Liz Hurley at Three Mills Studios

The London360 team and I made the pilgrimage across London to the Three Mills Studios, to visit the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley, on the set of her new TV drama series ‘’The Royals’’.It was a secret mission so alas that’s all I can tell you about it lol.


Dinner House of Lords

21 guests were invited to a very intimate VIP dinner at the House Of Lords, where I was sat around a table of TV and medias biggest movers and leaders. Lode Michael grade hosted the dinner and in attendance were HOST: The Lord Grade of Yarmouth CBE, Media Trust CEO Caroline Diehl MBE, Peter Ainsworth – UK Chair, the Big Lottery Fund – MT’s largest Funder. Former Conservative politician 1992-2010.,James Caan – Dragons Den, Adam Crozier – ITV Chief Executive ,David Farnsworth – Chief Grants Officer at The City Bridge Trust, Charlene White – ITN news presenter , Eddie Nestor BBC Radio, Sophie Turner Laing – just departed Sky as Managing Director.


The food and service in the private dining room were- as you you’d expect- impeccable. We were treated to Pea & mint soup – served with pea shoots and sea salt croutons, Salmon – Oven-baked, served with grilled asparagus, tender stem broccoli, sautéed new potatoes and a tomato & caper beurre noisette (gluten free), Posset – Lime & blackberry posset, served with lemon & poppy seed shortbread biscuit.

Strictly Come Laughing at Hackney Empire

An annual comedy show, where all the comedians and entertainers give their services for the night for free to raise money for the village of Tafo in Ghana. This is the final year after having raised over £100,000 over years and changing the living conditions and quality of life for villagers in Tafo. Faces on the night came from Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, Stepken K Amos, Richard Blackwood, Kevin J, Eddie Kadi and my fave comic Slim amongst others! A night full of fun and raucous laughter.
RTS Conference
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 13.34.33


The Royal Television Society’s London Conference 2014-Power, Politics and the Media is a day that always brings out the bona fide leaders and rules of the UK TV industry. The heads of every broadcaster as well as independent TV company directors and execs are fully tanned and glowing fresh off their one month of vacations on their yachts and in full suited swag mode. The gents in their crispest most expensive shirt suit getup and the ladies in their knee length business frocks or elegant feminine suits. (This crowd wouldn’t be seen dead in a pair of vulgar, tacky red-soled Louboutins.

After breakfast coffees, teas and mini croissants, the programme for the Conference (which was full of power players) was opened by president of the Royal Television Society Sir Peter Bazalgette, who hosted a conversation with media mogul- Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox. it was a rare chance to hear directly from one of the most powerful men in world media, Peter Bazalgette spoke to him about building his American business and bidding for more British companies.
Carey said he looks for ”unique content and brands that stand out, we’re investors in good content so that we can create more content, so yes, you can expect us to invest more in British content. The content created right here in the uk clearly appeals to a global marketplace. We aren’t just investing in the uk, we are an enormous investor in creating content in India too amongst other countries too’’.

Session Two had me gripped. It was titled The Future You Don’t Want To Face and chaired by Channel 4 news host Krishnan Guru-Murthy. On the panel were broadcasting’s futurists who spoke about how television on demand is challenging the industry’s incumbent leaders. These High profile disruptors were: Matt Brittin, President, Northern and Central Europe Operations, Google, Karla Geci, Head of International Media, Facebook and Kevin Sutcliffe, Head of News Programming EU, VICE News. They discussed whether television is losing power as a medium, if channels are becoming an unwarranted middleman between programmes and viewers, and who the financial winners and losers are in the world of video on demand.

Clearly the online world is affecting the ay we engage with media. A lot of us acquire news via twitter and brands like vice. Indeed, the BBC has just hired 10 YouTubers to get their radio listeners demographic to under 30. Winners will be those that embrace all the new technology, losers will be those that stick to one platform and channel.

The one thing all this panel agreed on was the difference their brands have with mainstream TV companies ‘’many organisatons are paying a lot of staff to not do very much, which successful digital brands have tiny teams delivering bigger and better’’. Vice’ Kevin Sutcliffe made me laugh when he noted

‘’the BBC mentioned they now had some Vice style programing’’- I said stick to what you do best’’. I.e. stay in your lane!

Amongst the other sessions was Tomorrow The World- After five years in the doldrums, deal-making is back in fashion. Are we, as it seems, on the verge of another re-shaping of the world media order? And, if so, what does this mean for the competitiveness of UK companies and the prospects of the next generation of creative entrepreneurs? ITV Studios Manging Drector Kevin Lygo was particularly hilarious with his legendary comedy timing.

Of course with the Scottish indy referendum debate raging ahead we had to have a debate titled ‘’Kingdom Not United’’. Scotland votes on the 18th of September whether to become an independent country or not. Although the debate has played out on TV as usual social media and digital engagement now loom much larger in the toolbox of political campaigning. The same will apply in the forthcoming 2015 UK general election. In a session looking at what really influences voters, Laura Kuenssberg is joined by three players who are the heart of this debate.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 13.51.30
Head Of Sky News John Ryley makes a dig at ITV News sometimes “ducking out of important news stories”

The next session that had me all fired up was ‘’Have I Got News For You?’’ Chaired by Stewart Purvis CBE, Professor of Television Journalism, City University. The topic covered was ‘The BBC believes it is going to be an extremely difficult undertaking cutting 400 jobs without affecting quality. Do its competitors feel the same kind of threat of cutbacks or are the BBC’s problems an opportunity for them? Leaders of the three main providers talk about the sustainability of TV news in the fully digital age. Speakers included the great John Hardie, Chief Executive, ITN, the equally legendary John Ryley, Head of Sky News, BSkyB and the incredible force that is Fran Unsworth, Deputy Director of News & Current Affairs, BBC. Apparently 25-34 year olds are the fastest group leaving on air news viewing.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 13.51.45
”Have I got news for you” panel.Chief Exec ITN John Hardie makes great points about sustaining TV news in a Digital age

Later in the afternoon there was a Keynote speech by Secretary of State – The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP,Department for Culture, Media & Sport, where In his first major appearance as Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP outlined the government’s plans for the television industry.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 13.37.29

Stylist ”LIFE LESSONS”evening.

Next it was off to stylist magazine’s regular evening gathering. Yet another women empowering women social gathering. After a quick glass of wine in the opulent bar of the Ham Yard Hotel, we were treated to three speakers giving us their life lesson about what every woman should know.

Up first was FGM victim, and survivor Leyla Hussein, now an FGM campaigner. She stated that she wanted to be just a mum that didn’t want her daughter to be ashamed of her virgina and be subjected to FGM. She’s ‎Had to have regular therapy to understand, deal with and repair the relationship with her mother who had to endure FGM twice. Leyla said

‘’I realised she was also a victim. We now celebrate the fact that her granddaughter – my daughter- isn’t cut’’.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 13.44.05

‎Next up was my old MTV compadre – presenter June Sarpong, who spoke about her early upbringing in Walthamstow e17. Wondering through the local Market as a young girl. Acknowledging her multicultural community ‘’my School was like looking at a poster of United Nations kids. We had Indian Jewish, Indian, Chinese, everything. It was a Good grounding for my media career being surrounded by different people and being able to talk to anybody’’. She expanded on her Ghanaian background. The fact that her Mother is 67 and on her 3rd marriage but revealed that her mum hadn’t wanted to have her 3rd one yet cos her daughter June still hasn’t had her first!

‎June ended with the well known quote by Marianne Williamson.

‘’ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.’’

June advised us females to Google Anne Marie slaughter – an American who talks about fertility. June added that she feels the government needs to give young people emotional intelligence. ‘’I personally think that after 16 they should have tantric sex lessons. Boys in Kerala India have tantric sex lessons’’. Anyone fancy a trip to Kerala?

The 3rd and final speaker was presenter of location location location. The amazingly powerful and engaging Kirsty allsop who brought up the issue of women and fertility again after getting a lot of flack for it in the press in recent months. .

‘’What have I learnt that every woman should be aware of? Having the guts to tell men that you can’t have healthy babies for as long as them. “Be honest with each other…friends/partners/daughters*/sons….we can have careers at any age….but not make healthy babies. For now, we haven’t opened the fertility window wider. It’s easier and less of a heartache to have kids when our bodies allow us to when we’re younger. Nature is not a feminist! “Getting to the young girls is a very new thing for me. People tell me I don’t need to talk about it but clearly I do. I don’t want to make people feel judged. All young men and women should know. In the UK we are the oldest women to give birth in the world! Society has shifted massively in one generation. I set a date by which I’d have a baby and two male friends had even agreed to be my babydaddy. But luckily I then met my partner”

Kirsty also talked about women’s relationships with one another ‘’‎Women need to be much less tough on other women. In careers, A woman who has kids is a multi-tasker with better skills. They don’t come in to work going “I went to a great festival this weekend and am hung-over” Equality for all women is something we must always keep fighting for!

Now I’m excited about getting my two-step on, at the legends that are the O Jays gig, and then to end the week- the Asian Achievers Awards- LIFE! LIVE IT!



If you’re a music fan then you know the O’Jays. Part of the star studded Motown line up of yesteryear, a band that’s made numerous hits and are still standing. This week they play in London for the first time in over 20 years.

O'Jays Casa LucaMarco Las Vegas Nevada April 27 2012 Photos By Denise Truscello

Having recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary, The O’Jays are living legends…American treasures. The term “living legend” is often overused and abused, but with The O’Jays, well, there’s little argument that the honorable tag truly applies. With their place in modern music secure, The O’Jays could have cruise-controlled to that comfy hammock on a sandy beach, umbrella-decorated drinks in hand. Why?
(1) An ocean-wide body of work that spawned 24 US Top Ten smashes and 59 total charted songs.
(2) Incredibly energetic and dynamic live shows.
(3) Mad respect for their Olympian vocals. And …
(4) their social and political impact on generations and nations. But doing things slowly is not Eddie Levert, Sr., Walter Williams, Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant’s modus operandi. After 50+ years making such international hits as Back Stabbers, Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby, Love Train, I Love Music, Use Ta Be My Girl and Have You Had Your Love Today, The O’Jays are light years away from easing up on the gas. And like fine wine, The O’Jays just get better with time.

Through the years, they were blessed to have had the late great choreographer Cholly Adkins around. Adkins taught them the importance of showmanship and how to execute their steps while still delivering their songs. So if you think boy bands like Boyz To Men, Take That , Damage, and Westlife started the harmony R&B genre that juxtaposed smooth lyrics with unison choreography think again.

O'Jays Casa LucaMarco Las Vegas Nevada April 27 2012 Photos By Denise Truscello

When working at MTV for over a decade, I would accompany black music stars like Snoop Dogg, P Diddy, Jay Z, Beyonce, Mariah and more across global tours in buses, trains, planes and jets. The O’Jays were always a staple part of their I Pod playlists. I was lucky enough to sit down with O’Jays lead man Eddie Levert this weekend to talk about so much. Here are snippets of our chat where we go in on all things R&B, Beyonce, and Ferguson.

Singers from your generation still have an incredible strong live performing voice. Performing so many decades after you first began- what is that like? As many dance routines? What’s different?

EL: The energy level goes down a bit with age, but the fire never dies. We give the audience a performance that lives up to how it used to be back when we started out.

In one of my previous jobs, I often went on tour with music stars. Acts like Snoop and Puffy play your music all the time and even include it in part of their show- (LOVE TRAIN, to finish their joint tour)- are you aware and what are your thoughts on the younger generation representing black music today?

