Jasmine’s Juice – RTS Futures (Royal Television Society) ULTIMATE Careers Fair 2017.


The RTS Futures annual careers fair was the ULTIMATE TV careers fair this year, with just under 1000 young people from all over the UK attending the new location for the fair – Islingtons Business Design Centre.


Every UK TV broadcaster attended with a stall, where they exhibited their TV brand and informed inquisitive young people about the opportunities up for grabs in TV world all across the country.

As well as stalls around the circumference of the hall, there were new areas like the ASK ME ANYTHING area where TV staff from all across the industry fielded hundreds of questions from people all day about their jobs. Costume designs from dramas, make up for TV experts, exec producers, development teams, commissioners and so much more answered anything you’ve always wanted to know about getting a job in the industry.

On the other side of the hall was the extremely popular CV CLINIC, where TV professionals were happy to advise and consult (for free) for all those that had remembered to bring their CV’s along and whip them into tip-top condition.

As if that wasn’t enough, off in a side hall were the best hourly panel sessions, which were fascinating!

Experts from all across the industry spoke about various themes such as ‘how to spot talent’ and more.

It was media gold info that even seasoned professionals in the industry could’ve learnt from.

RTS Futures Chair and TV legend Donna Taberer oversaw the very successful day that was even trending on twitter!



The wonderful ITV news host Charlene White popped by and volunteered to take questions for 20 minutes in a moment I dubbed #60SecondsWithCharleneWhite


As if that wasn’t enough to keep us all occupied all day from 10am when the doors opened until 7pm when we had to throw people out, there were also a guest appearance from the incredible TV magician Dynamo, who also spoke about how he and his tenacious manager Dan Albian had managed to break into the industry, and take the Dyanmo brand to its now, global success, (you can read that whole interview very soon in The National Student magazine online).

Everyone commented on what an amazing day it was both for TV broadcasters looking to recruit new, young talent, as well as young people being a lot more focused and gaining clarity on all their questions around the industry.


Attendees even got to sit in the Game Of Thrones throne (I had my breakfast in it at 10am) and Viacom (MTV/CHANNEL 5/COMEDY CENTRAL/ NICKELODEON) even had a ring light GIF stand where we were all very silly posing and shrieking with laughter.


The day was a perfect microcosm of telly world. We talk- a lot- meet new people, get offered stuff, agree to stuff, reject stuff, ask more questions, talk a lot, pose, roar with laughter and have a great time. No two days in media are ever the same. It’s the best job in the world!

Attendees this year also heard from apprentices past and present as they talked about their experiences of applying, what they did during the scheme and what they’ve done afterwards.
So whether you want to get into development, become a journalist or want to do the artwork for productions like Channel 4’s Indian Summers, there’s a scheme for you!
Join us next year at the RTS Futures ULTIMATE Careers Fair 2018!

Follow @RTS_Futures on twitter.


Jasmine’s Juice – G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) Sneakers Exhibit – The Archivist ,Haggerston.

The G.O.A.T Sneakers exhibit was a fun, fab and educational spot to check out.
The exhibit is on for another week and if you’re a trainer freak you won’t want to miss it.

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The exhibit showcases the most classic era of trainers. The most popular, the most valuable, the history behind them, political stories, hip hop anecdotes, it’s really entertaining and informative.

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Apparently this is what the inside of a trainer obsessed collector’s mind looks like;
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Lets cut to the chase. This is what you came for. Here are the top trainers of all time- I knew adidas would top the list!

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So many fascinating stories, like the one about the two feuding brothers who launched adidas and puma.

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We were informed about facts like adidas WEREN’T the first to launch stripes sneakers…Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 15.55.53

but this was one of the very first EVER trainers made. #AdidasSamba

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Here are the runners up that DIDN’T make the winners list.
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There’s lots of info on your trainers that you never knew! Who knew!
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Fascinating stories and info about one of the biggest inspirations behind a ”sneaker”

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…and even outrageous product placement issues that made the brand bigger..

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Owning cool kicks is an obsession. I have around 100 easily.

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I have trainers that are this old from the 80’s- really.

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And i was one of the first to have these when they made a comeback….

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The G.O.A.T wore adidas.

Jasmine’s Juice – The BRIT Awards 2017 – Finally A True Reflection Of The UK Music Scene.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com

All images courtesy – John Marshall.


So this time last year, there was uproar on both sides of the pond when the #oscarssowhite and #britssowhite tweets were bouncing across the globe demanding more diversity and an equal playing field for everyone.
Very quickly both brands responded by re-hauling their voting academies, and whilst there was much cynicism on the part of the public, music and film industries and indeed the new panelists themselves, this week, within just a few months, it was proven to have worked.

In one of the most clear and powerful case studies to date about how diversity strategies work, the UK’s BRIT Awards (British Record Industry Trust), which is the biggest music show from the UK that airs globally, has stepped up to the plate, acknowledged its short-comings and made positive change.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


A few months ago myself and many other names like singer Lily Allen and grime star Stormzy, joined in the heated debate as to why the BRITs never seemed to acknowledge the British black music acts that came from rap and grime backgrounds. One famous female black music act was run into the ground on social media for her colour blind comments which suggested that there was no problem.

In a few months the umbrella brand that runs The Brit Awards – The BPI – has removed around a third of the more stalwart voters on the academy who were no longer involved in the UK music industry, and added a fresh line up of younger, more female and more voters from ethnic backgrounds (including me- I ticked every box!) that were more representative overall of the UK’s make up, leading to a totally different type of line up of star name nominees acknowledged this year.
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Photo image – Monique Richards.

This weekend, the BRIT Awards revealed in a live show televised across the UK on ITV, its 2017 nominees and boy was it a revelation! The nominee make-up was totally different to previous years where we were more used to, erm, a certain type of act from a very specific background getting a nod of honour.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


Following these changes, there are over 20 nominations for BAME artists at this year’s awards. BAME names like Craig David, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka and Skepta have all been nominated for the best British male category alongside David Bowie whilst Nao, Emile Sande and Lianne La Havas are nominated for best British female, while Stormzy who called the awards “embarrassing” last year for ignoring grime artists, has been shortlisted for best British breakthrough. A big difference.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


This year one of grime music’s biggest names – Skepta – is a leading name with three nominations. This, after years of most UK black music acts as well as the grime music genre being totally over-looked. Skepta shares this top-billing with the UK’s biggest girl band, pop starlets, Little Mix who also lead with three. The band will also perform at this year’s ceremony as well as The 1975 and Emeli Sandé.

