds are going through a midlife crisis of not having achieved their goals, a mortgage and more, Usher is a music industry veteran having been mentored early on by both legends Puffy and Jermaine Dupri.

9 – He plays the media game. I work with a lot of really dedicated music acts in my time in this music game, but Usher is absolutely up in my top five of talents that everyone loved to work with as he is always about delivering the absolute vest result with real hard graft. In the studio I’d watch him easily write and put down vocals. In the dance studio he would out dance and rehearse his choreography until he and his team were all perfect and happy. My absolute favourite experience of making an MTV Making of video, was making his ‘’Yeah’’ video in L.A where anyone who was anyone in urban music, swung by to hangout and watch as he made a classic.

10 – Usher has had 23 years in the game, but the 36-year-old singer, businessman and dancer has lost none of his passion for the stage. One of his first fans was Jay Z telling him he was a big fan- and we were there to witness that moment!

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11 – What I’ve learnt about working with celeb entourages and teams over the years, is that the most level-headed, good talent, tend to keep their same old, die-hard, loyal team with them. They treat each other right. Usher’s always rolled with the same team, always polite, punctual, professional and helpful. No crazy hood rats or wild needs (like Puffy who always demanded a leopard print ironing board and a person just for lip balm) .

12 – He’s never egotistical and pays homage to acts that inspire him, even those that came after him. Like Eminem gets the nod for encouraging him to be vulnerably honest.

13 – There aren’t many music stars with careers spanning over two decades that are only 36. The R Kelly’s, Mariah’s, Madonna’s are at least one if not two decades older.

14 – His show at the o2 featured all his old hits but with new takes on his earlier songs with everyone from kids, teens, young adults and grandparents all singing along.

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15 – In an era when high intensity dancers like Beyonce and J Lo often resort to lyp syncing (miming), Usher still sings live and powerfully. He sweated A LOT on stage! (Wearing his favourite racoon hat probably didn’t help!). Neither did pirouetting and flinging himself down into splits every so often – he has the stamina of an act half his age.

16 – In recent years Beyonce has been called the ultimate all round performer with her singer/song wrier/dancer/artistic skills. Usher is the Beyonce of the male world. He was also here first.

17 – In a world where Iggy Azalea can sell out arenas on two hit songs and a grubby rep, and we question WTF? Usher easily fills two hours of show with back-to-back Usher classics. The lighting and sets were imense, intense and stylish.

18 – He’s a humble man giving thousands of hours to pro-social causes, community events and school talks but never publicises them. Don’t believe me? Google it.

19 – A multiple performing arts and business threat, he backs winners. He gave the world Justin Beiber, and gave Justin Beiber that much needed initial credibility that he badly needed.

20 – He’s adored and loved around the world for making dance anthems like U Make Me Wanna, U Turn, Pop Your Collar, Love In This Club, OMG ,U Make Me Wanna ,Nice and Slow ,U Remind Me. We sang along to all these hits and more this week. Many men in the audience were tweeting their fear as their girl friends were screaming as Usher asked if they were single!

21 – His o2 show took us on an urban music journey that included R&B, funk, ballads, high impact sets, and crunk. Fans in the audience included boy band members from JLS, top Radio1 DJS and countless celebrities. He came; he encouraged us to be slightly ratchet and made me want his matching gold rope chain, gold blinging trainers and gold mic. (He also changed his trainers onstage, three times. ….I dunno!)

22 – A brass section and a troupe of highly talented dancers helped him give the performance of a lifetime. He had us doing karaoke a lil more than I usually like, but with a solid two-hour show with no breaks, he proved he’s still got it. Looking at twitter afterwards it was clear, Usher made his fans wanna scream yeah and climax all night long!

Jasmine’s Juice- MOBO Movement Embracing Art, Fashion and More Launches This October.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
CHUKA UMUNNA,DIANE ABBOTT KANYA KING, DAVID LAMMY, JASMINE DOTIWALA.

200 high-flying movers and shakers gathered at the House Of Commons yesterday to hear about the MOBO brands next big step in their twenty year journey.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, HSBC’s Carol Bagnal, UK Soul Legend Jazzie B, MOBO’s Kanya King, Labour MP Chuka Umunna.
(ALL PICS ©Alan Davidson/The Picture Library Ltd.)

Mingling with wine and nibles in the historic venue were Radio 1Xtra’s Austin Daboh, Diane Abbott MP, Baroness Floella Benjamin, Brenda Emmanus, Art, Culture and entertainment Correspondent, BBC London News, Oona King, Baroness of Bow, Rt. Hon David Lammy MP,Former SONG-BMG bigwig Mervyn Lyn, former RTS boss Simon Albury,David Lammy, Chuka Umunna,music manager Riki Blue, June Sarpong, TV presenter, Mirian Clegg, Jazzie B and Jahméne Douglas.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
ED VAIZEY SPEAKS ABOUT MOBO AS KANYA KING AND CHUKA UMUNNA LOOK ON.

An HSBC bank spokesperson welcomed the guests to the HOC Members Dining Room with a heartfelt speech about MOBO, followed by Streatham MP for Labour and music lover Chuka Umunna, who reiterated why MOBO was a special brand,important and needed.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
JASMINE WITH JAZZIE B AND FRIENDS.

Chuka introduced his ”friend and Mobo founder Kanya King” who thanked him for being a great inspiration to all of us, and reminded him that we all look forwards to what is to come in his future.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
CHUKA SPEAKS ABOUT MOBO MOVEMENT.

Kanya made a heartfelt speech about the MOBO journey so far, reminding us that

“From what was seen as a niche music genre twenty years ago and is now mainstream, the influence of urban is everywhere. It started with just music but now we’re passionate about art,poetry,fashion and more. We wanted to do what we do in music for other creative fields. We’ve listened to the various voices out there and now it’s time for the next chapter of Mobo”

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
JAZZIE B, BRENDA EMMANUS, CHUKA UMUNNA.

Kanya said things were cemented after she had had a conversation with Selma’s lead actor David Oyelowo. He had told her that Uk talent will be in future years consistently be lost to foreign soil.

Kanya also revealed that her confidant and friend , former RTS (ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY) boss, Simon Albury,who has always been a passionate advocate for diversity in the creative arts worlds, had cautioned that “this is big. Can u do this?” but Kanya emphasised that “Instead of letting ambition defeat us we will use it to inspire us. We decided to go big not go home”.

The MOBO launch of “The Shape of Things to Come”
ED VAIZEY, KANYA KING, OONA KING, CHUKA UMUNNA.

Kanya concluded that the “Mainstream says we don’t know how to find diverse talent. MOBO will be the gatekeeper to bring them through”.

Finally culture minister and all round cool dude Ed Vaizey spoke and reminded us that many influencers like Oona King, Sir Peter Bazalgette and Floella Benjamin were keen to make diversity work across fields and we could all pull together to make it happen.
Ed also attempted to persuade us all as to how cool he was by telling us he to had attended gigs at the Brixton Fridge years ago…for Eekamouse! He also demonstrated some ”Tory party dad dancing”.

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JASMINE WITH BUSINESSMAN CHARLES GORDON AND HEAD OF RADIO1XTRA AUSTIN DABOH.

He left us on an empowered note “I feel 100% committed to this agenda. By being here and feeling the same you too are on the right side. It’s the right thing to do. I look forwards to working with you all after the election and beyond.”

Look out for the Spotlight Season on a wide range of diverse talent hosted under the MOBO Movement umbrella beginning this October all across the UK.

Jasmine’s Juice featuring RTS AWARDS , Game Of Thrones Premiere and ACLT Weekend!

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RTS AWARDS

The RTS Awards (Royal Television Society) are always a barrel of fun. Attended by all the key influencers and bigwigs in the uk TV industry, this year saw a royal blue carpet for the celebrities and TV top dons to walk along for the baying paparazzi and fawning TV crews. At the drinks reception I caught up with all the other producers and directors that I know. When you work in TV the same faces move around the same broadcasters so you get to see old friends often. I reminisced with a couple of my old MTV colleagues who are now at bigger brands and also bigwig pat young who I like to have regular TV industry facebook banter with.

The three-course meal began with our host cracking jokes about being thankful for the warm meal we were about to receive, as other TV legends who get no hot meal get very angry.

GAME OF THRONES WORLD PREMIER
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You know what HBO stands for? No not just a TV broadcaster that makes the internationally successful Game Of Thrones series. It stands for Humungous Baller Opulence! They actually hired out the Tower of London for the season 5 premiere this week. A huge red carpet was draped across the towers front lawn and the red carpet was a heaving, excited mass of global TV, radio and print press journos excited about the series.