EL: I respect all music. I think these young guys are geniuses with how they take the old stuff and spin it to a modern audience. I think that the younger generation representing black music today is extremely talented.

R&B used to be such a big popular genre with numerous stars…in recent years – especially in the UK- the number of chart stars making great R&B music has really declined. What are your thoughts on this and who from the new generation do you like?


We all emulate someone to become who we are as an artist. When we emulate someone and do something unique with it to set ourselves apart, we become the candy of the day. Destiny’s Child became the candy of the day because that the “it” factor. The “it” factor for Destiny’s Child was Beyonce.

A decade ago, you co-starred in the movie The Fighting Temptations, which starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles. Beyonce is ruling the music world globally right now- what has she brought to the image of young black powerful women?

EL: Beyonce showed that she is creatively powerful. She doesn’t let the world dictate her personal life. She’s lasted in this business because she has morals and values.

A couple of decades ago, black music stars would unite speak up and protest about injustices in the black community. Not too long ago, Harry Belafonte called out Jay Z and his generation for letting the side down. Recently , not many black stars have spoken about #FERGUSON, what are your thoughts on that? If you were still in your 20’s would you have taken a stand? What’s the difference between the climate now and back then?


In this business, you have to be of sound mind and pick your battles. When you become the opinion and the messenger, they make you sound like the oppressor. I applaud all of the people who have stood up for what’s right with regards to the Ferguson incident. I myself stepped up during the Trayvon Martin incident.

What are your favourite memories of performing for British audiences in the UK?

EL: One of my favorite memories of performing in London was when we were doing “You Are My Sunshine” and an audience member yelled out to me, “Preach that song!’’

The O Jays are performing at the O2 Indigo this week- September 18 and 19th
Tickets available from: www.kililive.com


jarren rada

After a number of shoots for various stories this week I made sure I made up for it on Thursday night with a triple whammy of fun. I started the night off at the RADA Theatre in central London with a huge group of friends (music managers, PR heads, marketing dons, photographers, film directors and TV presenters), who had gathered to view the final RADA graduates performance this year. Our homeboy Jarren Dalmeda, who has already had careers in youth work, tour DJ to A List celebrities (Kelly Rowland, Beyonce etc) and celebrity DJ in his own right, had finished his MA in drama and finally on the first rung of his acting career ladder.
He and his class has scripted a play called The Raft of the Madusa and the show was epic, gripping and so intense I was in despair at the storyline, so engrossed in the acting were we all. Jarren is proof that it’s never too late to start afresh in any field, and that hard work most certainly leads to future success. Congratulations Jarren!


PHOTO CREDIT *** OFFtheGRID – Dame Vivienne Westwood’s Trillion Fund is Finding Infinity ***

Straight after the RADA performance we raced over to SNAP Studios warehouse rooftop in Islington where design icon Vivienne Westwood had invited me to a solar music rooftop party called OFFtheGRID . Dame Vivienne Westwood arrived on her bicycle and hosted the party for her crowd-sourcing platform Trillion Fund in partnership with Ross Harding of Finding Infinity to support the “renewable energy revolution”. Headline support came from EcoPlanetBamboo.

viv westwood invite
VIP guests at the solar powered party included Jamie Hince, Pam Hogg, Ella Eyre, Nicola Roberts, KT Tunstell, Lilah Parsons, Alexandra Burke and loads of very ultra fashionable design key influencers and celebs in pretty frocks, ankle boots, quiffs and skinny jeans.

viv 1

viv 3

Guests were treated to DJ sets from Jamie Hince (the Kills), Viva L’Amour, Pandora’s Jukebox and Paula Goldstein De Principe while enjoying an organic food and cocktail menu curated by private chefs and cookbook authors HEMSLEY & HEMSLEY and sponsored by Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine and Absolut Elyx premium vodka the world’s most energy efficient distillery. The event was taken off the grid and the Snap Studios rooftop displayed a Giant Robot designed solar sculpture sponsored by EcoPlanetBamboo and Laax Resorts.

The ambition for Vivienne Westwood’s Trillion Fund is to accelerate the global switch from fossil fuels to clean energy by contributing towards the $1 trillion a year investment the UN says is necessary to keep the world below the 2 degrees warming threshold. Finding Infinity, found by renegade engineer Ross Harding, is on a mission to transition the world from the finite to infinite resources using fun, creativity and style.

You can always tell a bourgeois function readers. The food is always frightfully fancy. We were treated to mouth watering Canapés: Chicken tamarind almond butter lettuce wraps, Cucumber maki crab rolls, Stilton and mushroom quinoa arancini balls served with mint and parsley oil, Hansen & Lyderson smoked salmon. Individual bowls of food:Beef ragu with courgetti , Cauliflower tabbouleh with lamb meatballs, Red lentil squash coconut curry , Courgette and pea quinoa risotto, Puy lentil, and beetroot and apple salad. Sweet canapés included Mini BB Brownies, Fig and goats cheese trifle and Salted apricot caramels.We drank Hemsley Collins (honey, lemon and Absolut Elyx vodka fizz), Blueberry and English Lavender, Pomegranate and Ginger Fizz , Absolut Elyx Vodka Tonic with cucumber. Told you didn’t I? Fancy.

Trillion Fund – https://www.trillionfund.com
Finding Infinity – http://www.findinginfinity.com
Vivienne Westwood – https://www.viviennewestwood.com

Instagram: @trillionfund @finding_infinity @viviennewestwoodofficial

Twitter: @TrillionFund @FindingInfinity @FollowWestwood

Hashtags: #findingit #trillionfund #findinginfinity #OFFtheGRID



From east London we raced back across to west London to the old Subterania nightclub now called MODE for Rita Ora’s party to launch her adidas sportswear range #unstoppable. Rita was in the house dancing on the balcony to the tunes provided by DJ Manny Norte (the name you can trust). In the house were west London’s finest Bashy and East London’s finest Kano- who both gave me a double hug on arrival which summed up how cool the crowd and vibe were.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals

Last night saw the official after party of the hugely anticipated launch of this year’s most talked about collaboration; adidas Originals by Rita Ora. Friends, family and Rita-bots alike came together to help the global icon celebrate her partnership with adidas Originals at West London’s Mode. Marking the achievement of a childhood goal of collaborating with the brand with the three stripes, Rita and friends danced the night away to music provided by DJs Moxie, Manny Norte and Lee Rous.

Guests including Rita Ora, Daisy Lowe, Nick Grimshaw, Jessie Ware, Henry Holland, Professor Green, and Nicola Roberts came out to show their support for the unveiling of the superstar’s exciting new fashion venture earlier in the evening at the brand new adidas Originals London Flagship Store.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals

Known as much for her fearless take on fashion, as for her head turning musical collaborations, Rita Ora brings her energy and original spirit to every piece in the collection. The first collection, Black, is based on Rita’s London look – and each collection that follows take inspiration from very personal experiences and aspects of the global superstars life.

Rita says: “The collaboration came about through mutual love and appreciation. I have always been a fan of adidas Originals and respect what they stand for in their fearlessness and originality. I worked very closely with adidas Originals to put a personal touch in every piece with connections to my music, my career and my life. I’m really proud of the collection and beyond excited for my fans to get their hands on it!”

rita party

Super music producer Dready was dancing away in the middle of the dance floor, new artist to look out for Trishane was networking, singer song writer Roses Gabor looked uber fly, Island Music’s Benny Scarrs was having fun and we all danced up a storm onstage sipping rum and cokes. Rita’s new collection is as fly as you’d expect from this Ladbroke Grove chic and we were all attempting our best at swiping some off the display wall. Londoners hustling their graft hard all over town this week- got to love it!

jj ll2

I finished my week as usual in the London Live hot seat talking to the lovely Claudia-Liza Armah where we discussed american comic legend Joan Rivers passing away, smuggling of illegal immigrants in Fiat Panda cars, Portobello Rd beefs between buskers and residents and the meanest sports fan ever!

jj ll4



One young lady that I’ve been hearing about over and over again this past year is Charli XCX. My music industry mates both behind and in front of the radio would whisper in conspiratorial tones ‘’keep a look out for Chari XCX – she’s about to blow up!’’ this year she’s featured on both Icona Pops hit ‘’I love it’’- which she wrote. She also appeared on Iggy Izaea’s hit ‘’fancy’’ and this past month she performed her own hits boom clap and break the rules at the MTV Video Music Awards. A quick check on twitter confirms that she’s spent the past year flying across the globe daily for tours and promo, as well as having been nominated for loads of global ‘’ones to watch’’ and awards this year.
So, she’s a bona fide singer songwriter that’s flying that British flag globally. She’s much bigger in Australia and America than she is the in the UK. I had to meet her to catch up on her story so far.


Like so many of this digital generation, this mixed race, Hertfordshire girl the Internet to make it to the top in her chosen field. Every music star from Rita Ora, Britney and Christina Aguilera is vying to work with this straight talking chic who’s full of contradictions regards feminism, youth movements and more.

I caught up with Charli who was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison, at a shoot for BEAT Magazine in Shoreditch Studios where she’d flow in directly from new york to politely take her seat and follow the stylist and photographers instructions for their shoot.

Its crazy to think this Bishops Stortford girl is making teenage music anthems for today’s generation of girls across the world that, like her, grew up on a diverse mix of music from pop to hip-hop.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.39.34

She reveals that in her early days she had a fascination with London and city life. Her musical influences were Britney spice girls, shampoo, and typical girl pop. ‘‘At 14 i discovered Ed Banger and got into those acts’’.

At the age of 14 in 2007, she began recording her debut album on a loan granted by her parents…it takes one persuasive teen to convince adults to invest in the fickle music industry. ‘‘I never saw those songs as a debut album I just did songs at 14 that I put onto the internet, I made a deal with my dad, who ran a small venue in Bishops Stortford, I wanted to record some demos so he lent me the money to do that, so as soon as I made some cash, I paid him back. I don’t want people to think I was a spoilt rich kid cos I really wasn’t’’.

Her mothers Indian, and her fathers Scottish. Being from a mixed race background, she’s representing the very current generation of young Brits but this didn’t really have a massive influence one way or another of her influences or her experience of growing up ‘’ my parents never really pushed any particular music onto me so I just listened to Britney all day. I always saw myself as very normal and felt very comfy, my friends never made a big deal about my background. My parents were just happy with me doing whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t really see myself as being different, there was never really a thing made about it., I was very unaware of it until very recently actually and coming from the generation I’m from I don’t see anything , I just listened to Britney spears all the time’’.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.44.41

In the same way that music reflects the society it comes from, celerity and tabloid faces should do the same. In recent years a lot of more diverse faces than before have sprung up with names like Jessica Ennis, Alexa Chung, Leona Lewis, Lewis Hamilton, and Charli, who all reflect the changing face of this generation. These declining cultural barriers must only be a good thing and Charli acknowledges that for her parent’s generation it was a lot different. ‘‘I think its great and amazing that any industry can be diverse, we can all just do what we want to do, coming from the generation that I come from its not shocking, but I recall my parents telling me when they were first a couple it was a shocking thing. I think its great to fly the flag for where you’re from’’. This reminds me of something that Olympian Jessica Ennis said when she described herself as more Sheffield than mixed race when asked where she identifies most strongly with.