Skepta’s three nominations are for British Male Solo Artist, British Breakthrough Act and Mastercard British Album of the Year for the critically acclaimed album ‘Konnichiwa’. His first ever BRIT Award nominations follow a phenomenal year including his highest ever chart success.

After the nominees were revealed Skepta co-signed his manager Grace Ladoja’s social media comments, who wrote in a post: “They have to accept us as equals… They have to accept there is a new blueprint in music.”

The journalist’s cliché ‘’only time will tell’’ applies here if you’re wondering whether Skepta will be Craig David-ed. Yes I did just use Craig David as a verb here. In the last 16 years poor Craig has been nominated for a grand total of 16 BRIT Awards and won….none. In the launch show this weekend just gone Craig performed alongside his peers Christine and the Queens, Calum Scott and Critics’ Choice Winner Rag’n’Bone Man.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


One winner from this years show has already been announced. Brits Critics Choice winner is Rag’n’ Bone Man (Rory Graham). Before being lauded as a singer / songwriter, Rory was actually a drum n bass MC from the jungle and pirate radio scene and also worked as a carer before eventually getting into the blues. He is refreshingly un pop star-like with his very dad-like physique and image.

David Bowie and Leonard Cohen have both been recognised posthumously. The late Bowie, as expected, received two posthumous nominations in British Male Solo Artist and Mastercard Album of the Year with Leonard Cohen receiving his first BRIT Award nomination in International Male Solo Artist.

Two nominations each go to The 1975, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Calvin Harris, James Arthur, Clean Bandit, Jonas Blue, Tinie Tempah and Coldplay and amazingly, Sisters Beyoncé and Solange go head to head in the International Female Solo Artist category. See, when you include younger, more connected, streaming, engaged music lovers who are much more in tune with the population’s tastes you are left with a vastly different final result. The bottom line here is that small steps count and even if these more ‘diverse’ acts don’t win thats no problem, at least they are finally being recognized.

Also receiving two nominations each are Kano (British Male Solo Artist, Mastercard British Album of the Year), and Michael Kiwanuka (British Male Solo Artist, Mastercard British Album of the Year) and The 1975 (British Group, Mastercard British Album of the Year). The melanin just keeps on coming. This years nominees do really feel like a more balanced, realistic reflection of what’s really popping in the UK music scene.

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


Its not just the nominations that reflect a forward looking brand. The BRITs are also acknowledging the digital world domination, by naming not the usual FM radio stations of yesterday as media partners, but Apple Music as the official music streaming and download partner for this years event.

BRITs Chairman Jason Iley (who must’ve been relived that all was finally well and healthy with his brand) gushed: “The 2017 BRIT nominations reflect a diverse and rich year in music both in the UK and internationally. Huge artists from the past, present and future are represented. From pop, to indie, to grime, to rock; it’s a brilliant and varied roll call of talent – a fantastic showcase for what’s happening in music right now.”

The BRIT Awards 2017 - The BRITs Are Coming - Nominations Launch, The (ITV) London Studios, Saturday, 14, January, 2017, Photo Credit: John Marshall - jmenternational.com

The BRIT Awards 2017 – The BRITs Are Coming – Nominations Launch,
The (ITV) London Studios,
Saturday, 14, January, 2017,
Photo Credit: John Marshall – jmenternational.com


A few years ago we would’ve moaned and complained behind closed doors about the lack of diversity at brands and known that nothing would change. However the Internet and social media has turned that notion on its head. People powered change is a thing. In a few moments a hash tag can spread around the world and we have the Internet to thank for making our universe a smaller, more connected planet. One small step at a time, we can change things to be equal for us all.

As my fellow Capricorn King Martin Luther King said ‘’commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in’’.

About BRIT – British Record Industry Trust
It’s important to understand how these brands and voting academies work. The BRIT (British Record Industry Trust) Awards are organised by the BPI – the record labels’ association that promotes British music. The BPI’s membership is made up of over 370 independent labels as well as the UK’s three major record companies – collectively they account for over 80 per cent of the music consumed in the UK and around one in six of all the artist albums sold around the world. 2017 will celebrate the Awards 37th show since its debut year in 1977 (which was followed by a short break of a couple of years).

The BRIT Awards have established themselves as a global music institution that annually celebrates UK chart and commercial successes. Last year (2016) The BRITs celebrated an incredible night in British music with Adele picking up four Awards as well as giving a show stopping performance.

The Awards raised an incredible £265k for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The BRIT Trust from live performance downloads and streams from the ceremony. The BRIT Awards annually raises funds for The BRIT Trust charity, whose main beneficiaries are the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and other selected charities. To date, over £16.8million has been raised for The BRIT Trust charity.

Over 8,000 young people have been given free education and the opportunity to enter the BRIT School since its opening in 1991 and more than 10,000 children and adults have been helped by the extraordinary music therapy work carried out by Nordoff-Robbins.

The BRIT Awards 2017 with Mastercard will exclusively broadcast live on ITV – on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 from The O2 Arena, London

Jasmine’s Juice – R&B Icons Joe And Ashanti Are Coming To The UK!

So a quick win for Christmas presents on my side are tickets for music shows and one just popped up that i know i will be gathering a huge group together for a fun night out.

R&B LEGENDS JOE & ASHANTI – are coming to the UK and Live in Concert for two big dates.

Saturday 25th February 2017 at the O2 Academy Birmingham & Sunday 26th February 2017 at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo London.


The two mega US R&B icons of the ‘90’s and the early 2000’s will come together for the first time in history for the first major R&B concert of 2017 and I for one am getting out my old albums from both artists to get myself ready.

I first met Joe at his very first London showcase at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill Gate. I remember it to this day. He wore really ridiculously baggy jeans, a red sweatshirt and a Tupac-esque bandana as he serenaded us with his hits from ”My name is Joe”.

After that I met him on numerous occasions for MTV News interviews, Christmas and New Years in Acapulco with Mariah, and he even came to one of my annual birthday parties in Kensington the same year as Usher and just got down with the vibes. A true legend. I can still play his albums back to back and sing along all day long.

Joe is a Grammy nominated songwriter,and certainly needs no introduction to die hard R&B fans. Serenading true R&B and New Jack Swing lovers of the ‘90’s with his debut album ‘Everything’ and hit song ‘I’m In Luv’; his second (sophomore) album, ‘All That I Am’ in 1997, earned him his position, as the King of R&B.