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I spent 3 hours on the chilly red carpet for New York Magazine and their entertainment site Vulture. I have never seen GOT in my life, so needed to rope in a media man who has and is passionate about it.

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JASMINE WITH ACE.

My former MTV Base presenter Ace from BBC Radio 1Xtra joined me as we grilled the shows stars on the next season. Straight after the red carpet interviews we were lucky enough to be invited to watch the screening too which was by all accounts as amazing as my fellow audience members thought it would be. The after party saw castle like foods like platters of sliced meats and cheeses with wines served and I gawped lots at a huge silver throne that they had actually flown and craned into the party reception room!

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ACLT 1

Lots of celebrities came out to show support to register black donors. ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) held their annual donor registration drive at the Capital XTRA’s HQ London.
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Celebrity support in the lead up to the day was received from British rapper Wretch 32, Capital XTRA DJ’s Abrantee, Kojo and EPlus, several British actors including; Colin Salmon (who voiced part of the #CouldYouBeMyMatch campaign video), Jimmy Akingbola, Chizzy Akudolu and Channel 4’s Top Boy actor Nicholas Pinnock. On the day attendance included; Mandem on the Wall’s Percelle Ascott & Joivan Wade, British rapper, actress and singer Little Simz and British actor Michael Obiora.
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The donor drive was held in the memory of young Londoner Kevin Kararwa, a sufferer of AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) who sadly passed away in May 2014. The event also fell on what would have been the 28th birthday of Daniel De-Gale, the inspiration behind the ACLT and the late son of co-founders Beverley De-Gale and Orin Lewis.
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The age range of 16-30 year olds represented highly in the overall figures achieved on the day, which consisted of ACLT registering 117 individuals onto the UK stem cell (bone marrow) register through the Delete Blood Cancer registration process. Beverley De-Gale ACLT co-founder says: “Whilst we were keen to register many more people on the day, the overall success of the donor drive was more than evident from the feedback received and the atmosphere and general feeling during the time we were there, which was nothing short of positive and was most definitely infectious. We’re extremely proud of the team’s efforts and of what was achieved on the day”
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In the lead up to the day ACLT gained further awareness on their work to raise awareness on the lack of BME (Black Minority Ethnic) donors on the UK stem cell register, following the release of their debut campaign video #CouldYouBeMyMatch. The campaign video received over 24,000 hits on You Tube prior to the donor drive and the number of views is currently standing at over 34,523. #CouldYouBeMyMatch can be watched by visiting YouTube using the hash tag.
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ACLT annual donor drive hosted by Capital XTRA’s HQ London was in its 10th year.
For more information on how to join the UK stem cell register call ACLT on 020 3757 7700 or visit www.aclt.org

Jasmine’s Juice featuring #PowerPlayersPanel and Wretch32′s Birthday party.


POWERPLAYERS PANEL.

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The #PowerPlayers panel….Natalie, Baby,Karen, Annika, Ria, Jasmine and Philipa.

I was invited to be on the panel at a women’s inspiration day panel titled POWER PLAYERS at campus London.

The free event was sold out and saw a diverse audience of students, graduates, young entrepreneurs, music artists and managers, business owners and career professionals from the media, music and tech industries.

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The event hosted by Impact and Beyond’s was to celebrate International Woman’s Day and promised ‘’We connect, we engage, we inspire’’ and I think they did.
Before the panel comedienne Thanyia Moore had us rolling with laughter at her very politically incorrect jokes. I tried to catch my chortles and sniggers before they left my mouth in case it was not seemly that I laugh at some of the more riske lines about diversity but then thought its comedy, lets relax! It was great to see a young female with uber risky well thought out and timed lyrics, I can see her going far.

After the comedy and welcome intro by Impact and Beyonds Annika Allen, the main part of the night kicked off and was hosted by BBC presenter Ria Hebden. Joining me on the panel were Karen Sibindi, (Head of Marketing at KISSFM UK), Natalie Campbell, Partner in A Very Good Company, Baby Isako, Writer and Creator of Venus vs Mars soon to appear on Sky 1 and Philippa Boyle, Founder, Festivaleyes.

The chat was dynamic and engaging and saw us all discuss the successes, challenges and dreams from our vast swath of experience. I’d like to think I was one of the so called ‘’female young guns’’ but alas feel I may have been one of the ‘’veterans from the tech, music and media industry’’.

POWERPLAYERS 1

When the panel was opened up for audience questions, one of the few men that had snuck in caused a rumpus when he asked us whether we felt religion had any role to play in equality and whether the Bible was empowering or suppressing to the female cause. Well let me tell you, it kicked off lol!

Much knowledge was shared and the feeling of euphoria and positivity in the room at the end was high. In fact, so high that I won three prizes in the breast cancer raffle!

Straight afterwards I popped 5 minutes up the road to pizza express with one of my industry brothers – photographer and visionary Richard Pascoe- to polish off a lasagna and then rush into the ladies loo to slip into a dress and heels (took me 3 minutes maximum) for Wretch32 birthday party which was just next door at Club 10.

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Wretch’s birthday party.

Wretch’s birthday party was a fun; feel good evening that was obviously a lot more private than previous years when all celebs and sundry were fighting to get an invite.

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JASMINE WITH WRETCH AS 32 TURNED 30!

The turn out was smart and sophisticated as requested on his invitation and his nearest and dearest were all in attendance. I spotted fellow music names like Terri Walker (who was rocking a really sexy ,long revealing dress), Giggs (who had a royal moment as the dj threw down his track and the party jumped off), Princess Nyah (who was looking bootylicious in her skintight white number), Shola Ama, Sadie Ama, Scorcher, Young spray and more.

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OLYMPIC ATHLETES, SUPERMODELS AND SINGERS CAME OUT TO CELEBRATE WRETCH GOING FROM 32 TO 30.

Also in the house to celebrate Wretchs big 30th were super model Jourdan Dunn (in a navy blue cut out jumpsuit), TV and radio broadcaster Reg Yates with his drop dead gorgeous fiancé- fashion, beauty and lifestyle tastemaker Tia Ward (who had heads turning in just a simple white shirt-beauty and brains- love it!), Olympic athletes turned broadcaster ladies Jeanette Kwakye and Louise Hazel (who were throwing down moves on the dance floor), Adidas lady Akua Agyemfra (looking like Jessica Rabbit), Eastenders actor author aka fatboy Ricky Norwood, the GRM Daily crew, a few TOWIE bods and alot of glamtastic folk!

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The party was full of very glamorous looking ladies and very happy gents. The cake was typically classic in Wretch style, a black and white top hat. Dj Manny Norte had the dance floor working, the photo booth had us pulling silly faces and all in all it was a great night when Wretch went from 32 to 30!

Jasmine’s Juice – World premiere of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage Tour – Royal Albert Hall.

World premiere of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage Tour celebrates five decades of Star Trek.

Star Trek

Set to beam down to Royal Albert Hall this November

Five decades of Star Trek will be celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall in a stunning new show featuring the most iconic footage from the legendary films and TV series – as the unforgettable music is played live on stage by a concert orchestra.

I was always much more of a Trekkie than a Star Wars fan so The world premiere of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage will be one night i won’t be missing!. It takes place at the famous London venue on 1 November 2015, before beginning a tour of American concert halls next year.

Lucy Noble, Director of Events at the Royal Albert Hall, told me: “We are boldly going where no other venue has been before: staging a massive Star Trek extravaganza that draws on 50 years of legendary TV and film to create an unmissable evening for fans.”

I was always slightly in love with Persis Khambatta AKA Lieutenant Ilia. The lavish production will include a live symphony orchestra accompanying footage beamed in high-definition to a 40ft screen, including Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and many more.

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage is presented in conjunction with CineConcerts, CBS Consumer Products and Paramount Pictures. Justin Freer, producer and founder of CineConcerts, said: “The Star Trek franchise has for many years been an important and meaningful part of our culture in so many ways. This exciting concert experience featuring the greatest music and visuals spanning five decades will be an extraordinary and memorable event.”

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
Sunday 1 November 2015, 2pm and 7:30pm
Tickets: £25-£65 (plus £2.50 booking fee and 2% card handling fee)
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP
Box Office: 020 7589 8212
www.royalalberthall.com

Jasmines Juice- BARONESS VALERIE AMOS, BIGGA FISH FOUNDATION and WE DAY UK AT WEMBLEY.

THE AMOS BURSARY DINNER AT HOUSE OF LORDS.

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JASMINE WITH TIM CAMPBELL, SOL CAMPBELL, BARONESS AMOS, ACTIVIST HEATHER KERZNER, AND YOUNG PEOPLE THAT HAVE COME THROUGH THE BURSARY.
PIC COURTESY OF the wonderful Paul Hampartsoumian.