Charli was signed at 15 and is still only 22 so no overnight success, it’s taken her years to get where she is. Being spotted so young and not going down the reality TV show route though, she says is a blessing in disguise. ‘‘When I was younger I was angry at that reality show world, cos I felt like I was working really hard and not getting the success that I deserved, but now I can see that it’s a good thing. My journey to where I am today has been long winded, with lots of twists and turns, and allowed me to become who I am. It didn’t happen for me sooner because I wasn’t ready, but the weird routes have helped me understand and given me more control’’.
This is demonstrated by her never getting lonely when on the road ‘’ I actually don’t get homesick- I love my family but I love touring. cos I’ve been doing this now for so long i have a lot of friends across the world. I stay grounded cos my mates don’t care about Charli XCX. That’s great cos i don’t wanna be a diva. If I am on the radio they turn it off lol!


She comes from a generation of artists where blogs and social media are paramount, and acknowledges the importance of online presence in her marketing…’’for me I wouldn’t be here without the internet, I like it, it’s a difficult thing to figure out and can cause stress for people but it keeps me accessing my fans that’s great’’.
She has nearly 200k twitter followers, engages with her fans regularly and is more than aware of the pro’s and con’s of being so available to her fans 24-7. ’’Just as easy you can access them, they can access you. but I see myself as a musician not a celeb. I see myself as an anti pop star, I think if you put out stuff about your personal life you become about that instead of your music.

When pressed on her definition of an ‘’anti pop star’’ she explains ‘’nowadays there seem to be a lot of rules about being a pop star, things you have to say the lies you have to tell, if u do something crazy it should be crazy weird and wild not walking out of a club drunk at 2am, I’m not into the tabloid crazy world. Also I’m just like a bit really weird. i don’t have time to play into the traditional pop star rules. I don’t like being rude I think it’s much harder to be rude, and much easier to be nice’’.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.46.21

Pop stars working the web, is the norm now. A few years ago Rihanna wrote on twitter that only she would run her twitter and that there would be no more ‘’corny label tweets’ Now that Charli’s established herself, she’s still sitting in the pilot seat of her social media. ‘‘I do all my own social media its not time consuming its better when its from my brain as opposed to someone 20 years older at the label’’.

So like Bieber, the web and online marketing has had a huge impact on her career- in early 2008, she began posting songs from her album, on her official myspace. I also love the fact that she seems to have a fascination and obsession with female alternative rappers like Iggy azalea and uffie (I use the word ‘rappers’ loosely). ’’At 14 I began to make my own music, I wanted to make cool rap, white girl rap and I completely failed cos it didn’t sound good at all’’.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.42.41

She continues to gush about her love of female rappers

‘’I just wish I was a rapper, I was obsessed with Uffie, I’ve always thought that rappers were really cool and so I wanted to work with them cos i don’t think I’m good enough to be one. They’re just so fierce strong and powerful and I love that in a woman like Iggy or Brooke candy. I always have fun with them’’.

…’’but this guy Chaz Cool found me online and invited me to come and play at a party. I’d been to London and hadn’t gone out there so I was like yeay I’m so excited. I told my parents. They freaked out ‘’you wanna go to an illegal rave in hackney wick, I said they could come so they did, and that’s how I got into that scene’’.
The idea of adult parents at an illegal rave doesn’t come without its awkward scenarios though. Charli recalls a story about when her father was offered the MDNA drug but thought the seller had said MDA- the flooring boards. Her father reassured the seller that he would if he had enough room in the car shocking the seller who wondered just how much he wanted to buy! LOL

So this Straight talking, dark pop princess, turned attending raves at 14 into an international pop career.


Like Timbaland, Kanye, Jessie J, Naughty Boy and more, CHARLI’S the latest in a long list of acts that started writing/producing hits for others. of course, record labels are now hip to the pie chart money split and if they can cut someone out to make more profit then that’s the strongest card to play. Signing charli means they keep all the writing, publishing and keep their golden egg -laying chicken close to home. She’s responsible for writing some of this years biggest pop hits from ‘’fancy’’ to ‘’I love it’’. The way the music industry talks about her, it sounds like she knocks out hits in minutes. Is it really that simple? She admits ‘’I love it was written in 30 mins in a hotel room, songs that come the fastest are the better ones as its your instinct that the 1st recorded thing is the best’’.

Her hit boom clap is on constant rotation on radio but Charli was hitting the big time early in her career with zero radio play. We debate whether one day mainstream radio and its monotonous playlists will all just die ‘’my 1st record didn’t get any radio play at all and I still managed to tour all across the states, but now my singles are on radio I see its good for it. Its not detrimental to your success, there are lots of different types of radio. It’s definitely helped me get a wider audience but the internets what’s really helped me and music thrives there. It’s hard to say about radio-it surely pushes pop acts to another level’’

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.54.01

With break the rules there are young girls globally loving to embrace their rebellious side- but I’m a bit older than Charli and have seen many a strong rebellious female music star in my time push the envelope, I don’t think anything will in my mind top Madonna’s sex book, so I wonder if there can be such a thing as a rebel in pop any more? Or have all the rebellious stances been played out? ‘’ I think you can be a rebel still, it goes back to my earlier definition of pop star vs. anti-pop star. You can break the rules by even wearing what you want to wear and not playing by the rules of record labels. I dress how I dress for me. ’My new music album isn’t a straight up pop record in way so I am reveling by making exactly what I want and I hope to push boundaries with that. Other artists like Grimes, Lorde and Sky Ferreira are really pushing the envelope too.
‘’I’ve always been different; when I was younger I had media training and was told I was the worst person that she had ever media trained. Then there was a meeting just about my hair and what to do with it. I was like ‘ what is this about?! You guys don’t even have hair’.

charli 1

Most people are intrigued that Charli gave her hit song – I LOVE IT away. Like Ne-Yo many years ago who wrote ‘’you should let me love you’’ for Mario and then was plucked to be the front man, leaving fans to ask ‘where is Mario now?’’ its anyone’s guess as to whether we will see another huge hit for Icona Pop again or whether they will do a Psy and fall off the radar into one hit wonder world.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.48.08

Charli says there’s no way that ‘’I love it’’ would have ever made her own personal music catalogue ‘’that song was written 2011/12 i was in Stockholm and writing with this guy Patrick Berger, I was nervous, I asked him to send some beats, he did, one was for I love it, I wrote it quickly and took it to him the next day, he loved it and said it was cool. We were going to get a coffee and bumped into the girl from icona pop and she heard the song and her group recorded it. I didn’t want it cos I didn’t want to make a record like that. It was nothing like the record I’d already slaved away for five years and it didn’t fit on my album but fitted so well with them’’.

After “I love it” was released, Charli had said that she had her ‘’first real experience with the bad side of the music industry and how people can change and how it can become like more of a struggle. It wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. When it should be a time for celebration it’s never really been that nice’. Its funny when u see the whole music industry machine pump into action. Even though it was Icona Pops song I observed a lot from my position, when moneys involved some people go crazy, it became a bit weird and then thereafter I’d always be asked to keep recreating that song for lots of other artists. I started becoming jaded and annoying. It opened up a lot of weirdness to me’’.


Charli’s a fan of ladies like Kate bush, Britney and Bjork- she said that when she was 7 she really wanted to be a spice girl, and that girl power never dies! – She also comes across as a powerful, kick ass girl bringing a new round of girl power; something she see’s herself fitting into comfortably. ‘’ I feel like there’s a huge wave of girl power around now with feminism regularly being discussed by high profile artists, I knew what girl power was when I was younger bit wasn’t picking up on it when I was 7, but now there’s so much to talk about and that people are talking about it is great. I want to encourage my fans to be themselves and be strong females and never feel like they’re not adequate and that they have to fit into rules, I feel like my fans already believe that anyway’’.

She’s a fireball of contradictions; she delights and provokes, is passionate and pushes the boundaries of pop music with her stances on sexy outfits vs. empowered women. When it comes to sexuality and image she is strong about her position. ‘’I think u can be a feminist in the pop industry and I definitely see myself as a feminist. I think there are different perceptions on what a feminist is and how u should dress, but those boundaries are being broken down, people say how can u be a feminist when you dress like that and I don’t even understand that statement because I believe that men and women can wear whatever they like cos its about equality’’.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 17.49.32

Her views on the Miley Cyrus twerking storm are supportive. ‘‘I think she was just doing her and good for her, I think she’s punk and one of the only punk artists out there now. I’ve seen her live show and its genuinely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life and then I think good for her. I don’t think that performance was thought through and intended to cause as much offence as it did’’.

As well as girl power, she also mentioned that you’d noticed ‘’a decay in youth culture, stating, “I don’t feel like there’s anything for people to really grab onto these days. There’s no movement to speak of.” (Rolling stone mag)
With me she expands ‘’i feel like in the 60s there was a real feeling and identity in the air that everyone could be a part of and hold on to and now I feel that’s not the same anymore, it still lives a bit now, but more on the internet as opposed to being in reality. There’s nothing to be angry about that’s when all the best stuff in pop happens when people are angry, and that’s why feminism is exciting to me cos its something that’s important instead of just falling out of a nightclub going ‘’here I am, again, doing this, nothing really important again’’

Charli has toured with Coldplay and Ellie Goulding, and is building up quite a celeb following- Rita Ora and Britney want to work with her but she’s turned down working with some stars that have come calling- (She rejected a collaboration with Christina Aguilera). She shares with me her criteria for pressing red or green.


Americans have always had a healthy fascination with British pop stars from the Beatles to spice girls, but recently there’s been a really strong British movement taking over the USA,– from Adele to Ed Sheeran, Sam smith and naughty boy- everyone says Charli is next to blow. ‘’ I don’t feel any pressure cos I promised myself last year that I wouldn’t care about ‘’success and charts’’ anymore cos its really stressful, I made a promise to myself to make music that feels right and cool, and its worked, its not the forefront of my question anymore’’.


Art is a big influence in her work- she’s been inspired by musicians as well as artists and photographers. at 15 she was photographed by David bailey- that’s an incredible story! She name drops even more spectacularly ‘’David bailey was actually my 2nd photo shoot ever- my first was Rankin, David hated me, he was classic David bailey and i was like a right little bitch, but then we got in front of the camera we just clicked, he was incredible to work with and he invited me back a week later so I did something right’’

There’s certainly no Barbie doll TOWIE style fashion for this rock meets punk lady. Iggy azalea says its “badass that Charli can do a dance routine in a cheerleading outfit and still be punk rock’, she’s been referred to as the ‘dark pop princess’, calls her sound ‘’ magical, ethereal, gangsta pop.’’ and calls her look Disney grunge. i laugh at the contradictions ‘’I am all about contradictions actually yes, I like things that sit on the edge of bring slightly wrong, so wrong that its slightly right. i like contradiction a lot and think it produces good art!

Her look and brand are as distinctive as her music, and her image and attitude really match her sound – with her own font logo and fashion sense too, she smiles ‘’it is intentional’ ‘I’m behind everything i do, every video i create is my treatment or idea. It’s the same with everything I wear, I feel like as I’ve grown up and I’ve found my own style, i don’t follow fashion i have my own style – I’m not a slave to fashion man’’.

We finish with a couple of funny anecdotes that may surprise most people. Her 1st ever gig was in a disused peanut factory and she has a recording of a ghost on her phone after staying in a hotel, which was reputed to be haunted. The ghost apparently drowned in the frozen lake and likes to hang out in the hotels billiard room. Charli and pals recorded through the night and the next day when playing the sounds back heard this really low-pitched woman’s voice talking. I know what you’re wondering. No. The ghost didn’t make it onto any tracks.



