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?

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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’’.

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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.

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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’’.

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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’’.

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

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”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.

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“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
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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.

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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.

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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.

DRIS
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
—————————–
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

JASMINE’S JUICE- SCREEN NATION AWARDS IN PICTURES

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Sunday night saw the 10th annual Screen Nation Awards take place at the Hilton Hotel, Edgware Rd, London.
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, writers, producers, directors, crews, casts and more from the world of black entertainment.
Why? Because after this past months OSCAR and BAFTA ceremonies, it’s clearer than ever that we need Screen Nation and a wonderful night was had by all.
Check out some of my personal highlights below- full write up coming in the next 48 hours!

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THE RECEPTION SAW US SIP CHAMPAGNE AND DIP INTO A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN.

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EVERY TABLE IN THE BALLROOM WAS DRESSED WITH RED AND GREEN RIBBONS AND STARTERS OF EITHER SOUP OR DUCK WERE PLACED AWAITING OUR ARRIVAL.

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JERK CHICKEN DINNER.

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AFTER A DINNER OF SEA BASS OR JERK CHICKEN, DESSERT WAS EXOTIC FRUIT CHEESECAKE.

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OUR HOSTESS WAS THE EVER EFFICIENT BRENDA EMMANUS (BBC NEWS), JOINED BY HER NOT SO EFFICIENT CO-HOST VICTOR ROMERO EVANS.

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AFROBEATS ACT ATUMPAN HAD US ALL IN THE MOOD WITH HIS PERFORMANCE OF ”SMALL GIRL YOU DON’T KNOW THE TING”

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REGGAE DON JOHN MCLEAN SANG HIS HIT ”IF I GAVE MY HEART TO YOU”

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COMEDIAN MR CEE ENTERTAINED US WITH SOME POLITICALLY INCORRECT JOKES THAT HAD ME WORRIED ABOUT LAUGHING.

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JASMINE WITH HOLBY CITY ACTRESS CHIZZY AKUDOLU.

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JASMINE WITH AFTERSHOW DJ/CAPITAL XTRA DJ ABRANTEE AND FORMER CHOICEFM DJ CK FLASH.

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JASMINE WITH ITV NEWS HOST CHARLENE WHITE.

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JASMINE WITH ACTOR ARNOLD OCENG (THE GOOD LIE ETC)

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ANGIE LE MAR’S SHOW ”LADIES TALK” (ON WHICH I AM A HOUSE PANNELLIST) WAS UP FOR AN AWARD!

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THE GORGEOUS LADIES JAMELIA AND SARAH JANE CRAWFORD PRESENTED OUR AWARD CATEGORY.

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WE WON! SO FELLOW LADIES TALK PANNELLIST JACKIE G MICHAEL’S, WENT ONSTAGE TO PICK UP THE AWARD FOR ANGIE, WHO IS LUSHING IT IN JAMAICA.

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LADIES TALK WINNERS POSE!

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US WITH THE SCREEN NATION TROPHY.

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JACKIE AND I SLIP JAMELIA A TENNER FOR OUR AWARD LOL.

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SELMA’S LEADMAN DAVID OYELOWO’S BROTHER AND FATHER PICK UP HIS AWARD.

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WRITER, DIRECTOR, ACTRESS AMA ASANTE WINS FOR HER FILM BELLE! HER SPEECH HAD US GULPING AS SHE DEDICATED HER WIN TO HER LATE FATHER WHO PASSED BEFORE SEEING HER FILM AND HER SUCCESS.

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WHEN IDRIS FIRST ENTERED THE BALLROOM FANS RUSHED HIM FOR SELFIES AND PICTURES. LUCKILY HE’S A BIG GUY AND CAN HANDLE HIMSELF AS THE SHORT SECURITY WOMAN WAS PUSHED ASIDE FAST.

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IDRIS REMINDED US THAT SCREEN NATION NEEDED OUR SUPPORT IN ORDER TO GET BIGGER AND STRONGER.

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ITV’S MICHELLE MATHERSON PRESENTS AN AWARD.

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THE NIGHT CLOSED WITH A BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE BY LEGENDARY SOUL GROUP LOOSE ENDS!

JASMINE’S JUICE – ”SLIM- At 42 this British comedian still has a lot to say. And better than peers half his age”

Are you a fan of popular culture? How about comedy? Do you know that one of this country’s best comedians performed a sell out two shows at Hackney Empire this weekend just gone, and has been working the comedy scene for twenty years, but you’ve likely never heard of him? (ACTUALLY AS YOU’RE READING THIS COLUMN ON MY WEBSITE, YOU LIKELY HAVE AS MY AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHIC ”KNOWS”)

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American comic Kevin Hart named him as his favourite UK comedian and he took his show Slim In Wonderland to Edinburgh in 2011 and The Scotsman gave him rave reviews ‘Slim is hilarious’. Still bet you’ve never heard of Slim though have you?

His name is Danny Gray otherwise known by his stage moniker as ‘’Slim’’. He performs comedy that anyone from any age, class or background would understand and find funny. Unlike many other black comedians, his set isn’t funny only if you ‘’get’’ urban culture. Slims jokes are all-inclusive and not solely about his black experience.

