Jasmine’s Juice -‘Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials’

Okayyyy, we all know that the world is now digital.
Millennials have taken the digital baton and sprinted ahead with it, doing for themselves today what was once impossible.
Used to be that the establishment and old skool gate-keepers would decide who, what, when and why things would happen.
Nowadays the current generation of young people are building their empires online via their own special style of disruptive marketing.
The internet and digital movements have opened up a world where anyone with a it of tech-savvy know-how can make it and the industry this is most apparent in is music.

Music is the most widely watched content type among 12-15 year olds on YouTube, though YouTubers like Zoella and KSI are becoming the new pop stars for Gen Z

85% of 16-19 year olds say that music is an important part of their life while 74% say that music for
them is about going out and having fun.

Music record labels, PR teams, radio playlists and event management teams have been forced to look at digital platforms and work alongside them instead of competing with them.

Yesterday saw labels association the BPI and entertainment retail body ERA host a joint Insight Session which will see Mark Mulligan of MiDiA Research unveil a report into Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials, which explores the music consumption habits and social media behaviour of today’s young Millennials.

The report found that teens value video platforms for music discovery and social engagement, but, as they develop as music consumers, look to audio streaming services and are more prepared to pay for music

Also, the report for BPI/ERA explores the music consumption habits and social media behaviour of today’s young Millennials (aged up to 19) and how their engagement across streaming and video platforms and social media and messaging apps, including Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly, is shaping longer-term trends.

It finds that YouTube still dominates in the social media space
The research finds that for today’s tweens and teenagers YouTube is a pervasive platform – not only for new music and content and access to influential YouTubers like Zoella, but for social engagement also. YouTube plays a key role as “a video destination, music app, social platform and educational resource rolled into one”.

Similarly, messaging apps have replaced social networks…..
Messaging apps including Snapchat and Instagram are becoming increasingly important, replacing social networks for Generation Z and enabling them to act on their impulse to “live in the moment” and “narrate their lives”. As such they help build engagement around music and artist profiles.

More recent apps like Musical.ly and Dubsmash – video social network apps for video creation and messaging – are also growing in popularity. This is in part due to a rate of app innovation that is accelerating thanks to the “Millennial feedback loop” of older millennials shaping app experiences for the younger Gen Z.

But Spotify dominates music space and drives discovery…
The research additionally shows that, as teenagers develop as music consumers, they are likely to be drawn to audio streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music. For those aged 16-19 Spotify is overtaking YouTube as the main music app, with 53 per cent weekly user penetration compared to 47 per cent for YouTube.

This helps to underline another finding highlighted in the report from previous MiDiA research showing that younger consumers (16-19 years: 67%) are more prepared to pay for music than other age groups (56%).

Streaming is, however, also transforming UK Teens’ relationship with music, with Millennials increasingly accessing individual tracks or playlists rather than engaging with artists or albums See LINK XX to full report and key summary findings below.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said: “If we are going to prepare for the future of music, we need to better understand Generation Z and the influences that shape their engagement with music. These young digital natives are not only important as a key segment of the market, but the way they interact with music helps to unveil trends that will become more widespread among music fans over time.”

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive ERA, said: “It’s not news that entertainment is changing, but none of us should underestimate the achievement of the streaming revolution. Not only has it helped stop piracy in its tracks, it has created the first real growth in the music industry in more than a decade and has done so with an unbeatable consumer proposition: 24/7 access to virtually all the music in the world. In the fast-paced digital world, however, nothing is forever and it is vital to stay close to emerging generations of music fans, many of whom were not even born at the dawn of the MP3 age.”

Generation Z: Meet the Young Millennials – Summary of Key findings:

· 85% of 16-19 year olds say that music is an important part of their life.
· Authenticity, relevance, shareability and context are key to Gen Z.
· YouTube is the most pervasive entertainment platform for Gen Z, peaking at 94% monthly penetration among 16-19 year olds.
· However, for these 16-19 year olds, as interest in music develops, Spotify is overtaking YouTube as the main music app, with 53% weekly user penetration compared to 47% for YouTube.
· Music is the most widely watched content type among 12-15 year olds on YouTube, with YouTubers such as Zoella (11.8m subscribers) and KSI (16.1m) becoming the new pop stars for Gen Z.
· UK teens (16-19 years) are more willing to pay for music. 67% consider it to be worth paying for regularly compared to 56% of overall consumers.
· A third of 8-11 year olds in the UK use Snapchat, rising to 67% for 16-19 year olds, while 63% of 16-19 year olds use Instagram.
· Messaging apps like Snapchat and Instagram are replacing social networks for Gen Z.
· Among 16-19 year olds YouTube and social media unsurprisingly dominate, with much higher penetration rates than the overall population.
· Streaming is transforming Gen Z’s relationship with music: 74% of all 16-19 year olds say they are mainly listening to single tracks and playlists instead of albums.
· 71% of 16-19 year olds listen to music radio on an at least monthly basis, just 3 percentage points above the all-ages average.

Table 1: Weekly use of music apps by UK teens (compared to all users average), December 2016

Table 2: Snapshot of Gen Z social media useage

Jasmine’s Juice – Football Legend Chris Hughton Surprise Celebration!


JASMINE WITH FOOTBALL INDUSTRY PLAYER, NOW MANAGER AND LEGEND – CHRIS HUGHTON AND HIS WIFE CHERYL AT HIS SURPRISE CELEBRATION IN WEST LONDON.

Last night the great and the good came out to celebrate a man thats broken down barriers in the British football industry. Chris Hughton – an Irish former professional footballer and current manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, who has achieved above and beyond in the ruthless world of football as a black man.
The venue was Soul Store West in Kilburn High Rd, which was the perfect location as aside from football, Chris loves his music and so the night was called ‘The Soul Of The Game’.

In 1979, Mr Hughton became the first mixed race player to represent the Republic of Ireland national team and has a tumultuous career since then, negotiating a perilous path that many at his surprise celebration last night recognised.


INFLUENCERS FROM THE WORLDS OF FOOTBALL, MUSIC, BUSINESS AND MORE CELEBRATE CHRIS HUGHTON.
(L-R FORMER VIRGIN UNITE AND SONY BMG PR MAVERICK JODIE DALMEDA , STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP SOLUTIONS M.D AND FORMER SONY BMG HEAD HONCHO MERVYN LYN, JASMINE DOTIWALA, FORMER FOOTBALLER PETER EVANS)

After making his professional debut aged 20, Hughton spent most of his playing career with Tottenham Hotspur as a left back, leaving in 1990 after 13 years. After relatively brief spells with West Ham United and Brentford, Hughton retired from playing in 1993 at age 34.

People celebrating his efforts at the SOUL STORE WEST in Kilburn High Rd included Valerie Amos, Michelle Mathers, numerous present and former footballers like Ossie Aediles, young sports journalists like Channel 4 News’ Jordan….BBC’s Jeanette Kwakye, DJ’s Trevor Nelson and DJ Spoony and the legend Jazzie B OBE. The night was supported by the KICK IT OUT organisation that aims to make racism and discrimination in football a thing of the past.


SPORTS BROADCASTERS LIKE BBC’S JEANETTE KWAKYE, CHANNEL 4 NEWS JORDAN JARRET-BRYAN, JAZZIE B OBE, DJ SPOONY AND TREVOR NELSON CELEBRATED CHRIS HUGHTON.

All anyone could talk about was Mr Hughtons incredible journey. (I know zero about football so it was an enlightening evening for me!).
I was told that from 1993 to 2007, Chris Hughton served as coach and then assistant manager for Tottenham. He joined Newcastle United as first team coach in 2008, and, following their relegation, became caretaker manager. He led Newcastle back to the Premier League in his first season in charge, along the way breaking a number of records and securing the permanent managerial position.


A VERY HUMBLE AND SURPRISED CHRIS HUGHTON MAKES INELEGANT SPEECH ABOUT HIS CAREER AND DIVERSITY IN FOOTBALL.

Controversially, he was sacked as manager by Mike Ashley the following December, with his side 12th in the table. Hughton managed Birmingham City for a single season, leading them to fourth place in the league, before joining Norwich City in June 2012. Norwich sacked Hughton in April 2014.

It’s interesting that a black man is more likely to play football for England’s national team than ever hold a senior position in the music industry. Whilst there are hundreds of BAME footballers playing for clubs all across the UK , its still just Chris Hughton who is currently a team manager. Whats that about?


FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER AND BROADCASTER GARTH CROOKS INTRODUCES AND SPEAKS ABOUT THE LEGACY OF CHRIS HUGHTON.

However, as we know, a tenacious winner never stops pushing through whatever the obstacles. Following his departure from Norwich, Hughton became manager of Brighton & Hove Albion midway through the 2014–15 Championship season, securing the club’s safety within the division.

In the following 2015–16 season, Hughton guided Brighton to an impressive third-placed finish, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League through an inferior goal difference of two goals.


CHAIRMAN OF THE PFA SAID ””It’s a pity that the Blk community is not represented well in football management and leadership but Chris is always outspoken and leads”

In the following season, Hughton guided Brighton to promotion to the Premier League and to the club’s first season in the top flight of English football since 1983.

On 18 May 2016, Hughton signed a new four-year contract which will run until June 2020! A huge deal and stand-out moment in the football industry. Last night diversity in football organisation Kick It Out supported the evening where guests feasted on chicken, ribs, burgers, fish and flutes of champagne kept flowing.

Just weeks ago, on 17 April 2017, Brighton achieved automatic promotion to the 2017–18 Premier League after a 2–1 win at home to Wigan!

The man responsible for ALL this…Chris Hughton – salute!

Jasmine’s Juice – Legends TLC Are Back With a Great New Album And Lots To Say!