Do you know who you really are and where you came from? No. Really.

Every time I would ask my African Americans friends where they were originally from, they’d always insist ‘America’. Even though I’d question that they most likely had a journey across from the Caribbean or Africa at some stage in their lineage, they’d flatly deny that history, and say their ancestors as far back as time could tell, stated they were American and that’s what they were comfortable with.

Some may be happy with this; others may want to find out where exactly from the motherland Africa they are from. Maybe there isn’t a direct line of family history or you are adopted and curious to know more.

However, if you’re going to get your DNA tested, you’d better brace yourself for the results. A tester revealed to me that a young wealthy Muslim man came in to have his DNA tested for his birthday and found just two generations earlier he has Jewish roots. He was shaken to say the least.

The pro’s and con’s of the test raced around my mind. What if I could make a real connection to my past? Could it reveal something interesting about my ancestors or better yet me? This information is easily accessible in my DNA. Most people think they know their family history but what if there’s more? It could redefine the way I think about my family history. Learn about all the places and cultures that make me who I am. It’s a great way to get in touch with who you are and your family story. What’s my ethnicity? Where am I from? The answer is literally at my finger tips- in my DNA. So I can trace my family’s generations throughout the ages way beyond the paper trail. DNA testing has evolved so quickly in recent years that DNA testing like this wasn’t even possible a few short years ago. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

I found out about it at the London launch of osargenews.com, an African Diaspora news aggregator delivering news twice daily to all African and African Diaspora countries.- the site offers news, blogs and original content and covers politics, business, arts & entertainment, technology, society and local information along with a recruitment section, documentaries of the diaspora and ground breaking DNA testing products. As my father is from Kenya I was intrigued. Yes, was that kid that pushed all the buttons that I was warned not to.

I’d seen it on television and read about in the newspapers, and it makes you think twice. For those who aren’t keen on needles, the good news is that all commercial testing companies use mouth swabs, so the whole process is blissfully painless. A friendly lady handed me a few ear bud like swabs and rubbed them inside my cheeks and popped them into a sealed envelope- which I had to lick and seal myself. Two weeks later my results were in. They compared my unique DNA to billions of people all around the world to find the common strands that help define our ethnicity and where we are originally from.

Genetic testing has become the new middle class trend in recent years. Does the birthday boy have everything he could ever want already? Coffee maker, Porsche, personalized Louis Vuitton luggage, Rolex watch, a day at Silverstone, and a season pass to his sports team’s games? Well give him something that money can buy! His own DNA ancestry test! Show him who he really is. Does he descend from kings or….

DNA testing is a big thing for the National Health Service too. This month in the UK, it has been announced that our government would be spending on new medical DNA testing so that they can better understand the genetic lineage of people who are ill and determine if they’re prone to certain diseases. The UK is set to become the world leader in groundbreaking genetic research into cancer and rare diseases, which will transform how diseases are diagnosed and treated, thanks to a package of investment worth more than £300million, the Prime Minister announced this month. If you are part of a group who is at a high risk for certain genetic diseases (such as Tay-Sachs for Jewish people and Sickle-Cell Anemia for Black people), it is imperative that you get tested before you have children. This can save so much heartbreak for you and your family, but also makes you aware of the possibilities out there before making a life-changing decision. After having her DNA tested — a process which can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to several thousand — Angelina Jolie learned that she is a carrier of a defective BRCA1 gene. That defect, though not the only determinant of breast cancer, meant a 65% chance she’d get the same disease that killed her mother. Some DNA tests do focus on testing or health, the one that I had done focus’ on my genetic ancestry..


I kept being warned that my results might surprise me. In the case of many African ancestry tests, for example, approximately 25-30 percent of those tested will learn that their paternal line is European in origin. This is the legacy of plantation society coming down to us in our genes, and was seen in BBC’s ‘Motherland: A Genetic Journey’.

Frankly you could have told me I was from anywhere globally and nothing would’ve been a shock or surprise one way or the other. I have Persian ancestral and religious background. Persians were thrown out of Persia years ago and it was renamed Iran. So I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a refugee. I feel like I belong to everywhere and nowhere. But I am curious to know to get an idea of geographical origin well before genealogical records began.

Two weeks after my swab results came back from the laboratory, I sat down with Dr Michael Baird, one of the world’s leading human geneticists, who explained my results to me after I grilled him on the procedure and why it was so new and current for people of African heritage.(Look up Dr M Baird- he is a huge international DNA expert, that’s been used at the centre of huge legal cases like Anna Nicole Smith/ OJ Simpson etc)

Tell us in layman’s terms about the new African Diaspora specific DNA testing products exclusive to osargenews.com and what is possible now when it comes to finding out about our historical and ancestral roots? How does it work?

Our DNA contains a great deal of information including where we came from. This is because DNA is passed along from generation to generation and characteristics of our ancestors are still present in our DNA, if you know how to unlock the information. By collecting a few cells from the inside of your cheek, enough DNA can be isolated to perform a number of tests that can start you on your journey to learn about your ancestral roots. Once your sample arrives at the lab, DNA is isolated and testing performed that can provide information about your ancestral roots. Depending on the test you choose, you can learn about what biogeographic groups your DNA contains, information about your maternal and/or paternal ancestors, or what current populations you most closely resemble. You can choose the path you want to take for your journey to discover your ancestral roots.

Why is this a relatively new area that the AFRICAN DIASPORA should be interested in?

Advances in DNA technology allow one to more accurately extract information from your DNA to answer questions you may have about where you came from. Recent work with African populations has contributed to the ability to make connections that were not possible previously. The osargenews.com site provides useful information about a number of different aspects related to the African Diaspora including DNA tests that can help in the journey of understanding.

How does the African GPS Tracking System work?

The GPS (Geographic Populations Structure) is a new way to analyze DNA data developed by Dr. Eran Elhaik of The Sheffield University that can provide coordinates to pin point the geographic location of your ancestors. The same type of sample is collected for the GPS test but can provide results for male and female lineage, people that may be biologically related as cousins, and the geographic location of your ancestor(s).

Have the global African diaspora been open to finding out about their ancestral past or have some people shied away from the truth as many stories have come from centuries of pain historically?

The journey required to find one’s ancestral roots is a personal journey. Many have embraces the science behind the testing and been able to make meaningful connections with their past.

Are there examples of case studies that have shocked or been a surprise to people interested in finding out about their historical roots?

I do not have any such stories since we do not typically follow up with clients once they have received their results. However, I am sure there are surprises among those that have taken DNA tests.

Africa has tended not to have a global voice for so long and for so long been painted in a disproportionate light by western media and governments- why do you think this is?

Hopefully as people embrace their African roots, their voices will be heard.

What should the western world be aware of when it comes to the massive ground breaking strides forward that the African continent is making?

The continent of Africa will play a major role in the future of the world, just as it did as the birthplace of humanity.

Any final comments on how people can get involved?
If people want to start their journey of self-discovery of their ancestral roots, they should get involved with appropriate social media sites like osargenews.com and consider having their DNA tested.

My own results? I was handed and talked through a stack of easily understandable graphs and certificates that are fascinating. I come from the M group who were around 60,000 years ago and originated in east Africa. My ancestors were amongst the first humans to leave Africa, migrating along the southern coasts of Asia. My bio-geographical chart showed, surprisingly, that I am 75% European, 13% east Asian, 7% sub-Saharan African and….5% indigenous American!

Another surprise was that my high-resolution native population match showed that my DNA matches mostly from the Maldives, India then Europe. My high resolution world match results come in high from Mesopotamia – the name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, the northeastern section of Syria and to a much lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran. Finally they also gave me my genetic profile, which is unique to me and me alone. Honestly, to an untrained eye like mine it just resembled numerous car registration numbers like codes but was nevertheless fascinating.

So no huge surprises for me, aside from a bit of American Indian and Maldivian roots. But for my friend- the writer and comedienne Angie Le Mar it was deep and emotional. Angie hails from Jamaica but her tests came back showing that her bloodline was pure, and much less mixed than mine, and came from an exact location identified in West Africa. She’s always had a pull towards Ghana so this confirmed her instinct.

So, what to gift the person who has everything? Tell them who they really are!The test costs around £250, half the price of those costly Louboutin designer shoes!
What’s really exciting about DNA testing is that it’s all about YOU!

Start your research at osargenews.com. You never know what you might unearth! Good luck!

AFROBEATS Continues to fly high – Here are thoughts from the industry as well as my TOP 5 AFROBEATS COLLABORATIONS.


Alongside the usual diverse array of pop, indie, rock, hip-hop, dub step, grime and more musical genres of live shows that happen nightly across the UK, in recent years, a very exciting new party player has entered the fray. He goes by the name Afrobeats and is clearly here to stay with venue bookings across the country for its main stars set in stone.

Numerous pieces have already been written about the afrobeats scene. Its play listed on Radio 1, the BET Awards this year recognized the acts on air, black music star’s Kanye and Akon have signed up African talent, and now the trend of collaborations between Afrobeats artists, and international acts from other genres seems to be exploding.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.10.51

UK chart music star Wretch32 who collaborated with afrobeats act Sarkodi tells me it’s a good thing

“It’s so good to see Afro beat acts getting worldwide recognition. A genre as strong as that deserves to be global – its talent you can’t deny’’, whilst British (via Congo) comedian / host Eddie Kadi enthuses ‘’It is testament to how far the music has come and its ability to cross over. As a result we will now see a rise in new Afrobeats stars from the diaspora’’

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.14.10

The infectious beats pumping out of Africa are something that the world cannot ignore. A sound so popular and specifically African conjures up the term Afrobeats. The popular sound taking over the UK airwaves pay homage to the old skool highlife sounds of Afrobeat, conceived by Nigeria’s musical genius Fela Kuti. The evolved, modern genre is a young and funky twist, where you can find memorable hooks sang in Pidgin English over an Afro infused hip-hop beat.

It’s right here in London that we see the magnitude of its success. Clubs and radios stations are being forced to play Afrobeats to cater for its high demand. The demographic and economic presence of Africans in the Diaspora has been the wagon through which Afrobeats is breaking into our western consciousness.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.17.52

Let’s start with Nigeria. It’s so huge it’s akin to a continent with numerous tribes in itself. There are over 165 Million people in Nigeria alone, not to talk of the Nigerian community living abroad. So that puts into perspective the potential reach that embrace and support this monstrous musical movement which is spreading its tentacles globally, and therefore generating a lot of money in the process.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.19.23

Nigerian born, British based, female music act May7ven even feels that the scene is even having a beneficial economical effect in the UK

‘’Afrobeats has travelled far in a relatively short space of time here in the UK. We still have a long way to go, but the progress is good, steady and we have certainly got the attention of the entire music industry the world over. Odd tracks are getting play listed on day time on some of the UK’s leading radio stations, and we’re starting to have a presence in the charts and clubs. Also, with the frequency of the large scale concerts holding at 5,000 capacity venues headlined by Afrobeats stars, we can certainly now claim to be contributing to the UK economy however little. People may laugh but the airlines are making money, hotels, FEU (Foreign entertainment tax) UK Boarder, jobs are being created!’’


In the early days of the Nigerian Pop music, acts like Eedris Abdulkareem attempted to gain equal footing with American artists such as 50 cent, by inflammatorily sitting in 50 Cents first class seat; a protest to the unequal treatment of indigenous artists by Nigerian promoters and concert organisers. After reportedly being told to ‘Get out of that seat’, Abdulkareem responded “You cannot treat me as a second and or third class citizen in my own country, I will not take it from anybody,” Abdulkareem said after the infraction. “If 50 Cent is a star in America, I am equally one in Africa.”