A lot of black comics on the London scene do, I admit, focus their sets around black cultural jokes that you have to know to understand. Slim isn’t one of them. His set is totally diverse with jokes based around his family, airlines, sex, being a bus driver in his past, topical news issues and so on.

There are hundreds of urban and black comedy nights taking place right under your nose all over the UK. They are making loads of money. As mentioned above, Slim celebrated his twenty years in the industry at Hackney Empire, which was packed for two shows. It seats 1275 people at £25 per ticket. That’s around thirty grand a show and sixty grand for the run in less than 24 hours!

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SLIM AT HACKNEY EMPIRE – FEB 2015.

I imagine that mostly Londoners attended this. What about the fans all across the UKs urban cities that would make an appointment on TV to see this guy in action? How do they get to experience pop culture that they love and have paid their licence fee to see? The licence fee should mean that all communities and styles are represented. And Slim is bloody hilarious!

Lets put this in perspective. Radio 1- the national radio station plays what is considered pop culture music. In 2015 this is a healthy mix of hip-hop, R&B, grime and EDM. Even the Daily Mail runs numerous stories about young urban names like Kanye, Beyonce, Jay Z, Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams and more. TV News shows across all broadcasters now have a very healthy mix of BAME presenters and talking heads. But put on any national TV comedy experience and its always nearly totally white male?
Look at the list below of top comedy earners in 2013. We thought the music and media industry’s diversity record was bad but comedy is shocking!

1 Peter Kay £32.8m
2 Michael McIntyre £21m
3 John Bishop £6.3m
4 Jack Dee £5.2m
5 Russell Howard £4m
6 Frankie Boyle £3.3m
7 Harry Hill £3.3m
8 Rhod Gilbert £3m
9 Sarah Millican £2m
10 Sean Lock £1.7m
11 Jason Manford £1.5m
12 Lee Mack £1.5m
13 David Mitchell £1m
14 Al Murray £1m
15 Ross Noble £0.78m
16 Jack Whitehall £0.5m
17 Hugh Dennis £0.5m
18 Chris Addison £0.4m
19 Marcus Brigstocke £0.35m
20 Simon Brodkin £0.26m

One single woman in a sea of white males. Not one ethnically diverse name amongst them?

What does Slim need to do to get a real main slot break? This week he received this e-mail from a very well known TV company that attended his show.
‘’…very much enjoyed the gig. He thought Slim was good, but perhaps not right for us on this series at this time. We always have other projects bubbling along and should anything come up that we think is a better fit, then we will get in touch’’. LMFAO. Really?

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He’s performed in Jamaica, all over Europe including on USA airbases, United Arab Emirates and visited Los Angeles on 3 occasions. He was the 1st black British performer to appear at Hollywood’s Comedy Store on the invitation of John Witherspoon after he supported him on his UK tour. He has also supported Eddie Griffin, Bill Bellamy, Mark Curry and more. His TV and film credits include BBC2’s sketch comedy show The A Force (1997 & 2000), Channel 4’s Nights Out at the Empire (1999), BBC2’s drama ‘Attachments’ (2002), ITV’s Comedy Factory (2006), Voice of the LILT Parrot for ITV3 (2009) which he also scripted, The Most Annoying People of 2010 BBC3, feature film It’s A Lot (2013), All About The McKenzies (on line comedy series 2013) and OnesNtwos (on line comedy series 2013). Also Kojo’s Comedy Funhouse, Comedy Central Live At the Comedy Store, Jongleurs Live.

So, he’s okay for cameo slots all over the place but still he’s ‘’perhaps not right for us, not the right fit, blah blah’’. Just say it, he is black. Can the colour of a person’s skin make them un-inclusive? IN THE UK? YES!

Its true that even without TV he has made a great living from comedy for twenty years. As a young’un, he used to drive his friends Curtis Walker and Ishmael Thomas to gigs regaling them with stories until one day Curtis said to Slim; you’ve got a 5-minute slot after the interval. Slim said he was so nervous he got very drunk, went on stage told a story and everyone laughed which threw him completely so he told them he had had a few drinks and didn’t know what to say and left the stage to rapturous applause, the rest as they say is history.

Clearly he didn’t NEED TV back then and doesn’t need it now in order to earn money. But that’s not the point. The point is when do his fans across the nation get the chance to see him on mainstream TV? When does BAME talent get an equal playing field? How does an audience that may not have access to London, or the money to visit a theatre engage with him? If he can sell out established theatres doesn’t a TV commissioner somewhere need to think ‘maybe this guy has an audience and we can give him a bigger one and get great ratings simultaneously’.

When I was at MTV BASE I knew a young comedian called Kojo had a weekly comedy event in central London that was always packed. I was determined to put it on air, as I knew audiences across the UK would tune in. My bosses trusted me and empowered my team and I to make it work. Next thing KOJO’S Comedy Funhouse is a series that rated highly for MTV for a couple of years and led to all types of well paid new career prospects for him. He just needed that break.

Similarly, we gave a young very talented comic writer Jason Lewis a break with a show titled The Jason Lewis Experience. It did brilliantly and got him a foot into the BBC COMEDY Developement department. A pilot was looking healthy , and then BBC commissioners changed and it was dropped. All we want is an equal playing field!.

