JASMINE’S JUICE featuring House of Commons Music Roundtable to raise Numbers of Black and Ethnic workers in the music industry.

Together, can we build a diverse music industry?

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Did you know that 92% of the UK music industry is white? Does that matter? Who cares?

Does it matter when you consider that it’s totally unrepresentative of the music scene’s artist’s, promoter’s, record label’s worker’s and fan’s? It does matter. The music industry here in the UK is one of the last areas that up until 2012 didn’t have an active organization that champion’s equality within this world.

This past week a group of music industry leaders and key influencers came together at the House Of Commons to discuss how they could make a change in the national statistics, of the number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people working within the music industry.

The event put on by Diaspora – Equality in Music, by their CEO Rose Nunu, saw a full room of passionate key influencers that wanted to unite to make a change in the shocking stats about BAME workers in the music industry.

Attendees included John Whittingdale OBE MP Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Ed Vaizey Minister for UK Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, former SonyBMG head honcho Mervyn Lyn, AEG Live’s President of international touring Rob Hallet, former SonyBMG Head of Press Jodie Dalmeda, BBC marketing / former Def Jam/ Radio1Xtra key influencer Jay Davidson, Debbie ‘’Cookie’’ Pryce (Cookie from female hip hop Cookie Crew) and many more that are passionate about this issue. The round table was titled ‘‘together we can build a diverse music industry’’.

The round table was hosted and chaired by Rt Hon David Lammy MP for Tottenham, who revealed that he was often called upon to facilitate debates about diversity in many areas.

In the past few years there has been a huge focus on diversity within many organisations. These include the police force, the broadcast industry and the film industry to name a few. However, the figures for the music industry are much worse.

This becomes more of an imbalance when you consider that we now have a healthier number of British BAME faces in our charts than ever with the UK grime, hip hop, hip pop and other genres being the pop music of todays British generation.
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TINIE TEMPAH REIGNS IN AN INDUSTRY WHERE A DECADE AGO HE MAY NOT HAVE GOT HIS FOOT THROUGH THE DOOR.

Whereas once upon a time only American BAME talent reined the UK charts, now we have names like Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Ms Dynamite, JLS, Leona Lewis, Estelle, Chip, Alexandra Burke, Tinchy Stryder and more making their marks. So the BAME community has a healthy representation front of house, but behind the scenes it’s a very different story. In fact, you will find that when we have more BAME staffers backstage in the industry, we have more BAME chart stars and vica versa.
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ESTELLE HAS MADE IT BY FIGHTING TOOTH AND NAIL TO ASERT HER RELEVANCE IN AN INDUSTRY THAT LET AMERICA HAVE HER.

There are still scarily low numbers of BAME workers behind the scenes. In the past two decades I have witnessed countless young BAME movers and shakers enter the industry to an underlying fanfare of celebratory trumpets (as its so rare for ‘’one of us’’ to make it in this corporate world). These tastemakers are bandied about as ‘’the new young bucks on the scene to look out for’’, but unless they keep their heads down and don’t rock the boat, their time is always limited and a few years down the line it’s the predictable case of ‘where are they now?’

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MR BIGWIG SONNY TAKHAR WITH HIS COLLEAGUE SIMON COWELL.

Between us all we could only think of two prominent BAME heads in our industry. Darcus Beese, co-president of one of the UK’s most successful record labels, Island Records. The Guardian called him ‘the tea boy that became the boss – says it all really. The second – Sonny Takhar, Simon Cowell’s right hand man at Syco Music is the Managing Director.

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ISLAND RECORDS HEAD MAN DARCUS ”FROM TEA BOY TO BOSS” BEESE.

Kicking off the roundtable speakers was Beverley Mason FRSA, who made the business case for increasing workforce diversity in the UK music scene. She stated what we know to be obvious. That inclusivity has an economical benefit. That black culture has always played a central part in growing trends in many areas.

We all agreed that in our own experience, thousands of organisations have initiatives that help young BAME people gain work experience or internships within huge music cooperation’s, to help open doors for BAME workers, but the legacy of progression to keep them within companies doesn’t exist. Even worse, I have seen many of my BAME peers find, break and make superstars for record labels, but there is no sign of these same behind the scenes taste makers after a few years. They’ve either been lost to redundancy, or lack of promotion has left them disillusioned with the game, and so they leave.

One attendee suggested that senior management simply did not trust young black males that looked like him, and this underlying racism would never leave the sector without a massive positive discrimination push.

Professor Monder Ram OBE, from the University of Birmingham, talked to us about enterprise and access to finance. He also spoke about strengthening the entrepreneurial prowess of diverse music industry business owners and entrepreneurs. Something powerful that stuck in my mind for hours afterwards was his observation that

‘’the music is diverse but the money and power behind it isn’t’’

He added that there were numerous unhealthy BAME stereotypes, like the corner shop owner or market stall trader, which media and onscreen dramas made worse. Surprisingly, he noted that in reality more Asians own pharmaceutical businesses than corner shops.

Nii Sackey, CEO of Bigga Fish, a not-for-profit events organisation who provide a performance platform for young creative and Advisor to The National Music Manifesto initiative, noted that much funding went to classical music projects as opposed to non classical. Jazzie B reminded us that there were countless projects existent across the UK but that the government needed to know about them all. He urged

‘’as a taxpayer, I don’t want anything new. Look at things that have already been going for 20 years and help support them to being bigger’’

Paulette Long (PRS for Music), said that making change had to happen from the inside’’. The BBC’s Jay Davidson noted that the intern and entry-level system was healthy, but the downfall was promotion and retention specifically with senior management positions.

We all noted that those sitting in the room were stalwart supporters of the cause and we were simply continuing to preach to the choir, as all the industry big hitters weren’t present for various reasons. Rob Hallet agreed,

‘’it’s simple! Get to people like me, and show me how diverse staff help make my business better’’

and plugged ‘Small Green Shoots’, an organisation that produces music projects, supporting creatives across London as well as providing platforms and opportunities for unsigned and emerging artists.

There has already been much work within the music industry to champion equality and diversity. The Equality & Diversity Charter for Music (launched in Feb 2012), is the industry’s own plan for extending this work in order to actively improve equality and diversity, and to benefit creatively and commercially from the inclusion of a diverse range of innovative creative and business talent.

We debated whether quotas for staff and diversity needed to be more thoroughly policed in music as they are in media sectors. David Lammy highlighted that there was no point in having charters if there are no targets and evaluation processes.

Ed Vaizey made closing comments and we were reminded that it takes a united society to ensure equality in all areas. For this, the second phase of Diaspora’s movement, they stated that they wish to receive the support and contributions of the music sector to continue to lead and sustain change over a ten-year plan to 2020.

In 1963 Sam Cooke told us ‘A Change Gonna Come’’. Equality changes have been big and small across this past century but with this challenge let’s hope it doesn’t take another 50 years.

London360 airing on London Live from this Sunday!

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London360, produced and presented by young Londoners, will reach more viewers in the capital when it is shown on new TV channel London Live strating THIS Sunday 9am!.

Starting this Sunday, London Live, the first 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the capital, will broadcast thirteen episodes of London360. The half-hour magazine style series was created by a team of diverse young Londoners aged 18-25 and shown on national television channel, Community Channel. Over the next three months, London Live will broadcast a series of specially-produced London360 episodes presented by Maleena Pone – a former London360 reporter and the London Live presenter who launched the channel on March 31st.

This series of London360 features the likes of Idris Elba, Jamelia and Labrinth talking on topics including domestic violence, social media and musical therapy in the capital as it uncovers incredible local stories and shines a light on compelling community-based campaigns. Each episode is produced and presented through the gaze of young Londoners aged 18-25 who are passionate about the area they live in, and who want to bring a fresh viewpoint to the capital’s news agenda.

Now in its third year, London360 is run by Media Trust, to give young people from a diverse range of backgrounds the opportunity to learn new skills, develop expertise and reach their potential. The undiscovered reporters are supported by media industry mentors in all aspects of production – from researching, and presenting to editing and compliance – and use their new found skills to create the regular half-hour show. Many of the London360 alumni are now working for companies such as London Live, BBC, MTV and Sky.

Jasmine Dotiwala, London360 Executive Producer, said: “London360 gives young reporters invaluable media training to identify and capture their community’s stories. I never cease to be amazed by the young people who we support through this initiative, all with a passion for their local area and a desire to make a positive difference. With London Lives acquisition of London360, the reporters are given another fantastic platform to have a voice and get their stories heard.”

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MALEENA PONE, FORMER LONDON360 REPORTER, CURRENT LONDON LIVE REPORTER

Maleena Pone, video journalist for London Go at London Live & presenter for London360, said: “London360 gave me the opportunity to explore my passion and talents in a number of areas of news making. From producing to shooting, presenting to editing, I really learnt to cut my teeth in a challenging but incredibly supportive environment. It’s not always easy when starting out to find the confidence to do all of these things simultaneously and with so much conviction. But London360, at its essence, is a platform that champions the opinions of young people, credible journalism and unrepresented voices in the media. This state of mind was echoed in the editorial as well as in the planning and delivery of the content. I’m always promoting this opportunity to other young people I meet who are serious about earning their first experience in broadcasting.”