Fast-forward to 2014 and we’re 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 D’banj and Don Jazzy to his G.O.O.D music label in 2011. it has to be said. Jaws dropped. People were impressed and excited. Nothing could prepare fans for the moment when Kanye West walked on stage to join Nigeria’s hottest exports- the then ‘Mo’Hits’ turned ‘Mavin Records’ label. Kanye joined them at Hammersmith Apollo in London for their third instalment of the Koko Koncert series (2011). The excitement was intense. Fans alike stamped, shouted and screamed in awe as Kanye West took off his chain and put it around Dbanj’s neck, announcing to the world that the signing was official. Dbanj and Don Jazzy were then the newest members to join G.O.O.D Music.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.25.16

Tim Westwood (CapitalXtra) said at the time: “I know Kanye well, but when he arrived back stage it was so exciting – it was a hot moment in the game. When he came on stage to perform and then 
passed the Good Music chain to the D’Banj, the crowd went crazy”!

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.26.43

Some acts have even been accused of jumping onto this latest fad as a business angle. Abrantee Boateng is a radio presenter on CapitalXtra in the UK who champions the afrobeats genre and is known as DJ Abrantee and states..

‘’there’s definitely been a steady rise as a lot of people still don’t understand the whole afrobeats movement although they are jumping on the band wagon, which is a good thing, as it now shows that people are taking notice. One thing is for sure, in every club around the world you will now definitely hear the DJ play an afrobeats set, which wasn’t happening before’’

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.27.41

DJ Shortee Blitz says …

‘’ The Afrobeat Scene on an international level is growing like crazy!! From a dj standpoint. I can play certain tunes all over the world and they’ll get love, whether they know its afrobeat or not. I suppose it depends on the type of dj you are. Whether you play by numbers or play the shit you actually feel…’’

May7ven seems to the outside world to have gone from an R&B Branded Artist to Afrobeats, but she disputes that and clarifies …

‘’ It would appear that way as I was part of the growth here in the UK when it started. When I started my career, I called my style AFR&B, African R&B just because I felt I was different and simply somehow wanted to incorporate my culture, sounds and language into my music as some of my male counterparts such as 419 squad, JJC Skills, Weird MC and co. There were no templates to follow from any other female singers on TV or radio combining African drums, language or sound with real R&B at that time and I wanted to pioneer something as a female artist amongst the many R&B females around at that time. It was during a meeting with Guy Moot from EMI at the time, where he spoke about being original and suggested that there wasn’t that much of a difference between Jamelia, Kele Le Roc and a few of us at the time and he was right. I wanted to be original and stand out; I believe it is working for me now, as you now witness a wealth of female Afrobeats artist’s actively working, combining R&B with Afrobeats. I have travelled the world, performed for presidents, received multiple awards and am in a position to be as unique and original as I want, standing out in my own lane. It is still tough, but my last 3 independent releases have had received A-List on UK radio and across various TV stations right here in the UK, which is fundamental in building a bigger fan base outside of this genre. I still have a long way to go and a massive agenda so I take nothing at all for granted’’.

So how many of the new collaborations from her genre are authentic? So far there have been numerous alliances between African and international acts, in the same way as in the early British days of urban music trying to break out to a bigger listener demographic, we used to persuade American acts with huge amounts of UK record labels cash, to feature on our remixes. The idea that now the occasional UK acts, as well as American is being sought out, to feature with afrobeats talent, is telling.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.30.55

The collaborations usually still involve a huge exchange of cash and persuasion from the African teams side, but American and UK acts aren’t silly. They see this scene is blowing up with an unstoppable momentum of its own, and want to be seen as part of the movement. The international act is of course, always expected to shout out the African act in their verse. (Sean Paul) ‘’Fuse ODG and SPeezy- WHAT WE TELL THEM?-BLAZE THEM!’’…./ (Kanye) ‘’That D Banj cause hysteria, As we step of the plane in Nigeria’’…../ (Rick Ross)‘’Konvict music-Turn up the music we bumping P Square’’….and so on.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.34.45

After all what’s the point of parting with bucket loads of cash without a personalised co-sign right? (Probably just because I’m British), the UK/African collaborations sound more authentic and less forced to me than the American ones. Something to do with the diaspora community here in London being much more engaged with African culture be it food, friends or music than the American’s who seem so far removed from it all).

Some things never change though. The joint videos are still materialistic urban cliché’s with opulence in the form of champagne, shaking posteriors, exotic palm tree’s, penthouse suites, the love of wearing all white and yachts- The difference here however, that’s hilarious, is that a lot of African communities are actually filthy rich and keepin it real, unlike early UK and U.S acts, who often had to act out and fake their bragadocious wealth.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.37.00

The videos also expectantly feature an over sexualisation of women and you’ll see that reflected again in the collaboration between African act Dr Sid and X Factor alumni Alexandra Burke who collaborated earlier this year on their single Baby Tornado. Alexandra rocks a skimpy clinging red mini dress and shorts whilst she suggestively and sexily sings her chorus.

alex sid

“We shot the video for ‘Baby Tornado Remix’ featuring Alexandra Burke with UK producers Uzo Oleh and Michael Buckman”, says Dr Sid. “They were able to bring something different to my visuals. The magic happened when both our styles met. Alex brought her sexy vibe, while I brought my African flavour. I feel it was a great synergy between the UK and Nigeria and am very proud of the result. African music will thrive with or without international recognition because it’s not just music- it’s also a culture. It can never die out- it will just keep evolving. Having the support and interest internationally, is an added bonus. I continue to be grateful for all the support”.

alex sid2

Alexandra herself has an opinion on what is helping Afrobeats star rise.

‘’Personally I think social media, clubs and the radio all play a massive part in fuelling the love of the Afrobeats scene. Not only that, but also most importantly Afrobeats is a joy to listen to. It’s particularly great to listen to when you are in need of cheering up, as it will never fail to make you want to dance. It always puts a smile on my face. I’ve been friends with Dr Sid for a while, I actually met him through his fiancé. I told him about my love for Afrobeats and we sat in my studio and listened to his album. It all just worked out. I heard his song Baby Tornado and fell in love. We wrote the verse and I recorded it there and then in my studio at home. It was a magical experience. Shooting the video for Baby Tornado was awesome. The energy was electric. The vibe was totally natural. Dr Sid made me feel right at home. He also taught me all the right dance moves! It was great, I look back with very fond memories’’.

alex b

Maybe Alexandra’s collaboration and the afrobeats movement in the UK will encourage MOBO to televise an afrobeats category next year as BET did this year. MOBO CEO Kanya King explained ….

‘’Afrobeats has been around for a while, but it’s definitely starting to gain the recognition it unreservedly deserves. Afrobeats has more recently taken off in a big way I would say – there are now one hour long sets on mainstream radio stations in the UK such as BBC 1Xtra and Capital Xtra. We have seen Afrobeat artists such as Fuse ODG flourish on the dance floors. If you look at his ground-breaking success – achieving the highest charting UK Afrobeats single to date, collaborating with Sean Paul and a spellbinding performance at last year’s MOBO Awards – it’s difficult to escape the impact Afrobeats has had on the UK music scene and worldwide which now leads to great collaborations between African and international artists, a clear win-win and thus also creating more opportunities for African artists to gain popularity in other parts of the world. We’re very happy to be supporting this development’’

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.41.51

ITV News host Charlene White is awed by the speed of the movement…

‘‘the pace at which the scene has been moving is incredible. I remember being in Kenya visiting a friend early 2011 – and falling in love with D’Banj’s track Gbono Feli Feli. So to fast forward to 2014 and see international acts (finally!) seeing how strong the market is for Afrobeats is great. What has also been wonderful is to see so many UK house producers working with Afrobeat sounds like Fela Kuti. These changes can only be seen as positive’’.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.43.01

As a supporter of black music over two decades, journalist Hattie Collins, (Music Ed: i-D,Freelance: The Guardian, Grazia, RWD, BEAT, ASOS, The Hunger, G-Shock, The Sunday Times Culture…) has seen the African acts fight for their right to party in the global music industry, across many decades….

‘’ It’s exciting to see the slow spread of Afrobeats; for so long anything from Africa (and indeed Brazil, India, South America and so on) is thrown into the somewhat reductive ‘world music’ and therefore ‘niche’ category. In fact, Afrobeats is as thrilling and important as anything the UK or the US has produced and has the potential to be as globally culturally important as Hip Hop, R&B or Dancehall. It’s taken a few years, but finally, it’s not unusual to read about Azonto on Noisey or listen to a mix from Mista Silva on i-D. Now we can all cheer on Stylo G and Fuse ODG as they get another Top 10, or when we hear that Kanye West has signed D’Banj to G.O.O.D music and Tinie inked Wizkid to Disturbing London. The latter is an important point; these days, the all-important co-sign can often make or break an artist. Having the OK from a Kanye, Jay, Wayne or Drake can make the world of difference – see Drizzy’s recent Popcaan endorsement as proof, as well as Sean Paul teaming up with Ghanaian raised Fuse. Together, the two bagged a Top 3 with Dangerous Love. When a mainstream act endorses a new artist or genre, it shines a hugely powerful spotlight and sends a powerful message. The future of Afrobeats looks incredibly bright right now, and deservedly so. It’s about time that African, Indian, Brazilian music was invited from the shadow of the land of niche to be fully embraced by audiences worldwide’’.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.44.23

Vietnamese Afrobeats DJ Neptizzle from Reprezent Radio says…

“I am a firm believer that it is a collective effort of Artists, DJ’s, promoters and fans that are keeping this genre relevant. As a non- African DJ that plays Afrobeats- I learnt very quickly how powerful the music is. There ain’t no party like an African party! The fact that someone like Alexandra Burke, or even myself who doesn’t come from an African background can appreciate the music and want to be involved, speaks volumes of just how influential the music is. The language barrier doesn’t hold anyone back either. For me, it’s about the beat, the rhythm and the enjoyment! It’s so infectious I’m not surprised that international collaborations are happening. Even if the collaborations are happening just for money, or purely out of love of the music- either way the music is spreading and it shouldn’t be ignored if you want to stay ahead of the game’’.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 16.46.01

May7ven feels collaborations have their perks and drawbacks ‘’ Collaborations are always a great thing and a positive step if done properly. Examples of Wyclef and FuseODG on Antenna are a great example of getting the mainstream to finally pay attention to a hit song, exposing it to a wider audience. It is an opportunity to tap into the international artists audience presenting our style and genre of music to their world in a fashion they are familiar with, rather than forcing it down their throats. It is also a sign that times are changing and the international stars themselves welcome this sound and generation of hit makers to compliment their own records; their aren’t many examples of this so far as at the moment Afrobeats artists are the ones featuring them. Chingy welcomed and featured 2Face Idibia and myself on his own record and on the Alexandra Burke track that I am on, her team approached us to feature on a remix of her own track and not the other way round so certainly a good sign. With the exception of Fuse ODG and 2Face, the collaborations have only been good for raising the profile of the afrobeats artists in their own industry, as the international artist are not the ones promoting the songs; for example Rick Ross and P Square arguably the biggest collaboration for Afrobeats but it was noted that Rick Ross was not actively promoting/releasing or even tweeting about the song; we have had some amazing features but none of them have really penetrated the desired territories.Alexandra Burke also did one with Sid, I think it is good for him as it’s a nice song but equally Alex in her case benefits and shows her versatility and exposes her to the African market if she was to have her own release there or try her hands in Afrobeats’’.