Slim is known as the people’s champion and 4 times voted the UKs best comic by his fellow comics (the award has only been held 4 times), winner of multiple awards. Now 42, he performs over 200 live gigs a year up and down the UK both for ‘Urban’ and mainstream circuits, he performs in hotels, comedy clubs, nightclubs, theatres ranging in capacity from 100 – 3600. Over a year he probably performs to in excess of 40,000 people.

Top Shakespearean actress Janet Suzman angered many when she said theatre was intrinsically part of white culture and black people were not interested. Tell that to the 2000 plus black people that went to see a 20-year celebration of Slim the comedian last Saturday. In an age where advertisers are falling over themselves to woo the young urban key influencers with big money for top of the range products, TV and the UK comedy industry is still stuck in the dark ages.

At 42 Slim still has a lot to say. And better than peers half his age.

JASMINE’S JUICE- 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAIR EXTENSIONS BY CELEB HAIRDRESSER JULIEN GUYONNET.


6 Myths about hair extensions put right, by a man that knows..

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SHORT AND CHIC OR LONG AND LUSCIOUS- THREE V HAIR SALON GIVES US THE LOW DOWN ON ALL THINGS ”HAIR”.

I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for two decades. That’s a long time sitting in the corner awaiting interviews and snooping in on celeb skin and hair secrets, watching as glam squads pretty up their targets, and a long time as a nosy journalist to sniff out the truths and myths behind much of the BS PR and fashion peeps put out there.

Having worked with practically every female celeb in pop culture since the nineties, I can tell you that in my opinion; over 90% of them have hair extensions. When I first began in this industry, hair extensions were the reserve of only showbiz pop-sters actors and film stars like J Lo, Beyonce, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and countless others who trot up onto a different red carpet daily, rocking yet another new and different hairstyle — changing colour, style and even the length of their hair – Rita Ora is the current queen of this, but in 2015, its not just for the ‘’slebs’’ but also de rigeur for Joe and Joanne public, and discussed as openly as your annual holiday!

Former Coronation Street Actress Helen Flanagan recently announced that she had chopped off all her hair extensions as her baby kept puking in them. Helen admitted she did have some clip in hairpieces though. ‘Just for emergencies you, and for looking ‘glam’…and remember that time in 2004 when Victoria Beckham outraged us all after boasting about wearing extensions from Russian prisoners so that she had a Russian Cell Block H on her head?

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THREE V HAIR SALON.

Most hairdressers now offer a hair extension service, and Notting Hill based Celeb hairdresser Julien Guyonnet, tells me that nowadays its so common that over 85% of London’s females have hair extensions, and see them as basic grooming alongside nails, bodily hair and tanning salons. That’s so high maintenance!

Julien (who has preened the tresses of Misha B. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini when she was a Cole, Peaches Geldof. Jade goody. Danielle Lineker, Lucy Rusedski, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. The Liberty X ladies, Vanessa Feltz, Victoria Beckham called him about monofibre extensions and even Russell Brand has had Juliens magic hands tend to his mane of testosterone filled hair), is in demand at his Three V salon and always zealous about his thoughts on the art and ethics of the humble hair extension.

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JULIEN AND NACHO (THREE V SALON) WITH RUSSELL BRAND. ”IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR RUSSELL…”

The lucrative hair extension industry is full of so many stories, that even comedian Chris Rock made an ethical angled movie about it titled ‘’Good Hair’’, about his daughters fixation with ‘’good hair’’ which in her media saturated eyes was ‘’white hair’’, long, shiny and straight as opposed to African hair which is coarser and was unfortunately seen by his daughter as ‘unmanageable’.

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Reasons not to have extensions are numerous. They include damage (Naomi Campbell), same look (everyone looks like they belong on TOWIE), maintenance (I once had some for a fancy dress party and suffered for two months as my head was heavy, couldn’t be tied back in the gym and forget swimming without a rubber helmet!), cost (human hair is ridiculously costly and often unethical), obvious (one day you have a short bob and the next day your hairs trailing down your ass) and they may drop out (there are loads of facebook photos of unfortunate episodes of ladies leaving clumps of hair in horrified boy friends beds).
However, if you have weighed it all up and still keen to go ahead, then these are…

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THE LAW OF HAIR EXTENSIONS, ACCORDING TO CELEB HAIR DRESSER, JULIEN GUYONNET.

1-The only thing that matters is the ethical issue.
‘’DO NOT BUY HUMAN HAIR- IT’S NEVER ETHICAL, women who sell their hair do so because they are desperately poor – do you really want to benefit from their desperation?’’ (Yes, he yells this!). Using human hair may sometimes look more natural, but not always and it may have a dark side. “You don’t buy knickers in a second hand shop or dead people’s nails. It’s the same thing!” Think of the karma!’ There’s a seedy under-belly that people don’t know about. Some poor woman in India or Russia has been paid about 20 pence to have her hair chopped off! Foreign prisons and church’s are said to be the worst for taking advantage of their subjects and the human hair trade has even impacted the human slave trade. Furthermore, some questionable funeral directors have even been known to shear corpses that are about to be cremated for their hair! God bless the human hair trade.