With over 14+ years of ground breaking and heartfelt ballads and songs, 12 albums and more than 15 million records sold, Joe has became the voice of many men and women in love, with some of his biggest songs of his career including ‘Don’t Wanna Be a Player’, ‘Stutter’, ‘If I Was Your Man’ and ‘Thank God I Found You’ featuring Mariah Carey and Nas.

Set to hit the stage performing his R&B classics and songs from his 2016 12th studio album, ‘#MyNameIsJoeThomas’ including his rendition of Adele’s diamond selling single ‘Hello’ and debut single off the album ‘So I Can Have You Back’.


Grammy award winning singer Ashanti is one of the most successful female artists of the millennium. Stepping on the scene with successful collaborations with Hip Hop heavyweights Fat Joe’s ‘What’s Luv?’ and Ja Rule’s ‘Always on Time’, followed by her triple platinum self titled debut album – ‘Ashanti’; the first lady of Murder Inc, released unforgettable hits such as, ‘Foolish’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Baby’, becoming the second artist of all time after The Beatles to have ever had their first three chart entries simultaneously in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

I first met Ashanti when Ja Rule and Irv Gotti introduced her to me many years ago at MTV. She was always TV ready, media trained yet fun and totally professional and fun.
I also filmed a few VMA shows with her in New York where we had fun during sound check breaks.


The talented songstress will return to the UK for the first time in three years and is set to release her upcoming sixth studio album in 2017.

It’s always a risk to see our Nineties legends in concert so many years after their hey-day in case they do a K Ci and let us down, but i can honestly say i know this will be a great gig. Both acts have pipes for days and would never knowingly be anything less than great live onstage.

It’s time to celebrate the amazing music of these two legends in one night, taking you from the 90s, right through to the noughties!

Tickets for this EXCLUSIVE show start from £32 and will be available to purchase at www.ticketmaster.co.uk, www.ticketweb.co.uk and www.eventimapollo.com from Friday 16th December 2016.
See you there!

Jasmine’s Juice – Digital iS Media Awards 2016!

All images – Richard Pascoe Photography / Digital iS Media Awards 2016.

Last night, hundreds of future leaders from the UK’s untapped digital world gathered at the May Fair Hotel in central London, to celebrate the biggest movers and shakers online from the past twelve months.

Awards show hosts; Joivan Wade , Percelle ‘Percy’ Ascott and Dee Kaate.

The ceremony was hosted by Joivan Wade (Doctor Who, E4 Youngers and Wall of Comedy), Percelle ‘Percy’ Ascott (Silent Witness, Wizards v Aliens, and Wall of Comedy) alongside Dee Kaate (Wall of Comedy) – who were previously collectively known as Man Dem On The Wall.

Presenters on the night included BAFTA Award winner Noel Clarke, who presented Gal Dem with Favourite Arts & Entertainment/Lifestyle Site/Mag.

Global producer and hit maker Naughty Boy presented the Favourite Web Series Actress to Ola Adaeze, star of Boxx.

Breaking the mould in radio broadcast were winners Not For The Radio who picked up Favourite Online Talk Show. With their basic panel set-up of four presenters interviewing one solo music star for over an hour, they have de-bunked everything that media content makers are told about creating short, snappy, highlights. NFTR viewers are tuning in and staying logged into these long informal chats for up to two hours at a time!

The NFTR award was presented by Jodie Abacus – the hot new soul sensation named by Elton John as ‘one to watch’ for 2017.

The coveted Favourite Web Series Ensemble Award was went to A Lesson Learnt, presented by actor Kofi Abrefa, best known for treading the boards at The National (A Taste of Honey) and staring in Channel 4’s future robot saturated world – Humans.

Gal Dem winners!

Hood Documentary were the big winners on the night taking home two awards for Favourite Web Series and Best Web Series Actor, which went to Kayode Ewumi. The spoof documentary follows wannabe Grime MC Roll Safe as he guides viewers around the ‘hood’.

Media Industry Key Influencers Attend The Evening To Check Out The Talent.

A Dot Comedian,a talent who I’ve known since his early days when he was hustling the underground comedy scene, is known for his theatre shows, MTV and ITV credits, and won Favourite Online Comedian.

Google’s Social Media Manager Mercedes Benson presented an award on the night.

Charles Thompson MBE,is the man and founder of the Screen Nation Awards (over twenty years ago) and more recently the Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards (in 2014). Charles is at the vanguard of celebrating and giving a voice to a ‘hidden community’ – a subject that my London360 reporters have just made a TV special about for Community Channel (SKY,Virgin, Freeview) and London Live, titled ‘London Undercover’, so it’s an area getting much focus currently.

Aaron Roach-Bridgman Presented The Honorary Awards.

When Charles launched the Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards three years ago to recognise and reward excellence, from this ‘hidden community’; literally millions of online Black British talent, YouTube superstars and business entrepreneurs had already saturated the digital landscape. Even major brands like Huffington Post have a Black Voices brand – they understand this is a rapidly growing, very economically-strong demographic with a commercial mind-set.

This hidden community with it’s DIY ethos, is made up of millennials who are creating vlogs, blogs, news platforms, apps, games, comedy and web series which are being viewed by millions of other millenials globally, yet are practically ignored by the UK mainstream media.

KSI for example, is a black Londoner who is one of the biggest web stars on the planet. Do you think he’s a household name? No. Yet when I attended his recent film premiere at the O2, hundreds of young people were hysterically screaming for him and his peers. The adults? No clue.


The #DigitaliSMediaAwards has been the only awards show to recognise these talented young stars and give them validation and it’s growing annually.

For example, nominated for the Digital Achievement Award was Fanbytes, which reaches millions of millennials and is the UK’s largest social video platform. Forbes described Tim Armoo and Ambrose Cooke, the duo behind Fanbytes as ‘the millennials redefining how brands market to other millenials’. These innovators count huge brands like Disney, adidas, New Look, Go Pro and Nickelodeon as their clients.


Emerging YouTube stars such as King Cas, (who can count BAFTA winning actor John Boyega as a fan) had over 2 million views on Facebook for his first show, yet you would struggle to find him featured in any mainstream media or Kayode Ewumi, 22 year old, comedian, creator and star of Hood Documentary. The online series was so successful it has now been commission by (ironically, now, an online platform) BBC Three.

A vast array of talent is being ignored by the old school media gate-keepers, yet this talent is clearly an enormous force to be reckoned with, commanding both trendsetting power and as well as tremendous influence.

Internet stars Tights and Kay persuade me – actually not much persuasion was needed- to act a fool.