DJ Abrantee concludes ‘’Before the scene came to commercial awareness it was already there on the underground, and more importantly the artists were doing the Afrobeats back in Africa creating their own scene. What’s happened now is the UK are taking notice of the Afrobeats scene due to artists like Dbanj, P Square ,May7ven, Mista Silva, Atumpan, Moelogo and of course Fuse all getting daytime playlists on commercial radio and charting ,which wasn’t happening before. Loads of people would tell me that the afrobeats scene wouldn’t last and that it would dwindle away. What you’ve got to understand is that Afrobeats is not a man made genre back in Nigeria /Ghana and the rest of Africa. The artists are living the music they make, and the knock on effect is that the new artists from the UK and beyond are now adapting that style and adding their own western style, to create an even more vibrant sound and culture incorporating the dances and more in terms of collaborations. I was recently at the MTV Mama awards where afrobeats artist collaborated with U.S artists in a big way: Sarkodie with Migel, Trey Songz with D Banj and French Montana with Ice Prince, so collaborations are definitely happening on a big scale. Collaborations from different genres of music are always a good thing as it just broadens the genre into different markets, which is healthy for the scene’’.

As we head into the last quarter of 2014, the UK has been given an array of confirmed gigs and Afrobeats tours from the likes of Iyanya, Mafikizolo, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Davido and Dr Sid. This further reiterates the words of Sid that ‘the scene will continue to thrive with or without international support’. There will always be a demand. I look forward to see what else the scene has in store.


5-Fuse and Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cdpbjfV4e4
Dangerous Love stormed the UK chart at number 3!

4-Dbanj and Kanye West:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8CUbMu-pdg
Scape Goat was a massive look with Kanye jumping on a favourite of

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

2- Timaya ft Sean Paul:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4tWUJKiT1M

1- DR Sid and Alexandra Burke:

To see just how strong the collaboration route is becoming take a look at just a few of the other major collaborations between Afrobeats artists and international artists:


Fuse ft Wyclef ‘Antenna remix’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LCoksSQMzsGhana/US

Ice Prince ft French Montana – I Swear:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhqVanTPqKoNigeria/US

Dbanj FT Snoop Dogg Endowed remix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diNW3D4SfRcNigeria/US (2011)

Dbanj and Kanye West:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuyxLYeoVqk – Scape Goat was a massive look with Kanye jumping on a favourite of Dbanj’s. Nigeria/US

Sarkodie and Wretch 32 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmKbV-nWty4 - massive Ghana/uk link up

Watch the throne- ‘lift off’ The track which ft Beyonce, Kanye, Jay Z was co-produced by Nigerian hit producer Don Jazzy:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZCNs0rnKxkUS/Nigeria

Wizkid ft Wale ‘Drop’:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suMFolZ4–4Nigeria/US



Usually nothing David Cameron says affects the music industry. This week he’s shaken the whole UK scene up by announcing that from October, music videos will go through the same classification system as films and other video content, in an attempt to give parents more information to protect children from “graphic content”.

The voluntary pilot will involve the big three music labels in the UK – Sony, Universal and Warner Music – as well as the British Board of Classification (BBFC), YouTube and music video platform Vevo. The big three labels will conduct the pilot, but the BPI, which represents Sony, Universal and Warner Music and more than 300 independent music companies, expects that all music labels will adopt the system once finalised. It will run for three months, kicking off in October.

The music labels will submit music videos that they consider could contain content that should be classified as for age 12 or over, using BBFC guidelines. The BBFC will then rate the videos as it does with other content, for which the labels will pay a fee to cover the cost of rating in the same way that the film industry currently does. The rating process should take around 24 hours.


A rating of 12, 15 or 18 will be assigned to the music video and passed on to the label. Videos deemed not to include objectionable content for children under 12 will not be classified.
The three-month pilot is intended to finalise a system that works for rating the videos and having the data tagged to them when uploaded to say they are classified. For the initial trial it will simply be a notification on the video of an age classification.

After the three-month trial it is expected that YouTube and Vevo, as well as other video hosting services, will look at developing parental control filters that screen out videos marked as inappropriate for children of specific age ranges.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.12.18

When I first heard this I had two reactions; both negative and positive…

From a negative point of view – David Cameron –seems to have a very out-dated way of thinking. He suggested that people ‘’buy music videos’’ so I’m not sure if he really understands how the internet works and that music videos are freely viewable on numerous online platforms and that for kids, if something’s banned, its even more desirable. Alas young people are more tech savvy than adults, they live online. They will track it down wherever it lives like they do video games, which also have ratings.

The main thing about this move that suggests it wont make any difference, is that it only applies to UK acts and videos which aren’t the biggest culprits- the American and Caribbean artists are much more racy.
British talent like Adele, Naughty Boy, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Charlie XCX and more have made global impact with billions of sales with never having removed a sock let alone their underwear.
Its artists like Rihanna, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus, who are signed to the American arm of the big labels, that are the culprits in this court and they wont be included in the new age classifications.


This move to me isn’t about helping the over sexualisation of children in the UK, but is about votes and being seen to be pro-family- elections are coming up and David Cameron mentioned this during a speech about families this week.

From a positive point of view, Its really important to understand that David Cameron is talking about ‘’advice’’ not ‘’restricting access’’ which many have their proverbial knickers in a twist about. However, this move isn’t for the kids, it’s for the parents so they can make an informed choice. This is not about freedom of speech, but about being responsible. He’s been talking all year about the sexualisation of women and girls in the media, from female genital mutilation, to women’s rights globally, so this is a natural next step in his current campaign.

Speaking of campaigns, on change.org there’s a petition online that nearly 19k people have already signed here in the UK, so there is strong feeling about this in many areas.


The fact is that music videos have become more sexually explicit over the years since I was a presenter on MTV News, Over a decade ago we had more of a balance with music videos, they were much more creative. Racy videos have been around since the early 80′s but never have they been so gratuitous as they are now. Music is not about sex, but today’s generation often align the two together, and think it is and that’s wrong.

In the eighties and nineties, as well as raunchy Madonna, Grace Jones and Jodeci X-rated videos, we also had very creative, artistic efforts. But now that a lot of big budgets have been cut, often pop stars and videos directors resort to the old tried and tested titillation route.


Sex sells- we all know this. I made a lot of making of the video shows for MTV in the nineties for 15 years, and can tell you that the casting couch is not a myth and its even worse in 2014. Directors love it and pop stars love it even more. One very famous pop star married, and now has a family with his sexy video leading lady.

Video commissioners at record labels will lazily green light the same video directors, who know and use the same video girls in all their work. There are also a lot of backhanded deals that go on in the industry with acts, directors and video commissioners using the same people over and again, so maybe Cameron’s new move will encourage British labels and directors to be more artistically creative and spread their creative pools more widely?


I know female superstars who are constantly trying to push the boundaries and ‘’out-sexy’’ each other. To some this is women empowering themselves, to others its helping mould the minds of very young impressionable young people in a very unhealthy way. Today we are bombarded by music videos that are very sexually explicit and demeaning to women on social media, in bars, cafes and shops at all times of the day. During my time at MTV, videos were restricted to watershed rules like TV and played after 9pm if too sexy. So I understand why David Cameron wants to help censor the content, but at this stage its like the barn door closing after the music horse has bolted.

The sexy girls that frolicked in these videos used to be sneered at as one level above groupie status in my day. Now its an envied viable career option for many young women happy to act like porn stars ‘’just until I make the big time-then I’ll show them I have brains as well as boobs’’ cliché lines.

Parents should be concerned about the influence that music videos have on their sons and daughters. They contribute to a culture that says that women should not be treated as equals and with respect. There’s considerable evidence from research, that sexualisation in music videos creates a context in which violence against women and girls flourishes.


Also, make no mistake this isn’t just about young girls being overly sexualised. Young men, more than any other time in history, are hyper sexualised and are learning very negative behaviours about sex, relationships and love these days, leading to the rise of male depression, gang rape, stress, pressure, metal health and suicide.
More importantly I would say is that parents actually need to spend more quality time with their children instead of plonking them down in front of the computer or TV virtual babysitter.

You cannot block the Internet, but even if the new ratings system can be switched on just at home so the child is aware that the parents don’t allow it and wont accept it, this sends a clear message to kids that set boundaries and plants seeds in their heads that what they’re watching is of a sensitive nature.


I work with hundreds of young people in my capacity as executive producer of London360, which is made by young TV reporters from all across the capital. Their view on music videos such as Blurred Lines and Wrecking Ball are that the pop stars look desperate for attention and make themselves look cheap. But they also acknowledge that their younger siblings are mimicking the moves with glee. How can anyone not feel awkward, if they observe a child watching Miley Cyrus bending over forwards and Robin Thicke gyrating into her from behind?

Many of them also laugh and think Cameron’s attempt is too little too late. A few did admit though, that seeing an age advisory sign and knowing its inappropriate for them, whilst making them feel rebellious, would subconsciously place a seed that it was a boundary and that it was wrong or a sensitive area. Also, they think their parents will be much more hands on if they were to spot an age guide before a video.


Many ask whether the blame should lie not with the government scrambling around trying to clean up the music industry’s mess, but that the industry, which is inherently sexist, should step up and take responsibility?

But this is an industry that’s built on sexism. Yes. The music industry is a sexist place to work in. Ask yourself who’s in charge of every music label in the UK. Its all men running our industry, it always has been and always will be- regardless of each generation’s diversity initiatives.

Aditionally put the media in the dock to defend itself as well the music industry. Do the media ever talk about females without dissecting their looks, sexuality and body? The media attend a male music stars live show and talk about his set, performance and musical ability. They attend the female pop stars and it’s all about what she’s wearing and how sexy she looked. C’mon son!


So props to Mr Cameron for trying to navigate these shark infested waters of big bucks music billionaires, but the game has been set and will get more and more pornographic until we are all de-sensitised to cricketers penises on twitter and men having sex with snakes.

It’s like an old episode of nineties car crash youth culture show THE WORD, where THE HOPEFULS had to suggest the most outrageous thing they would be prepared do to appear on television. Now they have the capacity for their own 15 minutes of fame, the music video is the last place David should focus his attentions on- there’s much worse out there.



a tee shirt

However flat the London weather gets in the summer, a key staple in this Londoner’s diary, are the sporadic Adidas events and parties, that regularly unite London’s movers and shakers.
a store

Last week they threw a party for the launch of their new originals flagship store just off Carnaby Street. As if all the fun moments that they always have us jumping up and down with glee at aren’t enough- this time guests were welcomed with a live photo-shoot from talented photographer Charlotte Rutherford with our portraits then printed onto t-shirts.

Presenting the very best of adidas Originals across trainer drops, limited edition releases and collaborations, the Flagship Store goes one step beyond the retail – playing host to exclusive events throughout the year, for which I will be clearing my diary. Taking inspiration from the city we all love and champion daily, I have so much synergy with the new store- it champions youth and creativity with a diverse and ever-growing cultural offering. There’s a reason so many young people rock the brand. Its supported grass roots and mainstream talent for decades and now is stronger than ever.