A recent report showed that of all the diverse and disadvantaged groups and communities across the UK, young black boys are the most oppressed and given least opportunities in society. The underachievement of black boys is well documented and much academic research has focused on the negative outcomes of their schooling. This persistent deficit model reinforces negative stereotypes and adversely affects the expectations of these boys regardless of academic performance, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Research shows that good grades have failed to get boys from the African Caribbean Community to top universities and have not opened up the same career opportunities that are available to other students. They have been identified as the most underrepresented in higher education and the professions. These students have achieved academic success but have limited opportunities; financial limitations; families without a strong tradition of participation in higher education; limited knowledge of the post 16, University and recruitment process. All of which contribute to limited confidence and self-belief, critical for success.

Fighting to redress this balance are many great organisations who sweat blood and tears to give these young men a more equal playing field. One of these is a project by Valerie Amos.

I was invited to the Amos Bursary Dinner at the House of Lords on February 26th. The dinner was an opportunity to raise awareness and ultimately important funding for the Amos Bursary which was established by Valerie Amos, or as she is more often known ‘’The Right Honourable Baroness Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs’’. Now that’s a grand title that we should aspire towards having eh!

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AT THE AMOS BURSARY DINNER BEING ENTERTAINED BY THE BAND- GYPSY QUEENS! (WE MADE THEM SING ‘UPTOWN FUNK’

PIC COURTESY OF the wonderful Paul Hampartsoumian.

Baroness Amos and her sister Colleen established the Amos Bursary to help realise the ambitions of young men of African and Caribbean descent from London Schools and Sixth Form Colleges. The Amos Bursary supports these men through the university experience, and gives them access to opportunities which help them develop in preparation for their chosen careers, and as future leaders and role-models in their communities.

The drinks were in one of the House of Lords grand rooms, which was adorned with beautiful paintings capturing historical icons and moments. In the room I spotted my old boss Lord Waheed Ali, footballer Sol Campbell, Apprentice star Tim Campbell, Simon Cowells ex Sinitta, businessman and entrepreneur Alexander Amosu, June Sarpong and many more.

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POST DINNER FUN!.
PIC COURTESY OF the wonderful Paul Hampartsoumian.

The dinner was in a long marquee set up adjacent to the River Thames with full glass wall and therefore spectacular views across London. The evening began with the pomp one might expect, with a liveried House of Lords Master of Ceremonies announcing after a pounding his gavel on the lectern call to order ‘’my Lords, ladies, gentlemen, guests …blah blah’’

During the evening Baroness Amos welcomed and introduced former young men who have been through her programme, and are now doing amazing things with their lives. A few young men also spoke about how the bursary had changed their lives for the better by simply showing them options of a better life and instilling confidence in them, with work placements and introductions to their mentors.

Valerie Amos also explained to us how her bursary began ‘’the story of the Amos Bursary is of the love of two incredible people. My beloved parents died within 9 days of each other. We wanted to pay tribute to our parents, who were both teachers and had a passion for using power to change people’s lives. As they were teachers it was essential for them that education had to be a central feature of anything honoring them’’.

Baroness Amos continued ‘‘after research, we learnt that African Caribbean boys don’t have the same career opportunities as others. So the Amos bursary was born. We wanted to show their potential could be realized, that they are fully informed about university options and work. In six years we’ve gone from just seven students to many, many more so we’ve demonstrated that our model works’’.

The strength of the Amos Bursary lies in its ability to identify academically able British young men of African and Caribbean heritage (age 16), from London’s schools, ensuring they are fully equipped to make informed and appropriate choices for their futures, preparing them for university, work, and to become “real” models in their communities.

The Amos Bursary empowers the next generation with the skills they need to achieve economic independence and security. They invest money, time and skills in activities that harness the individual creative talents of their diverse group of students, and facilitate a model of student learning and development that is unique to the Amos Bursary.

Tim Campbell made a highly passionate speech near the end of the night where he stated that this wasn’t about charity, but opportunity and that’s the strength message I left with. Lets give everyone an equal playing field and ‘’opportunity’’.

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BIGGA FISH FOUNDATION LAUNCH DINNER.

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THE BIGGA FISH FOUNDATION LAUNCH- WHO CAN YOU SPOT?
PIC COURTESY OF BIGGA FISH.

To show just how much is happening out there for young people, I was next invited a few days later to the impressive sky scraper building of Clifford chance at canary wharf where the BIGGA FISH Foundation was being launched at a dinner.

On the 30th floor we were greeted by a lovely drinks reception overlooking breath-taking views of London. Guests included many key influencers and successful agents for change like former Radio 1 DJ Spoony, inspirational you leader Sonia Meggie, former Sony BMG top don Mervyn Lyn, singer Ms Dynamite and more.

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THE BIGGA FISH BOARD.
PIC COURTESY OF BIGGA FISH.

After the usual welcome speeches by Bigga Fish founder Nii Sackey and Patrick from Clifford chance we were asked to take our seats at the tables which were all named after the Bigga Fish departments like ‘’street teams’’.

TABLE

On my table, they explained to me, they didn’t have this many youth orgs and charities when you were a kid cos we used to have state, private sector and charities, then in the eighties most state stuff was privatized, and so youth clubs and more were scrapped, so its left us in this huge privatized urban cesspit where young people and disadvantaged people are left to flounder.

Once again, throughout dinner, many of the young people couldn’t wait to grab the mic and tell us all about how Bigga Fish had changed their lives. I loved hearing from a young man called Soloman who was supported by the organistion and now runs Brixton Soup Kitchen. What a great example of giving back! All the young people spoke about how their lives had changed and how Bigga Fish had that difference by using….opportunity.

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MS DYNAMITE PERFORMS BRAND NEW SONGS WHICH WE CAN EXPECT TO HEAR MORE OF LATER THIS YEAR.
PIC COURTESY OF BIGGA FISH.

After dinner, Ms dynamite performed three songs for us. One remix of her anthemic classic ‘’ms dynamitee’’ and two new songs, which were amazing. Her voice is stronger than ever and the songs were really catchy earworms. After performing them acoustically she told us all how Bigga Fish has helped her ‘’at 15 left I came from a home where I was angry and upset and had trauma in my childhood. Similar to many that are here this evening and continue to do so. I felt misunderstood by my school and society and didn’t see a place for myself in the world. Initially music saved me. The impact that Bigga Fish had with me was because I felt a family vibe there. A lot of us are experiencing hardship on so many levels. Economically and personally. For me, I am here tonight speaking to you all asking u to invest in something that’s priceless. You’re investing in the future….Bigga Fish founder Nii Sackey is one of God’s angels on earth”.

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WE DAY UK.

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JASMINE WITH HOLLY, RICHARD AND SAM BRANSON ON THE WE DAY UK RED CARPET.

I finished the week at Wembley Arena with other dreamers, positive-thinkers, and world-changers for WE DAY, which is now an annual fixture where thousands of school kids from 1200 UK schools attended with their classes, after having earned a ticket by making a commitment, to undertake at least one local and one global charitable act of their choice as part of a year long ‘’we-act’’ programme. The schools raised £353,946 to support local and global causes, and volunteered over 148,763 hours of service. So of course, to thank them, the Wembley Arena WE DAY celebration is free of charge to the students and teachers in attendance.

Attending this year were chart-topping artists like Award-winning English electronica trio Years and Years, world- renowned speakers and incredible young people entertaining the arena. Our hosts for We Day UK were fellow young high achievers Laura Whitmore, Yasmin Evans, Becca Dudley and Bluey Robinson.

On the external, sun-drenched, red carpet cupped within the famous Wembley arches, we also caught up with Hollywood legend – actor Martin Sheen, Singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes, Dutch singer-songwriter and rapper Mr. Probz , Singer/songwriter Conor Maynard, Social advocate, filmmaker, and grandson of President Nelson Mandela – Kweku Mandela, and of course the family affair that is Sir Richard Branson with his son Sam and daughter Holly.

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JASMINE WITH THE AMAZING EMMANUEL JAL.

South Sudanese musician, former child soldier, and humanitarian Emmanuel Jal was fired up ‘’ I was a child soldier. I was born in a difficult time, I became a refugee, and I was looking for opportunities, and so what Me to We and We Day does is create opportunities for children around the world‘’

Emmanuel Jal

SOLO

Holly, who is also the Patron of Free The Children UK, Co-Chair of We Day UK, Trustee and Founder of Big Change Charitable Trust told the London360 crew ‘‘So, We Day is celebrating young people that have done great around the world for their local and global communities. They have raised money, they’ve volunteered and this is a day to celebrate young people and all the great work they’re doing. It’s about helping communities, helping people who are less fortunate than yourself, it just helps them and it also helps you. You learn so much about team-building and confidence, and you’re just putting back into your community which makes a real difference, and Sam, would you agree?’