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DERREN LAWFORD – LONDON LIVE COMMISSIONING EXEC.

Derren Lawford, Commissioning Exec at London Live said: “ London Live is pleased to be partnering with Media Trust to help give new and fresh voices a platform on TV in London. We’re hoping to uncover lots of new talent and stories”

London360 broadcasts on London Live on Sunday 13th April at 9am (with new episodes the same time each week).

For more information about London360 visit www.communitychannel.org/London360 or follow their latest new stories on twitter @London_360.

ENDS

Notes to editors
For further information contact Emma Roberts at emmar@mediatrust.org or on 0207 7871 5618

About London Live:
London Live is London’s first dedicated 24/7 TV entertainment channel, offering Londoners the latest in arts, news, current affairs, sports, and events. London Live is owned by ESTV. ESTV won the London television franchise auction in February 2013 and launched 31st March 2014. It is on on Freeview 8, YouView 8, Sky 117 and Virgin 159 as well as being available in non-linear digital formats. ESTV is 100% owned by Lebedev Holdings.

@londonlive Facebook: londonliveestv

About London360
London360 is Community Channel’s half-hour regular TV and online magazine show that champions local untold stories, London’s hidden quirky communities, compelling community-based campaigns and entertainment, while providing an alternative viewpoint on the capital’s news agenda. The show is created by a team of diverse young Londoners aged 18-25 who are trained by media industry mentors in researching, presenting, filming, editing and compliance in order to produce their own show for London about London. A network of 100 ‘stringers’ across the capital supports our reporters by feeding in stories from their communities. Community Channel is owned and run by Media Trust and available on Freeview 63 and Freeview HD 109, Sky 539, Virgin 233 and freesat 651.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring ASIAN AWARDS 2014- THE ASIAN TAKEOVER!

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ONE DIRECTION STAR ZAYN MALIK, SUPER PRODUCER/ARTIST NAUGHTY BOY, ACTRESS/SINGER PREEYA KALIDAS AND JASMINE.

Over the years I’ve been used to attending a myriad of fabulous functions, crammed full to the brim with celebrities, at various global music, movie and style awards. Mostly the attendees are famous faces that you’d recognize immediately that are big ballers in their respective fields. The London based Asian awards are all that, but on steroids.
The grand ballroom at the Grosvenor House Hotel was heaving this past week, with royalty, leaders of countries, politicians, music stars, screen icons and of course, the odd reality star bod that arrived feeling and looking totally out of place.I was invited this year as a guest of my pal Shahid Khan AKA Naughty Boy.

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JASMINE WITH PRINCES MANAGER KIRAN SHARMA ON THE RED CARPET.

The 4th annual Asian Awards red carpet had a giant wall of paparazzi awaiting the likes of …(DEEP BREATH)..actor Idris Elba, culture secretary Jeremy hunt MP, independent newspaper editor Amol Rajan and his wife, fashion designer Karen Millen, MD of Simon Cowells SYCO music head Sonny Takhar and his wife, chart star Laura Mvula in a stunning green sari, singer Beverley Knight, fashion designer Elizabeth Emmanual, The Wanted band member Max George, super music producer to the stars and artist in his own right- Naughty Boy, TV presenter Gok Wan, One Direction band member Zayn Malik, Radio 1 broadcaster Nihal, actor Adil Ray, singer/broadcaster Cerys Matthews, actress Nina Wadia, film director Gurinder Chadha, Secretary General of the human rights organization Amnesty International Salil Shetty, Simon Hughes MP, broadcaster Tommy Sandhu, former English cricketer Mark Ramprakash, businessman Tim Campbell, broadcast journalist Maryam Nemazee, political commentator Yasmin Alibhai Brown, weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar, MOBO CEO Kanya King, actress/ singer Preeya Kalidas, Prince’s manager Kiran Sharma, music producer Rishi Rich who has just been signed to legendary producer Teddy Riley in Atlanta, news reader and business woman Tasmin Lucia Khan and many many more.

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DESIGNER KAREN MILLEN ON THE RED CARPET

Hilariously of course, there are always the latest 15 minutes of fame candidates from a variety of TV reality shows. (There were quite a few of these. Mandatory at any event.) This night they arrived wearing bindis on their foreheads- much to my amusement. Many of them also chose to arrive fake tanned, in short, half naked, mini dresses and then looked most out of place surrounded by really articulate beautiful women in gorgeous jewel coloured long classy gowns.

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The Asian Awards were born out of a simple vision; to create an event, which would honour only the very highest levels of achievement from within the worldwide Asian community; to create one of the most important events of its kind ever to be staged. A pioneering, unique and prestigious event,

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JASMINE WITH LIZZY CUNDY.

The Asian Awards is the only event that pays tribute to Asian success across all walks of life; emphasising inspiring achievements and highlighting inspirational role models in the fields of business, sport, entertainment, philanthropy and popular arts and culture.

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GROSVENOR HOUSE BALLROOM. THE CALM BEFORE THE ASIAN STORM.

Although in the first 2 years, the awards primary geographical focus was South Asia, it was always the intention to define the term “Asian” as one, which encompasses all Asian countries, i.e. both South Asia and Far Eastern Asia. As a result at the 3rd Asian Awards in 2013, excellence from ALL Asian countries was honoured and this continued this year.

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JASMINE WITH RISHI RICH AND HIS WIFE.

The VIP reception on the balconies over looking the ballroom saw fancy Indian savory canapés and champagne cocktails flowing freely. I caught up with music producer Rishi Rich and his stunning wife who told me they were moving to Atlanta this week as he had been signed up by super producer Teddy Riley!.

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JASMIN WALIA (TOWIE), NAUGHTY BOY AND JASMINE.

The networking going on was loud and buzzy and it was tough to get guests seated for dinner, they were having so much fun getting to know each other. I could sense that there were plenty of big ballers present and was reassured ‘’there’s more than $45bn of wealth in this room’’. This was highlighted further when later in the evening Hong Kong’s second richest man with an estimated worth of US$22 billion, Lui Che Woo picked up the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

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ASIAN AWARDS FOUNDER PAUL SAGOO , AHMED KATHRADA AND IDRIS ELBA.

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The ceremony was opened by The Asian Awards founder, Paul Sagoo, who welcomed us all and noted that he had asked the regular caterer to up the ante this year instead of the usual curry based dinner. Oh how disappointing. We were all really looking forwards to a good tasty curry (curry is the national dish of the UK don’t you know Paul!). Instead we were served a rack of meat that was impossible to eat comfortably at a black tie function without ruiing the whole elegant princess façade, so untouched carcasses were sat lonely on most plates (except on that of a manager of a huge chart star – who will remain nameless, who had four main courses!).

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JASMINE WITH PREEYA KALIDAS

The Awards started with singer and actress Preeya Kalidas, who performed for the room full of A-list guests and thereafter joined my table which was uber fab with Naughty Boy sitting on one side of me (I was invited as his guest), SYCO Music don honcho Sonny and his gorgeous wifey Olivia, and Independent editor- the youngest in the country- Amol Rajan and his cute and clever missus Charlotte.

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PREEYA KALIDAS, JASMINE AND TASMIN LUCIA-KHAN.

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NAUGHTY BOY WITH TASMIN LUCIA-KHAN.

One of the first awards was the presentation of the prestigious Founders Award by Golden Globe winner Idris Elba who honoured South African politician, former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada. In an emotional historic acceptance speech, to a standing ovation, Mr Ahmed dedicated the award to his brothers and sisters who did not live to see the freedom they fought for. We all stood and cheered hard for this living legend.

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GOK WAN RECEIVES HIS AWARD.

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FILM DIRECTOR GURINDER CHADHA PRESENTS AN AWARD.

The Outstanding Achievement in Television award went to Gok Wan who was overwhelmed at receiving the prestigious award. Gok dedicated the award to his father who he said, “Has taught me that being Asian is cool.” it was pretty refreshing to see Asians from all across the Asian diaspora unite to celebrate each others success.

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NAUGHTY BOY PRESENTING AN AWARD ONSTAGE.

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NAUGHTY BOY AND KIRAN SHARMA PRESENT THE MUSIC AWARD.

With a number of current pop music stars with Asian background heritages like Nicole Sherzinger, Nicki Minaj, One Directions Zayn Malik and more, the music category was always going to be a fiercely contested category and this year was won by Norah Jones who was awarded with the Outstanding Achievement in Music prize for her immense achievements in global music. I was told off as I didn’t know who Zayn Malik was and thought he might be an Indian actor. Can you tell I left MTV a few years ago? LOL
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ASIAN SELFIE- WHO CAN YOU SPOT?

I was particularly chuffed at my fellow Zoroastrian, Parsi, Cyrus Poonawalla winning The Business Leader of the Year award. Vaccine billionaire, Cyrus Poonawalla owner of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest producer of vaccines, and make more than one billion doses annually. As of March 2014, Forbes estimates Poonawalla’s net worth at $4.9 billion.

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WITH ZOROASTRIAN CYRUS POONAWALLA- BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR WINNER.