2-Often its not human hair it’s an animal. You’re wearing Shrek’s donkey to bed.
Many real hair sales people market their hair as 100% natural hair. And this is true. It’s all real. But this does not mean human hair. Often you will also have a number of contributors from Noah’s Arc. Julien says its mostly Yak, horse and donkeys. Ee – aw!

3-Human hair is riddled with a history of chemicals.
After human hair is sheared off and washed in an abundance of chemicals, it has to be bleached and coloured to match colour charts and been processed to within an inch of its now dead life, before it gets vacuum wrapped and off to the salon. This can lead to a multitude of allergic and skin and scalp reactions. Monofibre hair is less harsh and the hair lighter.

4-Bling isn’t always more beautiful. It doesn’t cost more to look better.
It’s a myth that you’ll also spend a lot of money to maintain your extensions if you want good quality ones that last. Many ‘’hair people’’ will repeat over again that you ‘’get what you pay for’’ suggesting it has to cost loads to look and feel real. This isn’t always true. Julien says Monofibre hair was the first hair extension invented by his former training ground salon Antenna, and comes in real and zany hair colours. A full head of monofibre hair can take as little as 2-3 hours to do and cost around £500, whilst a full hair of human hair will cost £1000 upwards and take most of a day to put in.

5-Human hair is heavier and will weigh you down…and out!

Julien insists that his main concern once his clients are sitting in his chair, his main concern is how to keep the clients hair safe and undamaged. ‘‘Monofibre hair is man-made and looks and feels exactly like real hair, and is three times lighter than human hair which is so heavy it can lead to traction hair loss. Unlike human hair, which is mostly glued in, monofibre has no glue or chemical involved. This salon is a glue-free zone! We do a single plait or braid at the root and wrap the monofibre hair into your hair and seal just the monofibre so that your natural hair is never touched or stressed, keeping it totally free from damage with no pressure on your scalp’’. After all you don’t want to be the next bald Naomi Campbell or Kate Beckingsdale!

6- Size doesn’t always matter, extensions aren’t all about length.
Extensions aren’t only for people who want long, luscious locks; you can also use them to simply add volume instead or cange your shade or colour without affecting your own hair. Many of Juliens clients aren’t just famous folk in the public eye, they also include people undergoing cancer treatment and things like alopecia that need a confidence boost temporarily. ‘‘If your existing hair is at little as three inches long, you can get extensions, you can choose between straight, wavy and curly. The goal with extensions is to have the most natural look you can achieve”.

So there you have it hair aficionados. Go forth and multiply that hair but make sure its ‘’good’’ hair in every sense of the word!

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JULIEN DOES HIS HAIR THING BETTER THAN THE REST!

JASMINE’SJUICE – Creativity Works, But Only If We Can Afford It.

One in eight of all jobs in London (400,000) are now in the creative industries – advertising, design, publishing, music, fashion, gaming, film and TV, among others.
So why does it seem as if more and more cuts are being made to creative arts funding, by both the government and private funders for the arts?

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Ne Yo leads a song writing master class at The BRIT School.
ALL PICS COPYRIGHT – Jasmine Dotiwala.

This week #AdviceToYoungJournalists trended all day on twitter with social media all adding their tuppence towards advice for an industry that many want to be a part of.

Additionally, with Brits continuing to impress the world by winning international awards consistently, in mainstream shows like the BAFTA’S and Grammy’s, and our mainstream TV shows being more arts focused than anytime before, (Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor, Get Your Act Together, BAFTA Awards etc), more of us want to work in showbiz than ever before.

This week my eyes have been opened to just how many projects and young people are trying to be a part of the showbiz game.

Firstly, young Londoners wanting to work in the multi-billion pound creative industries, are drawn in annually by numerous projects, that promise them entry level experience.

Last year, amongst hundreds more that were launched was a London based one that i’ve heard many youth buzzing about. It was launched with funding from the Berkeley Foundation, who joined forces with the Mayor’s Fund for London, to launch a new £1.5m joint youth employment initiative called ”Creativity Works” through which they are supporting 3,200 young Londoners into the creative industry over three years.

At the launch Matthew Patten, CEO of the Mayor’s Fund for London, said: ” Creativity Works gives young Londoners the opportunity to develop their skills through creative industries like fashion, music, film and the performing arts to ultimately get a decent job.”

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Matthew Patten, CEO of the Mayor’s Fund for London.

The aim of Creativity Works is to cultivate specific skills and ‘real life’ experiences for young Londoners and provide them with job and training opportunities in the creative industry they feel is most attractive to them ( ”i want to be a TV presenter!” ), and also to give them a sense of focus and hope in these bleak days for youth employment.

I also told you about The Big Music Project, which does something similar across the UK, and Media Trust’s London360, which gives young Londoners a multi media start in the industry, in former article’s on Huff Post.

However, with all of these numerous entry scheme into the creative arts opportunities, how likely is it that young Londoners will ever really find a full time paid career in the arts?

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan nearly broke the internet, when in a speech encouraging youth to take up STEM subjects, she said teenagers should steer away from the arts and humanities and opt for science or maths subjects if they want to access the widest range of jobs. Although she later said she didn’t say that exactly.

Thus, once again I question whether we are leading young people into a den of unfulfilled dreams, or whether these numerous projects can truly help change someone’s life?

