Sony Music Sign 2nd African Star – ALIKIBA – To Global Music Deal.

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Tanzania music star Alikiba signs global record deal with Sony Music on May 19th.

Today Sony Music Entertainment announced their 2nd major Artist signing in Africa with East African act Alikiba.

There was much excitement in African and European afrobeats music circles last year, by their first major signing to the major label who was West African act Davido, from Nigeria.

This is a big story in the afrobeats genre expanding internationally story and was announced today from the Sony Music Entertainment African Headquarters in South Africa. Several of the major pan African media attended to capture the announcement including the major Pan African Broadcasters —MTV, SoundCity, Trace TV, Channel O, EATV, Clouds, etc.

Alikiba flew in from Tanzania to South Africa and was followed by a dedicated film crew who are documenting his story as frenzied fans and reporters captured the moment.

Alikiba talked to a very exclusive intimate audience through his beginnings, his life, his inspirations as an artist, his successes, and introduced a video about the ‘Making of and Behind the Scenes’ of his new single and music video, building up to a personal listening session of his latest single ‘AJE’ and the new music video that premiered on MTV.

Alikiba is a superstar across East Africa and vast parts of the African continent as ‘The King of Bongo Flava’ and his hashtag #KingKiba is a weekly trend across various African countries and has been for the past few years without any signs of slowing down. Alikiba is the only artist in East Africa that has maintained a top 10 media trend profile over the past 2 years and he has a vast army of extremely passionate and loyal fans base ranging from every day people to the Ministers and Presidents of countries.

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Sean Watson, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment Africa says of the development: “Sony Music Entertainment recently announced several key strategic steps that we’d taken in Africa including new operations in Nigeria and the signing of high profile West African artists. We also mentioned that we’d be making similar inroads in East Africa. Well here we are, at the dawn of our East African journey and who better to start it with than an artist of the stature of Alikiba. We’re very proud of being able to partner with such a talented individual and can’t wait to get started on sharing his music with his fans all over the world.”

“My partnership with Sony Music in addition to my already very successful partnership with my management team at ROCKSTAR4000 now completes the team, and solidifies the most powerful proposition and team to take my music to even greater heights, to new audiences and fans across borders and across the world. I’m really excited in the future of music from the African continent as its now the time for the amazing music and sounds from Africa to take over the world, and I’m excited on where this amazing partnership will be able to take my music now to fans across the continent and across the planet. Alikiba commented.

Paul Thackwray, Marketing Director for Sony Music Entertainment Africa added, “Amplifying Alikiba’s already significant digital footprint, extending the reputation and impact of this great East African artist career via his music content across the continent and into the world, is a truly exciting opportunity for us”.

“We are very passionate and close to Alikiba and his amazing talent, we are very excited about his future and there is no stopping his chart success, his music, his commitment and passion and without doubt no better partner that mirrors these values and objectives than the amazing team at Sony Music” added Christine ‘Seven’ Mosha, Head of Talent and Music at ROCKSTAR4000.

His first single, “AJE”, will be released through Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

Follow Alikiba at:
Instagram — @OfficialAlikiba
Twitter — @OfficialAlikiba
Facebook — @OfficialAlikiba
SnapChat — OfficialAlikiba
Official Hashtag:
#KingKiba

Afrobeats and African music acts are being A Listed on radio playlists all across the UK and the genre is seeing huge growth with British DJ’s like Abrantee and Neptizzle who are championing the music genre via afrobeats karaoke’s , afrobeats concerts and more.

7 Things You Need To Know About Journalists (Via MyNewsDesk)

Journalists face many frustrations in their working lives, which can affect the way they work with PR and communication professionals. In February 2016, Mynewsdesk surveyed more than 2,000 journalists in nine countries and found seven key facts that could help you to better understand your press contacts. Here are the seven things you need to know in order to work well with journalists:

1. Journalists never have enough time
The biggest frustration facing today’s journalists is a lack of time. Almost half of the respondents to the Mynewsdesk survey said that time pressures are their biggest frustration. Publications want to get news out as quickly as possible, which means that journalists have to work fast. Therefore, you need to be ready to respond rapidly to journalists’ questions and requests for more information.