Brother and philanthropist Sam jumped in to add to his sisters thoughts ‘’ ‘Totally, and I think seeing, and inspiring young people to engage in the world and ask questions, and get involved is the most inspiring thing ever and you can hear the voices of twelve-thousand young people wanting to make a difference in there and that energy is really contagious, and I think more and more young people are getting engaged in issues and there’s nothing to be gained from it but something positive.’

Branson Family
THE BRANSON FAMILY POWER-HOUSE.

Daddy Richard added his thoughts too ‘‘Nothing beats the feeling of being back at We Day UK. The energy here is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. 12,000 teenagers in an enclosed space tend to have that effect! We Day gives young people the perfect opportunity to use their voice, and share issues they’re passionate about. The students here today have come together to motivate each other and inspire others to join them and make a real difference. Watch and learn from these young people – and their fellow 200,000 WE DAYERS around the globe – they’re changing the world!’’

Richard continued in earnest, ‘’young entrepreneurs like these young people are going to be building the Virgin’s of the future, we have a start-up scheme where loans are made to young entrepreneurs, and then we try to find mentors and help them on their feet. And so, if people have got an idea that they think can make a positive difference to other people’s lives, they should turn it into a business and get on and try it. And if they need a bit of a helping hand, they may want to approach Virgin start-up loans so that maybe we can help them. ‘I’m not sure that the challenges are any more difficult than when I started many years ago, I mean at least the word entrepreneur has been invented, and I think people know what starting a business is about, maybe more than forty or fifty-years ago. so I think that the main thing is: come up with a good idea that you think’s going to do positive things to society, find some good people to surround yourself with, maybe try to get a loan from somewhere and just get on and do it.’

connor maynard
CONNOR MAYNARD GOT MOBBED ALL DAY AT WE DAY UK.

Connor Maynard said ‘’I think it’s something you never really get to see, YOUNG PEOPLE DOING GREAT THINGS, you watch the news and you rarely ever see a young person getting interviewed about it, the media only turn to young people when its solely about young people’s problems, but at the end of the day we all live in the same world, so I think young people should have a voice in more than just things about young people, so it is very very important for them to step up and say what they think’’.

Karl Lokko
POET KARL LOKKO.

Poet Karl Lokko explained why We Day makes such an impact ‘’Young people are active, if you’re not active, then you’re not really heard, and if you’re not heard than you’re just going to be looked over, and if you’re looked over, you’re just going to be disenfranchised. So for me it’s just about getting stuck in, get things happening!’’.

Also in the house were Lord Rumi Verjee – Founder of The Rumi Foundation and We Day UK Co-Chair, Andy Barrow – Inspirational speaker and retired Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby athlete, Bars and Melody – British R&B and rapping duo, Creators and Stars of MTV documentary series The Buried Life, Professor Muhammad Yunus – Nobel Peace Laureate and Craig and Marc Kielburger – International activists and co-founders of We Day.

As ever Spencer West (Me to We motivational speaker) and Dennis Gyamfi (Social activist and speaker) made powerful speech’s that had the arena full of students cheering loudly for both of them.

Martin Sheen
MARTIN SHEEN AND HIS ”DREAMY COSMOS” SPEECH…

Martin Sheen had the final word with his dreamy quote as he voiced his thoughts ‘’One of my favourite quotes is ‘be yourself, everyone else is taken’, so you have to have a sense that you do things, because it challenges you to be a better human being. You do it for yourself and then let the rest take care of itself. Sometimes we’re lucky to live in certain times and places, and certain people come through and they’re like comets and then people are astonished and it’s like ‘my God what is that?’, they’re here they’re together, they’re with us now, Malala is still with us, she’s still a child and she’s just been celebrated with the Nobel Peace Prize. This is a little girl they tried to silence because she wanted an education and she’s a comet now. All of these children you see today are baby comets. They’re showing the way, they’re lighting the future and it’s theirs! ‘Acting is what I do for a living, but activism is what I do to stay alive!’

Seven Traits of Highly Successful Women on Boards – “VIEWS FROM THE TOP AND HOW TO GET THERE”

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future, and has been observed since in the early 1900′s. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

On 8 March, thousands of events will be held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.

The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

In the UK women tend to have a hell of a lot more equality than many other women internationally with education, free speech, driving, access to all industries and more. However, one area that we are stil lacking is equality in the boardroom, which has been a popular subject this past couple of years.

On a global scale women outnumber men on this planet. Nationally, women are just as successful in universities as their male counterparts and even closer to home; women are more likely to be responsible for the day-to-day running of household budgets up and down our country. So why then is it that women are so outnumbered in the corporate boardrooms throughout the UK Plc?

YTColour
Dr Yvonne Thompson MBE.
Photo courtesy Dr Yvonne Thompson.

With two Phd Hons in Global Diversity, and Business Enterprise tucked under her belt, Dr. Yvonne Thompson’s CBE broke this down in her book, ‘7 Traits of highly successful women on Boards – Views from the top and how to get there’.

“If you gather the collective wisdom of people who have made it in life you start to see a trend”.

Thompson decided to take a refreshing look at this social conundrum, not through the usual discourse of statistical analysis, causality and correlation, but the other side of the coin, through the lenses of 22 women who are the exception to the rule in occupying serious positions on the highest authority in the management of a corporation. The Boardroom. Thompson says, “These are not role models, they are Real models. They live and breath the boardroom fight every day, whether they know it or not, just by being there.”

I was intrigued to find out the quick-win bullet points from all her research so grilled her over a cup of tea and biscuits.

Dr. Thompson’s says she is “laying down a challenge to society, to provide a level playing field so that our young women with potential to be future leaders, can be the confident citizens of Europe, including possibility of being on the Board of a national or international corporation, and not be excluded like so many w omen of this generation are, purely on the grounds of her gender”.

However, she does not exclude men. In fact Dr. Thompson actively courted the attention of three very powerful men who have collectively and individually moved the dial on gender equality in the Boardroom. Of course there are many more than a few good men, and Dr. Thompson rather sagely enlists these men of distinction as ‘agents of change’ to reach out to other men. After all, if these Board positions are totally occupied by men, their hearts and minds need to be changed too in order for progress on the conversation to be made.

Via interviews that Thompson conducted with 22 business women over a year, who serve on corporate boards, she asked them about their own experiences of how they climbed the corporate ladder, any obstacles (gender roadblocks) and how they got over them, their inspirations and their favorite leaders, to their late night and early morning rituals that keep them on point.

Dr. Thompson then went on to develop 7 key characteristics that these 22 women espoused within the acronym of and also offers 7 top tips – one under each characteristic or trait. Below are Yvonne Thompsons L.E.A.D.E.R.S top tips.

1- Leadership. Top Tip: – Create trust and fellowship. How to hone your leadership skill, how to find out which style suits you best, which leaders do they most admire, and influenced their style.

2- Education. Top Tip: – Don’t be afraid of the 3Rs–Reading, Writing & Arithmetic. Engage in life-long learning. How important it is for us to encourage young women to take STEM subjects from the start, to ensure they have the educational status quo to compete with male counterparts.

3 – Advice. Top Tip: – It’s not information, but how you use it that is powerful. How important it is to give advice and pass on boardroom intelligence to others, and more so how import is it to take advice.

4 – Diversity. Top Tip: – The Recent McKinsey Diversity Matters report shows that diverse boards are better boards. If one of the largest management consultancy firms can show the impact diverse boards make against non-diverse boards, the issue can now be seen to impact the company’s bottom line.

5 – Emotional Intelligence. Top Tip: – Stop, Think then Act. How you internalize and deal with matters that affect you in the work place, shows a level of emotional intelligence, for good or for evil – EQ (Emotional Quotient) can be the leveler that decides how you progress up the corporate ladder.

6 – Resilience. Top Tip: – Resilience is the trait that is a major player, not only to get from your entry point to the room at the top, but also to keep you there. This is the trait that most women seem to have the most to comment on. Know hot to apply resilience, and how it can help you to get what you want.

7- Sidebar. Top Tip: – What you do off duty affects, and can reflect on what you do when you are on duty. Let it go, re-energize and be ready for Monday morning. Share amazing stories of what these women do outside of work to help them, have the energy, the mindset, and the resilience to go back to a tough, male dominated world, and stay there. From part time vicar, to skiing trials, mountain bike racing, and even golfing tournaments – these ladies at the top know how to refuel their week, by what they do at the weekend.