Next, this week I was also invited to The BRIT School to watch global music star Ne Yo lead a music master class with the students.

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Ne Yo leads a master for the BRIT School music students.

The Kids from Fame never had anything on the kids from the BRIT school. Deep in the southern most part of South London, the BRIT School is tucked away down some very non descript residential streets, just outside Selhurst Station. The huge entrance dome with its silhouettes of singers, dancers and performers of all sorts, screams this isn’t your average British school.

As soon as I walked through those doors, every one of my senses was assaulted. Loud pop music hit us through blaring speakers, as 14-19 year old students on all levels of hype, were doing their thing around us. Dancers in cliques practicing their routines, singers rehearsing echoing vocals bouncing through the corridors, excited shrieks and a general level of extreme euphoria. And why not?

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Ne Yo with Jasmine.

These students have excelled in their areas of performing arts, and won a place at the BRIT school, where their former alumni include Adele, Katie Melua, Lynden David Hall, Amy Winehouse, Dane Bowers and Wayne Williams (Another Level), Shingai Shoniwa, Kate Nash, Jessie J, Leona Lewis and more.

American singer Ne Yo has his latest album NON FICTION out on Feb 16th and was in town to promote it. The BRIT music students aspire not just to become pop chart stars, but also songwriters and music producers, something that Ne Yo is a triple threat genius at, and so the music students listened intently as he shared stories of his song writing history, mistakes and successes.

Ne Yo admitted that ”Writers block happens to everyone. You can write but you have to want to write for you not just your label and fan base. U have to be loyal to what your fans want to a certain extent. I’m not selfish. I know what they want and if what we want is different. But you have to make that choice. Frankly, If it takes you longer than two hours to write a song you’re forcing it so take a break. Also I don’t listen to people in the music industry too much. ‎I like real regular peoples comments!”

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Of course during the conversation Ne Yo emphasised over and again, the need for all the students to learn about the business side of things or they would get screwed over. ”I don’t like to write with others songwriters as they tend to squabble over finances after writing one or two words and I can write my own hits, its just not worth the hassle. Learn about the business and contracts. I got bit! Remember if your records are ever on the radio, someone somewhere is making money off your intellectual and artistic content!”

The music students were attentive, but the worry in recent years has been the recognition that with so many more young people than ever choosing to study in creative arts courses and aspiring to make a life long career in the arts, that there simply isn’t space or paid jobs for them all.

The creative industries are worth millions of pounds to the UK economy every year. The government estimates its contribution to UK GDP is 8% and provides 1.8 million jobs in the UK. The BRIT School makes a healthy contribution to this figure through the efforts of its thousands of former students who can be found across a spectrum of employment in the creative industries in general.

However, this is an expectation, because of its special and unique relationship with the music industry that some former students will end up making a career from writing and or performing music. So we must keep questioning why the government and arts bodies continue to cut funding for the arts world for those that aren’t fortunate enough to attend a school like this?

I didn’t know what to expect with the diversity of the students before my visit. I’ve visited other ”stage schools” across the city, and many of their students often come across as spoilt brats, but the BRIT school students were the most diverse mix of ethnicities, classes and genre mixes I’ve ever witnessed and very respectful, helpful, keen and friendly. It felt healthy. I imagine their presence has also had a positive effect on their local community with their outreach projects too.

Students and staff have created an open, friendly, flexible, yet rigorous approach to study and even regular visits from stars like Ne Yo just help make these young Brits more worldly aware about their industry.

So let’s support the future of our country’s arts talent. Let’s take an interest in British talent and let’s speak up when funding for the arts is cut. A world without music and creative would be unimaginable.

Tourists flock from far and wide to experience British arts culture. Our performers and production teams are revered across the world. Look at America where the Superbowl, Grammy’s and MTV Awards are all produced by British director Hamish Hamilton and his team.
Our TV shows are bought and re-versioned globally (Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Voice, X Factor, The Apprentice, Britains Got Talent).

Therefore whilst so many of us like The BRIT School and The Mayor’s Fund For London are trying to make the industry more successful and diverse, we need to feel supported by the powers that be.

So as you watch the BRIT Awards this month, stay proud of our diverse talent.

We’re winning (but only whilst we can afford to!).

JASMINE’S JUICE – Breakfast at Tiffany’s At Royal Albert Hall This June!

Holly Golightly heads to the Royal Albert Hall with a full orchestra!

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Stylishly oversized cigarette-holders at the ready – Breakfast at Tiffany’s is coming to the Royal Albert Hall for a unique ‘live in concert’ screening.

The world premiere of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Live, in June, will bring the Manhattan adventures of Holly Golightly to vivid life, as the movie is shown in full, accompanied by Henry Mancini’s Oscar-winning score performed by an on-stage orchestra and choir.

Lucy Noble, Director of Events at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “This iconic film is famous for many things: Audrey Hepburn’s peerless sense of style, the headily romantic atmosphere, an exceptional cat, and – of course – Henry Mancini’s timeless score, including the classic song Moon River.

“This unique event will bring the music centre-stage, quite literally, as it is performed live and in full by an orchestra and choir.
Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton. 7 October 2013.

“This is Breakfast at Tiffany’s as it has never been seen – or heard – before, so grab a pastry and a ‘huckleberry friend’ and head for the Royal Albert Hall in June.”