TLC need no introduction. They’re the nineties girl group that are the modern-day blueprint of what girlbands are based on.
With their unapologetic, no-holds-barred feminist anthems, calling out everyday sexism before it was even a thing, standing up for equal rights for those with hidden voices and more, their hits are still rinsed around the world.

I grew up, as did every other wannabe cool urban city chic back then, wanting to be TLC. Their clothes, attitudes and strength in speaking up was aspirational. Their new self-titled album focuses on the world in 2017, women dying to be perfect, the state of the new world, getting over life’s obstacles and more. You see, its for us, for now, for my generation and the new generation, different era, same needed danceable anthems.


Ladies, welcome back! How does it feel to be back and what inspired the comeback?

T Boz – Timing is everything. And it was organically right for us now. The fans have been asking for us to return for long time. The opportunity presented itself and here we are – boom!

You’ve never really been away though, TLC have in the past few years been constantly in demand on shows and awards, but how much for you has changed in 25 years since you started?

T Boz – The Industry and social media have been the main changes and of course we lost our group member so I guess…pretty much everything.

Tell us why you decided to go down the kickstarter campaign route to finance the new music? (Celebs like Bette Midler / Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry all donated). Was this an attempt to control things yourselves as opposed to a record label?

Chilli – Our manager Bill Wiggins brought that to table for us, talking about the freedom of it all and not having to deal with a record label and stuff so we said let’s do that and incorporate the fans like we have in the past. Like we did with the album Fanmail where we put fan names in our CD cover, so they funded this.

T Boz – Also, we gave them packages like sleepovers, personalised messages, movie dates, and stuff like that.
Chilli – If I could have done that with Michael Jackson (when I was a young fan) -whooo you have no idea! I’d give my rent, money, and car…everything.

You have a new self-titled album coming June 30th – what can you tell us about it?

Chilli – It’s called TLC. As far as the lyrical content., people know us and our style, we won’t stray far from that. The tracks are jamming. You know we thought Dallas (Austin) was gonna be on this project but with all of our busy schedules we just couldn’t make it happen, so we had writing camps in L.A and Atlanta and found all this new raw writing talent which has been great.

What instructions did you give the writers?

T Boz – I think the mistake people make, is trying write for what they think we should be saying now – you can’t do that. Or they usually try and outdo something we’ve already done in our past. What we are saying to them is ‘‘we hired you cos we like what YOU do. Working organically is the best way. To get to the essence of who you are and then it just naturally happened. Once people didn’t feel the pressured to outdo Unpretty or Waterfalls and did what they do best it just organically came together.

So many of your past songs are still or even more relevant today than they were so many years ago. What are you talking about this time around?

T Boz – Well, its less focus on fashion as we did so much of that early in our career but watching people over the years I had A LOT to say. I couldn’t WAIT to get a pen in my hand! ‘’Perfect Girls/ American Hold / Way Back….I helped pen these songs and all of them mean something to me.

American Hold talks about all the politics in the world, and all the turmoil that America was going through with certain situations, and our troops..,there’s a dedication to them…they fought on this soil and died over it, so its a dedication to them as a thank you.

“It’s Sunny” is like life a story about overcoming in life. Good overcoming your fears and bad stuff. We covered a lot of stuff.

Chilli – also social media is a very a very narcissistic system and all these selfies and filters that people are obsessed with, and by the time the world sees the image, that’s not you and that’s not realistic. It’s fun to do and we all do it sometimes, but that can’t be what you’re living for? I
t’s easy to talk about those things and even though we have No Scrubs and it will exist for ever and ever and ever – some girls weren’t even born when we put those songs out – so we have to be repetitive until it really gets in there. I mean we’re not preachers or anything like that, but we do it in a fun way in a way that feels good. We’ve been called feminists, which I take it as a complement and we just tell it like it is.

T Boz – a lot of young girls try and be perfect and that’s not realistic with that instagram shot and that’s what ‘Perfect Girls’ is about. No one’s perfect, we all have flaws and insecurities. But a lot of people alter their bodies and so that’s cool, they altered them, so let’s just call a spade a spade “I didn’t like this part of my body so I altered it and made it better”, but just be real about what you’re doing, before the youngsters out there who are striving to for perfection that doesn’t exist, we are all flawed in some way!

How will your new music translate to new generation of young women?

Chilli – this generation are hungry for that stuff. This generation are repeatedly going back to the 90’s cos the music back then was so diverse! For example at the MTV Awards we would be in same category as Hootie & The Blowfish and all these other guys, it was crazy and so you had a nice, beautiful variety of music. But today, it seems like its just one box and the sound is all the same and so I feel it’s important for groups like us to come out and not jump on bandwagon. Also we’ve always been on our own train, people just need to know what their lane is, own it, be confident about that, don’t worry about what’s going on everywhere else.

T Boz – and also I think people now praise promiscuity and being promiscuous. That’s unfortunate. Strive to be bigger and better cos some of the goals are just not really that great these days. You wanna respect yourself cos no one else will if u don’t.

How much is better for young people nowadays compared with when you guys first started out?

Chilli – it’s definitely better now. Social media is a blessing and a curse. We opened up a lot of doors for women to have that girl power thing in them and do what they wanna do.

T Boz – I think the whole word ” public figure” is very interesting. I think if instagram went away a lot of people would have no jobs.
It’s funny I saw an insta model tweet “they should get rid of the title instamodel”. I was like why? Don’t be ashamed of what u are!
That’s what you do! …and then they change and call themselves public figure?! I just think that’s funny! Things have changed for the better for women but also focused on the wrong stuff. ” Public figure” is funny to me. That’s not hot. If that were me, I would want an actual job title that’s legit. A real job!

With your new music, even though there are two of you in TLC now, have you managed to capture the spirit of Lisa within the new work at all?

Chilli – It’s second nature to us. Lisa’s spirit lives on through us forever. When we perform you’re gonna see that. We have a Left Eye interlude on this album. We’ve had 15 years to try and continue to move forwards. It’s just the two of us now but we know that she would want us to continue and so this is the new TLC.
We’ve gotten past the part now where we know she’s not here, but she’s forever missed, that’s our sister. But I think about it this way. No one else is ever gonna be in this group, it’s just the two of us. We’re never changed that. She’s always with us.
T Boz – With Lisa we made history together ….

It’s an unusual and horrific experience to lose a fellow band member so young, there was a lot of shock worldwide. How did you personally deal with that time?

Chilli – losing a family member is heart-breaking. I lost my grandmother but you expect that as she’s older, but to lose a sister at the age of thirty? That’s like what? It’s unbelievable cos you never think that that’s gonna happen!

T Boz – and then with the world watching, there’s no way to grieve. That’s not something you’re taught and to go to a grocery store or anywhere and everyone’s talking about it…”did u hear about Left Eye …” You almost wanna become a hermit seeing the headlines on every counter …that’s really your life. I didn’t know how to take people approaching me and smiling going “I’m sorry for your loss but can I have a picture with you?” And I’m like “did u mean that?” Or they’d say “sorry that she died, but I can Rap!” People just say the most insensitive things.

T Boz – I was most probably depressed for a couple of years over it, it was hard.

Chilli – I spoke about her like she was still here for a long time cos I could not talk about her in the past tense. I just, I just couldn’t do it. And that’s how I had to grieve and deal with it.

T Boz, you just mentioned depression, something else that’s been huge with young people recently with many young pop stars and even our British Royal family talking about it is mental health. Have you ever had any difficult experiences in this area? Do you think young people today have it much better or worse than your own teenage experience?

T Boz – I think everyone shouldn’t ever be ashamed. We all deal with something and the reason people don’t get help with something is cos they’re embarrassed. And I’m glad more public figures are speaking out and admitting that they have problems. I got a whole bunch of people I know with mental disorders. They’re locked up they’ve been medicated. Some have psychiatrists. You have to let it out.
We have a campaign in the states called SILENCE THE SHAME and a lot of people are getting into it cos u have to silence the shame. There are too many suicidal kids out there. Like when I hear two of my friends with ten year olds – at ten years of age, what can be soooo bad?
You don’t wanna be here at ten? I think it’s a taught and learned behaviour where your child can go to school and talk to people like they do and the parent knows about it and doesn’t stop it? That crazy, that’s a problem!!

I wanna blame the parents. There’s no way my daughter would go to school spark to anyone that way and upset them. That is a no no!

Chilli – some people are born bad. I do believe in a bad seed. You have to recognise there’s a problem but recognise and deal with this problem.

T Boz – but I promise you if I see my kid has a mental health problem I’m gonna take care of them. Cos I really believe that if family and friends had spoken up before then, a lot of these tragedies wouldn’t have happened. And a lot of people would be alive today.

Chilli – with my son I’m like “close the door? For what? Privacy? What are u talking about? No. The only time he had a lil bit of privacy was when he needed to go for a shower .I know what’s going on. I’m listening to his conversations with his friends. You have to be involved. These are developing years and teenagers are not cool, they’re emotional. That’s when parents are needed the most. It’s not about stunting their growth; it’s about paying attention to things and their lil personalities and guiding them correctly but not to break their lil spirits and stuff.

T Boz – I look at my daughter. I have the two T’s. They’re good. Compared to what I see on the streets they’re good. If all I have to deal with is a smart mouth I’m good. Cos I have one too. But that’s better than my child being on drugs. Or beating on me, and stuff I hear other parents go through, I can’t fathom what that’s like.

You’ve seen the impact and power of elections in the states. Something that’s big on the UK News agenda this month is our General Election. How do you feel about voting? Do u vote? Should young people be encouraged to vote?