So if you’re a boss, invest in your female employees, this is not just a gender numbers game. It is about the richness of the board as a whole, the combined contribution of a group of people with different skills and perspectives to offer. A board full of people with different experiences, backgrounds and life styles will enrich a business in many ways.

So this March 8, reach out to a woman who has had a positive impact on your life both in business and personally.

Happy International Women’s Day 2015!.

JASMINE’S JUICE. Ladies- Are You One Of Millions That Are Wearing The Wrong Bra?

So its BRITS week and unlike past years where I’m fretting about my hair, frock and which afterparty is really the one that will break the internet, this week one morning, saw me dedicating a whole morning to my boobs, all in the name of work!

boob 1
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MY BOOBS…THE UP’S THE DOWN’S…THROUGHOUT AGE, WEIGHTGAIN AND BRA CHOICES.

Let me explain. My stylist friend last week demanded in his fierce snappy fingers manner

‘’girl for this years BRITs you need to be focusing on your cleavage, side silhouette and décolletage this season, its time for the boobies, they’ve come into an era of their own!’’

Its true. Recent red carpets, both at the BRITs and fashion weeks, have shown navel-slashed gowns and perfectly hour glassed figures on show & tell. So in trying to keep up with the Beyonce’s of this world, I set about my mission to ‘‘find the one!’’…bra that is!

It reminded me of a time years ago, my work colleague and I had strolled into John Lewis at lunchtime and were persuaded by their lingerie department to get a free bra fitting. It was a moment of revelation for me, who was always moaning about my ‘’side back-fat’’. The fitter took one look at me and declared ‘’ sweetie you’re wearing the wrong size bra. You’re not a B you’re a C, and that ‘’side-back-fat’’ is your boob!’’ Well, you could’ve slapped me with a Wonderbra and called me Eva Herzigova!

side back fat
NOT ”SIDE BACK FAT” BUT ACTUAL REAL ”BOOB”!

Being young and flighty I’d always associated teeny tiny underwear with sexy. This C cup contraption didn’t look like the delicate fabric that a Mills & Boon prince would delicately slip off my shoulders before ravishing me. It was the bra equivalent of huge granny pants.

edible bra
EDIBLE BRA!

Many women when asked what item of clothing they couldn’t live without claim ‘’bra!’’ but apparently 76% of women wear the wrong size and more importantly, the wrong shape. So I set off on a mission to get fitted and lo and behold, I understood why busy British women are all wearing the wrong bra, we cant get a bloody fitting!

Since Christmas I’ve walked into department stores and lingerie brands all over west and central London requesting a fitting, only to be repeatedly told their fitter only works once a week, at an ungodly hour or that they don’t do that service.

boob 2
A GREAT BOOB SILLOUETTE IS ESSENTIAL, WHEN IT WORKS!.

My stylist friend (him again), came to the rescue by hooking me up with Triumph, who have a 129 year history of crafting lingerie that helps women to look and feel their best, and are the largest lingerie manufacturer in the world for designing, grading and manufacturing.

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Monica Harrington, their Product Manager, who has spent 23 years with the brand, is an expertise in fitting & product and runs the fit training programme, which is used to train all Triumph Tailoresses. She explained all the necessary steps and expertise every woman should be looking for so they find the perfect fitting bra.

During our chat she emphasized ‘’shape over size’’ repeatedly. ‘’Once you find your shape that’s the most important part done. Don’t worry too much about the price. There’s nothing wrong with Primark or M&S, after all M&S must be doing something right as they have over 30% of the market. At Triumph our prices are more middle of the road’’.

‘’What makes a bra expensive are things like underwire, more comfortable straps and using seam free wings. Also, once above a certain cup size you have to pay a little bit more. There’s a change now with women of different generations. Young girls these days, because of social media and adverts are more comfortable talking about it. Years ago women used to be horrified “your bras showing”! Now every other 20year old on twitter has a profile pic IN her bra! Women of today like to show their straps now too. So we make them pretty with detailing’’.

boob 3
WHEN STOOD ALONGSIDE A GORGEOUS BODIED DIVA LIKE MARIAH, I REALLY SHOULD’VE HAD A RE-THINK ON THIS LOOK!.

‘’I’ve been in lingerie for 30 years. 24 years at Triumph in different roles. Lingerie excites me so much! It’s about understanding women’s bodies. I’ve met so many women over the years. We’re all so blasé about body’s bumps and lumps. I’ve spoken to so many women who have perfect size 10 body, a face with no blemishes but as soon as women talk about bra fittings they become vulnerable and very sensitive and shy about it. Also, for most women seeing a sea of bra’s in department stores is a quite daunting so most just grab one and run and make it work’’.

Monica says the two most difficult things for a woman to buy are……guess…..denim jeans and bras. My regular issue with both bras and jeans brands is the fact that I can be a variety of different sizes in both? Monica patiently explains, ‘’It’s not the fit. It’s the fabric. Lace etc. I think though that measurement is a bit dated these days. And it’s all about finding the best shape for you. I like to bring the fitting room to life! Giving women back their confidence for a variety of reasons. Women who’ve had children, yoyo dieting, ladies who are shy about showing off their curves, their boobs are saggy, dealing with cancer experiences, breast implants, reductions, transgender, it doesn’t matter, our in store tailoresses have seen it all and know how to deal with every situation with respect and support’’.

She made me laugh out loud when she revealed that the average woman has a lot of bra’s in her draw, but keeps reaching for and wearing the same two. Yes. Guilty. Mine? Black and nude.

triumph blk nude
THIS IS THE TRIUMPH MAGIC WIRE SET I’M ROCKING WHILST WRITING THIS COLUMN- MY NEW FAVE! (MUST REMEMBER TO CHANGE DAILY!)….Magic Wire Contouring Sensation – Black

She revealed horror stories ‘’I’ve seen women come in with their back strap so high its at the back of their shoulders. If the bra’s up at back then the boobs will be down at the front! Short and tall women can be the same size cups and totally different strap lengths from shoulder to breast. It’s all about where the breasts sit. In a perfect world, they should sit halfway between elbow and shoulder. But as we age we lose elasticity. (We don’t like to use the word “sag”). We fit women everyday for events and even half of London’s fashion press are wearing the wrong sizes too’’.

stick on bra
THE BRA’S WE WEAR IN THE NAME OF FASHION!

I divulged what I thought was a unique secret. I have always only worn an underwired bra. Is that normal? She laughs! ‘’Most women today wear an underwired bar. That’s why we introduced our “magic wire” make. It gives you a really lovely silhouette. We use silicone to replace traditional under wiring. Its much more comfortable. By the way, there’s no medical evidence to say underwired bra’s are bad for you, so don’t panic when you hear those stories. However in 2015, women don’t want to wear wire much as much as there’s a comfort issue so we made our magic-wire set which replaces wire with silicone and is really very cosy to wear daily’’. (I tried it, it is!-yeay!).

I wondered at Monica’s job and if in the same way that doctors at parties get asked about ailments, Monica finds herself evaluating other random women’s boobs. “I don’t gawp at women on the tube but when I’m in the park or gym and boobs are bouncing in an un-supportive bra I do despair. ‎You need firm support in sport with any size breast. I see a drastic difference in older women. Life was very different for them growing up in the late 60s and 70s. They grew up with very few cup size options (up until 15 years ago there were literally only A, B and C cup sizes) so what we’re trying to do is re-educate all women for the whole experience and necessary steps and rules they need to know in order to find the perfect fitting bra’’.

‎Monica’s personal hate? ….’’Men buying bras for wives are a nightmare. They think in their ‘Small/medium/large’ worlds. They always want to buy her red and racy, which of course she’ll bring back to exchange”. Tips for fabulous boobs? ‘’Exercise, moisturising the breast skin, have enough bra support for your size’’.

‎I couldn’t help wonder about cleanliness after this weeks Independent and Mail stories that four out of five British women don’t shower or bathe regularly. Our bra hygiene must be shocking! Monica nods ‘‘the closest thing to your body are bra and briefs. I change and wash my bra daily but I’ve seen women come in and are drop dead gorgeous in beautiful outfits but their greying, frayed and stained bras are held together with a safety pin! I guess women get comfy and in the same way that they might let their leg shave lapse, their bra game goes downhill too’’.

triumph shiver
MY OTHER NEW FAVE IS THIS ”SHIVER” BRA. SLEEK, SHAPELY AND CHIC…..Magic Wire Sculpting Sensation Bra – Shiver

shiver
”SHIVER” IN ACTION!