I’ve mentioned this repeatedly in the past in my past columns but all too often UK media often questions whether we need the MOBO awards, Asian Awards, BUFF Film Festival, Screen Nation Awards, British Black List, Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards? Yes we do, for without these, all of this great talent would continue to go unrecognised and more importantly championed the way ‘the rest’ are.

Jasmine with The Colour Network co-founder – Annika Allen.

Take Annika Allen, the Co-Founder of The Colour Network which is an online TV platform commissioning its own content from new digital stars of the future.

Or Dionne Grant, a former editor at The Voice news paper who has now left the old school print press brand, to set up her own news platform titled The Young Empire.

The Awards, now in their third year, were established to celebrate innovative Black talent in new media: web show creators and content makers, who write, cast, shoot and edit live on location on their mobile devices, bluetooth the content back to a live gallery for airing on mainstream broadcast networks as well as their own YouTube channels. A double win.

These superhero digital creators then market their content via social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and more to generate voluminous fan bases all across the globe.

So the next time you’re sitting comfortably watching your favourite weekly soap on a mainstream channel, think about the digital monster that has its tentacles spread across young peoples eyes, ears and hearts.

There’s a movement that’s been going on right under your noses. Are you a part of recognising it’s power and journey and jumping on board? Or will you be crushed under it’s momentum and force as it sweeps past you into the new age?

#DigitaliSMediaAwards /#DigitaliSMediaAwards2016


Favourite Web Series Actor
Ishmael Majid – Levelz
Kayode Ewumi – Hood Documentary – WINNER
Khaleb Brooks – Boxx
King Cas – New Skool Life
Kingsley Amadi – Spin (Season Finale)
Michael Gyekye – How Did We Get Here
Stephen Boyce – How Did We Get Here
Sylvester Akinrolabu – A Lesson Learnt

Favourite Web Series Actress
Joanne Sandi – A Lesson Learnt, TV Footballers
Kamara Bacchus – How Did We Get Here
Linda Adey – Dear Jesus
Natalie Gumede – Sally the Life Coach
Olu Adaeze – Boxx – WINNER
Scarlett Carter – A Lesson Learnt
Vanessa Donovan – Shrink

Favourite Web Series Ensemble
A Lesson Learnt S1 – Wondervision Films – WINNER

Boxx S1 – Joi Productions in Assn with Plot Lost Prods
Concealed S1 – Sandra Koree/Clever Lens Media Production
Dear Jesus S4 – Wonderlondon
Levelz S1 – Paul Opara, Shawn John, Malik Marli/Ezeo Media
New Skool Life S1 – Street Seven Films
Spin S2 (Season Finale) – Spin Drama TV

Favourite Web Series
A Lesson Learnt S1 – Priscilla Owusu, Danny Wonders/Wondervision Films
Boxx S1 – Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Yrsa Daley-Ward/Joi Productions in Assn with Plot Lost Prods
Dear Jesus S4 – Danielle A Scott-Haughton/Wonderlondon
Hood Documentary S1 – Tryrell Williams/TkCreatives – WINNER
Hot Pepper S1 – Destiny Ekaragha/2far Films
How Did We Get Here S2 – Cardy Films/Bwng
Shrink S1 – Katrina Smith Jackson, Trish M. Chanda/Auteur Vision Media
TV Footballers S1 – Matthew Allick, Chris Alozie/Allick Productions

Favourite Short Film
Deep It – Dir. Teddy Nygh / Prod Nick Bedu -WINNER
Fabric of The Royals – Dir./Wri. Verona Rose
New Beginnings – Dir Nicole Volavka
The Works – Dir./Wri. Elliot Barnes-Worrell
Wild in the Wind – Dir./Wri. Ejiro Okorodudu
Wilton – Dir./Wri. Cecile Emeke

Favourite Online Comedian
A Dot Comedian WINNER

Arnold Jorge
Ds Rants’n’Bants
Tommy Moutchi
Uncle Rafool

Favourite Podcast
3 Shots Of Tequila – https://soundcloud.com/3shotsoftequila WINNER

Artistic State Of Mind – https://soundcloud.com/artistic-state-mind
Half Cast/Chuckie Online – https://soundcloud.com/chuckieonline
Melanin Millennials – https://soundcloud.com/melaninmillennials
Mostly Lit – https://soundcloud.com/mostly-lit
Tea And Biscuits – https://soundcloud.com/tea-biscuits-1

Not For The Radio


GRM Daily


Kayode Ewumi

Olu Adaeze

A Lesson Learnt


Deep It

A Dot Comedian

3 Shots Of Tequila

Not For The Radio


GRM Daily

Digital Achievement (honorary)
Steven Bartlett
Timothy Armoo & Ambrose Cooke

The London360 junior interns Miranda, Kavita, Rute, Eunice, Cleo), were on hand with social media all evening and #DigitaliSMediaAwards was trending!

Jasmine’s Juice – When Will Met Bill – Inspiring The Future Tech Generation.


With Google, Apple and Facebook this week announcing huge investment into its London staff bases, juxtaposed with the fact that thousands of youth organizations like STEMETTE (showing the next generations that girls do science) are now popping up everywhere, its been clear to the kids for a long while now that the future is digital.

Another recent driver to the tech world for students is an initiative called the IDEAS bus, which is a big yellow American school bus that has been gutted inside and refitted to house the entire tech offering.

The tech bus tours London’s schools and colleges for free, armed with VR (Virtual Reality) headsets that can give students the opportunity to experience a moon landing or the pyramids of Egypt, 3D printing and much more. The aim of the IDEAS bus is to turn make sure all students have exposure to cutting edge tech and secure the future of the UK as a business and tech powerhouse.

Interestingly a survey Driving Technology (the company behind the Ideas bus) ran showed that two thirds of parents don’t think being an entrepreneur or working in tech is a proper job!

Whereas whilst the dream being sold to millennial only a decade ago were options to be a rapper, footballer or reality TV star, nowadays the hip hop generation is one of the most tech savvy in the world, but is it infiltrating urban inner city disadvantaged areas?

This past month a very select group of tech and media key influencers were invited to the Natural History Museum in London to hear two highly influential, ground-breaking men discuss the future of tech and the impact of A.I on our future lives.


American rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, actor, musician, DJ, record producer and philanthropist Will I Am, met American business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. Bill Gates, to have a conversation led by Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands.

I was lucky enough to be invited by my old compadre Will to accompany him on the night.

Just before the conversation there was a brief talk by Helena Nodenstedt from the Gapminder Foundation and Karolinska Institutet, that showed how technology, education and location affected a societies health and quality of life.