I’m in the middle with that. It’s important to know what you want to do but maybe you’re not happy with both parties? If you think that it’s important for you to exercise your rights to vote then do. Pick someone you feel most comfy with. But all these politician people at the end of that day are the same and they’re not as upset with each other as we get with them! They’re really cool with each other! Half of them are really good friends and much of the time you vote and you’re pumped and you think these changes are gonna happen and then they usually don’t… so politics to me is just ….tricks.

T Boz – I’m all for keeping hope alive so maybe you should vote …

You’re known for taking songs about serious issues to the top of the pop charts (AIDS-waterfalls / female self-esteem-unpretty),
One thing that’s been a big talking point in music recently has been equality for women in music. You had your own issues with your record labels and management years ago…. How have you found being women in music…was it and is it still sexist?

Chilli – I personally think some stuff is just the way it is. I’m not saying it’s right so as women we have to continue to kick those doors down and continue to have a voice.

T Boz – it’s not right. I remember sitting in the record company and I had said something two weeks prior to this man and no one had said anything. Two weeks later he says what I said …but see WE are different women …I hit the table I was like I HIT THE TABLE I said no no!
I will stand up like a man and speak up. He ain’t about to take my credit. If I can pay manly bills I can do manly things. I’m gonna stand strong, and loud, and say what I wanna say, how I wanna say it, and when I wanna say, I’m not gonna let you take anything from me man or not!

Chilli – even in the acting world male actors can still be cast with a young actress, but with a female you are hot for a limited time, but as I said it’s always been the way, but you just gotta keep on fighting.

Your new single WAY BACK features Snoop…

Snoop! No other person who would fit that track except him. Everyone has that person in their life, when no matter how long you haven’t spoken in, when you do its all good, and its still ‘you’re still my everything’.

Finally, your legacy is historic. TLC formed the blueprint of modern-day girl groups. Beyonce says you influenced Destiny’s Child and you can definitely hear it. How would you describe the legacy of TLC?

T Boz – I just want us to be remembered for the things we’ve done and the doors we’ve opened.
When we came up there was no social media and we had to work really hard …men then could in those days could just take off their shirts and people would scream and we’d be like OMG we’re fully clothed? Like how we gonna get that reaction and do that? But we did, so our talent and everything spoke for itself.
But when u look at TLC it’s the dancing, the clothes, the timeless music, the lyrical content, and the true essence of what we stood for to make you feel good. Feel good in everyone’s life and not just girls but everybody. And not to come across as preachers but we did it in a fun way with music and dancing and energy and it should just be a good old feeling!

The next night TLC took to London’s KOKO venue for a sold out gig and they smashed it!
Full stage set with a full energy and very capable band, dancers in gold lame tracksuits, T Boz and Chilli’s sultry, distinctive vocals both sounding as dope as ever, and their high impact choreography and stage presence was as amazing as it ever was, putting many acts half their age to shame.

For us UK fans it was well worth the wait and their new album ”TLC”, dropping June 30th, is awaited eagerly by R&B and pop fans globally.
A truly brilliant comeback – welcome back ladies, we’ve missed and needed your presence!

—————————————-

NEW ‘’TLC’’ ALBUM TRACKLIST

1. ‘No Introduction’
2. ‘Way Back’ ft. Snoop Dogg
3. ‘It’s Sunny’
4. ‘Haters’
5. ‘Perfect Girls’
6. ‘Interlude’
7. ‘Start a Fire’
8. ‘American Hold’
9. ‘Scandalous’
10. ‘Aye MuthaFucka’
11. ‘Joy Ride’
12. ‘Way Back’ ft. Snoop Dogg [extended version]

Jasmine’s Juice – Darcus Howe, A Renegade Rests In Peace.

Today a great man was laid to rest.
Darcus Howe was an incredible man. Google him and his work.
Encourage your young ones to read up on how he and his peers laid the path for many of us to be able to do what we do in 2017.

Leighton Rhett Radford “Darcus” Howe was a British broadcaster, writer and civil liberties campaigner from Trinidad, who arrived in England as a teenager intending to study law. Here he joined the British Black Panthers, a group named in sympathy with the eponymous US organisation. He came to public attention in 1970 as one of the “Mangrove Nine”, who marched to the police station in Notting Hill, London, to protest against police raids of the Mangrove restaurant, and again in 1981 when he organised a 20,000-strong “Black People’s Day of Action” in protest at the handling of the investigation into the New Cross Fire, in which 13 black teenagers died.

Darcus was an architect of change in Britain for multi cultural irrecoverable change. At his funeral in west London today the church was packed full, with well-wishers spilling out all over the street outside and by the time the service was over the whole of All Saints Rd and nearby Portobello Road was at a stand still with the Mangrove Steel Band leading a guard of honour procession for Darcus’ hearse.

I attended, not just to pay respects to this man who I had grown up hearing about from my dad and his peers who were all friends, not just a man I had watched on TV rustling feathers and being provocative (CLEARLY had an influence on me no?), but a man who inspired and nurtured many including my friend- Darcus Beese – son of Darcus Howe. Darcus Junior is always supportive of any request I make of him and is also the first ever black man to head a record label in the UK and leads with vision, authority and grace bringing up young black people in his own footsteps at his label. How incredible is that for a legacy of father and son!

A plethora of people wanted to pay their respects. the congregation today included people like BBC Chief / Sugar Films FounderPat Younge, Black Cultural Archives Director Paul Reid, ITV/Shiver Productions talent exec Michelle Matherson, Record Label and TV company CEO’s, print press writers and columnists, fashion designers, pop star managers like Raye Cosbert (Amy Winehouse) and Trenton Harrison-Lewis (Giggs), Jackie Davidson, fashion designers like Mary Martin, music industry key influencers like Alex Boating (Twin B) and many, many more.

It’s no wonder, Darcus infiltrated many worlds. He was an editor of Race Today, and chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival. He was best known as a television broadcaster in the UK for his Black on Black series on Channel 4, his current affairs programme, Devil’s Advocate, and his work with Tariq Ali on Bandung File. His television work also included White Tribe (2000), a look at modern Britain and its loss of “Englishness”; Slave Nation (2001); Who You Callin’ a Nigger? (2004); and Is This My Country? (2006), a search for his West Indian identity.He wrote columns for the New Statesman and The Voice.

In 1982, Mr Howe began his broadcasting career on Channel 4’s television series Black on Black, was subsequently co-editor with Tariq Ali of Bandung File and later White Tribe, a look at modern-day Britain and its loss of “Englishness”. Howe continued to write in the New Statesman and fronted the Channel 4 current affairs programme Devil’s Advocate. He was a keynote speaker at the 2005 Belfast Film Festival’s “Film and Racism” seminar and presented his documentary Who You Callin’ a Nigger? at the festival.

Darcus Howe appeared on the discussion programme Midweek (on BBC Radio 4), to promote the documentary on 19 October 2005 and, live on air, became involved in an angry debate with American comedian Joan Rivers. The dispute began when Howe suggested that Rivers was offended by the use of the term “black”; Rivers objected strongly to the suggestion that she was racist and accused Howe of having a “chip on his shoulder”.

He was interviewed by Fiona Armstrong for BBC News on 9 August 2011 at the time of the 2011 England riots.During the interview, Armstrong twice referred to him as “Marcus Dowe”, then asked: “You are not a stranger to riots yourself, I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself.” Howe denied this, saying: “I have never taken part in a single riot. I’ve been part of demonstrations that ended up in a conflict. Have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, and stop accusing me of being a rioter. Because you wanted for me to get abusive, you just sound idiotic—have some respect.” The BBC apologised for any offence the interview caused and said “it had not intended to show him any disrespect”.

More recently, asked about the unfolding situation in London, Howe discussed the death of Mark Duggan: “What I am not – what I’m concerned about more than anything else, there’s a young man called Mark Duggan. He has parents, he has brothers, he has sisters, and two yards away from where he lives, a police officer blew his head off.”

At the funeral his friend Sheila Graham from Jamaica talked about him as a young boy and his travels from the Caribbean to Southampton a few decades ago in 1961.


JASMINE, WITH MULTI-MEDIA LEGEND AND ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE BRITISH BLACK PANTHER GROUP – FARRUKH DHONDY AND HIS SON.

Next, my uncle Farrukh Dhondy – who was also Darcus best friend and Black Panther UK founder, made a brilliant tribute speech about meeting Darcus many moons ago on a tube train from Hyde Park and their subsequent years of friendship, travelling to Delhi together and work escapades.


FARRUKH DHONDY PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIS FRIEND DARCUS HOWE.

The funeral was interspersed with music from the Mangrove Steel Band and their pan playing.


GENERAL MANGER OF THE TABERNACLE AND MANGROVE STEEL BAND ARRANGER MATTHEW PHILLIP PAYS TRIBUTE TO DARCUS HOWE.

Co-ordinator of the Tottenham RIGHTS & Race Advocacy Officer at The Monitoring Group – Stafford Scott (who also happens to be music star Wretch32’s uncle),also made a beautifully powerful tribute about Darcus legacy…

STAFFORD SCOTT PAYS TRIBUTE TO DARCUS HOWE.

Stafford said ”Darcus used to call me by my full name on the phone ”Leila!-it’s Stafford Scott!”…..he called me initially and told me “you remind me of me when I was younger. He was the Mangrove 9. We were the TOTTENHAM 3. He always told me to ‘Say how it is. Stand up and be counted”. He was a unique pioneer. From Trinidad to the UK to USA he was known for his political forsights and insights. He was always someone that I would always turn to in moments of concern. He was a renegade. I was the rebel. The renegade would burn down places strategically. He would actually call and tell you he was coming to burn it down!. He stood decade after decade on the frontlines. He held everyone to account. Especially those who didn’t seem to have political rights. He was classless, the likes of whom we will never see again. The greatest accolade I can give my brother is that he wore some massive shoes. They are some big shoes to fill. If we are going to respect him let’s talk the truth to power. Where we can contribute to the community let’s do it. Cos without him the world is a harder place”.