My own cornerstone bra memories are as a teenager seeing the then celebrity famous page 3 Sun girls like Sam Fox and Maria Whittaker, then the outrageous Wonderbra campaign in 1994 with Eva Herzigova supposedly cause car crashes as giant billboards of her ginormous breasts loomed down upon distracted motorists was captioned ‘’hello boys!’’ Soon afterwards Madonna wore the Jean Paul Gaultier conical bra in her Blonde Ambition world tour. Also the infamous Kelly Brook Triumph promo campaign in 1998.

This year the hot catchphrase has been ‘’waist training and boob training’’. Women internationally are rocking corsets and shape wear on a daily basis. In fact, at one recent wedding my friend loudly exclaimed,

“My husband helped me get into my Spanx before this party, he always does bless him!”

There’s also been a lot of talk in fashion circles and Kim Kardashian’s twitter these days about waist training. You can’t navigate twitter without being visually assaulted by yet another sexy maiden posing in skimpy underwear and showing of her ‘’waist training’’ corset to get that all coveted hourglass shape. Only this week at work, I spoke to three women who are actively discussing their daily corset experience.

waist training
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING HOW THEY WERE ACHEIVING THOSE EXAGERATED HOUR-GLASS FIGURES.

When it comes to celebrities that work their boobs to their and worst angles Monica gushes ‘’Kylie is a hit for bras and boob silhouettes. Helena Christianson also has a very real body shape. She knows lingerie’’. Monica won’t be pushed on celebs that need a fitting. Although I think we can all immediately think of a few. Tis makes me giggle as I envisage the next big thing in celebrity product placement like fragrances having bras with names like Buxom Beyonce, Mamamia Mariah, Curvy Kim and Sizzling Salma.

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In 2015 lingerie is a multi million pound industry and the recent Victoria’s Secret shows globally, show just how crazy both men and women are about sexy undies. Ironically, it’s the only industry I can think of where women are paid more than men. I wonder how much super male model David Gandy gets to pose in his pants?

Oops, I digress! Back to the messaging ladies, get yourself a fitting a.s.a.p. Your boobs will thank you.
It may take time to find the right bra for you, but remember: you’re worth it.

wild bra

“Find the One” Campaign


Jeans and bras have a lot in common – every woman wants to find the perfect fit. 

Leading lingerie brand Triumph will globally launch “Find the One” on Monday 2nd March, a new initiative aimed at finding the perfect fitting bra for 500,000 women worldwide by the end of 2015. That’s a whole lot of measuring! 


The ‘Find the One’ campaign will focus around a compelling, cheeky film for social media by acclaimed director Ivana Bobic (who has worked with Stella McCartney, Whistles and Adidas amongst others) and a new digital hub. The short film celebrates that incredible life-changing feeling women experience when we find and wear the right fit bra and encourages others to follow suit and find the one.

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The new interactive digital hub will take users through a step-by-step fitting and finding journey, full of advice – fashion tips from experts to bra style guides – that will transform the whole bra finding experience, like never before.

The first class digital hub will also feature influential fashion and lifestyle personalities including Ella Catliff – founder of La Petite Anglaise, Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl and beauty expert Sali Hughes amongst others. They all share specialist advice, guidance, tips of the trade and personal experience, alongside real women from all over globally. 




Find the One bra for you at triumph.com/findtheone

#FindTheOne

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JASMINE’S JUICE- Naomi Campbell Opens This Year’s London Fashion Week With Exclusive Fashion For Relief Show at Somerset House, London

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JASMINE WITH FASHION DESIGNER WALE ADEYEMI.

Miss Naomi Campbell. Spotted at aged 15 and catapulted to supermodel fame, then in the tabloids all through the eighties and nineties for being beautiful, her relationships with high profile men and the now legendary stories of misbehavior.
This woman has lived a life that fables and myths are built upon. Dining with and befriending legends like Nelson Mandela, Puffy, world leaders, leaders in every genre. But like Madonna and Angelina before her, she’s savvy to balancing fabulosity with pro-social causes and is a queen of moving to where the cheese is.

Naomi  Campbell and The Duchess of York at the Fashion For Relief charity fashion show to kick off London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015/16 at Somerset House on February 19, 2015 in London, England. The Fashion For Relief show is in support of Ebola, raising funds and awareness for Disaster Emergency Committee: Ebola Crisis Appeal and the Ebola Survival Fund.
Naomi-Campbell-and-The-Duchess-of-York
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

In the last decade she has reinvented herself from a spoilt, tantrum reputed diva to a mature, socially engaged woman of the world trying to do brilliant things to engage people powered change.

Fashion For Relief - Backstage - LFW FW15
Vivienne-Westwood-backstage-at-the-Fashion-For-Relief-charity-fashion-show
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

In 2005, she established Fashion For Relief and hosted its first charity fashion show to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina in
New Orleans. Since its conception in 2005, Fashion For Relief has presented shows in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai and Dar es Salaam, and has raised millions of dollars for various causes.

DYNAMO
DYNAMO WALKS..

Fashion For Relief - Red Carpet Arrivals - LFW FW15
Alesha-Dixon-Bruno-Tonioli-and-Naomi-Campbell-backstage-at-the-Fashion-For-Relief-charity-fashion-show
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

Last week Naomi hosted a Fashion For Relief charity show at New York Fashion Week and just a few days later on Thursday night she hosted another star-studded one here to kick start London Fashion Week. Putting her energies towards her fashion for relief fashion shows both in new york and here in London makes her a great pro-social example to all that follow and look up to her.

Fashion For Relief - Red Carpet Arrivals - LFW FW15
Annabelle-Neilson-Duchess-of-York-Alice-Dellal-Naomi-Campbell-Jade-Parfitt-backstage-at-the-Fashion-For-Relief-charity-fashion-show
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

On arrival at the VIP champagne reception last night I greeted her mother Valerie and remarked on how impressed we were with Naomi’s continued journey. Valerie was most gracious and said she was proud and her daughters biggest champion.

Ella Eyre and Naomi Campbell backstage at the Fashion For Relief charity fashion show to kick off London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015/16 at Somerset House on February 19, 2015 in London, England.  The Fashion For Relief show is in support of Ebola, raising funds and awareness for Disaster Emergency Committee: Ebola Crisis Appeal and the Ebola Survival Fund.
Naomi with Ella Eyre.
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

You can’t be a superstar these days without having a pro social cause that helps a community and Naomi has been involved in activism and charity work for many years now. We are living in the age of giving back and last night Naomi shone whilst raising funds and awareness for ebola with a star studded catwalk line up that walked in white, black and gold themed outfits.

Naomi Campbell walks the runway at the Fashion For Relief charity fashion show to kick off London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015/16 at Somerset House on February 19, 2015 in London, England. The Fashion For Relief show is in support of Ebola, raising funds and awareness for Disaster Emergency Committee: Ebola Crisis Appeal and the Ebola Survival Fund.

The outfits were fierce, fabulous and fine. The models were royal, remarkable and riotous.

ALESHA D
ALESHA WALKS…

American film, television and stage actor, Jeffrey wright did the show intro and welcomed us all for what was an incredible spectacle. He said the main priority was to use events like this, as a key is to get to zero cases of ebola in these countries that were affected.

Fashion For Relief - Backstage - LFW FW15
Jourdan-Dunn-backstage-at-the-Fashion-For-Relief-charity-fashion-show
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

He drove home the message that

‘’In the USA, when the news of ebola so read globally and was hot in October last year, there was hysteria in the air and people panicked about ‘’what about when it’ll arrive in the states!’’. Then the awareness peaked off. We think that’s because in the UK and USA we’re powerful enough to control and cure people. When a person gets it here, a person gets treated in American and British hospitals and it gets cured and they leave healthy. On the other hand, Africans who get it die. That speaks volumes about the economics of these different countries. We must speak of the vulnerabilities and issues here. There’s not one hospital in Sierra Leone you’d want to be ill in. We want to build up the infrastructure in Sierra Leone’’.
‎He continued ‘’It’s powerful and appropriate that the fashion community comes together around this. I come from the theatre community, which was affected by aids. It took many years for many to even acknowledge this. The gay community back then said “no. We are the creative and most fierce community in this country and we will take this on and fight it. And so for the fashion community to come together to make this happen for the ebola cause is a great thing. I want to thank Naomi Campbell for taking the charge in this crusade!’’.

Commenting on the show Naomi said:

“I’m thrilled to return to London to open London Fashion Week for this very special cause close to my heart. The Fashion For Relief Show is an incredible event and this year we hope to raise more money than ever before. Raising awareness for Ebola and educating about its prevention is crucial to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease.”

Naomi and friends hit the catwalk at Somerset house hard! All happy and working it they joked, skipped, strutted and some even piggy backed and fell on their knees in excitement!

BRUNO TONIOLI
BRUNO TONIOLI FALLS TO HIS KNEES!