The coveted Fellowship Award went to action man actor, director and martial artist Jackie Chan, who has been in the entertainment industry for 55 years and made an expected humble speech about his roots.
Legendary Indian actor, Irrfan Khan was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. Irrfan has famously crossed over into western cinema, becoming the first Bollywood actor to star in two films that won the Academy Award for Best Director Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Life of Pi (2012).

Noble prize winning Sir Venkataraman Ramakrishnan was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Science; while the Outstanding Achievement in Sport award went to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMRON ADDRESSES THE ASIAN AWARDS.

Finally, Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the audience acknowledging the awards had grown from strength to strength, recognising the Asian Awards are the only Pan Sector Pan-Asian award ceremony in the world and stating how proud he was that they were held in London. In conclusion he paid tribute to the Founders Award recipient Ahmed Kathrada. The awards partnered with charity Oxfam this year and no doubt and raised a significant sum for the foundation. (Asians are very charitably minded and raise money for causes the way I consume hot pepper sauce- with zeal!)

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JASMINE AND RADIO 1′S NIHAL PHOTOBOMB THE EASTENDERS FIRST ASIAN FAMILY.

Paul Sagoo, looked pleased with the evening and at the after party told me ‘’my vision for these awards was simple- to create an event which would recognise exceptional achievers from those within the global Asian community, on a scale which had never been seen or done before. The awards are bout extraordinary people- about those who stand up for what they believe in and those who step forward to make a difference. Through these awards, people from every community around the world can learn, understand and be inspired by the lives and actions of these amazing people’’.
“This year The Asian Awards has truly lived up to its name, celebrating global Asian achievement in what is a triumphant night. We are honoured with the support of our guests and winners, including the amazing Ahmed Kathrada, Jackie Chan, and MP’s like Jeremy Hunt who join us for this magnificent gathering of some of the world’s most inspirational and powerful people.
At the end of the evening we all piled upstairs to the afterparty where I had a giggle with my pal MOBO CEO Kanya King before grabbing a Godiva goody bag and legging it out before 1am in case my ball gown turned into rags.

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JASMINE WITH MOBO CEO KANYA KING.

JASMINE’S JUICE- NOEL CLARKE GOES FROM MOVIE STABLES TO MUSIC LABELS!

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JAMIE JOSEPH PERFORMED AT WEST LONDON PUB, THE ELGIN- HE IS NOEL CLARKES MUSIC ACT.

Noel Clarke knows talent when he sees’s it. He’s singlehandedly spawned a whole generation of new acting talent via his debut movies Kidulthood (2006) and Adulthood (2008). Keen not to be stereotyped as the urban movies man, he always keeps his personal portfolio diverse with his roles in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Doctor Who, Star Trek and more.

After setting up a genre of movie that has many pretenders to the throne and launched acting careers for numerous young urban talent, he proved he is much more than an urban film innovator by continuing to make movies that are diverse covering a multitude of subjects. From storage units in Storage 24, young Olympian athletes in Fast Girls, a heist movie with 4,3,2,1 and more, he’s also acted on the stage, won the Laurence Olivier Award for “Most Promising Newcomer” in 2003 for his performance in the play Where Do We Live at the Royal Court Theatre, won the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performer in 2003 and was awarded a BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2009.

For all this accolade he remains a humble figure, who is loud and boisterous in groups of friends, but consciously stays away from the surface glamour and glitz of London’s celebrity parties and red carpets.

This week in an uber trendy west London pub, Clarke – actor, screenwriter, director, and hero to thousands of young film makers- also added Record Label Head to his resume. Always keeping things close to his west London roots, Noel threw a showcase at Ladbroke Grove’s infamous Elgin pub for his latest signing Jamie Joseph. Always ahead of the trend curve and known for it, meant that a lot of notable UK music industry key influencers and power players turned out to hear what Jamie could bring.

Noel has been quietly opening minds and launching new faces into the UK entertainment industry for a while, and now his music label Unstoppable has launched with two new acts. Jamie Joseph and a south London rap act TZY.
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JASMINE WITH NOEL CLARKE’S MUSIC ACT TZY.

Noel told me why he decided to branch out into music and how the opportunity came about.

‘’Music is something I’ve always been into. When I used to watch American films like Deep Cover, and Boyz in the Hood back in the day, you would always get your film and a great soundtrack. When Huds (director Menhaj Huda) and I did Kidulthood we wanted to make sure we copied that format. Moving on to Adulthood, we had Tinchy and Chipmunk on the soundtrack. We had Plan B on both the Kidulthood and Adulthood soundtrack, long before people realised he was as great as I knew he was. Eliza Doolittle is in the Adulthood soundtrack, years before she, really popped, although her and her manger act like I’m shit on their shoe now. Anyone who knows, knows I was backing that talent from way back, All this culminated in my thinking I should have a label, and here we are’’.

Highlighting again and again that social media is changing the world and the way business is done, Jamie clarified how he got in touch with Noel.
‘’It all came through twitter .I was told by a friend, that there was a post they came across involving a company looking for artists material to use in different areas of entertainment. After I posted my bits (film and music consultant and A&R) Martyn Berg instantly replied and asked if I was being managed and we discussed details. From that, we’re here! Mad!!’’

Jamie doesn’t underestimate how important Noels co-signing is to any new up and coming talent ‘’Obviously what Noel has achieved already in his career is a testament to his strong personality. We’ve had passing talks of ventures and avenues I might be able to be involved in but I am concentrating on my music, as it is my main goal in life’’.

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INDUSTRY GROUP ATTENDING THE ELGIN TO SEE NOEL CLARKE’S MUSIC SIGNEE JAMIE JOSEPH.

Jamies single ‘’But You’’ has been causing a buzz on the streets, at nightclubs and pirate radio stations. Produced by Baby J – (producer to old skool hip hop acts like Skinnyman)- it’s a catchy feel good soulful song that sticks in the brain like the best hum-along melodies.

Baby J explained what was it about Jamie that struck him as different.
‘’ I had got to the stage where I had lost faith in the UK black music scene a little, around the time the whole ‘urban pop’ thing happened and had pretty much stopped producing, a year or so later I decided I wanted to make a soul album that sounded like the soul tracks we’d sample for hip hop and started to look nationally for a singer. After being in talks with a couple of singers from Birmingham and London a friend directed me to Jamie who was right on my doorstep but strangely I had never heard of. As soon as I heard him I knew he had something special, he was a perfect singer in his delivery, there where bits that where out of key and strained, but there was just something special about his tone that made him sound unique, his melodies and vocal ideas were original and really good too. I meet dozens of singers every month, many of whom are much better singers than Jamie from a technical point of view, but Jamie has a real character and honesty to his voice, imperfections and all, and that is what all those old soul records were about, honest performances’’.

Jamie Joseph (Born March 5th, 1990, Normanton, Derby) is a real music act in the way Ed Sheeran is. He’s a singer that knows music and isn’t cut from boy band styled and groomed to within an inch of his life by a glam squad. He comes from a very multicultural, rough area and acknowledges this is an advantage. ‘’My mum worked 2 jobs because my Dad lost his leg before I was born. But he did all the picking us up, dropping us off, school runs, cooking and cleaning and that. He is the main source for my vast musical palette. I grew up around a lot of different cultures and I think it’s the main reason why I’m so adaptable. I have many different friends of many different cultures and I think it shows in my band too’’.

Like many young music fans Jamie cites acts like Michael Jackson and other Motown artists like, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson as inspirations but adds ‘’but I am very eclectic. I listen to all genres. So Meat Loaf, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Queen, Nas, Biggie, The Carpenters… I could go on….’’

One observation most in the UK music industry would agree on is that ‘its tough to make it in music in the UK unless you’re from London. The out of towners like Craig David and Oasis from Southampton and Manchester have to fight to be spotted early in their careers, and are very few and far between in the British charts. Jamie hails from Derby up north but thinks not being a Londoner is ‘’No pressure at all. I feel that because I’m from a small city outside of the capital I’ve been able to home in on my talents and keep a humble warm feeling in my personality and my music. I’m confident and believe in myself completely but when people complement me, that’s when you see me blush’’.

There are no official album release dates for Jamie yet but knowing Noel he wont be doing anything that sticks to the old tried and tested music industry status quo. Asked about a potential album title Jamie laughs ‘”Hit the ground Running” seems fitting!’’

After a red hot set of tracks which saw Jamie show off not just his vocal gymnastics but his clearly dynamic, punchy attitude, Noel had the final word ‘’You never know who’s going to make it in any career, there are many many many factors, but I have belief in these two, I believe in their talent and as long as the bosses want them we’ll work on making them the best artists we can so their careers can flourish, We have plans and hopefully with Jamie Joseph and TZY we can make that happen’’.

In a world where successful people try their hand at complimentary industries this isn’t an unusual move. After all, rap stars and music acts set up clothing brands and restaurants regularly. Actors like David Hassellhoff and Kylie once tried singing. Richard Branson can juggle music, fitness and travel brands. Noel Clarke was once annoyed that young black talent couldn’t get access to the big screen so he made it happen himself and now is silently making moves that are setting up a new working blueprint in the music and movie industry. His hustle is to be watched and admired.

To stay connected to Noel Clarkes two music signees check out @jamiejoseph and @tzyworld.

JASMINE’S JUICE- The truth about Britain’s feral youth- V INSPIRED AWARDS!