2. They’re frustrated by stories that aren’t relevant
Every time you pitch a story to one of your press contacts that isn’t relevant to their publication, you cause frustration. Around a quarter of the journalists who responded to Mynewsdesk’s survey feel more irritated by irrelevant story pitches than any other aspect of their job. When you pitch a story to your press contacts, try to include an angle that makes it relevant for their publications.

3. Their publications want in-depth reporting
Although journalists are constantly under pressure from deadlines, the biggest priority for publications is in-depth reporting that generates interest among readers. To create this kind of report, journalists must seek out supporting information to strengthen their stories. They may need to ask you for information beyond the initial press release, so have extra details and documentation at the ready!

4. Journalists publish on numerous channels
The average journalist publishes content across three channels, which can be time-consuming. The three most common channels are print media, online-news websites and Facebook, with Twitter as a close fourth medium for publishing. Some journalists also publicise through YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat. This multi-channel approach means that both journalists and PR personnel have to carefully consider the readership on each platform and tailor their stories accordingly.

5. They’re creating more content than ever on tight deadlines
Three quarters of the journalists in the 2016 Mynewsdesk survey have tighter deadlines and more demands for content compared to five years ago. This fact presents an opportunity for PR and communication professionals, who can respond to journalists’ need for a constant stream of new stories. However, it also means that journalists you’re contacting must be able to communicate quickly with their sources in order to meet their deadlines.

6. Journalists are shifting toward shorter stories
It’s true; 59% of journalists say their stories have become shorter during the last five years. In 2014, the Associated Press advised journalists to keep all but the top news stories between 300 and 500 words. Modern readers, particularly those reading on mobile devices, are turned off by longer stories. This trend for keeping it brief means that journalists must write efficiently, trimming away extra words to maintain the quality of their stories without going over the word count. That’s why your publicists should embrace brevity to make stories more appealing to journalists.

7. They face greater demand for visual content
An overwhelming 85% of journalists claim that demand for visual content is growing. Journalists must source images and videos to support their stories. The shift from print media to online news allows journalists to use video footage in their reporting, creating a richer media experience for their readers. Consider providing video content to journalists along with typical text-based press releases.

It is vital for communicators and PR professionals to understand the challenges journalists face so they can work effectively together to create and publish better stories.

Jasmine’s Juice – Namibian Annual Music Awards 2016 – meet the stars!

The hip-hop monster has spread its tentacles all around the world and the African continent is ready to explode with talent. Many African countries now have their own big annual music awards and Namibia is one of the continents leading nations for about-to-blow rap and R&B artists as well as local stars.

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The 6th Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMA”s) took place this past fortnight in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek at the Ramatex Arena. Put on by the incredible Rockstar4000 publishing and production team with their sponsors NBC and MTC, the staging at the NAMA’s, blue carpet pre-show, and digital streaming across the African continent to 400 MILLION VIEWERS and shows Africa is in many ways ahead of the entertainment game.
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THE NAMA BLUE CARPET.

Namibia is a country in the south west of the African continent next to South Africa and a dream location for safari, nature, wildlife, majestic filmic landscapes (that Star Wars shoots have happened in)….but its also much more than that.

It’s a country with an array of immense music talent, and its young hip-hop inspired artists who have grownup on a diet of American rap, are now representing their culture via hip-hop pizzazz with a truly unique Namibian twist. The Namibian annual music awards exist to recognise accomplishments in the Namibian recording industry by celebrating those groups and individuals who have excelled in the past year and boy do they excel!

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JASMINE ON THE BLUE CARPET FASHION PANEL PRE NAMA SHOW!

I’ve been attending for the past three years as an international judge and award presenter and as ever, the sheer world-class standard of both the show and performers blew me away. With a huge stage, striking set, incredible graphics and lighting as well as huge screens and camera cranes, this was one expensive, well-organized event, and one that surpassed expectations. I’ve been to many award shows around Africa and I have never seen one being delivered like this years’ NAMA’s.

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JASMINE CO PRESENTING THE BEST ALBUM AWARD AT THE 2016 NAMA AWARDS.

With an industry awards on the Friday night to recognize DJ’s, pluggers, journalists and more, and the main event happening on Saturday night, both nights of the ‘blue carpet’ event were televised live on Namibian TV on main broadcast sponsor NBC who had a buzzing red carpet crew, which streamed online throughout.