Celebrities and models that walked during #FashionForRelief included Ade Adepitan, Alesha Dixon, Alice Dellal, Andrea Dellal, Andreas Kronthaler, Annabelle Neilson, Bruno Tonioli, Caroline Flack, Caroline Winberg, Daisy Lowe, Dynamo, Duchess Of York, Ella Eyre, Georgia May Jagger, Jacquetta Wheeler Jade Parfitt Jourdan Dunn, Katie Piper, Katie Price, Laura Whitmore, Melissa Odabash, Nicola Roberts, Pixie Lott, Rob Evans, Rupert Everett, Sarah Jane Crawford, Viktoria Modesta, Vivienne Westwood.

Naomi Campbell wearing Bvlgari at the Fashion For Relief charity fashion show to kick off London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015/16 at Somerset House on February 19, 2015 in London, England.  The Fashion For Relief show is in support of Ebola, raising funds and awareness for Disaster Emergency Committee: Ebola Crisis Appeal and the Ebola Survival Fund.
Naomi-Campbell-wearing-Bvlgari-at-the-Fashion-For-Relief-charity-fashion-show
Pic copyright Dave Bennett.

DAISY LOWE
DAISY LOWE WALKS..

Naomi and some very special friends, including Jourdan Dunn, Georgia May Jagger, the Duchess of York, Vivienne Westwood, Daisy Lowe, Rupert Everett, Katie Price, Alesha Dixon, Sarah-Jane Crawford, Pixie Lott, Laura Whitmore, Bruno Tonioli, Caroline Flack, Nicola Roberts, Katie Piper, Melissa Odabash, Dynamo walked the runway wearing pieces donated from the world’s most prestigious fashion houses across the world including Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaia, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Balmain, Marchesa, Versace and many more.

SARAH F
SARAH FERGUSON WALKS…

Other Celebrities in the house that I spotted were fashion blogger Bip Ling, Bob Geldof, Mark Wright, Michelle Keegan and Tanya Burr.

JOURDANN DUNN
JOURDANN DUNN WALKS…

The show also included an exhilarating auction, where member of the audience bid on incredible items including The Tracey Emin piece ‘Just A Thought’; an exclusive holiday to the Maldives; a Bvlgari Watch; a limited-edition Mert and Marcus Naomi print; and an Alexander McQueen dress. All funds raised on the night will go to raise vital funds and awareness towards the fight against Ebola.

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SARAH-JANE CRAWFORD HOLLERS OUT TIM WADE AND MYSELF IN THE SEATS TO BUY…WE PRETENDED NOT TO SEE THE UBER EXPENSIVE BULGARI WATCH LOL!

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Brit Award nominee Ella Eyre gave a show-stopping live performance from the catwalk, singing her single ‘Gravity’.

Naomi had to take guests to task at one point when an Alexander McQueen dress modelled by Daisy Lowe wasn’t raising enough thousands in the post show bid. She cocked her hip and lip out and pointed at high net worth individuals in the crowd and name checked them into parting with more cash for the cause. The strop was most certainly …..as L’Oreal would say….worth it!

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THIS WOMAN…A REAL LIFE HEROINE!

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Naomi was overjoyed at the end of the night, “Tonight has been incredible and I am so thankful to everyone who has been involved to make the show such a brilliant success. The fight to raise awareness and bring aid to those affected by Ebola is a cause that I am so passionate about. I sincerely hope the funds raised from tonight’s show will hopefully make a difference to those affected by this terrible disease.”

ADE ADEPUTIN
ADE ADEPITAN…

Make up was provided by MAC by Charlotte Tilbury Team. With hair styled by Johnnie Sapong @ Jed Root, using Eimi from Wella Professionals.
Fashion For Relief was pioneered by Naomi to mobilise funds for charities close to her heart. This year, the show helped to raise vital funds and awareness towards the ongoing fight against Ebola, with all proceeds going to support the Disaster Emergency Committee: Ebola Crisis Appeal www.dec.org.uk/ebola and the Ebola Survival Fund http://ebolasurvivalfund.org/

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JASMINE WITH R&B SINGER THALIA STORM.

JASMINE’S JUICE – 10th Screen Nation Film & TV Awards 2015. ”we’re not ‘diversity’-we’re mainstream!”.

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IDRIS ELBA AT SCREEN NATION AWARDS 2015.

There’s a lot of tabloid space given to London vs. New York this month. My personal feeling is that London reigns with tea, fish & chips, chocolate, etiquette, cleaner city, arts and culture, its more international as a city – 40% of London is foreign-born (NYC: 36%), It is easy to travel from London cheaply, we have milder weather, European-style vacation days, health care and workers’ rights. Londoners are more cutting edge and genuine, we get more vacation time and are proud of our minimum gun culture, James Bond and of course our eclectic music acts from Spice Girls, Sam Smith, Adele and beyond.

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British television presenter and wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan MBE.
PIC COURTESY- www.colorbox.co.uk

New York wins with better public transport which is cheap and fast, and their subway runs 24/7, their range of food is generally better and they have superior client-centric service standards in restaurants and bars, lower taxes, everything is open late; bar closing hours are never on your mind, cheaper services like taxis, deliveries, laundry services make day-to-day life more convenient. You can talk to anyone in NY and its cool and of course the energy is dynamic! Not forgetting they are open minded and diverse enough to vote in a black man for President.

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DIRECTOR (BELLE) AMA ASANTE WORKS IT ON THE RED CARPET.
PIC CREDIT – ANTHONY REDMAN- THOMAS.

Another way in which America is certainly more superior, is in acceptance of cultural differences and exclusive events. In the UK we have awards and show brands like BUFF (British Urban Film Festival), MOBO (Music of Black Origin), Asian Awards, National Diversity Awards and many many more culture focused brands. Every time an event takes place, the British media questions ‘do we still need events like this?’’ The answer to this question is always ‘yes’ so lets stop asking it and move the conversation forwards.

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YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH IDRIS ELBA.
PICCOURTESY- www.colorbox.co.uk

Can’t we just be like America who have numerous black awards, black film festivals and black empowerment organisations, and just accept that in a world where everyone doesn’t have an equal playing field, and ethnicity often rules out opportunity, we will ALWAYS need our own events to champion, profile and support our talent.

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AMA ASANTE WINS FOR DIRECTING BELLE.

This weekend the annual Screen Nation Awards took place at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel, where the year’s most successful nominees from the worlds of TV, big screen, both behind and in front of the camera came out to celebrate the black actors, directors, writers, producers, directors, crews, casts and more from the world of black British entertainment. The glitzy ceremony celebrated a decade of outstanding achievements on the British screen by many of the nation’s best-loved film & TV stars.

Acknowledged by the industry as ‘the’ media event for diverse talent and which has come to be known as the ‘black Bafta’s’, Screen Nation Awards celebrates, rewards and promotes products and professionals of African heritage working in the UK and global film, TV and digital media industries.

Why? Because after this past months OSCAR (#oscarssowhite) and BAFTA ceremonies, it’s clearer than ever before, that we need Screen Nation.

The evening kicked off after the champagne reception and warm up comedy sketches (by Mr Cee who made us bristle with the uncomfortable truth when he stated ‘’this years BAFTAS were once again a no-go-zone for the black man. At least we used to get close by working in the kitchen – now we don’t even have that as the Polish have nicked those jobs. BAFTAs stand for ‘’back away from the awards sooty!’’). Musical entertainment was provided by reggae legend John Mclean and eighties R&B legends Loose Ends and guests were treated to a three course dinner, which was sumptuous (soup/duck/sea bass/ jerk chicken/exotic fruit cheesecake).

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BRENDA EMMANUS- OUR HOST FOR SCREEN NATION AWARDS 2015.

BBC London News Arts Correspondent Brenda Emmanus hosted the show, which saw international star Idris Elba pick up the award for Favourite International Film for his thriller No Good Deeds. He emphasized that as a community we needed to get behind and support the awards to make it grow stronger.

Selma’s lead man David Oyelowo won Best Male Performance in Film. Belle director Amma Sante looked stunning in a sequinned white gown as she picked up Best Film for her period drama. She gave us all lumps in our throats after she explained that she wrote and directed Belle in tribute to her father, but alas he passed away before seeing it.

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SARAH JANE AND JAMELIA PRESENT US WITH THE AWARD FOR LADIES TALK- SKY 218.

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SARAH JANE CRAWFORD LOOKING GORG!
PIC CREDIT – ANTHONY REDMAN- THOMAS.

DJ and TV presenter (Xtra Factor) Sarah Jane Crawford won Favourite Female TV Star and thanked everyone for their support over the years.