Finally Darcus daughter Tamara made the emotional but commanding eulogy.
Tamara said ”I never expected to have to be here, saying these words, so soon. But Dad was unpredictable. He did his thing his own way. When he ready to go from somewhere you knew it…. I’ve been moved by the tributes…..he was a campaigner and a warrior but also a father, brother, son and more. We kids all know where we all came from, who we are,and that black was beautiful and come what may we were here to stay…. He as a legislator in every sense of the word. ….”Interference would be met with gunfire!!!” He would bellow…..

A great moment during the service was when Sheila added a surprise last minute addition by reading aloud...a note from Jeremy Corbyn to Darcus wife Leila Hassan… ‘‘Dear Leila. I am so sorry i am unable to be with you and your family today. Sorry to hear of the passing of Darcus. From rural Trinidad to Urban Britain…. Few people understood the exploitation of people from the Caribbean to Britain….thank you Darcus for all you have taught us. Jeremy Corbyn”.

Mr Howe was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2007 and subsequently campaigned for more men to get tested. He died aged 74 on 1 April 2017, at his home in Streatham, London, where he lived with his wife Leila Howe.

Thank you Mr Howe for many decades fighting for equality and justice. Thank you for being bold and brave and inspiring me to be so too.
The legacy that you have left will not be forgotten.
We appreciate you, will hold your name and stories high and we now have the baton to run forwards with.
Onwards and upwards. Love and laughter. Rest In Power Darcus Howe.

Jasmine’s Juice – Stormzy Album, Number 1 In the UK Charts – Here’s Why.

Congratulations to Stormzy ON HIS NUMBER 1 chart position this week. Against the odds, he has taken the grime music genre to another level. Here’s why;

1
His team embraced the DIY millennial mind set of shunning the old skool record label gate-keepers and within a team that you could count on both hands, had an ‘all-hands-on-deck” approach. Big up manager Tobe, PR extraordinaire and more Rachel Campbell, Akua Agyemfra, Kenneth, the rest of the team including Twin B, Holly, Angie, James and more.





THE GUERRILLA MARKETING ON THIS ALBUM WAS IMPRESSIVE! BILLBOARDS JUST SUDDENLY SPRUNG UP ACROSS THE CAPITAL AND NEAR STORMZYS OLD SCHOOL IN SOUTH LONDON. THEY DIDN’T SAY MUCH, BUT THEY SAID EVERYTHING!

2
His album was produced by AN ABSOLUTE UNDERSTATED LEGEND IN THE MUSIC GAME- Fraser T Smith! A man that is a multiple Grammy Award nominee and worked with the biggest names from Drake, Adele, Britney and more. He told me in his London studio this week that this was his best work ever.
The sounds are panoramic, beautiful strutted, with hard ear worm hooks all through every track. Its a musical journey without one weak song.


THE LEGEND- PRODUCER FRASER T SMITH IN HIS LONDON STUDIO THE WEEK STORMY WENT TO NUMBER 1!.

3
He had the most hectic, most innovative launch week campaign I think I have ever seen. From mainstream national TV appearances on Good Morning Britain, to Channel 4 News (with me), to Sunday Brunch and more. He was covered by every hot digital platform from Complex, to Fader to Noisey to NME.


STORMZY ON SUNDAY BRUNCH.

4
By a stroke of genius within his team- I see you Akua/ Kenneth- when they learnt he was in with a shot at the number 1 spot but the mighty Rag N Bone Man was snapping fast at his heels, they organised a wild marathon signing session all over the country from record stores, youth organisations and the brilliant Man UTD Football Club signing at Old Trafford! A meeting of industries, celebs, genres and more all puling for the underdog!


STORMZY AT OLD TRAFFORD.

5
He speaks up when it matters. Its all well and good being a music star but what do you stand for? Stormzy has spoken up on racist nightclubs, lack of diversity at The Brit Awards and politicians and the system not working for the average man on the street. He’s an advocate of people power and has put this thinking into practise.
A wise man once said ”if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”.


STORMZY CALLS OUT RCAISM IN TWEETS.

6
I have never seen a grime star that is so loved across generations that both kids, middle aged fans and people from every possible background gravitate towards him. His fearless and boldness to speak and be vulnerable has made him a champion for all.


STORMY DID LOADS OF SIGNINGS AND ONE-OFF UNANNOUNCED PERFORMANCES ON THE DAY HIS ALBUM CAME OUT. FROM CAMDEN, TO PICCADILLY TO CROYDONS BOXPARK FOR REDBULL WHERE HIS HOMETOWN CAME OUT IN FULL SUPPORT!

7
He’s able to code switch like a chameleon. He’s a well rounded dude. One minute bantering with the lads over a drink, the next rolling with his homies, the next being the most articulate 23 year old and then gushing about loving his mum, now known across the musical industry as ‘auntie Abigail”.


STORMZYS MUM ABIGAIL- AS HAPPY TO GET DOWN IN ONE OF HIS VIDEOS AS PRAYING FOR HIM ON HIS ALBUM #GSAP

8
He is proud and bold in talking about his faith and love of God. Nuff said. Amen.

9
His celeb fan love is untouchable. Household names from Adele, to One Direction stars, to Eastenders soap stars, to Rio Ferdinand to Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn have bigger him up on twitter!

LABOUR PARTY LEADER JEREMY CORBYN IS DOWN WITH THE #MERKY CREW.

10
You can watch his extended, insightful conversation with me in an interview with Channel 4 News here.

He says a lot of great things and discusses his album GANG SIGNS AND PRAYER as well as young peoples issues, the system, education, Brexit, the Brit Awards, Trump, record labels, his love of God, his mum , depression and people power!

Jasmine’s Juice – New Edition Biopic Finally Hits British Screens on BET This Week!

Who doesn’t love R&B and swing beat classics like Mr Telephone Man and Candy Girl, My Perogative, Every Little Step, and numerous other New Edition and Bobby Brown hits?

Over 3 decades the band went though drama, line-up changes and global stardom and now finally their story is being told in a 3-part biopic season on BET. Following critical acclaim in the U.S, the story of legendary ‘New Edition’ reaches UK screens and I have been glued to the screen.

BET Networks is the leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for people that want to know what’s hot, what’s next and what matters in black culture and without their platform and brand us R&B lovers would have no chance of re-living and being informed about our early musical passions. Thank you BET.

BET UK threw a launch party, screening and Q&A session with the cast in London this past week to the delight of R&B music lovers and New Edition fans.
I was just born when an 11 year old Bobby Brown got together with his pals Ricky Bell, Mike Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant and convinced them to perform at local talent shows.

A couple of decades later the boy band were mega stars until the band forced Bobby Brown to leave the group in 1985 following a period of misbehavior and rebellious behavior on his part.

Starting a solo career, he became a hit success with his second album in 1988, Don’t Be Cruel, which spawned a number of hit singles including the self-penned “My Prerogative”, and the Grammy Award-winning “Every Little Step” which became his signature hit. Brown had a string of top ten hits on various Billboard charts between 1986 and 1993. He returned to the group for a reunion album and tour from 1996 to 1997, and has returned with all six members for another stint since 2005.

New Edition laid the foundation for how modern-day boy bands look, feel, and sound. Boyz II Men, N’SYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and New Kids On The Block all took their cues from Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell & Johnny Gill.

After 30 years of breaking hearts, New Edition have finally got the biopic that their stellar tenure in entertainment so richly deserves. This epic three-part miniseries follows the group from their humble beginnings as kids in Boston to global mega-stardom – weathering the highs and lows of controversy, personal changes, and the ultimate cost of fame.

The star-filled THE NEW EDITION STORY cast includes Bryshere Y. Gray Elijah Kelley, Luke James, Keith Powers, Algee Smith, Woody McClain, Dante Hoagland, Caleb McLaughlin, Jahi Winston, Myles Truitt and Tyler Williams as NEW EDITION along with La La Anthony, Yvette Nicole Brown, Monica Calhoun, Lisa Nicole Carson, Sandi McCree Wood Harris, Michael Rapaport, Faizon Love, Duane Martin Tank and Bre-Z.

The musical sound track, as you can well imagine is gold…..along with a stellar cast, THE NEW EDITION STORY includes a collective of award-winning producers and directors including iconic music powerhouses James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Terry Lewis and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Executive Producer Jesse Collins and award-winning director Chris Robinson.

# # #

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Jasmine’s Juice – Royal Television Society Journalism Awards 2017. #RTSAWARDS

Last night the annual RTS Television Society Journalism Awards took place at the London Hilton on Park Lane where the biggest TV news brands from all across the UK gathered to celebrate their great work.

The awards, for both news and current affairs, seek to recognise creative and excellent journalism by organisations whose broadcasts are transmitted on a UK-based platform or who create online video content from a UK production base.


JASMINE AT THE RTS AWARDS 2017….DRESS BY SOUTH LONDON FASHION DESIGNER MARY MARTIN

After the exceptional news events so far in 2016 and the high quality coverage by broadcasters in the UK there was a lot of healthy competition.
Big shout out to every news broadcaster from Channel 4, SKY News, BBC, ITV, CNN and so many more. We all do so much to bring the truth to the world.

British broadcasting has one of the highest reputations in the world and the daily risks that our reporters and teams face cannot be described. If I could share with you the things I have seen my colleagues bring back from foreign war zones, the horror, the negotiations, the personal stories…its all mind blowing and I am truly grateful that we live in a country where for the most part media have free speech and investigative powers.


CHANNEL 4 NEWS WON MOST OF THE BIGGEST CATEGORIES OF THE NIGHT.
Photo courtesy – Richard Kendal / RTS.