Hundreds of music lovers both local and regional flew in for the NAMAs. It was also attended by Ministers and political leaders, who spoke about how proud they were that Namibian music was starting to get a wider regional recognition around the continent.
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Many of the songs were sung in local dialect, which made the show feel authentic, and kept their heritage, culture and traditional elements strong. The costumes, language and fashion showed no compromise to western pressure and customs.

The infectious beats pumping out of Africa in 2016 are something that the world cannot ignore. A sound so popular and specifically African conjures up the term Afrobeats. The Afrobeats genre is getting steady airplay in the UK, and with acts like Beyonce and more including African nods within their art, its only a matter of time before African names are as household as the rest.

Way back in 2014 we were seeing more Western superstars seeking out African talent and wanting to become a part of this addictive music phenomenon. This movement was internationally recognised when Kanye West signed Nigerian acts Dbanj and Don Jazzy to his G.O.O.D music label in 2011. Big brand names like BET and MTV include international African music categories in their awards too, so we should really sit up and take notice.

Just look at a few of the names you know who are collaborating with African acts;

Fuse and Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfCa82j0h_E -

Dbanj and Kanye West:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuyxLYeoVqk -

P Square and Rick Ross:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY2H2ZP56K4 -

Timaya ft Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4tWUJKiT1MNigeria/Jamaica link up.

The Executive Chairman of the Namibian Annual Music Awards Tim Ekandjo told me “Namibia is rich with musical talent and the Namibian Annual Music Awards has become the medium to once a year provide a world class platform for the amazing Namibian talent across genres to come together on and to shine and showcase the best in music entertainment from Namibia to audiences across the world. NAMA provides Namibian artists not only with a world class stage but also as a window wrapped in world class production to showcase and bring their music alive in the best way possible to TV and digital media audience from all corners of the continent and the rest of the world, providing these artists with a platform that can take them as far as their music can take them. We are incredibly proud of our artists and the time has now come for them to travel to the far corners of the globe, as far as their music can take them, through NAMA as a catalyst and window to opportunity.”

So lets not sleep on this talent. You’ll blink one day soon and they’ll be taking over our parties, charts and hearts. Check out this years NAMA winners below and hear what they have to say about whether you can
rap in any of Namibia’s 11 plus languages and still be relevant to all your listeners? Why they feel zealously protective of their heritage and how much can they rely on American hip-hop before losing their own identity.

Quick ‘’get to know Namibia’s top music acts’ / winners 2016 ;

1-Gazza — ‘Radio Song of the Year’
2-The Dogg — ‘Song of the Year’, ‘Best House’, ‘Best Kwaito’
3-Chikune — ‘Best Female Artist of the Year’
4-Ann Singer — ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’, ‘Best Album of the Year’, ‘Best Afro Pop inclusive of Township Disco’, ‘Best R&B’
5-N.I.A. — ‘Best Gospel’, ‘Best Rap / Hip-Hop’
6-LMPC — Nominated for ‘Best Male Artist of the Year’, ‘Best Newcomer’, ‘Best R&B’
7-Big Ben — ‘Best Traditional’, ‘Best Male Artist of the Year’
8-HILIFA94- ‘Nominee for Best Rap Hip-Hop’

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GAZZA
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GAZZA PERFORMS AT THE 2016 NAMA AWARDS.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

My name is Gazza and my music is a fusion between afro-house, dancehall, hip-hop and kwaito.

How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
I feel I represent Namibia hip-hop culture cos I spit bars and as long as you spit more that 16 bars that becomes hip hop (lol), and in my own way I’ve created my own style and that’s how I represent my culture and my upbringing that is Namibian hip hop.

How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

My African heritage and Namibian heritage is everything that makes my music and me real. Its important – especially within the hip-hop culture – to stay real and authentic and then build a following and so our African heritage is what makes us niche and unique and that’s why its important that we stick to it.

What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


Namibia is a very unique place with unique talents, it’s a small country but I believe that the talent that we produce in Namibia I believe is big enough to conquer the world so you better watch out.
My other favourite African artists are Davido and Whizzkid- these guys believe and have the passion of music in them strongly, and they have been pushing over the years and they strongly believe in putting their countries on the map so they inspire me a lot.