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JASMINE WITH V INSPIRED NOMINEE JEREMIAH EMMANUEL (Founder One Big Community), SPRIT OF LONDON AWARDS CHELSEA TROWSDALE AND LONDON360 REPORTER ALEX GARLITOS.

Melvin Odoom (Kiss FM DJ), Positive Youth News (winners, team award), Rickie Haywood-Williams (Kiss FM DJ)
Melvin Odoom (Kiss FM DJ), Positive Youth News (winners, team award), Rickie Haywood-Williams (Kiss FM DJ)
PIC- Paul Clark

To read our daily papers one would imagine we reside in a hellhole, where feral youth run riot across the country and make Lord of the Flies look like an Enid Blyton children’s fantasy. At regular daily intervals we are fed horror stories of British youth violence, youth killings, postcode wars, youth crime, girl gangs, underage sex and more.
Daily publications get behind charities to engage, empower and support British youth groups and sell their papers with intimidating scare stories about our young society in decline. However, literally hundreds of groups exist across the UK to empower and support young people with great success stories, but of course for mainstream press, no news is good news.

In an era where youth unemployment is high and employability skills are sadly lacking from todays schools curriculum, it takes a special kind of organisation to tick government boxes and engage young people positively where the kid’s themselves are screaming loudest about their experience.

When I was younger volunteering was sneeringly viewed as something you did when you were retired or a girl scout. Now it’s a major contribution to anyone’s CV. Thousands of young people are doing unpaid work in the UK demonstrating a positive set of morals, ability to work in teams, thinking of their community with passion, drive and commitment.

So why do young Brits still get stigmatised as feral youth, hoodies, gangs and no hopers? In recent times they’ve had such bad press, that not even a Max Clifford or Alan Edwards PR job could change public perception about them.

This week at London’s Indigo 02, hundreds of youth organisations, celebrities and individuals from across the country came together to celebrate young peoples achievements at the fifth annual V Inspired Awards. Awards shows are tough to put on when they include celebs, youth and paparazzi but V Inspired made it look easy. Their red carpet (which was lilac) was heaving with happy, excited faces all vocalising their personal stories to the press.

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SHOW HOSTS KISS DJ’S AJ AND NEEV

The auditorium was calm and glamorous, the running order and staging were slick and professional and KISSFM presenters AJ and Neev hosted as professionally as Ant and Dec on a good day!
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KISSFM HOSTS RICKIE & MELVIN

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PIXIE LOTT ON V INSPIRED LILAC CARPET
PIC COURTESY- Jonathan Hordle.

21 Young people from all over the country were nominated for achieving amazing things by volunteering, and after a sumptuous dinner and drinks, winners prizes are awarded to those most outstanding at the top of their game. Judges included ITV newsreader Charlene White and the event sponsors RBS.
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NEW UP AND COMING GIRL BAND NEON JUNGLE.

Celebs in the house included Louie Spence, singers Misha B and Delilah, a TOWIE cast member, actress Preeya Kalidas, up and coming girl band Neon Jungle, new music act Elyar Fox and chart star Pixie Lott who brought the house down with her final set.

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CHARLENE WHITE MADE US ALL TAKE A HUGE V AUDIENCE SELFIE

Hearing some of the stories was mind blowing.
We heard about 20 year old Stephen Sutton from Burntwood in the West Midlands, who won ‘All round commitment to volunteering’’ after he raised £567,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust since January 2013 after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer. He’s organised sky dives and ‘Come dine with me nights’ and credits volunteering with keeping him, his family and friends positive and focused through his treatment.

Katie Llewellyn-Cripps (RBS), Stephen Sutton (winner, overall commitment to volunteering), Pixie Lott
Katie Llewellyn-Cripps (RBS), Stephen Sutton (winner, overall commitment to volunteering), Pixie Lott
Pic courtesy- Paul Clark

We felt the passion and personality of youth worker Pauline King who won ‘Outstanding contribution by a youth worker’. Pauline left her corporate career nine years ago to pursue a career that was closer to her heart. She has been working with young offenders in the area since then and now works at Brathay Trust, a charity for young people facing complex needs, such as young carers and children who have been excluded from school. Pauline explained ‘’ ‘Young people get such bad press but no young person is ever born bad. We should never stop looking for the good in young people. We just need to tap into them and find the positive.’

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The ‘Team activity’ award went to ‘Positive Youth News Haringey’, which was launched after the 2011 riots sparked in their borough. The youth from this group wanted to challenge the perception that all young people from the borough were responsible for the riots. Since their launch, PYN has managed to secure an agreement from local newspapers to stop using derogatory language to describe young people and to publish at least one good youth news story a week. They also hold regular meetings with senior police officers and organise community events.

In Bournemouth a 14-year-old John Humphreys volunteered for the Bournemouth lifeguard corps and now 11 years later aged 25, he’s responsible for training a new generation of lifeguards and the winner of the ‘Bringing communities together award’’.

‘Best young volunteer’ winner 14 year old Kieron Strong from Warminister, runs after school sports clubs for young people of different ages and abilities including those with special needs.

James Wilkinson (SERCO), NCS Bradford (Winners, Most Outstanding NCS Team), Delilah
James Wilkinson (SERCO), NCS Bradford (Winners, Most Outstanding NCS Team), Delilah
Pic courtesy- Paul Clark

Most outstanding NCS (National Citizen Service) award went to NCS Bradford. The NCS Bradford team consisted of 14 young people from a wide range of backgrounds – from young offenders, young people tackling mental health issues, young people recovering from eating disorders and young people in care. As many of the young people have grown up without grandparents, they decided to do a social action project that would not only help, but also give them a chance to learn from older members of their community. What started as a one off event at a local care home, giving older people hand massages, playing bingo with them and serving them tea and buns, has now become a monthly occurrence. Alongside these monthly visits the team is fundraising for a headstone for a local five year old girl who died of a rare heart condition last year.

My favourite category was ‘Outstanding social entrepreneur’’ where we saw Honour Evans (who up cycles shoes and clothes to stop them being sent to landfill), Sophie Giblin (who revives her local high street by setting up exhibition spaces for local artists in empty shops) and winner Bethan Rimmington (who via her organisation HOPE, teaches entrepreneur skills to survivors of human trafficking in Sheffield. She started the project as a student, along with six friends, running jewellery workshops as a way to connect with traumatised woman and build their confidence.). Bethan said ‘’ ‘before I started this project I wanted to work in retail. However, I am now doing a masters in International Development and would love to bring together International Development and Social Enterprise in my future career. I have also already started a few other projects focused on water– making water a right, and malaria – developing new technology to make mosquito nets out of plastic bags.’

Seriously can you believe these kids?

These are just a few of thousands of positive youth stories out there. Is this enough proof that our youth aren’t all selfish, lazy and lack personal responsibility? The V Inspired awards showed that the exact opposite is true.

V Inspired CEO Terry Ryall told us ‘’yes, they’re always glued to their phones- and yes they are sometimes watching YouTube and posting selfies- but they’re also busy setting up their own community groups on Facebook, campaigning on twitter and change.org and even setting up their own enterprises from the palms of their hands’’.

‘‘Don’t all these stories make you all feel inspired?’’ Terry implored the audience. (On the contrary, it actually made me feel terrible that my own misspent youth hadn’t been quite so productive).

Over the past few years, V Inspired have engaged over 1.25million young people to volunteer and that number is growing as young people see the potential in hustling their way to the top whatever it takes.

Lets help young Brits challenge unfair perceptions about themselves. Lets encourage press to report the positive, motivated and truly remarkable nominees and winners of our country. They are making a clear impact on their communities and are no doubt leaders of our future. Politicians may not care much about the youth vote now but in the course of time, these youth will lead councils, universities and the government – can we afford to alienate them now?

For more informaton about V Inspired go to http://vinspired.com/.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring Kylie Priceless exclusive private show.

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KYLIE AND DANCERS ONSTAGE AT HER MASTERCARD PRICELESS PRIVATE SHOW AT BLOOMSBURY BOWL.

After 26 years in show business Kylie Minogue is back.
She has always had a finger in more than one pie, whether juggling soap actress duties with singing, or balancing reality show judging with her musical path and its still going strong.

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Kiss Me Once is the twelfth studio album by Australian recording artist Kylie and its released by Parlophone this week. Its her first studio album release since Aphrodite, and first album under the management of Jay Z’s Roc Nation. In a surprise move for both pop and hiphop fans, when the Australian soap princess joined forces with hip hop behemoth Jay Z, we wondered what the direction might be musically for her new work. No big musical digressions however, this pop princess knows not to fix that formula if it aint broke. There’s no intention for her to rap aside from a Blondie rapture style spoken word moment on her track ”body language”.
However, there is a nod to dub step in the new material, as well as having worked with Darkchild, Stargate and Will.I.Am in the past year, its clear she understands that urban music is not just a passing fad and she knows hit makers when she hears them.

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Like a chameleon, Kylie hitches a ride on passing music trends with each subsequent album, but stays true to her own unique brand of cheesy pop. She’s done it all; corny pop, electronic dance pop, all out catchy dancy pop and now has music man of 2014 – Pharrell Williams- as well as practically unknown superstar songwriter – Londoner Wayne Hector who has also written for her latest offering.