I was most chuffed that my extended news family at Channel 4 News swept the board on some pretty big categories! Here’s what we won!

1.
Camera Operator of the Year:
went to a brave young woman who has fallen into reporting due to the dire circumstances that befell her country. Waad al-Kateab has shot incredibly powerful pictures around the horror in Aleppo risking the lives of herself and her family – her doctor husband and young baby.

WAAD AL-KATEAB – CHANNEL 4 NEWS.

The judges said about her win “With many strong contenders, our winner’s portfolio was head and shoulders above the rest. Her powerful images didn’t flinch from showing the full horror of life and death in Aleppo.”

2.
The amazing Syrian Waad also won the highly coveted prize for Young Talent of the Year too. She was up against some brilliant names like Adam Cole – Sky News Programming and James Longman – Victoria Derbyshire Programme so this was a huge achievement.
Judges kept compliments for Waad coming…..“…heart stopping, calm in horrific conditions, sensitive, empathetic, extraordinary – the compliments kept on coming.”

3.
The best News Coverage category
was also won by a Channel 4 piece of content – International: Inside Aleppo
Judges agreed that “In a year of extraordinary coverage of appalling wars, this insight into Aleppo was something very special. Our judges described it as remarkable, compelling and the yardstick by which other coverage should be judged. Matt Frei’s scripting was word perfect. With a digital project alongside, the coverage was imaginative and innovative and ticked the enterprise box too.”

4.
Speaking of Matt Frie- his winning speech after taking Television Journalist of the Year was one of the highlights of an otherwise pretty serious, emotional evening. Matt, slightly alcohol affected bounded onstage and gave a hilarious, bragadociously entertaining speech bigging up the big man that decides how healthy or not his mortgage is- Ben De Pear and generally lifted the mood to the audiences delight!

MATT FRIE- WINNER- TV JOURNO OF THE YEAR 2017.

The judges described Matt as “One of the best writers in the business. His use of language brings great depth to his reports and regularly shines through. His interviewing has also produced insights, which others have missed. He is one of the most experienced, and skilled TV journalists working today.”

5.
It was incredible to hear that the Daily News Programme of the Year category was also won by Channel 4 News who do a blinding job of representing hidden voices and bringing so many diverse faces onscreen, the likes of which we have never seen before. Between bosses Ben De Pear and former boss Shaminder Nahal its now normal to see a black woman breast feeding her baby live on air whilst debating political issues! Just brilliant!

CHANNEL 4 NEWS WIN NEWS PROGRAMME OF THE YEAR.
Photo courtesy – Richard Kendal / RTS.

About Channel 4 News the judges stated, “The winning programme demonstrated a masterful breadth and depth of content throughout the year, from world-class frontline coverage to their trademark political analysis and powerful interviews. They backed that up with tenacious and exclusive investigations and high quality location presentation.”

6.

I have to give a shout out to SKY team for winning the News Technology: Sky Data prize. They really are a brand that think in a very futuristic data minded way that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Judges said “…a brilliant example of technical innovation. It has transformed the way television measures public opinion, leaving the old vox pop obsolete. The team should be congratulated on using existing customer information to make a research panel of up to 10,000,000 people.”

7.
The big award of the night is always the Judges’ Award, which this year went posthumously to the incredible broadcaster Steve Hewlett. A touching and monumental career in the broadcasting industry.

STEVE HEWLETT – JUDGES AWARD 2017.

(citation below by Awards Chair Stewart Purvis)
“On 26 January a panel of representatives of broadcasters, video news agencies and jury chairs met to decide on the Judges’ Award. The rules say it can recognise an outstanding contribution on or off screen, in the past year or over the course of their career. The panel chose a winner who achieved so much on screen and off screen, over the course of his career and very particularly in the past year.
I phoned the winner and that’s how I got to tell Steve Hewlett that he had won the Judges’ Award. Steve told me he was honoured and touched to have won. He looked forward to receiving it on 1 March.
I don’t think there has ever been anybody in broadcasting quite like Steve Hewlett. And probably never will be again.
Over four decades he variously, and often simultaneously, produced programmes; edited them; commissioned them; wrote and broadcast about them; presented them and exec produced them as an independent. He worked for the BBC, Channel Four, ITV and his own indie Genie Pictures. He started on TV and learned to love radio. He was the star turn for many years at RTS Cambridge, Edinburgh and Sheffield festivals and many other media events.
He truly was a man for all seasons, one of them being the rugby season. I remember turning up with my son at a youth rugby tournament in Hertfordshire to find Steve all togged up ready to referee one of the matches.
He was fiercely competitive in everything he did but also generous with praise for his competitors. He always threw himself into his journalism. He spent eight weeks filming inside the Maze Prison with Peter Taylor, and made a remarkable film there. He enjoyed his triumphs – the 23,000,000 audience for the Panorama: Diana interview will take some beating as a record for factual television – and he carried on regardless after disappointments.
One of the hallmarks of Steve’s journalism was his natural curiosity – which contact or interviewee could resist an opening line like ‘help me with this if you can’. Another was his attention to detail, as a pundit he read the documents others didn’t, which is how he knew so much and questioned so much, especially his own employers at the BBC.
And there was his humanity and there was his humour. All these same qualities, this same journalism, came to the fore last year on the Radio 4 PM Programme. The presenter Eddie Mair told listeners that this time Steve was on the air not to talk about the media but about his health. Eddie asked Steve ‘What’s happening?’ to which Steve replied ‘Well I’ve got cancer. I’ve got cancer of the oesophagus’. This matter of fact conversation set the style for many that were to follow on Radio Four and be replicated in different forms in print and on TV. There had been cancer diaries before but this was much more, it was public interest journalism of the kind Steve practiced on Panorama. He knew all the details as if he was talking on the Media Show about the latest draft of the BBC Charter. The public response was enormous. Many of the people who wrote to Steve said he had inspired them to find out more about their own condition, their own treatment.
Steve and I talked about the archive clips from his career that he hoped we would show tonight. A Panorama team tracked those down and added some of Steve’s recent interviews about cancer. Together these clips form a compilation that tells the story of Steve Hewlett’s journalism from the early 1980’s right up to last month. The first is a clip Steve often mentioned, when he dressed up in a bear’s costume for a title sequence for a new Channel Four current affairs programme. So lookout for Steve the bear.
On 6 February Steve told Eddie Mair on BBC Radio Four that he’d been given only ‘weeks, possibly months’ to live. He and his partner Rachel Crellin decided to get married in a ceremony organised within the hour at the Royal Marsden Hospital. A few days later Rachel, Steve and I met there to talk about tonight. He told me again how proud he was about the award. I told him how much love there would be for him within the room, he looked rather surprised.
The plan was for him to be sitting at a table with Rachel, his former partner Karole Lang and his and Karole’s three sons Fred, Billy and Bertie. Steve knew he wouldn’t be well enough to come up to the podium but wanted his sons to speak for him. Of course Steve, always the realist, knew he may not make it here tonight.
He asked me to remind him when the event was. I said ‘two weeks’ time’, he gestured ‘two weeks’. And he was right. But Rachel is here tonight, so is Karole and please welcome to receive the Judges Award on their father’s behalf, the brothers Hewlett.”

RTS Television Journalism Awards 2017 winners

Daily news programme of the year: Channel 4
Television journalist of the year: Matt Frei
News coverage – international: Channel 4
News coverage – home: BBC Six and Ten O’Clock News, prisons special
News channel of the year: BBC News Channel
Breaking news: Sky News, Brussels terror attack
Scoop of the year: Sky News, IS Files report
Interview of the year: Sky News, Faisal Islam interviews David Cameron
Specialist journalist of the year: Lisa Holland, Sky News
Network presenter of the year: Tom Bradby, ITV News at Ten
Young talent of the year: Waad al-Kateab
Camera operator of the year: Waad al-Kateab

Jasmine’s Juice – BRIT Awards 2017, The Best In Years!


RORY GRAHAM AKA RAG N BONE MAN, TOTALLY UNAFFECTED BY HIS BIG TWO BRIT AWARDS WIN.

The annual Brit awards are always a highlight of the UK music calendar -its like our Christmas.


STORMZY STORMS ED SHEERANS PERFORMANCE FOR THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT THAT HAD THE ARENA STANDING.
ALL PHOTOS – JMEInternational.

It’s the biggest British music show that celebrates commercial music successes across the past 12 months, and always comes in for polarizing views the morning after.


BROADCASTER JONATHAN ROSS AND SUPER MODEL AND DOPE FLY GIRL EXTRAORDINAIRE NAOMI CAMPBELL PRESENT AN AWARD.

Well this year, I thought it was a great show. Not perfect but nearly. Certainly one of the best in many years. It felt truly reflective of the UK.


JASMINE WEARS THE MARY MARTIN LONDON ‘LION DRESS’ ON THE THE BRITS RED CARPET.

The dress code was ‘’glamorous’’ and the ladies went all out with mostly long gowns. Long black sequins were in vogue so I was totally on trend, for once.


LITTLE MIX KICKED OFF THE SHOW WITH A BIG, SPECTACULAR SET.

Simon Cowell’s Girl band Little Mix came out the stables strong, with a big production opening act, where alongside 50 dancers all spray painted silver, they gyrated through a Bob Fosse style dance number which had huge impact with stage, set, lighting and pyro. The girls clearly enjoyed the rest of their night at their table laughing and shrieking alongside two of their premier league footballer dates.


SIMON COWELL PRESENTED ONE DIRECTION MEMBER LIAM PAYNE WITH AN AWARD. DESPITE SPLITTING IN 2015, ONE DIRECTION WON AN AWRD AT THE 2017 SHOW FOR BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO OF THE YEAR FOR HISTORY – WHICH WAS RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2015.