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LADIES TALK WIN!

Even lil ole me got a piece of the action when Ladies Talk won Best TV show led by a woman. Ladies Talk is a Loose Women style ladies panel show (SKY 218), hosted by Angie Le Mar with numerous panellists including Bonnie Greer and myself. Angie wanted to show that regardless of colour, women globally have the same conversations and our skin colour does not define our TV content topics and that shows that we make and feature on rate as highly as others.

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JASMINE ON THE RED CARPET AT SCREEN NATION AWARDS.
PIC COURTESY- www.colorbox.co.uk

Awards Presenters included actress Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of thrones, X Factors Sarah Jane Crawford, singer and broadcaster Jamelia, ITVs Michelle Matherson and Asif Zubairy and many more.

In the audience were hundreds of movers and shakers within the industry. Actor Aml Ameen, actor Shavani Seth from E4’s Youngers, Chizzy Akudolu from Holby city, actress Karen Bryson from Channel 4’s Shameless, actor Anthony warren, film director Mo Ali. There was much excitement as fans spotted The Good Lie lead actor Arnold Oceng fresh from his experience with Reese Witherspoon.

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WITH ARNOLD OCENG- THE GOOD LIE.

Also in attendance was Emmerdale star Fiona Wade, soap star Modupe Adeyeye, stuntwoman Amanda Foster, Channel Four’s Cockroaches star Daniel Lawrence Taylor and veteran screen star Don Warrington. Sean Cronin, Rebbeca Scroggs, Patrick Robinson, Petra Letang, Don Gilet, Laura Rollins, Lorna Laidlaw, Fiona Wade, actor Danny John Jules, acting legend Don Warrington (Rising Damp), Tobi Bakare, , ITV newsreader Charlene White, actress Sara Martin, actress Modupe Adeyeye, Denise Nurse, OT Fagbenle, Samuel Anderson, footballer Fabrice Muamba and many more.

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CHARLES THOMPSON MBE – FOUNDER OF SCREEN NATION AWARDS.

Charles Thompson MBE who founded the screen nation awards told me backstage

‘’How we think about ourselves is the most important thing. The statements tonight by David Oyelowo and Idris Elba show that they’re committed to bringing the message of British talent around the world. That’s why ten years ago David Oyelowo was nominated for emerging talent. When no one knew who Idris was we were nominating him for The Wire. We know excellence is possible and achievable. If we work with our colleagues around the world we will win everything. We’re not diversity quota anymore and never have been! We’re mainstream!! ‘’

Full list of nominees and winners below.
ABN TV (Sky235) will broadcast highlights of the ceremony at 11pm Saturday 28th February 2015


WINNERS

UK SCREEN AWARDS

Rising Talent
Aaron Fontaine – Actor in Hollyoaks
Antonia Thomas – Scrotal Recall
Georgina Bobb – Producer/Entrepreneur
Nosa Igbinedion – Director WINNER
Tarah Welsh – New Reporter on BBC LOndon
Royce Pierreson – Actor in Murdered by my Boyfriend, Misfits
Ryan Calais Cameron – Actor in various

Young Shooting Star (16-25)
Ade Oyefoso – Youngers, Silk
Georgina Campbell – Murdered by My Boyfriend WINNER
Jacob Anderson – Game of Thrones, Mimic
McKell David – Montana
Modupe Adeyeye – Hollyoaks
Rebecca Scroggs – Eastenders

Favourite Female TV Star
PUBLIC VOTING
Denise Nurse – Escape to the Country
Jamelia – Loose Women
Lorna Laidlaw – Doctors
Rochelle Humes – This Morning, Children in Need, etc
Sandra Martin & Sandy Channer – Gogglebox
Sarah Jane Crawford – X Factor WINNER

Favourite Male TV Star
PUBLIC VOTING
Ade Adepitan – Various WINNER
Marvin Humes – The Voice, This Morning
Reggie Yates – Various
Richard Ayoade – Various
Simon Webbe – Strictly Come Dancing

Female Performance in Film
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle WINNER
Nadine Marshall – Second Coming
Carmen Ejogo – Selma

Male Performance in Film
Aml Ameen – Maze Runner
Arnold Oceng – The Good Lie
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Half of a Yellow Sun
David Oyelowo – Selma WINNER
Harley Sylvester – The Guvnors
Idris Elba – No Good Deeds

Female Performance in TV
Laura Rollins – Doctors
Letitia Wright – Glasgow Girls
Lorna Laidlaw – Doctors
Nathalie Emmanuel – Game of Thrones
Petra Letang – Holby
Sara Martins – Death in Paradise WINNER

Male Performance in TV
David Gyasi – The Whale
Don Gilet – Holby
OT Fagbenle – Looking
Patrick Robinson – Casualty
Samuel Anderson – Dr Who, Trollied WINNER
Tobi Bakare – The Smoke, The Tunnel

UK SCREENCRAFT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Diversity in Factual Production
Fostering & Me with Lorraine Pascale – BBC2
Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark – BBC4 WINNER
Storyville: Mandela, The Myth & Me – BBC2
The Secret Life of Your Clothes – BBC2
The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire – BBC2
Welcome to Rio – BBC2

Diversity in Drama Production
Death in Paradise – BBC2 WINNER
Doctors – BBC2
Game of Thrones – HBO
Holby – BBC2
Murdered by My Boyfriend – BBC3

Independent Spirit Film Production
Beauty Is WINNER
Hard Time Bus
1 Way Up
Through the Lens of Hip-Hop: UK Women
Achievement in Film Production
Belle WINNER
Half of a Yellow Sun
Montana
The Anomaly
The Double

Favourite International Movie (made by or featuring British talent)

PUBLIC VOTING
Maze Runner (Aml Ameen)
No Good Deed (Idris Elba)
Selma (David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo) WINNER
The Good Lie (Arnold Oceng)
The Whale (Alrick Riley, John Boyega)

Favourite African UK Movie (made by or featuring significantly British based talent)
PUBLIC VOTING
Afua’s Diary – Bibi Owusu-Shadbolt
Double Cross – Ama K. Abebrese
Gone Too Far – Destiny Ekaragha
Invasion 1897- Lancelot Odesuwa Imasuen & J2 Konsult WINNER
Love or Something Like That – Shirley Frimpong Manso
Mum Dad Meet Sam – Segilola Ogidan & Edith Nwekenta
The Devil in Freetown – Archie Collins Pearce
Urban Rythmn – Michael Ibiayo & Yinka Kuponiyi

Favourite Black TV Show (Magazine/Chat show led by a woman)
PUBLIC VOTING
Culture Vultures (Rosemary Laryea) – OH TV
Family Time (Nana Akosua Boateng) – ABN TV
Ladies Talk (Angie le Mar) – Vox Africa WINNER
Pauline Long Show – BEN TV
Real Talk (Trish Adudu) – OH TV
The Nana Churcher Show – Vox Africa
The Sporah Show (Sporah Njau) – Vox Africa

Favourite UK Afrobeats Music Promo
PUBLIC VOTING
Fuse ODG ft. Sean Paul – Dangerous Love
Kwamz & Flava – Wo Onane No
May7ven – Werk WINNER
Mista Silva ft Syron – Green Light
Moelogo ft Giggs – Baddest
Zafi B ft Atumpan – Superhero

PEOPLE’S CHOICE INTERNATIONAL SCREEN AWARDS
PUBLIC VOTING
Favourite Film
PUBLIC VOTING
Annie
No Good Deed WINNER
Ride Along
The Equalizer
Think Like A Man Too

Favourite Female Screen Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Ava Duvernay WINNER
Gabrielle Union
Kerry Washington
Shonda Rhimes
Viola Davis

Favourite Male Screen Personality
PUBLIC VOTING
Anthony Mackie
Denzel Washington WINNER
Forest Whittaker
Kevin Hart
Tyler Perry
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Honorary Awards were bestowed upon;

Outstanding Contribution Award
Harry Belafonte theAfrican-American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist.

Edric Connor Trailblazer Award
Anton Phillips the iconic British actor, producer and director, who has an acting career in Britain that broke many racial barriers.
Legacy Award
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee (posthumously) Hollywood’s hugely respected and much loved ‘black power’ couple and civil rights activists.

Classic TV Award
Fresh Prince of Bel-air the iconic comedy series that launched Will Smith’s acting career is acknowledged as it reaches its 25th anniversary.
The Awards were sponsored and partnered by BBC, ITV, ABN TV, Tama Ra Event Designers, New African Woman Magazine, Scene TV, AfricaX5, DJA Media, Hilton, Suba App, GUBA, Kato Enterprises, Ultimalt, Star Lager, Guinness FE and Talking Drum Entertainment END