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Kylie performed new songs from her latest album at an exclusive private show for Mastercard customers and fans at the Bloomsbury Bowl ballroom in Holborn where drinks and mini food platters were served to the 300 winners. The stage set consisted of a backdrop curtain of pink tinsel streamers, backing singer line up, live band and for some inexplicable reason, the drum kit was sectioned off and protected by a perspex pull out separator.

To hysterical whoops of joy from fans, Kylie came onstage in a virginal white Grecian inspired outfit which her dancers matched in their white leotards with cutout body parts. Her dancers were all tall, brunette and chic with classic side bun french chignon hairstyles. A special nod must go to the choreography which was typical Kylie stylee. Long beautiful poses straight out of a parisian art café book, poses and pouts a la old music hall chorus girls, long slow vogueing gestures that had you mesmerised and impressed. The look was very Robert Palmer in his ‘Girls’ video.

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Her backing singers, once again were all brunette, tall and model-esque. Its a very unusual thing for a female singer to have other females onstage with her who are taller and thinner. Many superstar solo ladies don’t like to be compared to females that they compare alongside unfavourably so this really shows how secure and balanced as an act and person Kylie is. Having said that though, tellingly no other female onstage was blonde – that would be a step too far and perchance distract from the main lady.

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Kylies second outfit was a red rubber/ PVC style dominatrix dress , which she looked hot in. She explained as she glugged back water from a bottle ”I certainly have to stay hydrated wearing this!”

Kylies dancers second outfit were black versions of their leotard- this time complimented by tassels.The dancers third and final outfit were black leotards with wide red cumberband waistbands and matching red lips hats- a humorous ode to the new album title ”Kiss Me Once”. The whole feel of the set was stylish chic with a Parisian twist.

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Kylie was natural and chatty with her adoring fans, making small talk, agreeing to pose for selfies in this modern social media demanding world. For fans like Lee Parkinson who had travelled all the way from across the UK, and been involved in a bus crash on route to the show on the M6- it had all been worthwhile when he was asked by Kylie to jump onstage for a selfie. A telling sign of how social media savvy Ms Minogue and her team are and also showing just how technology and social media has changed the way humans engage with every possible experience.

After a fast uptempo track Kylie smiled ”my album is out this week and I’m relieved, nervous and excited all at once!”

Last month during Brits week, any Londoner couldn’t have failed to see Mastercard Priceless posters all over the city, showing talent like Kylie, Laura Mvula and Pharrell with their fans when the music stars had surprised their them in private moments. What a huge high for any music lover! Kylie even shouted out her Priceless winning fan Adam, who she had surprised in his local gym (watch here ;http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/gymgoer-treated-to-surprise-kylie-minogue-performance/story-e6frfn09-1226830826119). Adam was obviously in the audience, again. Then she surprised another adoring fan – Gordon with a signed set list of the show as he was celebrating his anniversary and impending nuptials , and finally she announced that two unsuspecting fans would meet her right afterwards backstage in her dressing room.

Whilst Kylie’s by no means a renowned or exceptional singer, her tenacity and perseverance over the years has generated hits and fame and at best she is a very apt entertainer and throws a party onstage like no other encouraging her crowd to clap in unison with her, pointing out and acknowledging diehard fans and connecting strongly.

The Kiss Me Once tour doesn’t begin until much later this year in September, by which time fans and across the board music lovers will have had a chance to get familiar with the album. So this makes her small intimate, private gig in collaboration with credit card company Mastercard even more special and as they would say ”priceless”

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I’m often sneery and cynical about various corny financial tie ups between music stars and brands, but this one seems to be a sure fire winner.
A popstar flogging a designers clothes or perfume you may roll your eyes at, but a real intimate experience where the music act gets paid very well (in an era where the rest of the world is downloading and stealing their music daily), and their fans get to experience moments like this with the act they love for FREE, its #Priceless.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring WeDayUK at Wembley Arena and Get Connected!

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JASMINE WITH CELEB CHEF LORRAINE PASCAL AT 10 DOWNING STREET.

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Jasmine, Kanya King and friend at 10 Downing St.

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Still buzzing from my visit to Downing Street last week and meeting David Cameron, and many inspirational women like TV celeb chef Lorraine Pascal, I started this week at Wembley Arena for WeDayUK where thousands of school children from across the UK from over 400 schools were cheering as talent like George the Poet, Diversity, singers Jennifer Hudson and Bluey Robinson, Dizee Rascal, presenter Jameela Jamil, actors Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars), Clive Owen, footballer Gary Neville, campaigners Al Gore and Malala Yousafzai and even royalty in the form of Prince Harry and his girl friend Cressida Bonas came together to educate, inspire and empower 12,000 student leaders to take action on local and global causes that they care about.
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MALALA SPEAKS TO US BACKSTAGE AFTER HER SPEECH AT WEDAYUK.

Prince Harry said

‘’ Good morning We Day UK. For those of you expecting Harry Styles I apologise and no I am not going to sing. I feel extremely privileged and incredibly nervous to be here standing at the first We Day in the UK. Free the Children are a fantastic organisation it really is founded on an inspiring principle that children have the power to affect change. Every one of you here today has done something amazing to be here and you may not feel like it but I assure you that your actions can and will shape the actions of our future. After all we all share this planet together so we must inspire others to do the same. As you all know as it is easy to see the world around us is changing incredibly fast. On the one hand we are more connected the Internet is part of our lives social media has changed the way we communicate. What this means is in our generation although I am nearly thirty [pause] our generation has the greatest opportunity in our history to affect change on a global scale. However our society faces some very significant challenges. Each year approximately a hundred million children are affected by disasters like the Syrian Crisis. Over ten million children have had to flee that country; luckily for most of us here it is unimaginable for us to know what it is like to leave our home in the middle of the night not knowing if you will return. But closer to home there are communities in this country facing huge challenges. They rarely hit the news and for many young people in the UK live in homes where domestic abuse, violence and addiction are part of everyday life. Others are providing long term care for a family member, these issues and others like them can rob a child of their childhood.

And for you and in this way the biggest impact you can have is in your community. Sometimes the smallest things like helping someone cross the road, helping someone climb a flight of stairs, help someone lift their shopping into a back of the car in really makes a difference, it doesn’t cost a thing just a little bit of your time. Often without realising it those we admire most are people who are committed to helping others to giving their time freely to others to volunteering like you guys. Ever here has inspired others by what you have done what you are doing so please don’t stop.
If young people at risk can be identified early on then supported and mentored by someone who has grown up in the same community or had similar life experiences then it is possible to stop them going on in a downward spiral. The mentors I am talking about are not super human they are people like you and I who are willing to give a little bit of time to helping others. Everyone of you here is already doing great things like the hundreds of Diana award winners or the people .
Or the pupils from St Peters London Docks Primary School who are here. However it is important to get your friends involved too because we all know how valuable help and support from your friends can be. But multiple this what’s happening today by thousands and you can see that by coming together you can change your communities and beyond. If each of you here could get someone else you would change the lives of twenty thousand people. [2:29]
Some people don’t think it’s cool to help others personally I think it’s the coolest thing in the world. My father launched the Step up to deserve campaign last year and he thinks through this and with help and support from organisations like Free the Children we can double the number of volunteers in this country by 2020. Judging by the crowd in here today I think we can do it a lot sooner than that.
Congratulations to every single one of you what you are doing is absolutely amazing. Please don’t stop enjoy the rest of today. Thank you’’

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JASMINE WITH HOLLY BRANSON AND HER DAD RICHARD BRANSON AT WEDAYUK. WEMBLEY ARENA.

Sir Richard Branson’s daughter Holly is an ambassador for Free the Children and brought in all her contacts to support the annual event. I caught up with them backstage where Richard told me his favourite speaker was a no brainer

‘’ Oh I think it has to be Malala. I mean to have spoken out as a 13, 14 year old and asked the world to let girls have an education which they were being denied. Then to be shot and then to have come back really from the dead and to be able to speak so beautifully and eloquently to inspire the world to get rid of these awful prejudices against women was I had tears and I a lot of people around me had tears.’’

As Free the Childrens ambassador, It was Holly’s gig and she explained how all 12,000 kids had won a place to Wembley on the day

‘’ any young person has to find the cause they feel really passionate about and then they need either to volunteer or raise money, do sponsored silences, bake sales, school uniform days, raising money and just send it in to free the children!’’

Of course we couldn’t let them get away without asking about the latest about Virgin Atlantic space travel programme to which Richard revealed

‘‘ Well, I’m hoping to take up Holly and Sam our kids on the first flight, we have now built the spaceship, we have now built the mother ship, we have a space port, the rockets are testing really well and I really do think that in the next handful of months we’ll be up up and away’’.

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GET CONNECTED CHARITY DINNER AND AUCTION.

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ABI OYEPITAN, JASMINE AND OLYMPIAN LOUISE HAZEL AT THE GET CONNECTED CHARITY AUCTION.

GET CONNECTED
A safe home is something we expect all young people to grow up in. Somewhere they are supported and great parenting and teaching meet their needs. Am I romanticising the past when I say that like most people of a certain age, I feel that I had a better-balanced childhood than kids these days?