The world is a global village now and we all draw inspiration from each other, so you now are finding that American artists are coming back to their roots of African rhythms. Also, obviously hip-hop is a global movement and the culture and movement comes with certain responsibilities and claims of territories, so yes, in a way, we as African artists feel like we have to strike a balance between staying African but also being relevant to an international audience to consume your product, so it’s a tricky balance. People do complain if you sound too American and sometimes the local markets don’t really consume your product. So you have to strike a balance for local and international markets, this is why we sometimes mix our languages to have 50% local vernacular and 50% English.

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THE DOGG:
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THE DOGG PERFORMS AT NAMA 2016.

• Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make.

• The DOGG and I do kwaito
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip-hop culture because it is unique and what I make is a brand New sound.
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

• It is important because it identifies who we are and by do so it keeps the culture alive for the young generation who should know where we came from.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind? 


• It was in 97 when I moved to Windhoek from the village, I got introduced to Tupac’s music and his message was real.
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


• Namibian musicians are talented and have something fresh to offer the world. My favourite that you should check out In Africa Is Willis and in Namibia it is Young-T.

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CHIKUNE:
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CHIKUNE ACCEPTS HER 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make.

My name is Colleen Hedwig Leitner. My Stage Name is Chikune. My music is a fusion of Urban, Pop and R&B.
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip hop culture because, as a culture of self-expression and in another context a lifestyle that requires serious talent, I have managed to embody the very essence it so deserves, my music is for the masses and like the efforts of the original hip hop movement it breaks the barriers of social class in my era. RnB has also shaped my art greatly inspired by Mary J Blige. This very same culture provides for the likes of me, the under represented an outlet and possible exposure globally.
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• No music is understood or accepted by society without thorough acknowledgement or understanding of its heritage. Keeping my African heritage strong within my music makes my music real and honest, it is an aspect that defines who I am and if withheld is dishonest to myself and to the rest of the world. My home country forms the basis of my fans. Their support is pivotal to my growth. I will be their ambassador out there in the world so to speak and I want to make them proud.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind?
• I grew up with peers who shared similar musical fads and we would meet up to compare lyrics we had jotted from songs we all loved and listened to over and over. Memorably are punishments my parents would direct at me. According to them I was messing the walls in my room from pasting up hip-hop memorabilia on my walls that I would cut up from magazines. Little did they know that I had a date with destiny and a future in music (lol)! Artist that have left an historical impression are the likes of Tupac Shakur, MC Lyte, Mary J Blige and Eminem. An event that will remain etched in my mind is the Tupac Shakur-Notorious B.I.G rivalry and feud, which led to the deaths of two very powerful musical icons.
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• Namibian musicians embrace their strong cultural values and use their music and artistry as a conduit to express the same and as a tool of communication. I can also say that the musical talents in Namibia can be equaled to many acts across our borders. We have an immeasurable collection of talent. Locally I immensely appreciate Ann Singer and Gazza.

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ANN SINGER:
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ANN SINGER ACCEPTS HER AWARD AT THE 2016 NAMA’S

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
My name is Ann Singer and I do Afro Pop, R&b and a little bit of jazz
• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• “I represent Namibian hip hop culture because I try to make music that Namibian people understand and relate to with a beautiful Namibian feel….”
• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• It is very important to me because I want the Namibian music feel that has been created to stay alive and for the people to adapt to it.
• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• There is always a lot of tension because when you try to make music that sounds too American people feel you are trying too hard and you are not original enough.
• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• Growing up I listened to a lot of music on radio. The likes of 2pac and the likes of Backstreet Boys and Westlife
• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• The Namibian music scene is growing at a very fast pace with a lot of very talented musicians and entertainers. My favorite African act will have to be Mtukuzi from Zimbabwe and I think the world should really check him out.

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N.I.A.:
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N.I.A ACCEPTS HIS 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
• My name is N.I.A it stands for nonchalant in action basically meaning cool under pressure, not too much fazes me. I make socially conscience music that touches on our everyday struggles and relays a strong message of hope

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian hip hop by having very unique Namibian sounds or any instruments that are commonly use in our local music added to our beats plus I also use hip hop to tackle issues which are effecting our nation.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• It is very important for me to keep my Namibian/African heritage strong in my music because I represent Namibia, I represent Africa, I want the world to notice our unique sounds, cultures and to enjoy our amazing talents.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• I don’t believe that there is a tension, I believe hip-hop is universal the culture, the music and the movement. Once u have the love for it, it’s relatable in any language or culture.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• My earliest memories are listening to Tupac albums (Thug Life, Tupacalipse and Me against the World); these albums completely changed the way I listened to music and gave me the undying love I have for hip hop music. I saw the power and influence hip-hop has if used in the way it was intended which is to spread positive messages and give hope.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• Namibian musicians work very hard and have a passion that’s unmatched for music; music is a very big part of our cultures. We have so many genres of music, which completely influence each other. We study music and understand the history of music…. Artist I think you should look out for are DESMOND and CHIKUNE