The classic Blake Edwards film, based on Truman Capote’s bestselling novella, stars Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, a deliciously eccentric New York city playgirl who catches the attention of her new neighbour, struggling writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard).

Regularly cited as one of the greatest movies ever made, it’s also among the most stylish, with the sight of Holly – gargantuan cigarette holder in hand – one of the most recognisable and arresting images in cinema.

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This world premiere will celebrate Mancini’s legendary score – including Oscar-winning song Moon River – on the world’s most famous stage.

Other film-with-live-orchestra events coming to the legendary venue this year include the first ever performance of Titanic Live – featuring composer James Horner – the UK premiere of Back to the Future Live in Concert, complete with 15 minutes of new music, and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, scored by Danny Elfman.

Rounding out the programme will be a reprise of The Godfather Live, which sold out months before its premiere in December last year.

The Royal Albert Hall’s popular and groundbreaking ‘live score’ events this year have included Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness, Gladiator, West Side Story and a special concert celebrating the work of composer Danny Elfman.

For tickets, go to www.royalalberthall.com

JASMINE’S JUICE- NE YO SONG WRITING MASTER CLASS,AT THE BRITS SCHOOL.

The Kids from Fame never had anything on the kids from the Brits School.

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MUSIC STAR NE YO LEADS A SONG WRITING MASTERCLASS AT THE BRIT SCHOOL.

Deep in the southern most part of South London, the Brits School is tucked away down some very non descript residential streets, just outside Selhurst Station.

The huge entrance dome with its silhouettes of singers, dancers and performers of all sorts, suggests this isn’t your average British school. On entrance it’s all your dreams (or nightmares depending on how drama diva you are) come true, if as a young kid you dreamed of attending a performing arts school like the infamous Kids from Fame.
As soon as my London360 filming team and I walked through those doors, every one of our senses was assaulted. Loud pop music hit us through blaring speakers, as 14-19 year old students in all levels of hype were doing their thing around us. Dancers in cliques practising their routines, singers rehearsing echoing vocals bouncing through the corridors, excited shrieks and a general level of extreme euphoria. And why not?

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MUSIC STUDENTS AT THE BRIT SCHOOL LISTEN TO NE YO’S ADVICE.

These students have excelled in their areas of performing arts and won a place at the Brits school where their former alumni include Adele, Katie Melua, Lynden David Hall, Amy Winehouse, Dane Bowers and Wayne Williams (Another Level), Shingai Shoniwa, Kate Nash, Jessie J, Leona Lewis and more.

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We are here today to witness global music star Ne Yo, lead a song writing master class with 100 of the current Brits school music students. Ne Yo has his latest album NON FICTION out on Feb 16th and is in town to promote it. The Brits music students aspire not just to become pop chart stars, but also songwriters and music producers, something that Ne Yo is a triple threat genius at.

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NE YO AND JASMINE REUNITED AFTER MAKING NUMEROUS TV SHOWS FOR MTV, ITV, LONDON360 AND MORE.

Ne Yo himself was spotted after writing hits for numerous American singers like Teedra Moses and Britney, but it was his hit ‘’Let me love you’’’ for Mario that catapulted him into a Def Jam records office, where hip hop mogul Jay Z signed him immediately. It was a time when a few other acts had gone from behind the scene to make it in front as stars themselves. Acts like Timbaland and Kanye West had broken the mold, and were making a lot of money being the main man. Next up was Ne Yo. Quietly confident, relaxed and quiet, not about tabloid hype or exaggerated swagger. He had no need. His superhero gift is song writing, which he’s bloody talented at. His songs have incredibly successful hooks and never fail to have you humming after a single listen.

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The Brit school is an exceptional educational institution where students achieve great things in academic, vocational and artistic studies. We overheard excited talk all around us of impending shows and scripts. It is an independent state funded City College for the Technology of the Arts, dedicated to education and vocational training for the performing arts, media, art and design and the technologies that make performance possible. Courses include dance, musical theatre, interactive media, music, digital media, broadcast communication and more and so the music students listened intently as Ne Yo shared stories of his song writing history, mistakes and successes.

His new album Nonfiction has already gained its Billboard. Album no 1 spot. Its often said that once an act makes it, its hard for them to reach deep to write songs about pain and reality that relate to their fans. So clever Ne Yo this time around reached out to his fans on direct message on social media platforms like instagram and twitter to get their personal stories about life and relationships.

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LONDON360 REPORTER YASMIN INTERVIEWS NE YO FOR THE NEXT SHOW.

One such example he gave the Brits music class was about his fans experience in a nightclub. This fan was in a solid relationship with his girl friend of two years but bumped into a really tenacious girl in a nightclub that just wouldn’t take no for an answer. Even after the fan pulled out a photo of his girlfriend the bolshy nightclub chic took it and scrawled her own telephone number on the back! Neyos advice to his fan was run away from a crazy chic like this! Hence his single ‘’Run’’.

He also revealed to the students that some singles were still based on his personal life. For example his most personal song on NON FICTION is titled “Why” which is about his relationship with the mother of his two children. Ne Yo put his hands up and admitted that he screwed up by being unfaithful to her. ‘’I take ownership of that and poured out my story on my song’’.