There are half as many poor people in the world as there were in 1990.The average life span for women in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 16 years since 1960. Seven of the world’s top ten fastest-growing economies are in Africa. The percentage of children in Africa who are in school has almost doubled since 1970. So for children globally the picture looks positive. But what’s the story here in the UK?

Apparently, fewer children globally now live in poverty, yet here in the UK their education is still being held back by poverty and disadvantage. While children are doing better than ever in school, not every child gets a world-class education. Many parents resort to food banks and school breakfast clubs, as they can’t afford to feed their kids.

I played on the street day and night with my mates with only two warnings; that I must follow the green cross code whilst crossing the street and not talk to or go with any strangers. Falling down and scabby knees were rites of growing up – it made us braver and stronger and we were proud of our scars. Children are no longer living their lives like children, going outside climbing trees, riding bikes, running around in the backyard, going to the park. Instead they’re locked up inside their houses playing Xbox or hypnotized by Facebook or playing “Angry Birds” on their iPads.We are always giving youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

More mothers as well as fathers are pursuing rewarding careers, but can find it hard to balance work and family life. Parents regret that their children do not play independently outside as they did when they were young, but worry about safety if their children go outside alone. Families are more aware of how to pursue healthy lifestyles, but too much time is spent in front of video games or the television and fatty foods mean that child obesity is on the rise. You walk through the street and everyone is trying to block their senses, completely disconnected from reality: sunglasses (sight), headphones (sound). We continue to give youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

Young people need to enjoy their childhood as well as grow up prepared for adult life. We want a society where young people feel valued and in which their achievements are recognised. So whilst I grew up I most certainly wasn’t bombarded with images that confused the hell out me. Nowadays, depending on which music genre or celebrity you’re into, you can be convinced that false hair, false nails, false lips, false body parts and so on are the be all and end all of life. The ‘pornification’ of young people, the need to only own designer possessions and the stresses of inner city urban postcode wars can leave a teenager bewildered and out of control. We are all responsible for giving youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

Can young people nowadays even breathe with YouTube millionaires and stories of reality show starlets being thrust into their vision at every TV, Facebook or Twitter encounter? In fact, if you’re not a CEO of your own company by the age of 23 aren’t you a failure? These unrealistic expectations and pressures young people face daily are piling up.

Last week I attended The Annual Get Connected Charity Auction, at The Grange St Paul’s, an exclusive state-of-the-art hotel on the doorstep of St Paul’s, where Get Connected’s Chief Executive Jessica Taplin told me that ‘’we know that 9/10 young people say that they have been online to try and resolve a personal problem, but going online carries its own risk and young people can find forums that worsen, not improve their issues’’.

Olympians and fitness trainers Louise Hazel and Abi Oyepitan joined other celebs like Eastenders Shane Ritchie and Jesse Wallace in support.

Working in the youth media sector, I know that there are more opportunities for young people today than ever before. Literally thousands of youth organisations exist across the country to help young people make the most of themselves. Yet worries around sex, education, safety, image, self-esteem, social media and privacy are more serious than ever before.

If you’re young, life’s pressures are greater than ever before in the UK, but if you need help, for anything, get connected!

Get Connected Helpline contact details are: Call FREE: 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm daily). Text for FREE help 80849 (7pm – 11pm, Monday to Friday) Email: help@getconnected.org Webchat: www.getconnected.org.uk (1pm-11pm daily) WebHelp 24/7: www.getconnected.org.uk

Get Connected is registered charity number 1081840 and depends entirely on voluntary donations. Get Connected is a key partner of Child Helpline International, a global network of 173 child helplines in 142 countries.

JASMINE’S JUICE – THE UK’S YOUTH NEED HELP, THEY NEED TO GET CONNECTED.

Ruff Diamond and the Get Connected Cab
DANCE TROUPE RUFF DIAMOND AT THE GET CONNECTED DINER AND CHARITY AUCTION.

A safe home is something we expect all young people to grow up in. Somewhere they are supported and great parenting and teaching meet their needs. Am I romanticising the past when I say that like most people of a certain age, I feel that I had a better-balanced childhood than kids these days?

There are half as many poor people in the world as there were in 1990.The average life span for women in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 16 years since 1960. Seven of the world’s top ten fastest-growing economies are in Africa. The percentage of children in Africa who are in school has almost doubled since 1970. A baby born in 1960 had a 20% chance of dying before her 5th birthday. For a child born today, it’s under 5%.

So for children globally the picture looks positive. But what’s the story here in the UK?

Apparently, fewer children globally now live in poverty, yet here in the UK their education is still being held back by poverty and disadvantage. While children are doing better than ever in school, not every child gets a world-class education. Many parents resort to food banks and school breakfast clubs, as they can’t afford to feed their kids.

I played on the street day and night with my mates with only two warnings; that I must follow the green cross code whilst crossing the street and not talk to or go with any strangers. Falling down and scabby knees were rites of growing up – it made us braver and stronger and we were proud of our scars. Children are no longer living their lives like children, going outside climbing trees, riding bikes, running around in the backyard, going to the park. Instead they’re locked up inside their houses playing Xbox or hypnotized by Facebook or playing “Angry Birds” on their iPads.

I observe children now, who can barely be tempted to lift their video game obsessed backsides off their sofas, are scared to get their hands dirty or break a sweat doing chores around the house. My upbringing was filled with ownership, responsibility, dedication, morality, loyalty and accountability. Nowadays we are told that all children are being raised to be irresponsible, disloyal, narcissistic, co-dependent, selfish, lack morals and to never get anywhere. We are always giving youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

More mothers as well as fathers are pursuing rewarding careers, but can find it hard to balance work and family life. Parents regret that their children do not play independently outside as they did when they were young, but worry about safety if their children go outside alone. Families are more aware of how to pursue healthy lifestyles, but too much time is spent in front of video games or the television and fatty foods mean that child obesity is on the rise. You walk through the street and everyone is trying to block their senses, completely disconnected from reality: sunglasses (sight), headphones (sound). We continue to give youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

Young people need to enjoy their childhood as well as grow up prepared for adult life. We want a society where young people feel valued and in which their achievements are recognised. So whilst I grew up with the usual distractions of Top Shop advertising and Smash Hits mag, I most certainly wasn’t bombarded with images that confused the hell out me. Nowadays, depending on which music genre or celebrity you’re into, you can be convinced that false hair, false nails, false lips, false body parts and so on are the be all and end all of life. The ‘pornification’ of young people, the need to only own designer possessions and the stresses of inner city urban postcode wars can leave a teenager bewildered and out of control. We are all responsible for giving youth a bad rap. None of this is their fault.

Can young people nowadays even breathe with YouTube millionaires and stories of reality show starlets being thrust into their vision at every TV, Facebook or Twitter encounter? In fact, if you’re not a CEO of your own company by the age of 23 aren’t you a failure? These unrealistic expectations and pressures young people face daily are piling up.

There are 9.8million young people aged 14-25 in the UK and 65% will seek help for an issue before they are 25. A recent survey revealed that over a quarter of young people think that their future prospects have been permanently damaged by the recession, and most worryingly 21% of unemployed young people believe they have ‘nothing to live for’.

Increasing numbers of young people across the UK are turning to the Internet to look for help with personal problems, rather than seek solace with a family member or friends.
When young people make their first plea to the helplines online, they don’t often have a clue about their own self-diagnosis, whether that is abuse, dieting disorders, slavery and more. If they can’t verbalise and define their issue, they can’t possibly search online for an organisation that exists to help them.

This is why national helpline service Get Connected is a vital phrase all youth in UK schools and youth organisations should get familiar with. Get connected is the UK’s only FREE, confidential, helpline service for young people under 25 who need help for any issue, but don’t know where to turn. Get Connected can signpost or connect them to 10,000 trusted specialist support services across the country. Eight out of ten will find out about options they wouldn’t have known about.

Last week I attended The Annual Get Connected Charity Auction, at The Grange St Paul’s, an exclusive state-of-the-art hotel on the doorstep of St Paul’s, where Get Connected’s Chief Executive Jessica Taplin told me that ‘’we know that 9/10 young people say that they have been online to try and resolve a personal problem, but going online carries its own risk and young people can find forums that worsen, not improve their issues’’.

Recent horror stories of Internet bullying and false identity have seen a number of British young people die at the mouse clicking hands of their bullies or stalkers.

Get Connected helps with any issue they might be facing, 365 days a year. Their team of 100 expertly trained non-judgemental Helpline Volunteers (who I was lucky enough to watch at work) provide emotional support and information. They can then connect young people to any one of 10,000 trusted organisations for further support and advice.

There are 19 million young people under 25 in the UK, and many of them are facing challenging and isolating problems: Over a million 16-24 year olds are unemployed, 1 in 3 of the UK’s children live in poverty, 1 in 10 young people suffer from a mental illness and 1 in 13 young people struggle with self-harm. Last year GC helped 150,000 young people, and this number is set to rise to 250,000 in 2014!