The conversation was both serious and light hearted with much banter and passion around the world of tech and how tech has been used for good globally.
What was really nice to see was that someone with the fame of Will would be so in awe and admiring of his hero Bill Gates, yet their conversation was natural, relaxed and powerfully inspiring. Afterwards the audience were clamouring to tell Will about their own STEM inspired activities.


Below are some of the snippets from the conversation between Will and Bill to show how two great men from different fields are on very similar globally ambitious trajectories;

“Will. It’s my hope to inspire kids around the world to want to be tech stars in stem subjects. My foundation (http://iamangelfoundation.org/), teaches youth to feel comfy and learn stem so they can be a part of the future”

Bill. 50 years from now we won’t need as much human labour to do what manual workers do, so we should be able to take that extra productivity and put it to better use.
In the US IN THE 1900’S 60 % of people were employed on the farms. Today it’s less than 1%. If you told people back then that this would happen they wouldn’t have believed it. If you told them we would have therapy, massages and spas that played important parts in our lives they would’ve have believed us.

‎Will. I don’t wanna believe that racism exists, but the more I wish it away, the more I realise it’s in our system. I know that unless we teach our kids how to use stem to their advantage its going to be tough out there for the next generation. But also it has its disadvantages; you could use artificial intelligence to build a system around postcodes and income, which could lead to racial profiling.

‎Will ‘‘every school has a football field and only one gender and huge brands benefit. All males and the NFL. My 13-year-old niece isn’t taking stem subjects in class. We know A.I is a big subject now and it’s changing the world. We know things like uber changed the world. It’s not changing life for kids and in the hoods though unless we help teach them this now.

‎Bill. It’s ironic that this amazing invention of the Internet has made information gathering easier available than ever, but that this platform also helps spread misinformation. Regulation has never really worked unless it’s hate speech libel etc. But the way young people are joining communities online, and agreeing and separating themselves and creating their own facts about things like vaccination, is worrying.

Will. If you look at the world now its one that we couldn’t have imagined in 1997!. That I would be able to hit a button and a taxi will show up? We wouldn’t have believed that everything is disposable!. We have to imagine what A.I means 20 years from now? One day we’ll have our own personal A.I. Today we all give all our data away all day long while aiming to maintaining our privacy. In future A.I will attract things that are associated with ‘’my data’’. My “I-data-ty” identity. In future we’ll have a different type of rich and poor. Good A.I. Versus. wack A.I… it’ll be like kids in the inner city now.

Sarah Sands. What can we do to get kids into stem more?
Will; Every year there’s an Oscar Grammy and we celebrate those shows. We do the same in the U.S about sports schools and colleges. The same thing doesn’t happen for tech and stem. Folks wanna be like Bill I Am not Bill I Am. They wanna be like Stevie Wonder not Steve Jobs.
Last time I checked I held a Grammy, but when we do our thank you speeches, we thank God, friends and family. We forget to thank the scientists that began these musical inventions and systems. The guy that invented the phonograph and gramophone – Thomas Edison!

‎Bill. The next big invention that will change the way we live should be things like ways of generating energy like electricity. The thing that will change the world most rapidly is A.I. The computer will live your life, listen to you and understand you better than humans can. In many ways this is great news. With our foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/) we use cell phones to send money to relatives. We can also survey people to see if their health needs are met. However robotics and other combinations will make the world pretty fantastic compared with today.

Sarah Sands; Will we humans become redundant?
‎Bill. As we get robots becoming more sophisticated, I think we should worry sooner rather than later on how much they could take over, but I think it’ll mostly be a positive thing. In terms of deadlines it won’t be any worse than nuclear weapons.

‎Sarah Sands; Can the planet survive?
Will. What we have our kids working on at the ‘I am angel foundation’ is getting kids that get left behind and training them in stem and A.I. Now is when we should think seriously about it, as they’ll be running those companies tomorrow.

Sarah Sands; How about the U.S election? (This conversation was days before Trump was elected).
Will ; Every election is important and each election says it’s more important than the last. But THIS one is extremely important. It could truly go the wrong way with people and faith in America or Americans. If this were a Portugal or Romania it wouldn’t really affect the world in a major way. Trump affects the world in a major way. If Bill left Microsoft we wouldn’t allow Trump to run it. But we’re thinking of allowing a man who disrespects women, Muslims, inner cities…wow!
I understand you wanting to disrupt politics…but why not Bill Gates for president? There are so many businesses’ that empower charities. How many men give away all their money to charities? Why not them for President?

Sarah Sands; Bill, could you run for President ever?
Bill. I won’t do that as…people care a lot that the USA is well run, and people globally expect us to do things in upgrading science and more. My foundation isn’t political. Both administrations over the years have done well in the past but this one…is a bit different. I’ve for some reason or other …never met Donald Trump.

Sarah Sands; Will, do you see yourself as a Global Citizen? UK Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the concept of a ‘’citizen of the world’’.
Will. “I’m a citizen of the U.S.A but I also travel around the world and love other countries like the UK as if it was my own. I love your tolerance and preservation of the arts. I love the Asian countries. I love my friend Apple De App. I love India, Russia and touring has made me many friends abroad. I’m from east LA. I don’t see colour. The only colour I see is this wonderful green and blue planet. That’s what I see.

Bill. I think of myself as a global citizen. If you’re taking care of your family and society and are comfortable you can start to think about helping those most in need globally. That’s how we became engaged in those things. There’s a unique thing about the UK, where you give a very generous foreign aid budget to support globally, which is spent wisely. We partner with the government here to make sure that that money is spent well. We support Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We have over a billion dollars in these UK institutions, as they’re the best people to do the work. So the UK is a very international country.


Jasmine’s Juice – Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland 2016!


Last night, London’s movers and shakers including Simon Cowell, Fearne Cotton, Sinitta, Mel C and more attending the annual VIP PREVIEW of HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND and it was better than ever!

From 5pm hundreds were queuing to watch their spectacular ballet Nutcracker On Ice and then we were treated to muted wine laced with cinnamon , luxury hot chocolate, champagne and more. There are literally hundreds of rides for all ages to enjoy and the choice of rollercoasters was vey impressive. We screamed and cried simultaneously as they flung us around in hysteria.

The food options are out of this world with street food favourites like fried chicken (tandoori style- their colonel even wears a turban!), roasted duck wraps, mac & cheese, lots of german sausage and burger options and best of all, a variety of vegetarian stalls too.