Guests were chowing down on succulent tasting food from Dalston’s very own Rita’s who provided the food whilst a host of local talent contributed too. London artist Rosanna Webster created a window installation inspired by the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood while street artist Malarko produced artwork inspired by the colourful characters of London.
a george

Adidas functions always have faces from various walks of life and this one was no different as music acts, creative arts influencers and tastemakers all intermingled. Wretch 32, John Boyega, Mr Hudson, Luke Worrall, Aaron Frew, Alexis Knox, Josh Johnson and India Rose were holding court amongst others.
a samuel

We were all so consumed with this entire buzzing atmosphere, that when Hollywood legend Samuel L Jackson and London’s finest international actor and music dj Idris Elba strolled in, the whole venue froze in shock as things moved in slow-mo, before erupting again in a frenzy of excitement!

a ellie

The night was capped off with live performances from musician Elli Ingram and spoken-word artist George the Poet, and premiere film screening from Nic Hamilton.
** NOTE TO SNEAKER PIMPS ANDTRAINER BUFFS- To celebrate the opening of the London Flagship Sore, adidas Originals has produced a special edition of 2014’s most coveted silhouette ZX Flux. Satellite imagery of the streets of London have been applied across the shoe’s to produce a slick, understated shoe that is clean, considered, and firmly rooted in the culture and character of the city that inspires it.


dna lineup

Next. I joined Britain’s first black female stand up comedienne Angie Le Mar at the Tricycle Theatre on Saturday for the launch of osargenews.com, an online news platform for the global AFRICAN DIASPORA. Wherever you’re based in the word, you can now stay abreast of all news that is of interest or that affects the African community.
morell judith

Osargenews.com is an online platform delivering news twice daily to subscribers via an email address. With access to news from over 100 different countries, it is possible to stay on top of the latest news stories from any of the featured countries or from the African Diaspora as a whole.
The launch of osargenews.com, a free African Diaspora News aggregator, saw playwright Angie Le Mar, the osargenews.com Brand Ambassador, welcome and talk to the packed theatre about why this was an important platform for the community to engage with each other.
She said “osargenews.com is a fantastic opportunity for Africans and people of the African Diaspora to stay connected to their roots and their heritage. It is also a valuable platform for those interested in finding out more about what is happening in those parts of the world and I am delighted to be the Ambassador for such an exciting project”

dr angie
Angie interviews Esther Stanford-Xosei onstage- Esther is an internationally acclaimed Reparationist, Jurisconsult, dynamic community advocate and radio Broadcaster.

She also introduced the new African Diaspora specific DNA testing products exclusive to osargenews.com and unveiled her DNA test results for the first time which showed that even though she is Jamaican she has west African roots. She also hosted a conversation with Dr Michael Baird, one of the worlds leading human geneticists and Dr Eran Elhaik, one of the foremost experts on DNA testing and inventor of the African GPS Tracking System. In a nutshell this is like the TV show ‘’who do you think you are?’’. If you’ve ever wondered about your DNA ancestral roots, then this is a chance for you to find out exactly where your DNA traces back to. One doctor revealed to me that a Muslim man that had come in to have his DNA tested, found to his shock that he had Jewish roots! Knowledge is power! I too had my cheek cells swabbed and sent off to a laboratory and will have my results back this week! How exciting. I could be descended from royalty!…or….anyway I digress…

I finished my week at the beautifully green picturesque Lloyd Park in Croydon, where I was taking part in the 5k charityrun for the ACLT Charity. Running alongside me were soca music maestro Martin Jay who was a true trooper- he had been up all night at a function, and was multi tasking arranging for this weekends carnival costumes to escape (via their birth in Trinidad) from Gatwick in time.


Also with us were Gogglbox stars Sandy and Queenie as well as actor Femi Oyeniran. The turnout was incredible and raised a lot of awareness for a great cause.
femi orin

ACLT Co founder Orin Lewis thanked us all on behalf of the affected community members and families for turning out so early on a Sunday morning. A huge canvas of Orin and Beverleys son Daniel was also placed in full view for us to be reminded of the catalyst for this great organisation.


I couldn’t help thinking of the irony that one day we will all be affected in some way by a medical need and until it happens to us we never take things like this seriously. If all the people I saw focusing on the latest £500 Christian Laboutin trainers simply donated a tenner charities like this would be in a stronger position to help those affected.
goggle orin

We were warmed up and then set loose with some of us sprinting two laps around the park and others of us more casually speed walking. I’ll let you guess which group I belonged to.
final line up

Post run we had fun in the sun watching the afternoon teams play 5 a side footie and scoffed the delicious jerk chicken aroma that I had been following whilst running around the park!

JASMINE’S JUICE- Noel Clarke, George The Poet and Akala talk sex, love, relationships and mutual respect.

noel jas onstage
ALL PICS COURTESY OF Cheryl Dempster @DreadArts and LONDON360.

Black Eyed Peas once asked ‘where is the love?’ and this past weekend it was most certainly alive and well in Harlesden, west London.

dawn butler

Local west London celebrities: BAFTA Award winning actor Noel Clarke, Hip Hop Shakespeare founder Akala , new generation poet George the Poet,local politician Dawn Butler, and The Dep Mayor of Brent Cllr Lesley Jones all joined 700 locals and the London360 TV reporting crew at the Roundwood Centre for the second annual community unity event thrown by Undiluted Expressionz with support from Brent Youth Support Services. (The first event last year bridged the gap between generations, reigniting the community spirit and the sense of the notion that it takes a village to raise a child and saw 350 people attend.)


This weekend’s free event was hosted by the amazingly powerful presenter Peaches who had the crowd eating out of her hand and was titled ‘Mind the Gap 2 – Where is the Love?’ an event focusing the community on the growingly worrying theme of ‘Sex, love and respect between young people’ in 2014, and nearly 700 were in attendance.


The subject matter of sex and relationships was inspired by, a BBC news story on 26 November, 2013, reporting on an official two year Inquiry by the Children’s Commission, looking at sexual exploitation by gangs across England. Thousands of teenage girls in London are shown to be at risk of being raped and lured into situations, where boys repeatedly sexually abuse them, with many attacks unreported.

Davis Williams, Founder of Undiluted Expressionz, who felt compelled to create ‘Mind the Gap 2 – Where is the Love’, told me, “We have spoken to many young people who felt unsure how to address issues of both self-respect and a mutual respect for each other, and we wanted to give them an uncensored and safe environment where they could connect with other young people in open and honest dialogue”.

Davis Williams, Founder of Undiluted Expressionz.

Saturday’s community edutainment event explored sex, love and mutual respect between teenagers. The event aimed to increase the levels of confidence and self-esteem amongst young women and addressed young men’s attitudes to girls and women in order to encourage mutual respect and positive relationships. There were various master classes, performances, inspirational speakers, fashion and dance shows and workshops during the day including a ‘Love Master Class’ hosted by accredited Life and Relationship Coach Des O’Connor, a performace by Akala and there was an onstage Q&A, which I hosted with actor and director, Noel Clarke.

George The Poet


Local celebrity George The Poet, is a very articulate performer with an incredibly strong voice who told us

‘’ I think a lot of young people fall in to situations and patterns that maybe they may have grown up getting used to and thinking that such and such is normal, so I think that it is important that we engage them and deliberately try to shape their expectations and their conduct, their behaviour towards each other. I hope that this event will give these young people new expectations, I think growing up around this area we see a lot of broken homes, we see a lot of fatherlessness, we see a lot of resentment and I think when that starts off in the household, it then seeps out in to the actual community when you go outdoors, that is why I made a whole EP about this called the ‘Chicken and the Egg’. It’s just about the cycle of fatherlessness so when these guys got in contact with me I was thinking this links up perfectly because this is exactly what is top of my agenda right now’’.

Akala 2


MOBO Award winning rapper, poet and journalist Akala is an immensely powerful live performer, and had all 700-audience members quiet and attentive, as he schooled them with his very personalised, stylistic inspiring wordplay.

“Mind the Gap was without question one of the best community events I have attended out of literally hundreds. The energy was electric, organisation on point, the age range of attendees was vast, the message was positive without being contrived and it seems the organisers have every intention of creating a proper legacy”



Straight afterwards, many attendees didn’t believe that a conversation with Noel Clarke would actually happen and couldn’t believe he was actually in the building. They didn’t need reminding about why Noel Clarkes very existence, is a great thing for youth from disenfranchised backgrounds that need a public figure that they can relate to. Noel Clarke is a leader and a hero to this generation. He has made it and conquered the movie world on his own terms, partly because he is great at writing authentic stories about communities, relationships and scenarios in the same way that our favourite music stars have written rap verses about their struggles and surroundings.

Of course now, Noel has made numerous films about a very diverse set of topics from British crime thrillers, horror films in storage facilities, to female athletes, former soldiers and more, but as he’s a director that just happens to be black, he’s often only labelled as the maker of cult classic urban city films Kidulthood and Adulthood. Even though they were both made at least eight years ago they’re still as relevant today with their reflection of young people growing up in inner city life. The situations he writes about are uber real to all disadvantaged inner city communities and show relationships between adults and youth, girlfriends and boyfriends and even girlfriends and girl friends. He’s an adventurous filmmaker and doesn’t mince his words. When we talk about relationships, young people, sex and love, we want to talk to the people we trust and who’s opinion we value, and Noel Clarke to many is that person.

noel jas

Noel wasn’t originally comfortable at being asked to speak about this subject. As he put it ‘’I’m not a sexpert’’ but we reassured him that his authenticity was what the crowd wanted to witness. His own experiences are so similar to many of ours. Growing up on a west London housing estate with his single mother, and fighting to make it in an industry that is notoriously tough to get up in.

He agreed it was important for him to attend even though it wasn’t an area he was used to speaking publicly about

‘’ I’ve written about a lot of things that I saw when I was growing up, but obviously I’m older now and I still see that there’s stuff going on with young people that is important and needs to be addressed. We need to make sure that young people keep the respect for themselves; we need to make sure that that young people are going on the right path. I feel that this is an important issue and if I can come here and just talk about my experiences then maybe if I can help just one person, then I’m happy to do that’’.

So many young people today are bombarded with images of success and peer pressure. Noel said it was about standing your ground ‘’There’s something I want to tell all young people or even older people that are in their jobs, that is never be afraid to be an individual. Peer pressure is never something that really affected me because I was never a person that succumbed to it. I was always an individual, I was always the sort of person that if people were doing things that I didn’t really want to do, I wouldn’t do it. I feel that’s important. You young people have to retain your identity, make sure that you are true to yourself, don’t just do something because somebody else is doing it, don’t just do something because a bunch of other people are … don’t just go left because a bunch of other people are going left. Retain who you are and try not to bow to peer pressure. That was something I never really bowed to, I was always strong-minded in that respect and so peer pressure didn’t really happen for me’’.

Surprisingly Noel said that being brought up without a father led to some positive actions on his part ‘’ I feel like being raised by a single mum made me more respectful of women, but it didn’t stop me from doing disrespectful things. I feel like we are all going to make mistakes and were all going to do disrespectful things, but you have to maintain a base level of respect for yourself as a female and a male, and you have to respect the people that are around you. It’s not always easy, I mean don’t get me wrong, my father see’s my children, so he sees his grandchildren but I feel like you can make a positive out of any negative situation and my farther taught me as much how to behave by not being there, as he would have by being there. So, I’m with my woman and I’ve got two children and you never see me in newspapers and you never see me in press and you never hear any stories about any badness I’ve done because I’ve done an ‘’unthinkable thing’’ (sarcasm) by having one woman and having my children with that one woman. I’m not anybody’s baby daddy (crowd whistle and cheer) Thank you, so you won’t find me in the newspaper, and I feel like part of turning a negative and not being raised by someone, being that kid at sports day who didn’t have a dad to do a daddy son race was like that’s not happening to my kids, that’s not happening, so I raise my children and I win that sports day race every year, I’m not even rabbiting. When it comes to the dad and son race I’m winning it! Not just to be there, I’m there and I’m winning the race!’’