For many young people, knowing who to approach for help can be incredibly daunting, particularly during times of difficulty and distress. Some young people may struggle to locate the kind of help they’re looking for, whereas others may be overwhelmed with options, and unsure where to turn.
Jessica Taplin Get Connected incoming CEO
GET CONNECTED CEO JESICA TAPLIN.

Jessica explained

‘’Get Connected operates across five channels: young people can get in touch with us by phone, email, webchat or text. Young people may also use WebHelp 24/7, their online directory of help. We offer these channels so young people can choose to contact us however they feel most comfortable’’.

Shane Richie, Jessie Wallace and Auction Guest
SHANE AND JESSIE WITH GUEST, LEND THEIR SUPPORT.

At their annual black tie charity auction it was fascinating to watch the huge mobile phone companies I usually brand as ‘evil money makers’ throw their support behind the charity. After dance troupe Ruff Diamond opened the night with a jaw dropping routine, dinner was served and the conventional speeches were made. Familiar celebrity faces were also on hand to show their support, including actors Shane Richie, Jessie Wallace and Kara Tointon, as well as Olympian Louise Hazel and cricketer Ronnie Irani.
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KARA TOINTON LENDS HER SUPPORT.

The riveting auctioneer Jonny Gould was mesmerising and most certainly in a league of his own. His humour, energy and goading made sure the paddles went up like a Mexican wave and he managed to harangue the diners into raising a fantastic £228,000! He drew cash out of diners with ego’s eager to impress with taunts like ‘’Sir, you don’t want that young whippersnapper to show you up, do you?’’ and ‘’one day that man will give you a job – impress him now!’’ and of course the classic brand against brand stand-off ‘’Is Vodafone not better than Carphone Warehouse?’’.
Jonny Gould Auctioneer
AUCTIONEER JONNY GOULD.

Carphone Warehouse – Get Connected’s principal corporate partner – egged on all the other brand tables to outbid them on lots and it was fascinating to see their top staff throw themselves into the spirit of things so passionately. Group CEO of Carphone Warehouse and Trustee of Get Connected Andrew Harrison announced

“I’m delighted by the success of the evening and the positive difference the funds raised will make to the lives of thousands of young people across the UK”.

Andrew Harrison, Group CEO, Carphone Warehouse
CARPHONE WAREHOUSE GROUP CEO ANDREW HARRISON.

I am often asked about tips for connecting charities to celebrities and brands so it was impressive to hear that Carphone Warehouse has worked in partnership with Get Connected for 12 years. All the more intriguing when considering numerous charities internationally, find it so hard to engage high net worth individuals and brands, to support them for a season let alone over a decade. Jessica revealed the secret of the partnership’s success, ‘’our synergy is fantastic: their brand vision is to make more people’s lives better through connected technology and we aim to help young people improve their lives by connecting them to the help they need. The majority of contacts to Get Connected now fall in the 16-25 age group so both CPW and GC are now targeting the same demographic. Through this powerful synergy we have already built a strong, successful and long-standing partnership. There are new and exciting plans in the pipeline, as our partnership is set to continue to grow over the next three years’’.

Working in the youth media sector, I know that there are more opportunities for young people today than ever before. Literally thousands of youth organisations exist across the country to help young people make the most of themselves. Yet worries around sex, education, safety, image, self-esteem, social media and privacy are more serious than ever before.

If you’re young, life’s pressures are greater than ever before in the UK, but if you need help, for anything, get connected!

Get Connected Helpline contact details are: Call FREE: 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm daily). Text for FREE help 80849 (7pm – 11pm, Monday to Friday) Email: help@getconnected.org Webchat: www.getconnected.org.uk (1pm-11pm daily) WebHelp 24/7: www.getconnected.org.uk

Get Connected is registered charity number 1081840 and depends entirely on voluntary donations. Get Connected is a key partner of Child Helpline International, a global network of 173 child helplines in 142 countries.

JASMINE’S JUICE- BBC MANDELA LECTURES, GIGGS LUNCH, DOWNING ST INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN RECEPTON, GEORGE MICHAEL’S SYMPHONICA.

bbc mandela
BBC MANDELA LECTURES…BRENDA, AKALA, WINNIE, SABBIYAH, JASMINE.

To end a week of diversity focused events, the BBC hosted Mandela Lectures- three speakers, three ideas, One quote. Where founder of The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company – Akala, exec director of Oxfam international – Winnie Byanyma and philosopher and writer Sabbiyah Pervez, were asked to talk about Nelson Mandelas quote ‘’it always seems impossible until its done’’. Legendary broadcaster Brenda Emmanus hosted the intimate gathering on the BBC top floor at their multi million new building New Broadcasting House.

Winnie was a calm, paced empowering speaker. She made parallel comparisons between Mandela and her organization Oxfam highlighting that they both stand in solidarity with lone men and women. She implored

‘’I have seen first hand that small weapons can inflict horror. It took ten years of hard campaigning of Oxfam supporters to build public support for what we knew what was right. Lives will be saved now cos there’s an international law and we can make change’’. Oxfams vision is a just world without poverty where all are treated equally. This new world is within reach. Nelson Mandela taught us with willpower and mobilising to stand together we can change the world”.

She reminded us that the 85richest people in the world own the same as a third of the world
She informed us ‘’Exclusion and discrimination creates deep social problems. It keeps poor people poor and powerless. Here in the UK the gap between rich and poor is back at the great depression degree in 1920s. This is sixth richest country in the world yet people here are turning to food banks. Is this morally defensible?’’
She continued ‘‘we need goals for ending poverty in every country. We need to crack down on financial secrecy from banks and tax havens. This is money that should be going towards lifting the poor out of poverty. We need decent jobs for young people and to remove barriers to rising for women’’.

It was inspiring to hear about her own journey where she revealed

‘’I fled Edi Amin’s regime in Uganda in the 60s. I found asylum here in the UK and now run a huge company. Everyday I stand on shoulders of giants. A young African refugee like myself has been allowed to thrive. Be part of the movement for social justice. That’s what Nelson Mandela is saying to us. “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

bbc mandela

Sabbiyah was very fast paced in her speech and her passion was clear.

‘’In the first generation of UK Muslims were told right from the beginning what they can and can’t do. They can’t let go of the old rules or they’ll lose their identity, so us in the next generation has conflict. Asian women are brought up to feel inferior to their brothers. If you’re constantly being told your only role is to serve as a mum and wife how can u grow as an individual. The Muslim youth are very marginalised. They’re all terrorists!’’

Finally highly articulate, knowledgeable Akala finished the evening with his very many deep facts and stats to blow your mind about black history around the globe. He spoke so fast that I had barely been able to take in one fascinating fact before he hit us with another. He noted that

‘’Nelson Mandela was in prison for almost as long as I have lived. It’s easy to view Nelson Mandela’s story from cinema seats. However not one single corporation after slavery ended was forced to pay out reparations. South African bank heads still kept their jobs after apartheid ended. To this day whites still control most of the African land. The ending of political apartheid is to be celebrated. But apartheid did not end. It was altered but not shattered. Currently, The third world is literally paying with their lives for the super rich of the first world’’.

Akala should be a regular on Question Time.
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GIGGS LUNCH

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GIGGS AND JASMINE AT LUNCH.

I joined Giggs one afternoon for an extended lunch where we wandered around Whole Foods (as I assumed no-one would recognize and hassle him there) and searched meticulously for dairy and vegan food for his son who is allergic to food containing them. Giggs spent ages walking round and round aisles, questioning all the store assistants, asking intricate questions about what his son might like. One assistant was particularly helpful. Turns out after we finished eating that he was a massive Giggs fan after he tweeted him ‘’hope the vegan cake goes down well bro ’’ lol. I say ‘’after we finished eating, but alas, it was only I eating as Giggs being the staunch catholic that he is, was fasting for lent. Yes. Really!
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DOWNING ST INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN RECEPTION

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JASMINE AT 10 DOWNING STREET.

I ended my week at 10 Downing Street after I received an invitation from the Prime Minster to join him in celebrating many of the UKs most inspiring women. It was a very empowering evening in the iconic address where we all eagerly took photos with the most famous front door in history.
JD DS4

We were offered a fabulous yet simple array of refreshments. All the attendees were from a variety of worlds. Campaigners, heads of charities, leading businesswomen, news editors, Joan Collins, Carol Vorderman, Eve Pollard, TV chef Lorraine Pascal, newsreaders like Fiona Bruce, supermodels like Erin O Connor, Olympians and more.
DS INVITE

David Cameron flew back all the way from his meeting with Angela Merkel in Brussels to be with us as he didn’t want to disappoint ‘’the most important lady in his life’’- the elegant, sophisticated Sam Cam. He made a lovely welcome speech thanking us all for being who we were, doing what we do and being inspirations to other women. He emphasized that

”as the UK was the only country to have fulfilled its foreign aid commitment to the rest of the world this past year, that in the next year we have a right and moral duty to lead on stopping female violence and discrimination globally”

. He firmly focused on female genital mutilation and violence towards women and we were all on board by the time he finished.
DS SIGN

The UK has our own issues socially and politically, but I think if we’re all brutally honest, no-one could say we don’t live in one of the greatest countries in the world where women are allowed freedom of speech, education and many other things our fellow sisters globally do not. High five Mister Cameron!

