JASMINE’s JUICE featuring Estelle, Comedy Roast, Cultural Diversity Network TV Awards.

JASMINE WITH PR MAVEN VANESSA AMADI AND ESTELLE

I’ve spent hours this week trying to explain to young people that nothing comes without hard work. So many young people reach out to me for opportunities and expect instant reward and fabulosity. Life doesn’t work like that. I receive e-mails from students that are professional therefore I put them on and give chances where I see them. I also get texts and e mails from randoms that I would never bother replying to. They say things that are unprofessional and over familiar. For example this week. ‘’Whattup Jasmine. I wanna do a job like yours so I need to do work experience with you, can you call me on this number and let me know when I can come to a party with you and see what’s what’’. Hilarious!.

Readers, after my school exams, a levels and university degree I taught dance and aerobics for years whilst juggling my runner job at a TV company where I did gruelling night shifts photocopying, driving, collecting meals and drinks before being the opportunity to prove myself as a floor assistant on a morning TV breakfast show. Thereafter I have done a variety of presenting, producing, directing, scripting editing jobs at a number of TV companies that involve long hard hours of work and constant preparation. The harder I work the more gets offered to me and the luckier I get with my social life being blessed too. Nothing comes easy. All good things do not come to those who wait but to those who work. Excuse my rant but often we can’t believe the slackness we see professionally.

This week when not juggling writing and work commitments, I had a good old laugh at comedian Kojo’s Comedy Fun House as he gave me a table at Sound Bar. Next it was a sumptuous dinner with Adidas head celeb honcho Paola Lucktung, before trekking up to Hackney to see my friend ,one time presenter and dance partner Kat in Jack And The Beanstalk. I ended the week going to a private party thrown by party man about town Tim Wade for his mate Will I Am and the Black Eyed Peas at nightclub Cirque.

My West London sister Estelle flew into town for one night only (as your average superstar diva does), for a show at Hammersmith Apollo with John Legend and The Roots, we had post show dinner at Almada- a restaurant so stush that there’s no sign outside, it looks like a private home in Mayfair and you need a password to get in. I guess this is how the people that move in high circles stay amongst their own dahhlings. Estelle as usual looked classic yet fly in that unique way that only she does and treated her sisters and friends to dinner and some very dangerous looking red shots she fondly called ‘’red snappers’’ that were bourbon and cranberry juice. We debated the usual: music acts, boy friends and fashion before shoving her onto her plane back to her New York home.

After that I had to organise a Sunday afternoon bowling session for 30 people where we took over the lanes and screamed and shouted lots. I had a non-strike game which had me mortified so I blamed it on the 4 year old daughter of a friend that ‘’had been taking my turn’’. Cringe. I hate losing, at anything.

Straight afterwards we attended the comedy roast show at Shepherds Bush Empire where ex Eastenders actor Mohammed George aka Gus the road sweeper was the nights victim. Comedy Roasts feature a panel of comics all lining up one after another to cuss and embarrass their subject. As you can imagine Mohammed was an easy target and whilst I was anticipating chortling at his discomfort-which I did-I actually warmed to him after the show. The comics firing Gus were MTV BASE’ Kojo, BBC impressionist and sketch writer Jason Lewis, Baba Tunde, Kane Brown, female Felicity Ethnic, white comic Kevin J and host Richard Blackwood. Part one of the show saw the comics all do a quick stand up set and part two was when they all went in on Gus. Relative newcomer Kane Brown was up first and in all honesty-not that funny, a little awkward and stilted, next was Baba Tunde who was hilarious as was Jason Lewis who wasn’t just funny but cutting and original too. Jason cussed his fellow comics too which started a whole car crash of bitching between them all. Jason accused Kojo of being a joke stealer, Kojo accused Jason of being a nobody, Jason cussed Richards presenter to music transition, actually EVERYONE cussed Richards music career, and part in a recent theatre show and it doesn’t help that he’s now going to be playing Donkey in the West End musical of Shrek. Baba tunde and Jason were the strongest having the audience rolling in their seats with very well written, original, side splitting material. All in all the comics cussed each other more abusively than they did Gus- shake my head!Truly an amazing night of entertainment!