ED SHEERAN PERFORMS.

I miss the past moments that made it big when they used to pair up acts like Kylie and Justin Timberlake or Rihanna and The Klaxons, or Dizzee Rascal and Florence Welch. Those were once in a lifetime not to be missed moments. Resource and time means that this isn’t always an option any more but last night they had a hit this year with Ed Sheeran (who does more for diversity all by himself than our whole industry!), pairing up with grime superstar Stormzy.


ED SHEERAN KILLS IT AT BRITS 2017.

Grime is a musical representation of street culture (definition by Stormzy), and it has a huge cultural influence that’s slowly being matched commercially across the globe, with the scene performing to sold out arenas as far flung as Japan to the USA.


TRIUMPHANT SKEPTA

Similarly, grime star Skepta’s performance was a literal miracle as the Brits have a history of rarely giving a platform to British black, grimy, hip hop bods a stage set. The fact that he had a set – a too sparse one in my humble opinion – was nevertheless a great look. Skepta, in turn, also tipped his hat to his musical inspirations, with a huge wall filled with images of hundreds of rappers that laid the path before him projected up behind him as he energetically leapt about the satellite stage mid-arena.


SKEPTA PERFORMS HIS BIG HIT FROM LAST YEAR- SHUT DOWN.

Soul singer Emeli Sande is that solo graceful singer that always delivers and it was refreshing to see her winning best female.

BEST FEMALE – EMELI SANDE.

I think she still has a lot more to give though. The fact that she makes it all look so calm and easy means these still fire in her belly that I know can deliver so much more.


BEST FEMALE WINNER EMELI SANDE.

Since last years #britssowhite controversy, the leading body that oversees the show the BPI, sat up and took note and engaged a diversity committee, which I am a part of, who in a few short months brought an overhaul to the BRITs voting academy and now 48% of voters are female and 21% are of black or ethnic origin.

There was clear, positive change and this was reflected in this years nominations, which did include a plethora of previously excluded British black music acts. Many grumbled about the fact that they didn’t win. They did. They won the start on an equal playing field that can only get stronger moving forwards. Small steps lead to great leaps.


KATY PERRY BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN, LITERALLY.

Speaking of great leaps, Katy Perry’s set saw her dancing and singing amongst hundreds of mini houses and two giant puppets that everyone suggested were Donald Trump and Teresa May. It wasn’t too obvious who they were but it did feel like a political statement of some sort.


KATY PERRYS ‘POLITICAL MOMENT’?.

The end of her set saw Katy literally bringing the house down, when one of her ‘dancing houses’ fell off the front edge of the stage, onto a record label table, causing them all to leap to their feet in shock as security ran to help the poor girl. Hope she/he is ok.

The 1975’s Matt Healey must’ve loved Katy’s political commentary, as earlier in the evening in his winning acceptance speech, he urged pop stars to go ahead and comment on social issues and not as some demanded ‘’stay in their lane’’. I totally co-sign that when you have a platform to speak to the world, you should always say something with impact and merit.

Ed Sheeran is an act that never ‘stays in his lane’ and always seems to do more for diversity than most of the rest of our industry put together. This year he made a track with an afrobeats star Fuse ODG in Ghana and last night when he featured grime megastar Stormzy in his set too, the whole arena was jumping and dancing.

ED SHEERAN POST PERFORMANCE, BROTHERLY HUG. #SQUADGOALS

In fact, there were only two moments in the whole show that the arena audience were all spontaneously up on their feet for – during Skepta’s solo set and Ed and Stormzys set. This should’ve been the final performance of the night – Robbie Williams – even with all the production sexiness didn’t have as big a song or the mega public presence this year.

ROBBIE WILLIAMS BIG BUCKS PRODUCTION.


ROBBIE WILLIAMS – BRITS ICON AWARD WINNER.

A man that has been all over the global charts with his incredible catalogue of effervescent hit songs this year is Bruno Marrs, who was as swagtastic as ever, but whereas once upon a time The Brits show was dominated by the Americans, this year the Americans just felt like side-line guests. The stars were certainly the British acts.

A British singer that’s single-handedly made industry execs sigh with relief over their bank statements is North London lass Adele, who won the Global Success award and made a typically Adele-esque speech via video from distant lands – Australia I think.

BRITS 2017 SHOW


RORY GRAHAM, AKA RAG N BONE MAN PERFORMED FOR A SPECIAL ”DIAMOND DINERS’ VIP AUDIENCE AT A PRIVATE BRITS DINNER.

Soul music is coming back. I can feel it in my bones. With Rag n Bone Man (Rory Graham), being the actual biggest winner of the night it wont be long before we’re all loving and singing soul again. Rory didn’t milk his big moment at all. He’s clearly still like a rabbit in headlights about his incredible success. At some points of the past year, his music has outsold the rest of the top 20 chart acts combined, so I think his team should’ve sold and pushed him more on lasts nights big win. With our support he’s the first step in bringing back blues, soul and R&B music. Yes lord, let it be true.


ANDREW RIDGELEY, PEPSI AND SHIRLEY – AN ODE TO GEORGE MICHAEL.

The celestial moment of the night came with the George Michael tribute, by Georges ex Wham band mate Andrew Ridgeley and their band-mates Pepsi and Shirley, who all made touching heartfelt speeches during which you could’ve heard a pin drop in the arena filled with thousands. This was followed by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin singing A Different Corner (originally released on Wham!’s 1986 final album Music From the Edge of Heaven).


CHRIS MARTIN LEADS A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE MICHAEL RIP.

Chris sang a ‘’live meets video’’ virtual duet. It was clear after watching ‘live Chris’ VS ‘video George – from his last UK tour – that the two performers are on totally different performance levels and George was in a class of his own with that megastar soulful voice.


JASMINE WITH SBTV CEO JAMAL EDWARDS MBE AT THE BRITS PARTY.

The night highlighted, that we Brits punch well above our weight in the global arts and culture big picture. In these turbulent Brexit filled days, the UK music industry is a great global brand that reminds us, that as Mayor Sadiq Khan keeps reminded us #LondonIsOpen.

Remember, as you imagine that performing artists are just all one big frivolous song n dance, that it takes hundreds in teams behind each one to make an impact and generates millions for the UK economy.
In fact, check out these stats; one in every 6 albums bought globally is buy a British act. Seven out of ten of the UK’s top albums last year were by British acts.


BRIT NOW ESCAPED TO AMERICA – FORMER MTV / RADIO ONE HOST, NOW BEATS 1 RADIO HOST ZANE LOWE.

The UK music industry has a billion audio streams a week and the vinyl resurgence continues to grow. (Although – sidebar – the money made by JUST a million vinyl sales last year- was MORE than the entire YouTube streaming profit for British music. SCARY!).

An oft-neglected fact is that the Brit Awards also raises a lot of money for The Brits School in South London, where hundreds of diverse young students are trained to be the stars and staff of our future media,in order to ensure that our arts and culture industry remain amongst the best in the world.

I’ll leave the last word to BPI (British Phonographic Industry) advisor and my colleague Ayesha Hazarika who stated joyously ‘’British music is a powerful global calling card, British music rocks the world’’.


BRITS DESSERT.

Jasmine’s Juice – What Life Has Taught Me, All My Top Tips!

SOCIAL CIRCLE

You are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. So surround yourself as much as you can with positive, good people if you want a peacefully, successful life. Someone once said ‘Before you diagnose yourself with depression or anxiety, first check that you are not in fact, surrounded by assholes’.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

If someone is always surrounded by drama and its one nightmare after another, and they’ve been repeatedly supported to get out of their drama but it persists, give up trying to be their savior sooner rather than later. They only have drama in their life and that’s why they keep it around. After all, without it what would they be left with? If you don’t move away fast enough, they will take a part of your soul with them.

People who are being a pain are carrying pain. Ask yourself why someone might be behaving aggressively and unkindly before taking it personally. Its usually not about you, its about them.

If you have an invitation to something exciting and have a plus one, never invite that flaky friend who is always late and will leave you let down and stranded for the first half like Sally-no-mates. Invite a reliable mate. Life’s too short.

Have a small but loyal set of friends that are #rideordie, will listen to your trials and tribulations, knock you back down to earth if you get too big for your boots, (you’re never too big for the boot – Stormzy!), come over with tea, cake, crisps and cuddles when you have a life tragedy and accept you for all the crazy that you are. My girl friends truly are the family I chose. With a great set of friends you will never need therapy or expensive counseling.

TRAVEL

Online bookings aren’t always cheaper than calling the airline directly. I’ve often saved hundreds by talking to a real actual human being. Virgin Atlantic definitely my fave all-round brand. Friendly, hospitable and fun to travel with. They have edible food, ice-lollies and in-flight massages and random fun.

Buy flights to depart on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays – they’re usually much cheaper on these days of the week.

It’s ALWAYS worth checking in online 24 hours before the flight to grab the best seat. Do you really want to risk sitting next to the loo on a transatlantic flight.

When travelling never fold clothes. Always lay clothes in sets on top of each other (dresses / trousers / tee shirt) and then roll the clothes up into a huge Swiss roll and pack. This ensures crease-free clothing at your destination, as well as a deterrent for airport thieves to sneak a hand into your zipped up case and grab something quickly to steal.

Buy cheap Primark jewelry (or other cheap retailers are available), for beach and travel vacations so as not to bother worrying ‎about loss / theft of your sentimental valuables. Especially on tropical beach holidays where you will sky-line, scuba dive and inevitably lose or damage your diamonds. Lol. #CheapTrinketsAreUs

If you are ever transiting through South Africa, throw a strop in the office and insist that your production manager re-routes your transit to Namibia or frankly, anywhere on the planet. Suitcases left unattended in transit at Jo’burg airport are in mortal danger and will get sucked into the airport Bermuda triangle never to be seen again.