The Ice Rink was full of excited adults and kids whizzing about- i even saw a dog viewing the action rink side, we all laughed watching his head rotate round and round as he kept his eye on his owner skating by! (For those of you planning to ice skate with your children, please be aware that the minimum child’s boot size is a size 9).

We had access to so many exciting rides and attractions on site, including the open air ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom and a ride on the Giant Observation Wheel to name a few.

The mAgical Ice Kingdom was mesmerising with huge ice sculptures and options to be photographed with polar bears on ice. A word of warning though- its in sub-zero temperatures so you must wrap up warm or your toes will be icicles as mine were in well boots. The heated bars were much needed straight afterwards for a big lug of muted wine with friends.

Zippos Circus also performed two shows on the evening inside the Mega Dome, located in Circus Town. In fact there was so much to see and engage with one visit was not enough – i spent nearly an hour spending £100 on Christmas pressies just at the market stalls!.


The easiest way to get to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is on foot, by bike or by public transport. The nearest tube is Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line). There is general information on Winter Wonderland at www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.comincluding details on all public transport links.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is an outdoor event covering many acres so be sure to dress appropriately and wrap up warm!



Jasmine’s Juice – Isatta Sheriff, London’s Rapper And Teacher – Burning Illusions Lyrically.


Tell us about your latest album ISATTA SHERRIF?

The album is self-titled and I choose to do that to signify a new stage in my musical career. A lot was happening in the midst of writing this album, my Mum was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, my cousin Kabba Kamara was murdered as a result of deprivation and crime in the inner city and four months later the same thing happened to one of my favorite students Myron Yard. I taught him at a music college in London.

The young people I teach inspire me. Myron was a music student and he was supposed to be on the remix of “Kin”. Him and his classmates were the inspiration behind that song and I am referring to him in specific lines. One time he humbly asked if I would ever consider doing a track with one of my students, which was his cheeky way of asking if I would do a track with him. What’s mad is that I’d already planned for him to be on the “Kin” remix; I’m really sad that we never got the chance to record it.

I’m probably a bit more vulnerable on the album as a result of the last year. I touch on the loss of my sister to suicide while I was in college as well as the drawbacks of growing in a socially deprived part of Tower Hamlets. A line in the song “Heartbeat” says “I know it sounds like I’m conditioned or something, like I’m protecting my heart before disaster jumps in”. I was determined for the record to be a positive and enjoyable amongst all the serious content. I think we managed to achieve that balance with the melodies, tempo’s and variations in flow.

With this album I wasn’t bothered about big singles; I just wanted a project that people could listen to from beginning to end. It’s a very London centric record but that doesn’t exclude people living in other places. My aim was for people in any city in the world to connect to the songs.

People and cultures also inspire me. On a couple of tracks I talk about being able to understand other languages because of how closely together we live, “Bilingual not by choice, but glad for it” -Burning An Illusion. The album is like a journey on the London Underground and I jump off at each stop and touch on different subjects that reflect each part of living in a city. It’s inspired by forgiveness, hope and honest conversation. I wanted to show that art and beauty can come out of struggle, as Talib Kweli says “Life is a beautiful struggle’’.

I don’t have any rap features on the album, because I have spent my career doing features and I just wanted to record an album that really reflected me without being diluted. I felt that I had strong enough content to carry the album myself. The only feature I have is a chorus from Terri Walker on a track called “Coasting”. Terri was great to work with again. I sent her the track and three days later we met to record it. This was first song that I ever wrote and recorded while in college and I wanted to include a remake of it to show my journey as an MC and also signify the way my style has evolved. I used to only rap in that double time style as I used to listen to a lot of Bone Thugs N Harmony and Da Brat back in the day.

(Baker Aaron) the collaborating producer was only meant to initially produce a couple of tracks but ended up doing the whole thing. He gets my voice and I get his music. It was the simplest, non-dramatic, enjoyable experience I’ve ever had creating a product. I have worked with some amazing producers throughout my career but we just clicked musically. He is an amazing musician and producer based in Istanbul. We worked between his studio there and my home studio in London.


Tell us about your video ‘’Burning An Illusion’’.

I put out the video for “Burning An Illusion” as a taster to the album’s lyrical content. I wanted to challenge perceptions of the working class and also show how amazing it can be when cultures mix. The video is shot in East and Central London showing the contrasts. There are tower blocks and then you see the Globe Theatre along the Southbank. You see kids hanging out with nothing to do while tourists enjoy London walking through a Black Lives Matter protest.

I was due to write the last track for the album “Redefined” when the tragedies with Kabba and Myron took place. I needed two months to regain the emotional energy to complete the final track plus there was a bit of pressure as this was the track to finish off the whole project. I was determined for the track to be positive despite the circumstance. I recorded it and shot a video to celebrate black music from the UK as well as the black community with a special focus on young people and dedicated the song to Kabba and Myron.

Explain your previous outing as an artist under the moniker TOR and why it’s now changed?

My full name is Isatta Sheriff Cesay. My Mum’s name is Isatta Sheriff and Tor means namesake (the equivalent of a boy who is named after his father being called “junior”). My Mum used to say, “This is my Tor” meaning “This is my namesake” and my whole family calls me Tor. At school and work everybody used to call me Isatta. I respond to both but as time has gone on, hardly anybody called me by my given name. Releasing music under my first and middle name was a natural progression. It also means I get my name back as people have started calling me Isatta again which I love.


What have you learnt from your past years in music?

The key lesson I have learned is authenticity. It’s important to never forget your love for music and to work with people who are passionate about similar styles as well as experimenting sonically from time to time. I’ve learned that you should push through and keep making music even if you have things going on because there will never be a perfect time. I held back so much early on because of drama but drama doesn’t stop so you just need to keep going.

What are your aspirations for the next couple of years?

I am planning to drop more videos from this record for the next 7 months while starting on a new record-whoop! I’d also like to take this album out with a live band, as that was always the goal when we started it.

How do you feel about having a female UK leader and the fact that we nearly had a female American leader too?. It’s great for females to see the possibilities right?

The fact that both of them are women is not incentive enough for me to celebrate. The issues surrounding their leadership are too complex and it would be shallow of me to look at their position solely from the point of view of womanhood. Women have always been leaders. In royal kingdoms, as activists, in wars, serving the poor and so much more but they do not have the platform offered to Clinton or May. Women of all cultures are amazingly strong even while oppressed and history is a testament to that. This current situation may inspire some young girls to believe that they can become Prime minister or President but I have trouble believing a large amount of young black girls would see the same possibility for themselves. Having a white middle class female head teacher did not put the thought in my mind at all that I could be a head teacher while I was in school. It’s not Teresa May and Hilary Clinton who excite me when it comes to women in leadership.