Ne Yo admitted that

‘’Writers block happens to everyone. you can write but you have to want to write for you not just your label and fan base. U have to be loyal to what your fans want to a certain extent. I’m not selfish. I know what they want and if what we want is different. But you have to make that choice. Frankly, If it takes you longer than two hours to write a song you’re forcing it so take a break’’. ‘’also I don’t listen to people in the music industry too much. ‎I like real regular peoples comments. You either like it or you don’t. If my kids love it it’s probably cos its catchy and its a hit. My daughter and son are three and four years old so if it catches their young ears I know its good!’’

Of course during the conversation Ne Yo emphasised over and again the need for all the students to learn about the business side of things or they would get screwed over.

‘’I don’t like to write with others songwriters as they tend to squabble over finances after writing one or two words and I can write my own hits, its just not worth the hassle. Learn about the business and contracts. I got bit! I wrote a song for my first album, which never got released but the record label gave it to another singer called Marquis Houston and I heard it on the radio with horror. I fought for my rights as I still owned the publishing and won. Remember if your records are ever on the radio, someone somewhere is making money off your intellectual and artistic content!”

‎Of course once the floor was opened up so that the students could ask their own questions, (aside from the now always expected student trying to grab a lucky selfie with the star), there were questions about who he’d most like to work with….

’’I worked with Michael Jackson before he passed. He and I had been writing songs over the phone for a while and we’d speak constantly. He’d tell me ‘song no 3 could be better and take the hook from song no 1 and change it like this’. We were meant to record these songs together personally after his tour but alas that wasn’t to be’’.

When pushed on his current favourite acts he pondered for a while before admitting ‘’you should check out new acts , clever acts that make you think. I like what Drake does. He’s clever and deep making you think more than your average act but also not too clever so as to alienate his fans. And of course like most music acts that respect fellow talent I love everything that Rihanna, Beyonce, Jay Z and Big Sean do”.

Reminded by a student about FKA Twigs he jumped to agree that he too loved her. Predictably he chose Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith as his favourite current UK stars. ‘’ I don’t know Ed personally but the fact that he doesn’t have to even be in his video cos he doesn’t look like a pop star is dope’’.

‎Ne Yo reassured the Brits music class that he had struggled for years before gaining mainstream success.

‘’I’ve worked at fast food places, telesales, you name it, I did it, but the coolest job I had was in Las Vegas on the strip, at the MGM Grand hotel in a show called EFX where I was given the opportunity to sing for thousands nightly’’.

At one point a Brits student asked if he could beat-box for NeYo and subsequently blew us all away with his new age Faith FSX and Killa Kella style human beatboxing. He and the rest of the students were truly a testament to the Brits ethos of developing confident, happy students academically, vocationally, socially and morally so that they leave the School as independent, co-operative, responsible and creative young people with a lifelong interest and ability in learning, the arts, technology and self-development.

I myself know how the years of studying ballet, tap and street dance at my own local dance school instilled in me levels of team work, grace and poise and the cajoles to tackle anything life threw at me. You could easily see at the Brit School that these skills and qualities, coupled with relevant academic and vocational qualifications, were preparing their students to go into further and higher education and the world of work, positively contributing to society.

The worry in recent years has been the recognition that with so many more young people than ever choosing to study in creative arts courses and aspiring to make a life long career in the arts that there simply isn’t space or paid jobs for them all.

The creative industries are worth millions of pounds to the UK economy every year. The government estimates its contribution to UK GDP is 8% and provides 1.8 million jobs in the UK.
The BRIT School is proud of its healthy contribution to this figure through the efforts of its thousands of former students who can be found across a spectrum of employment in the creative industries in general. However, there is an expectation, because of its special and unique relationship with the music industry that some former students will end up making a career from writing and or performing music. So we must keep questioning why the government and arts bodies continue to cut funding for the arts world.

Witnessing the totally relaxed relationship between the Brits students and their teachers was incredible to observe. The head master was so incredibly friendly, upbeat and his enthusiasm that greeted us on entry to the school stayed at level 10 until we left. The school has a unique atmosphere of support and respect, which helps cultivate the ability and talent of their young people.

I didn’t know what to expect with the diversity of the students before my visit. I’ve visited other ‘’stage schools’’ across the city and many of their students often come across as spoilt brats, but the Brits school students were the most diverse mix of ethnicities, classes and genre mixes I’ve ever witnessed and very respectful, helpful, keen and friendly. It felt healthy.

Students and staff have created an open, friendly, flexible, yet rigorous approach to study and even regular visits from stars like Ne Yo just help make these young Brits more worldly aware about their industry. So let’s support the future of our country’s arts talent. Take an interest in British talent and speak up when funding for the arts is cut. A world without music and creative would be unimaginable.

Tourists flock from far and wide to experience the British arts culture. Our performers and production teams are revered across the world. Look at America where the Superbowl, Grammy’s and MT Awards are all produced by British director Hamish Hamilton and his team.

Stay proud of our diverse talent. We’re winning!

FULL NE YO INTERVIEW TRANSCIPT BELOW.

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LONDON360 – can you tell us a bit about what you are doing here today at the Brits and a bit about your masterclass and what the main aim of the masterclass was for the kids.