‎Where possible always negotiate a couple of extra days abroad after business trips. Business trips and weekends to far-flung places like Australia, Africa and the Caribbean for two days then flying straight back aren’t fun. And why not take advantage of the fact that your employer has already paid for the flights! YOLO

Always carry your teabags on vacation with you. Even one of my fave hotels in the world, The Carlton in Cannes doesn’t have real English Breakfast tea. It might say it on the packet or silver teapot, but its never really real. (My personal preference is Yorkshire tea).

TECH

There should be at least one password that no one close to you, or even your best mate that’s shared all your childhood secrets, should be able to figure out.

We pop our passwords into gadgets hundreds of times a week. So make your password is something that reminds you of a future life goal. It’s the best re-focus method ever. If you are entering a life goal into your mobile numerous times a day you cant go off track.

Double-check everything before blindly hitting ‘’share’’ on social media. Spreading fake news because it agrees with your political thinking or outrages you is the start of an unhappy, depressed mind. To my embarrassment, I have been guilty of this. Fake news is everywhere. Forget the days when the millennium was approaching and the world was doomed to end. The world is truly ending now.

It’s the universal law that if you haven’t backed up your phone data that you will lose it all when least expected. Set up auto-back-up on your devices regularly so you don’t lose or regret not planning ahead. My girl scouts days are always with me. Plan ahead. Be prepared. Fail to prepare- prepare to fail! Thanks Mrs Errington!

The stuff you see on social media is just a teeny percentage of what is reality in most peoples lives. Its curated, filtered and marketed like never before. Don’t compare your life to theirs. We ALL have our own THING going on.

MANNERS

Try not to turn up to people’s homes later than arranged and empty-handed. Even a last minute gift of nibbles, drinks or flowers say I appreciate your kind invitation.

If you are always attending other peoples homes and never invite them back to yours, that one-sided friendship might not be as equal as you think and the invites may start fizzling out. Unless of course your mates have screaming toddlers that need to be around their toys and sticky mess. Then they can always expect you to meet up with them for prosecco at their crib.

If you damage someone else’s property offer to replace it/ fix it immediately. I’ve lost count of the number of people who will stain your carpets with beverage spillages or break your chandeliers in an over excited moment of debate, and never offer to repair. This is why my dinner party guests can only drink dark/red drinks in the kitchen. Seriously I am THAT anal.

‎Be nice. For as long as possible. But if someone really oversteps the mark, it’s okay to turn into Godzilla. Karma is a bitch and bad behavior will always catch up with you. When responding to rude people take the high road. (see the recent Taylor Swift / Britney example) always be Britney.

BUSINESS

If you’re putting a professional working team together, avoid friends. Or at least avoid friends that you have to drag to the table to be available. The business will flop and so will your friendship. Cut the losses early. You will keep it moving, the stagnant folk will always be stagnant and wonder why they never get ahead. If you are the stagnant one, sign up to a self – help daily free e-mail that may help you make better life choices. My favourite is Marc & Angel Hack Life.

‎The harder you work the luckier you get. Its easy to look on at the great breaks others get and wonder why it wasn’t you. They’re not lucky. They work hard. Great things happen when preparation meets opportunity.

If you want to work in media you have to be a tough cookie. Media folks don’t get sick often. We have shoots, deadlines and stories which can’t simply be take over by a colleague. Our exciting lifestyle means adrenalin keeps us healthy. No sick days on this HR record.

If you want to be a TV presenter NEVER say it out loud to a media professional. It’s like the kiss of death for us. It screams ‘I want to be famous’. Instead, show off your area of expertise and specialist skills and one day soon they’ll be inviting you to talk on the telly.

Incentive is everything. You can persuade anyone to do anything, if you make it hard for them to say no, by making them an offer they can’t refuse.

In employment, it would be nice if you could just be good at your job, but lets not pretend that overall presentation visually isn’t important. If you walk into work looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, and your nails are a chewed,chipped mess or your body odour is on nauseating levels people will judge you. I’ve had to speak to two members of staff in two decades about BO and its awkward AF. Fix up, look sharp is not just a Dizzee Rascal song.

Always have a topical elevator pitch ready to go. You really will bump into your aspirational business guru one day and kick yourself later for being gob smacked. Yes, Oprah probably wasn’t most impressed with me and I spent a whole week in her company. #Fail

Be better than the rest. Why should people employ you to do an average job? Always go above and beyond what is requested and be the company ‘’can-do’’ person. I didn’t want to make a years worth of teas, coffees, photocopy scripts, pick up lunches, babysit staff kids, drive around picking up props, etc on The Big Breakfast but I did it and those early lessons bode me well. (After i went from runner to presenter, I made the producer that was always bitchy to me with her tea demands pay when she became my producer and roles were reversed. Once she was looking after me, I –in jest – teased her daily about JUST how I liked my tea!) #PayBacksAbitch

Understand boundaries. Agree to disagree professionally and don’t pull rank. That person you power-move over today may be your line manager next year. The industry is small, people talk. If you have reputation as being mean or unprofessional you can start queuing at your local benefit office now.

We all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce.

LIFESTYLE

Be one with nature. I would be lost without my regular, weekend; early River Thames walks with my mates. We banter, share, debate and finish with brunch. Nature is hard to get at one with in a busy urban city, but park walks are free, instant therapy for a peaceful mind and soul. Don’t subscribe to what people have brainwashed you into believing are your natural ‘cultural stereotypes’. You’d never believe the things I was told by closed-minded folk when I was a kid…. I.e. ethnic people don’t ski / walk along rivers / go see the Northern lights. I do all that. I have brown skin. Deal with it.

There are 3 main fitness areas – strength, cardio, and flexibility. Don’t be the bulky ironman in the gym that can’t press your own body weight, do planks or touch your own toes. NO point in being able to lift a house if you can’t run for 5 minutes. Train using your own body weight as much as possible. No point lifting a house when u can’t do ten pushups!

All rich people’s living rooms look the same. Cream carpets / cream sofas. Lamps and candle sticks chandeliers with tones of caramel / brown / grey. (Unless you’re rock & roll and then a few Andy Warhol-esque family portraits and neon signs with naughty words mesh with pure white rooms). I made MTV Cribs, I’ve seen it all.

When throwing parties NEVER have a VIP section. Puffy taught me that. A VIP section immediately gives the party a ‘them & us’ vibe so no-one feels good. A party is for mingling, mixing and engaging with all. If you need a VIP area you’re hosting a bad party where you make half your mates feel inferior.

Consider a group lunch pool at work. Like a car-pool but better. Between your work colleague’s, shop for yummy, healthy food on a Monday from the deli and store in the work fridge space. Hummus, chicken, salmon, prawns, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomatoes on the vine, sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, fancy cheeses, broccoli, asparagus, coleslaw etc. Every day you have a variety of healthy, diverse food choices and it costs us in our lunch syndicate one pound a day – really! (Beware the coleslaw fiend. Buy extra coleslaw for her, cos if it runs out she won’t be happy).

Try not to be a creative arts snob. There’s nothing worse than seeing early adaptors of tech, music and more scoff at latecomers. People access things at different times in different ways and we shouldn’t judge their journey. I once attended Glastonbury with a very famous person who was disgruntled at ‘’all these new Jay Z fans standing at the front, they should be made to go to the back cos they hadn’t even heard of him when I bought his first album!’. WTF. Seriously?

But do be a judgmental snob if you see Sharon and Tracy in the supermarket wearing pyjamas and Ugg boots screaming at their kids. Some things just make you shudder. Sorry, not sorry.

White vinegar is a God-send. Pop in the fridge to get rid of smells or in the kitchen a small cup will soak up cooking smells. It will also clean the bathroom better than many detergents.

GIRLY STUFF

Always keep a fab shoes and frock option in your car / under desk in case of last minute fab invites. I am ALWAYS ready for spontaneous activities and invites. My car boot has all my gym stuff and a pair of fancy shoes and frock. Always. This is the only life we have! (Unless you believe in an afterlife in which case, stay at home nightly cos there’s bad weather in London). See you in the afterlife. Or not.

Keep nail-varnish-free as often as possible to avoid yellowing nails. Or always use a base coat. Its worth not having witch talons in the future. If your nails discolor using red nail polish, soaking them in lemon juice usually sorts them out. There’s only one time of the year for witches and thats not everyday.

The best mascara brand is Rimmel. My preference is Rimmel Kate.

‎Never go make a beeline for the hottest guy in the room. He’ll be riddled with issues and insecurities. Go for the 3rd hottest. He will always be more grounded and likely a keeper.

Never moisturise hands and feet before a yoga class. You’ll slip & slide and binding poses will be impossible.

People say we live in an equal age where women can get up to the same as men and we all pretend its true. It’s not. We would like it to be so yes. Women will be judged for being sexually open / over promiscuous or bitches / bossy/ good bosses. You choose what seems to be appropriate and whether your life choice will ultimately be a positive or negative decision.

Ladies please wear shoes your real size. When did it become a thing to wear sexy heels that are a size or two too big and flopping off your heels as you walk? Weird.

LIFE

Don’t be old-skool British in your thinking. We are far too modest and afraid to push ourselves forwards. Don’t think that by pushing yourself forwards you are being ‘’too much or too pushy’’. Shine as brightly as you can and don’t let others make you feel insecure about it. People offended by your light shining don’t have your best interests at heart. When i work with American and Asian colleagues they are pushing themselves, their brands and ideas daily, literally after I’ve just shaken hands with them.

Haters are a good sign. The more they hate the better you must be doing. Let the haters fuel your ambition. Yes haters, keep watching, i have much more for you.