There was once a time when we were told hip-hop and Grime was a niche genre. Now it’s the pop culture of this generation. How do you feel about the takeover?

I feel that the roots of those genres are not being respected and are being pushed to the background. This is a historical problem with music of black origin. A 15-year-old boy in my class asked me “How come a lot of rappers are black” and he was not being rude or funny, he was so confused. He had no I idea about its origins though, the style is all he mimicked.

‎Who is your top male and female MC and why? Quote your fave verse from their work.

Lauryn Hill is my favorite female MC because she goes beyond the music. Her flow, delivery and passion represent Hip Hop to me! It’s hard to choose a favorite song or line but one of my stand out tracks is “Mystery Of Iniquity”. Another is “Lost Ones”:

“Wisdom is better than silver and gold,
I was hopeless, now I’m on hope road”

It’s also hard to choose a favorite male MC too but I love Rakim and Talib Kweli l. One from him is his remake of Nina Simone’s “For Women”:

“I ain’t got time to lie, my life has been much too rough,
Still running with bare feet, I ain’t got nothin’ but my soul,
Freedom is the ultimate goal”

What makes you stand out and unique as a music act and why should people get to know your work?

I make heartfelt Hip Hop and tell the story of many lives through my own experiences. I use rap and melodies together to create a picture. My approach is not necessarily unique but I am unique as an individual and once I infuse the experiences of my journey, it creates a stand-alone piece of artistry.


How do you represent being British?

Being a first generation Sierra Leonean means I get to enjoy both sides of my upbringing. I grew up in Stepney engaging with many cultures that I love and respect. Celebrating this is how I represent being British.

What else are you passionate about other than music?

I am really passionate about working in education and guiding young people aspirationally to use their many talents. I’m passionate about God, social issues, and history and standing up against injustice. I also love sport and used you to play for Arsenal Ladies and Tottenham ladies back in the day. I love all types of art whether it is dancing, photography, theatre, painting (although never ask me to paint). I try to incorporate all of these things into my music and hopefully you hear this in the album.

Name some of your past collaborations?

Wretch 32, Lowkey, Klasnekoff, Sway, Tinchy Styder, Saul Williams, Estelle, Blak Twang, Rodney P, Terri Walker, Mongrel to name a few.

What is your most enjoyable collaboration to date?

My favourite collaboration has to be a track I did a while back with Flying Lotus, Oddisee and Phonte Coleman called “The Perch”. I love the way it happened so organically. Big up to Red Bull Music Academy for bringing us together.

Who have learned from most in your career?

I have learned from so many people but Rashad Ringo Smith (Biggie, Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes) has definitely taught a lot about music. He introduced me to some big names in New York and being around him always felt like a giant music lesson.

What has been your proudest achievement?

I have many proud moments and being invited to Atlanta to perform with Arrested Development is one of them. Performing at Glastonbury is also another one but the proudest achievement of all has to be setting up my own independent label “Pinch Of Salt” and releasing an album in Japan through it. Being out there to do music was an amazing experience.

Isatta Sheriff at Sofar Sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iai_PgiZ9bI

Jasmine’s Juice – British beat maker Chairman Maf Is Hip Hop’s Zoo- Keeper.


British hip hop artist Chairman Maf is Sheffield based and recently released his latest album ZOO without the aid of any music label’s, when the community came together to help him in today’s DIY world. Previous famous musical Brits from Sheffield include The Human League, Heaven 17, Joe Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Moloko. Sheffield was once home to a number of historically important nightclubs in the early dance music scene, but represents strictly for the hip hop community.

Maf continues to be a ground-breaking, ‘sublime’ instrumental beat maker with unique musical techniques. A quiet genius that’s been beginning to be respected as one of the foremost beat-smiths /instrumentalists coming from the European hip hop community for decades, we sat down for a chat with the Chairman.


How do you describe your sound?
Cinematic soulful melodic instrumental lo fi hip hop!!

And your influences?
Within hip hop all of the classic producers: Madlib, Dilla, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, DJ Dez, Kankick etc, but I try to listen to less hip hop these days to avoid being too heavily influenced. You’re more likely to catch me listening to some Bulgarian folk music LOL, got to avoid trying to copy the legends… I will sample anything from anywhere. I love to find things from my childhood and incorporate them into the beats; it’s my form of therapy haha.

So you’re British, 45 years old and not connected to the Grime scene. Why should we care about what you bring to hip-hop?
I like to think I make music that exists outside of fashion or current trends (not that I think that way of Grime. – its here to stay). The melodies and layers to my music make it strong enough to be around and discovered for a long time to come. It appeals to both hard-core hip hop heads and people that prefer easier laid back music. I have fans that contact me that can be any age from 14 to 74!

You seem to promote yourself predominantly as an Instrumental Artist… what is your issue with MC’s?
No issue, I just layer so many sounds in my beats that there isn’t much space for vocals. I’ve worked with many MC’s over the years but enjoy the challenge of making stand alone beats. it’s a LOT harder.

So which (if any) MC’s could coax you out of this Instrumentals only position?
In the UK I’ve always wanted to work with Taskforce, and Rodney P… There are also a lot of amazing artists on the UK’S High Focus label. In the U.S, Phonte has always been one of my favourite artists… Rapsody is incredible too.


Your latest album “ZOO” mixes jazz, soul, blues and folk samples together with sounds from the weirdest places. David Attenborough!? Tell us a little bit about your music making process.
Basically less is more…. I’ve got very little equipment and very little knowledge of how to use it. Every time I sit down to build some music I want to get some kind of emotion across. I’m not into super slick production; in fact I like a lot of dirt in there. My mixing desk costs $150, the only other thing I use is a sampler, I think the more equipment in the chain, the more diluted the soul of the beat will be. I play a lot of instruments, not in any virtuoso way, all self taught, a bit of guitar, drums. You can make a beautiful piece of music on a one-string guitar as long as you put your heart and soul into it.

Do you see a lot of talent coming through in the UK hip-hop scene?
It’s better than it has been for a long time. There’s so much creativity. People are more focussed on the fun aspects of making music than they are trying to make a ‘career’ as they know how hard that can be now. For such a small island, the UK has consistently produced some of the most interesting creative music in the world, there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up sometimes…


The artwork you use and overall presentation is also quite unique to you, and doesn’t use many traditional hip-hop references… why?
I’ve always felt there is a certain amount of snobbery towards hip hop as an art form and in the UK a lot of baggage comes with me telling people about the music I love. A lot of assumptions. Hip Hop is a powerful, creative and innovative music. Its music made by, and for, very intelligent cultured people. I want the artwork to reflect that.