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george michael

GEORGE MICHAEL- PIC COURTESY CAROLINE TRUE.

The invitation stated ‘’George Michael cordially invites you to a very special playback of his new album ‘Symphonica’ at the Hamiltons Gallery, Mayfair. So off I went to go hear the latest album by the whites man with soul that has us all screaming along to his teen pop hits as well as grown adults solo soulful smashes across three decades.
The ‘Symphonica’ album was a labour of love, which fulfilled Georges long-standing ambition of showcasing his extraordinary vocals alongside a symphony orchestra in some of Europe’s finest, most prestigious venues.
I could tell by the types of older, more serous journalists from ‘’quality press’’ that this wasn’t just any old playback of an album. It was a breakfast session inclusive of a Wolesley style spread of mini pan au chocolate, croissants, fancy pastries, mini salmon and cream cheese bagels and good strong coffee.

Symphonica is Georges sixth solo album and will be released on March 17. In the vein of Frank Sinatra and modern day pretenders to the swing throne like Jamie Cullum, Robbie and Michael Buble, George has mixed it up on this album and selected songs by some of his favourite artists to cover.

He’s acknowledged respectfully by the top tier of music players and won Grammy Awards, Ivor Novellos, Brits and MTV Awards, but his coolest prize for me, is that In the highly regarded black music community, George Michael is also so loved he gets what we call a ‘’ghetto pass’’. Weddings blast his hits, Singers sing ‘’careless whisper’’ at karaoke, rappers adore him and pump him in their rides, basket ballers play him to focus, and carnival sets always showcase reggae and calypso versions of George Michael classics. He’s sung with Stevie wonder, was the first white male vocalist to sing with Aretha and proving the younger hip-hop generation co-signed him early, even Mary j Blige bounced on a track with him.

It’s no coincidence he has respect from strong ballsy characters. He may be shy but never one not to own his own mistakes, call out injustices and stand strong with his life choices. Having gone up against the gigantic machine that is Sony Records he fought a battle worthy of a gladiator and came out still singing. He caused political mischief years before Kanye with ‘’shoot the dog’’, which poked fun at George Bush and Tony Blair. He spoke out against the Iraq war. Turns out he was right all along. George has had several musical lifetimes away from the scene where he’s made no music and still returned from the ashes like a phoenix with new no 1 albums. Never count this player out.

JASMINES JUICE- BARONESS LAWRENCE (BBC), BLAZE (PEACOCK THEATRE), PIXAR (ROYAL ALBERT HALL) and BEING MARY JANE (BET).

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BARONESS DOREEN LAWRENCE SPEAKS.
Copyright Paul Hampartsoumian 2014

The joint Royal Television Society / BBC event ‘In Conversation With Baroness Doreen Lawrence: In The Eye Of a Media Storm’ was an in depth discussion with Baroness Lawrence exploring what lessons TV and the media should learn from her family’s story.
Held at the Radio Theatre at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House, It was presented by Mark Daly, the BBC reporter who revealed racism within the police in the documentary ‘The Undercover Policeman’ and has made documentaries on Stephen Lawrence.
doreen pass

The event was part of a series of events across the BBC called ‘Reflect and Represent’, exploring how diversity can be a powerful creative driver. The room was scattered with influential power players like Pat Younge (former BBC), Marcus Ryder (BBC Scotland), Ade Rawcliffe (Channel 4), Michelle Matherson (former BBC now ITV) and RTS new chief executive Theresa Wise.
doreen seated

From the start the chat was lively with Doreen revealing that Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre only turned around to support her families fight for justice after he realised Stephens father/ Doreen’s husband Neville had done some building work at his home in the past. Doreen added that the early lies of the police were a blessing in disguise ‘’If that original police officer hadn’t lied I wouldn’t have been so angry to pursue justice and there may have never been an enquiry into my son’s death”.
In Conversation with Baroness Doreen Lawrence
Copyright Paul Hampartsoumian 2014

The same day of this conversation, the BBC were launching a new scheme with the Stephen Lawrence Trust to give 20 young BAME (black and minority ethnic) apprentices an opportunity into the media. “Its great but should’ve happened years ago” Doreen hit out. My own question is ‘would there be any real progression routes for these 20 apprentices or would they be flung back out a few months down the line?’ I guess time will tell.
There was one moment where I wanted to stand up and applaud as Baroness Lawrence emphasised that all the diversity quota initiatives weren’t working as she glanced around the theatre at the camera crews and stated “look around us here today…your cameramen here at the BBC today are all white-this doesn’t reflect our society make up fairly!”

Then presenter Mark started an area of questioning about Doreens relationship with her now estranged husband Neville, that a few of us found awkward and unnecessary. Doreen responded

‘’I’m not being disrespectful to Neville but people found it easier to talk to him back then than me because I asked the right questions and didn’t let them off the hook, he didn’t. My relationship with Neville is still very strained, but here’s still no one else in my life lol”.

To which Mark responded ‘’do you think that’s because some men might find you intimidating?’’ It took all my willpower not to jump up in protest!. I found this offensive. Does being a strong woman mean you’re intimidating? Or is it because she is a strong woman of colour? Would he have suggested a man was intimidating in the same situation?
A colleague and myself approached Mark post conversation to ask him about this and voice our displeasure. He stated that Doreen herself had suggested that maybe it was because men found her intimidating in one of their previous conversations. We informed him that then he should have put that in context to the audience, as it hadn’t come across positively. He accepted this.

Doreen did say that whilst the media get bashed about a lot (especially in recent years with the Levinson enquiry), that

‘‘the media played an important role in keeping the enquiry and our story alive. The corruption was deep in the Met at the time. I hate the attention and media as I’m a very private person but I do publicly what I do as I know I need to do it. I’d like to be a voice for people who don’t have a voice. In the House of Lords I will speak out about things that matter. Things haven’t improved since 20 years back. How can police get away with saying Mark Duggan was killed lawfully when he had no weapon? How was Joy Gardner killed with 15m meters of tape wrapped around her mouth?”

Pat Younge asked whether she felt the world was a safer place today for her grandchildren. “I question whether the worlds a safer place for my grand children. My granddaughter told another child that she wasn’t pleased with “its one of you who killed my uncle Stephen, that shocked me as we don’t want one of our children growing up with an unjust, incorrect sense of the world around them and had to sit her down explain that this was not how life was”.
After over two decades of campaigning Doreen admitted, “I am tired but if there’s a chance of seeing the rest of those men convicted I’d like to see it through- it was joint enterprise. And as long as I still have breath I will keep on fighting”.
A moving and personal story from a mother that has fought the fight of a gladiator to see justice done for her beloved son.
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BLAZE AT THEPEACOCK THEATRE.

Four years ago I went to see a theatre show that incorporated hip hop dance and music with amazing stage sets, graphics and lighting. It as back at the peacock theatre in central London this month so I had to go again as I knew they would have updated the music and cast. Using dancers from all across the globe who bring their own unique style and personality to the solo and unison choreography sets, it was a great night and I cant recommend it more if you get a chance to catch it across the UK on tour. the dance sections are serious with scattered humour but the standard is high and will you holding your breath and gasping in delight like the rest of the families and dance lovers who were there.
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PIXAR AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL.

Arts and culture mystros have always liked to juxtapose various arts to create new moments.
The art of ballet brings together classical music, dance and staged sets. Gymnastic acrobats and outdoor architecture formed the free running art of parkour. Last month, I attended a recital of poetry from young; inner city youth amongst the Turner painting at Tate Britain called Poetry Luv. This past week I attended the UK premiere of Pixar in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall which brings together ground-breaking animated films beloved by children and adults alike, with the music that is in these animated movies-but performed live. From Toy Story to Brave, animation powerhouse Pixar has redefined the cinematic landscape over the past 19 years, creating gob-smacking movies, but amidst the visual wizardry, one aspect of the movies that sometimes get overlooked is the music that punctuates all the animated action.

No longer. The UK premiere of Pixar in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall brought an audience from all walks of life and those timeless scores to magical life, with a show combining stunning footage from all 13 Pixar films (which have all been written by just four composers!). With live accompaniment from not just any band, but the nearly 100 strong members of the (RPO) Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra!
pixar

Celebrating the music from films like Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and Up, the soundtracks always began with the orchestra for a few seconds before the visuals appeared on the giant central screen above them. The difference of course is that there are no character voices or dialogue from the films, so we were viewing simple pictures and breathtaking sound.
PIX

One of the opening sets kicked off with a Finding Nemo tranquil underwater track, combining flutes and guitars. It was so beautiful I had my own eureka moment as I decided there and then that if I ever had the option of choosing a piece of music to die to, this was the piece I’d want to hear on my final journey.As well as a Dublin date, Pixar in concert is happening globally all throughout 2014.
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BEING MARY JANE
BEING MARY JANE
Have any of you caught the new BET series Being Mary Jane? I recorded a few shows at a time so I could fast forward through ad breaks and have a girly night in with my mates with a bottle of rose. We were hooked from the start! Mary Jane’s life is a parallel of so many of ours, but a few shows in I wasn’t sure if I liked her life decisions and choices although I empathise with her situation. A great series that has me totally hooked and is very right now for the new generation of media world loving sassy ladies and our dilemmas in relationships!