Be ever-thankful for your mentors in life. Those that have supported and guided you through your journey. Mine were my ballet teachers Joan Crouch and Sara Ridley, my bosses at MTV Kim Luck, Will MacLachlan and Richard Godfrey, my former MTV SVP colleague- now life mentor Fleur Sarfaty and Channel 4 News’ editor/ now factual commissioner Shaminder Nahal. An amazing set of people that have inspired me to mentor downwards and pass on the good vibes.

Sometimes when you lose you really win. Job interviews / romances / opportunities. Trust me. Something better is around the corner waiting to scoop you up.

Video your loved ones in happy times. Ask them questions about their lives, hopes, dreams, and achievements. Once they’ve passed away, photos won’t be enough. It’s their voice and mannerisms you’ll miss most. Most importantly cherish your parents. You can never know the sacrifices they’ve made and how much they’ve worried about you.

Never believe people who are a hot organisational mess at home but insist that they are really organised at work. If you’re late, miss deadlines and have no manners consistently, this usually reflects across all your life areas. Fix up.

We all have our own crosses and burdens to bear. No ones life is perfect. It’s difficult to juggle family, life, career and love. We all go through pain. Don’t be afraid to share your anxieties. Once you share you will find everyone else shares theirs too. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is true.

In the last few years of my dad’s life when I was his sole carer I tried to juggle horrific carer and life scenarios. It was hell. Once I shared my woes with close friends, family and colleagues I was supported and informed of organizations that could help. We all have our ‘’thing’’ going on. Be kind to each other.

When you see injustice, are you brave enough to stand alone and voice your thoughts, to try and be that one small step that leads and builds movement and momentum to make society a better place?

Ask yourself “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t, so I can spend the rest of my life like many people can’t”. If you’re not, then stop whining and stay in your lane.

Don’t be afraid to give out compliments to others if it instantly comes to you. See a classy woman, like her fashion, admire her hair, and love her speech? Tell her. Women supporting women is a great thing. We hear a lot about women putting each other down. Tell someone why they stood out to you. You will feel great. They will feel greater. People will forget what you said to them but never forget how you made them feel.

The world is your classroom. Travel as much as you can and see this amazing planet that we call home.

Happy International Womens Day 2017!

Jasmine’s Juice – Oscar Nominated Film LOVING Is A Must Watch!

“Why didn’t I know about this before?”
This is a common refrain heard when discovering human rights breakthroughs from decades past – and the love story of Richard and Mildred Loving has paved the way for many more since.

Loving is the new film from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special). The Loving family story is reflected in a film out this week in the UK.

The film Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (portrayed in the film by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who fell in love and were married in 1958.

The couple had grown up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C. While relatives made them feel welcome there, the more urban environment did not feel like home to them. Ultimately, the pull of their roots in Virginia would spur Mildred to try to find a way back.
Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Richard and Mildred returned home and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since. Loving began production in the fall of 2015. In a further emphasis on authenticity in recounting the Lovings‟ story, the movie was made on location in Virginia.

It’s no wonder that lead actress Ruth Negga has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Her southern American accent is scarily authentic and it was a total surprise to discover that she’s an Irish born and bred lass!

Loving is a film that’s mind-blowing when I consider how much of the population is mixed-race, inter racial, whatever term you feel comfortable using.
Most of my nearest and dearest are of mixed culture, creed and background and the idea that within the past century, their parents hooking up was illegal, is simply inconceivable.

Based in the state of Virginia, many are shocked to learn that this all took place in the past century, but interracial marriage is still frowned upon in some parts of the world, and considering the political world changes and President Trumps current journey, has much changed out there?

There have been a spate of inter racial relationship films being made in recent years, with A United Kingdom also being released this year too. It’s interesting that these tales are all coming the forefront at this politically unstable time.

Its also interesting that the Lovings fought to be married just a few decades ago yet now research globally shows that the sanctity of marriage is dying across the modern world. Its important that these hidden stories are told so that we can gain perspective on our parents and grandparents generations and the struggle and times that they endured.

I often wonder when it comes to life styles and law (gun laws, abortion rights etc), whether the UK are decades ahead of the USA, especially also in terms of interracial harmony and mixed marriages and families? Are Americans becoming less tolerant of ‘other races”?

For many years recently there have been numerous black stories and casts leading cinema narratives.
For a long time the stories were based around stories of suppression like 12 years a slave, Mandela, The Help and more.
I find it extremely refreshing that now the balance is also seeing historical inspiring tales like Hidden Figures becoming popular.

Richard and Mildred‟s history is now told anew by acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols in Loving. “I was struck by the simplicity of their beautiful love story,” says the filmmaker.
Richard, who was white, and Mildred, who was African-American and Native-American, were an ordinary couple from Central Point, Virginia. They decided to marry and start a family. Yet, at that time in Virginia, what they did was against the law and they were arrested soon after getting married.

As the plaintiffs in Loving v. Virginia, they were catalysts for the Supreme Court decision that abolished anti-miscegenation laws – or, laws against interracial marriage – in the United States. In establishing marriage as a fundamental right, Loving v. Virginia is still frequently cited in court cases today, including in challenges to gay marriage bans.

But the Lovings were not activists; they merely reasonably expected that their fully legal marriage in Washington D.C. would suffice for them to live peacefully in their hometown of Central Point. Initially, they made no appeal after they were arrested for violating Virginia‟s anti-miscegenation laws, and agreed to a plea bargain that effectively banished them from their home state.

When the Lovings finally sought legal aid in 1963, their sole aim was to be able to get back to – and live in their – home. It was only in 1965, at the urging of their attorneys Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, that the couple agreed to go public with their story and talk to the press. After the Supreme Court handed down its decision in their favor in June 1967, the Lovings went back to their everyday lives and to raising their three children in Central Point, and rarely gave interviews.

In 2008, the surviving member of the couple, Mildred, passed away. Reading about Mildred, documentary filmmaker Nancy Buirski was moved by the Lovings‟ unshakable devotion to one another – and by the contemporary relevance of their case. Buirski decided to make a documentary feature about Richard and Mildred Loving. Her research led her to television news producer Hope Ryden, who had spent hours filming the Lovings at home in 1965 and then returned in 1967 for ABC-TV to profile them on the eve of the ruling. That footage and other archival resources, including luminous photos by Life Magazine photographer Grey Villet, were utilized by Buirski in writing, producing, and directing The Loving Story.

The Lovings‟ surviving child, Peggy Loving, was a consultant to the production. She visited the set and was struck by how thoroughly the actors had channelled her parents – in character and in costume.

The documentary played at festivals in 2011 before being shown on HBO on Valentine‟s Day, 2012. It won a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award, among other honors, and captivated audiences and critics alike with its depiction of a committed and courageous couple who, above all else, were very much in love.

One of those captivated viewers was Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth, who was already aware of the documentary; Buirski had been in contact with Firth regarding a feature version of the story after learning from Firth‟s wife Livia of his interest in American politics and social history. By 2009, Buirski and Firth were brainstorming a narrative structure and began working on a screenplay.


FILM PRODUCER GED DOHERTY AND COLIN FIRTH.

In January 2011, Firth called Buirski to tell her that he was teaming with Ged Doherty to launch a production company, Raindog Films and that as a first project, he had brought up to Doherty a narrative feature version of The Loving Story. Buirski remembers, “Colin had just won the Golden Globe Award for The King’s Speech but I was the one who was overjoyed!” Buirski remembers.

Doherty remarks, “Colin was very taken with the simplicity of the story, with how this ordinary couple made a huge difference in the lives of other couples.

RAINDOG FILMS – GED DOHERTY.

“After watching the documentary, I became obsessed. I literally did not sleep for 48 hours because I was looking at everything I could find online. Yes, this was a landmark legal case, but first and foremost at its heart it was a beautiful love story. Colin and I felt more people worldwide should know about the Lovings, and we were determined to tell their story as a dramatic feature based in part on Nancy‟s documentary.”
The next step was to find a writer and director. When the three producers saw Jeff Nichols‟ Mud at a specially arranged screening in 2012, they sensed that the filmmaker‟s cinematic sensibility and intuitive depictions of Southern men and women would be ideal for the film they wanted to make.

Doherty adds, “We also watched Take Shelter. With Jeff’s work the tension and drama are rich and often are in what is not said; he conveys so much with just a look to the camera or a shot of a landscape. We felt that would suit Richard and Mildred Loving, and the character of people that they were.”

Having already made three feature films, Nichols had not considered writing or directing a film that wasn’t a product of his own imagination. Still, he agreed to consider the project – and its story, which intrigued him.
Nichols watched the documentary and noted the import and continuing positive impact of Loving v. Virginia. But he was most drawn to Richard and Mildred’s quiet determination to live and love as they chose.


OSCAR NOMINATED RUTH NEGGA.

Negga had been deeply affected by The Loving Story. She explains, “I thought the documentary was brilliant and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of Richard and Mildred before. I was completely fascinated, not only because Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case, but also because theirs is the most beautiful love story. Their story just stayed with me. All Mildred wanted was to be able to be married to the man she loved. Not every hero has a loud voice.

“Jeff’s script tells the story of two people in love, not two activists – even though they did change the course of American legal history. I feel that all of his films are about everyday people.”
Once she had gotten the script pages, the actress holed up in her L.A. hotel room for three days to prepare, trying to channel Mildred as best she could. She reports, “I watched the documentary over and over again and worked on those scenes from the script like I had never worked on anything before. I felt such an affinity with Mildred and I couldn’t imagine not playing the part.”

‘Loving’ film’s portrayal of interracial marriage is relevant today and I have all my fingers and toes crossed for February 26th in hope that Negga wins the Oscar she so very dearly deserves.