JASMINE WITH CHANNEL 4 HEAD OF DIVERSITY OONA KING AND REPORTER RAGEH OMAAR

Then it was time for THE ANNUAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY NETWORK AWARDS 2010. It’s the second one ever. Last year was hosted by Alan Carr at Channel 4 headquarters, this weeks was hosted by Gok Wan at the Royal Opera House. Apparently Channel 4 diversity officer Oona King (who was wearing a turquoise Indian salwar kameez on the night) pulled some big strings to get the venue, which was beautiful. The CDN Network is made up of all the major TV broadcasters and for the past 2 years has been looked after by Channel 4 who on this night passed the baton to the BBC who will run the ship for the next couple of years. Gok Wan wasn’t as raw and fresh as Alan last year who had us all rolling with his freestyle political incorrectness. The 3-course dinner was interspersed with the awards, which included most ground-breaking programme (awarded to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding), breakthrough production talent (awarded to Tamanna Rahman) and company of the year (awarded to Bwark Productions). The dinner menu was simple but fresh and tasty- mint and goats cheese salad, sun blushed tomato stuffed chicken and a rhubarb parfait finished off with coffees.

I caught up with the delightful ITV News presenter Charlene White who looked gorgeous in a classy red dress, T4 presenter Rick Edwards who looked dashing in his whistle and flute, actor Omid Dgalili and presenter Anita Rani presented awards alongside news correspondents Krishnan Guru Murphy and Rageh Omaar. Both these men astound me with their articulate and concise news reporting skills-I was honoured to be in their company.

Lenny Henry also presented an award getting it wrong with his misinformed jokes again. Something about the Royal Opera House having not ever seen so many black faces. He clearly isn’t aware that loads of urban music, break-dance shows and similar events take place there and have been for many years that attract numerous black people. Clearly most of us have moved ahead leaving him stuck in his eighties joke world. Double cringe. The night was extremely inspiring and its heartening to note that there is a huge group of talented people out there in the media whop like me feel very passionately about bringing a diverse group of people into TV that wouldn’t usually have an opportunity to join this world. If you’re looking to get into TV and have found it difficult thus far you might want to look into the Cultural Diversity Network-I cant recommend it enough as a proactive organisation that’s helping change the face of media as I know it.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring PUBLIC ENEMY!

JASMINE WITH CHUCK D AND FLAVA FLAV

Okay don’t panic but its nearly that time of year where nuff money must get spent, gifts must be pondered, bought and wrapped, more layers must be worn, and excitement must be planned to within an inch of our lives! I’m exhausted just thinking about it! This weeks been full of scripting, writing columns, cooking for dinner parties and kicking orange autumn leaves around outside. I know, I’m a sucker and most appreciative for the wonders that surround us daily that god has bestowed on us. And I am totally sober writing this too!. Its true. I love life!

I did have some fun moments though- work is just something I do in between fun- one of these fun moments including a private invitation and audience with the legends that are Public Enemy! Chuck D and Flava Flav held a very intimate gathering of family and friends in Shoreditch in an underground basement where they talked to us about their current lives, the past and then finished by performing all their hits to us! It was surreal and a once in a lifetime experience. I wasn’t a huge public enemy fan at school as my then boyfriend played them 24-7 and quoted lines at me in his very hardcore pro black manner. But now years later I TOTALLY appreciated their intellect and songs. Twins Sarah and Sally from BLAG magazine had organised the night after doing the bands publicity for the past 12 years- they’re also known for throwing parties and DJ’ing for acts like Lupe Fiasco, Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Brown to DJing for Pharrell and Nigo and N*E*R*D to name a few. Clearly the BLAG mag twins and Public Enemy are the best of mates apparent by the warm banter between them all on the night. Sarah told me that on this short trip they ‘’ thought it would be fun to tackle it completely differently, no press releases, no junkets, just getting a great group of people in one room for a memorable experience – to meet P.E, hear all about them directly with a Q&A and a secret performance’’. Guests included press, radio, TV, DJs, UK talent, influencers and the idea was to give people an experience they’d want to talk about afterwards and we did!. Its also very clear that Chuck and Flav love to meet people! They spoke to us first with chuck leading in his charismatic manner whilst Flav as usual provided the perfect sidekick with his extrovert crazy self.