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LMPC:
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LMPC.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make?
My name is LMPC. The music I make is a blend of Rap, RnB and Afro-pop. Sometimes I make songs that include all 3 genres and other time I make songs with these genres respectively. It’s a new sound, it’s my sound.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian Hip Hop culture because the content in my music is based on my experiences as a Namibian and a Namibian artist. Also I’m bringing a new style of Hip Hop, a more emotional and personal one. A new wave of hip hop culture to represent in Namibia.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• Very important, but it’s hard. I’ve somewhat lost my Namibian heritage and I need to bring it back. But first I need to find and embrace it in my personal life and then it will reflect in my music, so that I have a more informed perspective and way of presenting it to the world.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American?
• Not really, I’ve created this balance between the two. I have these alter egos in my music. For example, “Brownskincoco”. Brownskincoco is the African voice in my music that uses African tones and accents when singing and rapping. Whereas LMPC is more American with African content, like instead of saying the N-word, I would say jita(s), which means guy(s).

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Hip-Hop?
• For me it was Tupac, my dad would play his music when I was younger and what really got my attention was how he was a gangster rapper but he still showed so much emotion. That’s the main reason I started rapping, to talk about my feelings because there was no one to listen to them, and through music there was/is more people to listen to my feelings.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?
• The world needs to know that we are coming. Coming to tell our stories, we’re coming to showcase all the hidden talent that we have. My other favorite African acts are Kalux, Jaleel and Stxzo to name a few.

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BIG BEN:
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BIG BEN ACCEPTS HS 2016 NAMA AWARD.

Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

Big Ben was born Venaune Ben Kandukira. His music is a blend of ethnic rhythms and melodies fused with popular sounds from the rest of the African continent and the world. He draws not just inspiration but makes an effort to directly interpret traditional music of various Namibia tribal sounds to create a unique Namibian form of Afro-Fusion and Afro-Pop.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian urban culture because I integrate urban popular music with tribal chants, forms of praise singing and uses local languages to provide the world with a unique blend that stays true to a Namibian identity while blending in with urban popular trends.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music?
• Every other sound in the world right now has been done and recycled already. As an African musician I believe that our ethnic rhythms and poetry is the only forms of music that has not fully been explored yet and would therefore be the freshest sound for the world. Music is a language used to communicate a people’s ideas, fears and aspirations and therefore only your own original sound can transmit those ideas accurately. I do not believe anybody would respect what you do if you have no clear identity to present.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American? 


• There is no tension between African and American musical culture. It is clearly evident that both cultures borrow from each other and this fusion has produced some of the most successful music in history. What we are experiencing is distance and space, and event that is slowly disappearing as musicians try to breakdown artificial borders to join in one song. What looks like tension is an energy pushing and fusing all cultures into one to eventually create a harmony.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind?
• My generation grew up in a lucky world of music from all corners of the world on radio, television and now the Internet. I grew up the music of African singers such as the Kutis in Nigeria, Salif Keita, Stimela, Bob Marley, Ray Charles, Jackson Kauyeua, Johny Clegg, James Brown, Cesária Évora and many more. Even at that point it was clear that music was a tool to transmit ideas for a loving and caring society. I remember music being used to plead for peace, for the independence of nations from other cruel nations, for a crime free society and for the rights of those robbed of the most basic needs. I remember music as the language of the gods.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out?


• Namibia might be only known to be a scenic paradise and the last animal kingdom but it is also the last frontier in musical and cultural expressions. With over 11 tribes with strongly diverse musical expressions it certainly should draw the eye for any musician looking for an injection of fresh ideas. Namibian musicians strongly emphasize their own rhythms and language and this presents the world with a unique type of entertainment. Without much help, they have gone on to compete and collaborate with musicians from the African, Europe the Americas and the Caribbean Islands.