What can we expect from you in the future?
My new album “ZOO” has just dropped digitally and on limited vinyl. There are more vocal samples than ever before. You can actually sing along to a lot of the beats. Some of the tracks touch on subjects close to my heart so it’s an album that I’m really proud of.


Such as “Little White Lies”?
Yeah, as a white man expressing myself through black culture, I felt it was important to have something on here related to racism. I don’t have the words to express my anger about the subject and it’s not something I experience first hand so the only language I have is music. I guess it’s just a miniscule gesture of solidarity towards people that can’t leave their homes without the fear of being killed by the people we pay to protect us. There are a lot of other issues important to me on there but if I keep talking I’ll make a mess of it so I’ll leave it there!

When people listen to your music what do you want them to get from it?
I don’t make many club tunes. I’d like people to get a sense of peace and soul… hope…. Some emotion would be good.

Final question, how are you feeling about President Trump’s victory?
Obviously I’m scared that Trump’s been elected. Unfortunately fear of Trump was not enough to get people to vote for Clinton with her record of corruption. Democrats missed the boat with Bernie Saunders and are now paying the price. Wars in Syria, environmental issues and institutional racism would not be dealt with be either Clinton or Trump as money has taken over the political system. America will continue to be as racist as it always has, regardless of who’s in power. Let’s just hope this shakes up politics enough to find some kind of alternative to appeal to working class people, rather than simply using fear and the media circus.

Check out Chairman Maf’s latest album here;

Jasmine’s Juice – 10 Years Of Akala, And The Wrong Advise I Once Gave Him.

Who Is Akala?

BAFTA and MOBO award winning hip hop artist, writer/poet and historian AKALA is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce lyrical storytelling.


Inspired by the likes of Saul Williams and Gil Scot Heron, over the years, Akala has developed a stellar live show with his renowned drummer/award winning music producer Cassell ‘TheBeatmaker’ (Plan B/The Streets/Keziah Jones) headlining 8 UK tours as well as touring with the likes of Jay Z, Nas & Damian Marley, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera to Siouxsie Sue, Damon Albarn’s (‘Blur’/Gorillaz’) ‘Africa Express’ and Richard Ashcroft, appearing at numerous UK / European and US festivals (Glastonbury, Big Chill, Wireless, V, Hove and SXSW) as well as taking part in British Council arts education/music projects across several countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, The Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.


Akala has more recently been known for his compelling lectures/seminars and journalism (The Guardian, Huffington Post UK and The Independent), TV presenting and scriptwriting. Over the last few years he has also gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK.

Akala has also featured on numerous TV programmes and fronted documentaries across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music, poetry as well as speaking on wide ranging subjects from music, youth engagement, British / African Caribbean culture and the arts as a whole.

In 2009, Akala launched the ‘The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company’; a music theatre production company which has sparked worldwide media interest since its inception. Previous clients/collaborators include: BBC, Premier League, Mastercard, London 2012, British actor; Sir Ian McKellen together with artist’s; Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite Lady Leshurr and many more.

This past month he has been on the road with his ‘’Ten Years Of Akala’’ 27-date UK tour that ends in Cambridge on 31st October, the majority of the dates have been sold out.

The album ‘Ten Years Of Akala’ was released on 23rd Sept 2016 and to celebrate 10 years since the release of Akala’s critically acclaimed debut album It’s Not ARumour, Illa State, Akala’s very own independent home record label, are proud to announce they will be releasing a triple vinyl of selected tracks from each of his six albums chosen especially by his supporters online. This special edition album will be also available for download in digital format with several new tracks.

To mark this unique milestone, Akala has been stepping out with his band on a live ‘10th Anniversary Tour’, taking his hard hitting live show to venues all across the UK and Ireland.

His biggest tour to date and in conjunction with Live Nation, this whirlwind tour was a real treat for his fans as he performed classic tracks from the ‘Ten Years Of Akala’ album alongside some special guests too.

The tour finishes this week in Cambridge on 31st October.


Ten Years of Akala gives one pause for thought – here is an artist that had it in him to keep his fierce independence when it was not fashionable, has performed in over 30 countries, released 6 albums, two books, presented the seminal ‘Life of Rhyme’ for Channel 4, founded The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company and has been a tireless voice for education and social justice in the UK and all over the world.

In fact, in one of my early conversations with him years ago in the Nineties, I recall begging him to make a couple of ”more commercial tracks” to help him jump off bigger in the mainstream and he said it just wasn’t his way. He wanted to stay true to himself and he really did.

Akala does so much it can be easy to forget that first and foremost he is an amazing musician.

Ten Years Of Akala

The shows were full of diverse audiences and had something for everyone. Hip-hop, grime, metal vibes as well as stadium anthems, spoken word, comedy and activism. His live show is 90 minutes of relentless tracks, backed by intense and stunning visuals, live drums, a DJ and with no need for a ‘hype man’.

He opens up with a musical Intro, Let It All Happen, and then Shakespeare. To the audiences delight he performs his much lauded Fire In the Booth, and recites a piece from his book Ruins.

His set also included some film visuals, which included past videos of himself over the last 10 years, as well as images of powerful black people of influence over the last 50 years. There were also images of the various wars and upheaval around the world.

Halfway through the show he appears onstage dressed up as a character that resembles the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist, but Akala references as a character called Pompous Peterson.

On the London date at Koko, Akala was joined by three guests onstage;
1. His rap peer Low-key joined him on stage to perform Behind My Painted Smile.
2. Next, singer, songwriter/ music producer Marshall joined Akala to perform his new single “Giants”.
3. Finally performer Niles, wearing an interesting hat, joined him on stage for Sun Tzu.


Akala held the crowd’s interest from the second he appeared onstage with his live drummer and dj and had them eating out of his hand and following every command on his journey of high dynamic and more serious messaging throughout.

Cultural Influencer

A remarkable thing about Akala’s digital/social media is the number of influencers that follow him, making his online reach much greater than what would usually be possible with those kinds of numbers.

In terms of news, almost every major news and media agency in the US & UK has featured Akala in one way or another over the last 6 months.


This anniversary release reminds us of that and the growth of a talent that has toured the UK and globally, all whilst being largely ignored by mainstream radio for the past decade.


10 Years of Akala -order: http://akala.tmstor.es