Ne-Yo Ok, I’m here today at the Brit school to do a songwriting masterclass, I guess it was supposed to be a songwriter masterclass but it just kinda turned into a music industry one-on-one masterclass. Uhmm, basically the goal was to get a better understanding of the music industry and what it is to be in the music business and what it is to be a songwriter and what it is to be an artist, uhmm, you know for these kids. I feel like maybe the next Ne-Yo might have been sitting in here, and hopefully I gave him some information that he can use on his journey forward.

LONDON360 – in saying that , what do you want the students today to take away with them?

Ne-Yo one thing, definitely, to learn the business side of the music business, because that’s something that happens more often, in that where a young kid who has talent, who has drive, who is thirsty to get into the business allows that thirst to you know, make him make some really bad decisions, in regard to signing this because I want to get on, or I’ma just trust this person, because I want to get on. No, no, no, the more you know about the business, the less wool can be pulled over your eyes, so to speak, and that there are definitely people out there that are, err… waiting for you to make a mistake so that they can then capitalise off the mistakes that you then made.

LONDON360 – what do you love most about working with young people?

Ne-Yo what I love most about working with young people is just being a source of inspiration. You know, I feel like nowadays just being a person that inspires somebody to do something is super duper important. Because there is not a lot of inspiration to be other than to you know, just being, nowadays. Uhmm, I feel like, especially coming to a place like this. Like I went to a high school like this, I went to a performing arts high school, so for me to come here and share my story and my struggles with them, you know, kinda lets them see first-hand that the dreams that they are following, you can actually accomplish them, it can actually really happen, because I was here just like they are here and it happened for me, so it can happen for you.

LONDON360 – you went to a performing arts high school, what do you think that did for you and how did it helped you with your future in singing?

Ne-Yo going to a performance arts high school helped me focus on what it is that I wanted to do. Now, mind you I went to a performing arts high school for visual design. You know, I didn’t have the confidence to try and step into music yet but being in the school, with those kind of teachers and with those kinds of students, it helped me develop the confidence that I needed to then go ahead and follow my music dreams and I feel like it is in an environment, that is founded on creativity. And I feel like it’s nurturing to the creative spirit. I think there is some amazing things going to come from these kids.

LONDON360 – it’s not often that young people get to hear the grassroots story, that you have given them today about getting into the industry. Do you think more celebrities, or people in the music industry need to speak to young people. What do you think about that?

Ne-Yo Yeah, I definitely feel like more people in the industry should take it upon themselves to speak to the youth. Uhmm to just basically open their eyes to what it really is. You know there is a lot of misconception of the music business. A lot of misconception about what it takes to be in the business, what it takes to stay in the business. Because I run across kids all day long who say: “If I could just get a record deal, all my problems would be over.” – that’s when your problems start! There’s getting the deal, there’s keeping the deal. Okay, you can get a deal and your album will never see the light of day and these things can happen. Like, it’s very important that these kids know what they are getting into before they just, you know kind of get tossed into the deep end of the pool, and you know, are trying to swim.

LONDON360 – do you think that going to a performing arts school determines you getting into the industry, do you think there’s a correlation, do you think they [students] will always make it?

Ne-Yo I will say that, uhh going to a performing arts high school can definitely help you point you into the right direction without taking you to the business now. There’s no guarantee anywhere, you know. No matter what school go you go to, no matter what background, no matter how good you sing, dance, whatever… There is never a guarantee, you know… But I do feel like being in a school like this, being in an environment like this, does help nourish your creativity, does help possibly push you in that direction a little better than maybe not.

LONDON360 – what do you think about the creative industry in London and how do you think it differs to the creative industry in the US?

Ne-Yo I think the creative industry in London speaking about music, because that is, you know, the part of it that I focus on. I feel like the creative industry in London is, there seems to be a bit more focus on the quality of the music than, you know, no disrespect to the States and what happens in the States, I mean I live in the States, of course, but I feel like in the States we have a tendency to get caught up on a scandal and the controversy of the story, of you know of what that person is driving, who that person is dating, how much money they do or don’t have as opposed to focusing on things that are important which is the artist and the music. I feel like out here, or wherever it is, it just seems like the music and the art gets more respect and attention out here than so much the scandal. Mind you, scandal is everywhere. It’s here, it’s in the States, it’s everywhere, but I feel like here the music gets the proper respect in addition to the scandal, whereas, in the States sometimes the music will be you know overlooked for the scandal.

LONDON360 – finally a lot of young people in the UK don’t have the means to go to drama school or music school, so what do you think, in that sense can be done to kind of nurture their talents at a young age. What do you think, what are your kind of views on that?

Ne-Yo if you are a child who doesn’t have the means to come to a performing arts school that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, you know. There are artists who have made it into the business, who never went to a performing arts high school, who never took a singing class, acting class, who simply had a passion for it and took it upon themselves to follow the dream. And that’s really all it takes, you know. Understanding that, it’s not an easy thing, it’s not something that’s going to happen fast, you know, if this is something that you really, really want and you are willing to work for it, you can have it. And that’s true about everything on this planet. If you are willing to work for it, and if you are willing to not ignore the fact that it’s not going to be easy, the difficulties there is going to be, then you can have it, simple as that.

-END