• Namibian stars such Erna Chimu, Gazza, Elemotho, The Dogg, Ras Sheehama, Big Ben and many more have graced international events and have gotten accolades where ever they appeared. Look deeper and you will realize that many stars are already invading airwaves across Africa and the world such as JBlack, Ann Singer, Chikune, Exit, Paradox, KK, Desmond and many others are just ready to shine when the window opens. They are hard working people who simply need an opportunity to show what they have to offer.

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HILIFA94: — Nominee for Best Rap Hip-Hop
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• Tell us your name and describe the kind of music you make. 

• The name is Hilifa 94, born Hilifa-Vali Lisias Uusiku on 9 Jan, 1994. I make hip hop/rap and conscious trap.

• How do you represent Hip-Hop culture and its sounds in a Namibian way?
• I represent Namibian Hip hop culture because I’m a son of the soil and I rap about topics that the average modern African person can relate to. When I rap, I reflect a picture of freedom, which is the base on which our fore fathers built this country.

• How important is it for you to keep your Namibian/African heritage strong within your music? 

• It is very important as it keeps me close to my identity. However, sometimes it is also important to adopt a variety of universal sounds in order to give your sound a diverse personality, this will also help to broaden your audience.

• Is there ever a tension between staying authentically African or more American? 


• The tension is definitely there. But personally, my influence has always been from America hip-hop. My music has always been a reflection of my everyday life, the way i grew up, what I observed growing up, the sounds I grew up to and the character’s that inspired me to start rapping. Even thou I incorporate African sounds and slang in some of My songs, My music will always have a more American influence because that was the sound that molded me into Hilifa94.

• What are your earlier memories of falling in love with the art of Music? International memories? Which artists and events are strongest in your mind? 


• I started listening to Hip hop in an era where the original boom-bap sound together with that gangster feel was still relevant. I remember bumping my older brothers’ hip hop album collection, with albums such as Tupacs’ All eyes on me, Dr Dre’s Chronic 2000, D12′s Devils night and Eminem’s Marshal Mathers Lp, I just fell in love with Hip hop. The beats were crazy and the style was just fresh.

• What does the world need to know about Namibian musicians and culture/ who are your other favorite African music acts that we should be aware of and check out? 


• Namibian music has so much potential; our musicians are diamonds in the rough. There is so much raw talents that need to be refined. Sometimes I feel like most of the world is still sleeping on Namibian music because we haven’t really proved ourselves on an international level yet. But I feel like we have reached a point where we are ready to take on the international scene and it’s only a matter of time before we finally blow up. My favourite African musicians that I think the world should watch out for are Aka, Gazza, Nasty-C and Patoranking, These musicians have the Juice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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JASMINE WITH JAY SEAN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHAT ABOUT THE ASIAN LADIES…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MILES AHEAD

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

MILES AHEAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTS TABLE
All Photos copyright- Paul Hampartsoumian / RTS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTS Awards 2016 winners in full

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

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

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

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

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

Daytime Programme
Winner: Judge Rinder ITV Studios for ITV

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

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

Drama Series
Winner: No Offence Abbott Vision for Channel 4

Entertainment
Winner: Release the Hounds Gogglebox Entertainment for ITV2

Entertainment Performance
Winner: Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly

History
Holocaust: Night Will Fall Spring Films for Channel 4

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

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

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

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

Scripted Comedy
Catastrophe Avalon Television for Channel 4

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

Single Drama
Coalition Cuba Pictures for Channel 4

Soap and Continuing Drama
Emmerdale ITV Studios for ITV

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

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

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

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

Judges’ Award
Lenny Henry

Lifetime Achievement Award
Joan Bakewell

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

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

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

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

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

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JASMINE WITH SCREEN NATON HOSTS KOJO AND BRENDA EMMANUS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy- Colorbox Ltd.

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

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

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

OFFICIAL WINNERS LIST 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GIRLS I RATE IN MUSICWEEK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GIRL POWER AT GIRLS I RATE.

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

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

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

WHO

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

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JASMINE WITH BRAINY BEAUTY LIZZIE CUNDY AT GIRLS I RATE.

WHAT

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

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

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VICKI BAIN MADE AN INSIRING SPEECH.

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

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

WHY

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

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

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

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

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JASMINE WITH PREEYA KALIDAS AT GIRLS I RATE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You Girls I Rate!

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JASMINE WITH MOBO AWARDS CEO KANYA KING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the pursuit of excellence there is no finish line.