If we listen to the old adage that behaviour is learnt and passed down from generation to generation, it seems incredible that Noel was raised by a single mother, on a housing estate in west London, but ended up being quite traditional by marrying his wife first, having his children after marriage, and turning the negative of his father not being around, into a positive.

Noel nodded ‘’for me the most important thing was learning from the mistakes of the man previous, and like I said, you can learn positive behaviour from your parents but also me seeing him not being there. That affected me, as a young man and I didn’t want raise children be it female or male, and not be there. I feel like he missed out on so much, that’s not something I wanted to do, so I’m proud to raise my kids, I’m proud to take them to swimming and football, I’m proud to miss out and sacrifice some things because I want to spend time with my children so ultimately it’s not a sacrifice, because you’re giving them more than they could ever get. Every situation where there is a negative you have to look at it like- there’s people that go the glass if half empty, and there’s people that go the glass is half full, my thing is let’s put more in the glass you know, I’m working hard’’.

So many things are the same from one generation to the next regards teenage years and experimenting with love and relationships. However the one thing that’s changed the current generations engagement is the Internet and social media. Lots of young people may see things like sexting and nudie selfies as being just harmless fun. I wondered what Noel would explain to his own children in the future about this area?

Crowd Mind The Gap

‘’ My thing is that with stuff like that, the world has changed in a very salacious way. You have to understand that if you’re going to take pictures like that and you’re going to send them to people, there’s a very good possibility that they are going to end up somewhere you don’t want them to end up. So I’m not going to sit here and tell you don’t do that because I can’t control what you do but make sure you are responsible for your own actions, make sure you understand if you do anything like that and it appears online, you can’t be upset about it. What I would say to young people, is most importantly, respect yourself. When you are going to go for a job interview in years to come and people are googling you, you don’t want a picture to come up where you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing because in today’s world with the internet, with online, that what will happen. So more importantly than me sitting here and telling you what to do, respect yourself’’.

During the chat we touched on the fact that countless young females are now getting entwined in a variety of dangerous scenarios across the country, and how women in particular should be taking their own personal safety seriously when it comes to trusting men and danger. Although I wanted to highlight, particularly as I work with a lot of young men too, that it’s not just about women being in danger, but men also are under a lot of pressure these days.

crowd 2

When it comes to us girls, we have our friends, we have our mothers, we tend to research, girls gossip and chat to people, and men tend to hold a lot of their pressures to themselves whether they’re older men or younger men. These days men have stress, tension, this can lead to illness, mental illness, suicide rates for young men is really high. I think men are being really hyper sexualised by often the media who tell men to man up, and they’re not real men if they don’t lead fast lives, fast cars, fast women etc.

I wondered if Noel thought that men are under a lot of pressure, and whether creative types like himself, are pressurised into making these gangsta types more prominent in their content?

‘’Firstly everyone is under a lot of pressure in all these things and I feel like there is a pressure on men to behave in a certain way. There is this pressure of you having to ‘’behave road’’, you don’t have to be. I’m from Ladbroke Grove, raised by a single mother. A lot of my friends did go to jail, a lot of my friends committed suicide and I’m sitting here talking to you because there are choices, you can make choices and you can respect yourself and for me, the pressure is the pressure that you put on to yourself. If you ignore peer pressure, if you are not afraid to be an individual and lead your own life, regardless of what people are telling you what to do and how to do it, then that is the beginning of you becoming the person that you can be. A lot of the things these young people are doing with this road life, they think about the money now, and the trainers… that’s not going to pay your bills when you’re broke. I know guys that have a £60k car but renting a council flat, that makes no sense to me you know, get a property, live well, live smart and I feel like that’s what I did, and it’s not that I’m better than anyone else because the environment I’ve come from, I shouldn’t necessarily be here but you have to make sure that you are not afraid to be an individual and you can respect yourselves and others around you and that’s all I can really say about it (crowd claps).

Noel left the stage to a resounding level of applause having closed the night leaving all on a high.


Later, a local 56-year-old man was delighted with the rooms energy stating “I felt the event brought it home that my purpose in life is to serve my community. The smiles on the children’s faces, the happiness, joy and love made the event worth attending’’

A young person also felt the energy and cried out in frustration “Akala and Andrew Muhammad taught us so much. Why don’t they teach us our history in school? I am only 15 and I learnt more tonight than I did in my whole school year this year.

So after an exhilarating, stimulating day, a barrage of #whereisthelove tweets trending on twitter, much positive energy was distributed between the community. Hopefully a few golden nuggets were taken in and placed strong moral seed standards with the young people as well as open relaxed doors for conversation between parents and their children.

Only time will tell whether we will have made people think twice about not being the star attraction, in yet another video that goes viral, of young people intoxicated after a party that’s filmed by their friends, and talked about on the other side of the world, that also gets them fired from their jobs as well as follows their reputations for ever.

Contact www.undilutedexpressionz.com today and find out how together we can make the community a better place for the young people to grow, discover and succeed.



Graffiti legend Mode 2 live painting inside Tate Britain’s Clore Studio for #LateAtTate #SpacesBetween

There’s been a real push into diversifying every area of our London Lives this year, from conferences and seminars on the subject, within industries as far and wide as the police force, the music industry, television and beyond.

Late at the Tate is a bi-monthly event with an aim of diversifying its clientele, and I love it as it gives me a chance to explore art after hours, in a very relaxed way. It’s another free-for-all evening; where organisers bring together the worlds of visual art and spoken art, for a huge number of young hip hop fans. Late at Tate is a programme of events for young and diverse audiences held at Tate Britain on a bi-monthly basis featuring music, film, fashion and live performance.
Last time it was one single event in the Turner Room, which was so full and crowded that people had to experience it from outside, so this time around they had numerous stunts all across the art gallery at different times.

Outside the front entrance were hip-hop ciphers where Hip-hop connoisseur DJ Snuff was seen and heard to be throwing down some stark beats for the various MC’S- both male and female- who were reciting some really authentic eighties sounding verses. Live music in this garden also saw an eclectic mix of artists like emerging Jazz outfit Parshmaune and international Hip-hop collective End Of The Weak who have teamed up with London-based MC cypher event Higher Learning to showcase a selection of high quality wordsmiths.

Inside the white imposing building, both visual artists and spoken word talent were doing their thing in various rooms around the gallery. The great thing was nothing really clashed and you were able to calmly wonder from one moment to the next.

mode 2
Brit graffiti artist Mode 2 and beatbox champion Reeps One doing his thing at Late At The Tate

The night was called Spaces Between – a celebration of youth culture through word and sound, and featured some of the UK’s leading and emerging storytellers and musicians, inspired by the artwork in the Tate Collection. Spaces Between explored the individual voice and its transformation and influence on youth culture using various spaces throughout Tate Britain to show how it exists between social structures and cultural boundaries.

Other highlights on the evening included a spoken word showcase within the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries inspired by this year’s Tate Britain Commission sculptor Phyllida Barlow; a workshop with UK beatbox champion Reeps One in the Manton foyer; an acoustic performance by hotly-tipped rapper Little Simz against a backdrop of stunning portraits from the Tate Collection and live painting by leading British graffiti artist Mode 2 in the Clore Studio.

ben pic
Artist Benjamin Wachenje poses with his portrait of Jonzi D.

A huge piece of artwork from artist Benjamin Wachenje, was unveiled and the crowd were delighted to see that it was a portrait Hip-hop choreographer and cultural icon Jonzi D. Benjamin said he’d admired Jonzi for two decades and he respected the fact that Jonzi rapped in a British accent not an American one. They proceeded to discuss arts and the community for an enraptured crowd that had gathered to hear them speak and were delighted that Jonzi was delighted that he was ‘’Hung at the Tate’’. Benjamin said

‘’I wanted to get to know all these rappers in the UK so I thought what better way to get close to them – it would be a great idea to paint them, of all the rappers portraits I’ve painted the two people I’ve painted most often are Jonzi D and Ty. Recently Jonzi D rejected his MBE but I think the best way I have been able to recognise him is by painting him and this now being hung at The Tate’’.

Late at Tate programmer Adrian Shaw told us:

“These events are now led by the Young People’s Programme with the aim of giving young people a genuine voice in the gallery. So it’s really great to be working with Louder Than Words with their commitment and in-depth experience of working within the youth cultural sector.”

One of the highlights for me was of relatively new act Little Simz, who started making her music when she was nine years old, inspired by fellow female MC Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes. Clearly also influenced by acts like Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott, Lil Simz performed a live acoustic performance, against the backdrop of stunning portraits from the Tate Collection to a very enthusiastic crowd.

lil simz
Very special acoustic performance from @littlesimz inside #ForgottenFaces at #LateAtTate Britain #SpacesBetween #LouderThanWords @tategallery

The next one, should you wish to please your eyes and ears simultaneously is on Friday 3 October 2014, 18.00 – 22.00. Bring no airs and graces, just an open mind to explore new things and meet new like-minded people with a passion for creative arts and a zealous joy for life.


laura mvula

Next the incomparable Laura Mvula hosted an intimate album playback listening session for her remake of her debut album ‘’sing to the moon’’. Laura has rerecorded her critically acclaimed debut album at the Abbey Road Studios with the Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley.

The session was held at the plush Olympic Studios in Barnes, west London where crew, tour team, family, friends, music media and press were gathered for the aural treat. Sat in regal red velvet seats in their screening room we were treated to mini fish & chips, cupcakes and drinks and encouraged to settle back and take in the hauntingly dulcet tones of Ms Mvula.

lm sheet

Each seat also had a beautifully printed out keepsake sheet of her music which was a very elegant touch. (I will file mine away with my hoard of music star memoribilia for my future charity sale lol!). The session began with a short 6 minute screening of the making of the album with Laura, Jules and others talking us through the experience. Then we sat back and allowed ourselves to be carried away on a musical journey as the room dimmed and quietened.

Laura comes from ”good stock” with a very strong team behind her. Her manager Kwame Kwaten has been managing and making stars out of unknowns for years. A well focused team that see’s the long road is incredibly important in this music game. Surrounding yourself with ”yes people” aka enablers who make their cash off you and scarper can lead to quick fame, quick kick to the kerb!


Afterwards we went to catch up with Laura as she signed our music song sheets, which she had kindly placed on all her guests’ seats. It turns out the reason that the album was remade was as in 2013, following the release of her first album, Laura was asked to perform at the BBC prom. When she had originally written the songs in her bedroom Laura had imagined them with an orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley did such an incredible job that the urban prom was a huge success. Of course the next logical step was that plans came together for an orchestral version of the full album and as now Jules had moved and was the helm of the Metropole Orkest, the worlds leading pop and jazz orchestra, it was a no brainer to collaborate again.

The playback was a huge success and the audience left on a high. Laura really has an extremely unique voice and style and if you’d like to catch her live, then pencil Tuesday 19 August 2014, at 10:15PM at the Royal Albert Hall for a Late Night Prom in your diary, to see what all the well deserved fuss is all about.