Chuck said the early years of hip-hop were memorable because ‘’We were happy to be travelling the globe- we were amazed that fans just turned up’’. Chuck added that he was pleased so many media had attended the evening as ‘‘its Journalists job to report about real hip-hop as well as new stuff’’.
Chuck revealed ‘’There’s a standard in this hip-hop game we continue to represent and we’re gonna show people in Africa this month what its about when we go out to Nigeria for the MAMAs- MTV AFRICA MUSIC AWARDS’’. Chuck and Flav reiterated that they didn’t believe in needing passports to travel across the planet as the earth belonged to us all and that border controls and ‘’ Governments split people up-cultures bring people together’’. Speaking about young people, hip-hop and entertainment now as to compared back in the day chuck stated ‘’
These days drugs liquor and alcohol are the stars of the show cos the audience can’t rely on the talent onstage to be entertaining anymore so they have to rely on those extras to ensure they have a good time’’. I couldn’t believe he said that as that’s what I ALWAYS say! .

Regarding reality shows chuck insisted Flav couldn’t be put in the same category for his ‘’Flava of love’’ show as your average reality star because ‘’Flava flav has a real background and talent. I don’t know what the hell Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian do except just be’’. Flav spoke on wanting to get back home ASAP now as he’d been on the road a while and ‘’needs sun as he’s getting lighter!’’.

Chuck also stated his thoughts on expanding ones mind ‘‘unless you travel and leave your block you won’t move forwards’’.

Chuck added that he alone has filled 3 passports from his travel. Unlike many of the younger acts these days chuck understands the equal importance that press and media play in an acts career ‘’ We gotta come back with good music to please you the DJ and journo’’. Well noted sir-well noted!.

Chuck also revealed “I’m the only one in the collective that doesn’t play a musical instrument-i can’t even play the state lottery, on the other hand Flav plays 15 instruments-keys ,drums, piano, trombone, French horn, cello, tuba and more!’’. Flav smiled humbly but added ‘’but I don’t know how to read music, I play by ear’’.

Not threatened by new younger artists Chuck confirmed ‘’There’s a certain language you use to reach the adults and different lingo to reach the kids so we don’t try to emulate the new acts. Rhyming now is so elementary with 30 year olds rhyming like a 12 year old’’.
When pushed though the boys didn’t comment on names just exchanged knowing looks. We could all guess the acts they were referring to.

When someone asked why years ago Public Enemy expanded the DJ, mic and turntables set to include a live band instead of keeping the rap art form raw chuck defended his moves explaining ‘’we chose to add live instruments cos it became very limiting- just a raw mic was punk like but we needed to move on and couldn’t have done that without instruments’’. Chuck recalled that when he suggested that the act include live music Flava Flav was suspicious and unenthusiastic recalling ‘’Flav was the same, he asked me ” what u bringing these band motherf****** around for!”  Chuck recalls meeting Flav in the studio for the first time years ago recalling “he had a black geri curl, I said you can’t smoke in here!’’.  Flav laughed  “I’m grateful for a lot that chucks father taught me, my crew are best in the world, I wouldn’t trade them for anything’’. Then Flav took over with his excitable self telling us at length about ALL his other current and hypothetical new projects like “La Flav spirits” with a variety of flavours like cherry, berry ,olive ,sweet tea, bubble gum and more. I also have La Flav cognac ,also Chateau La Flav wine, also a couple of movies, and I’ve just finished doing voice overs for an American cartoon “Yahoo and friends”
, and I have a new Flava Flav cartoon, I’m also launching a line of Flava sharkskin wear…….’’. At this point we wrapped it up and let the legendary twosome perform their greatest hits for us during which they sounded as fresh and exactly as they did years ago on wax-it was breath taking! Then as we clutched at them for photos, shout outs and more they managed vto escape for their gig the same night at the 02 where they proved to me beyond a doubt that whilst I have the utmost respect and champion all the new young British acts that are doing so well right now, they really cant be tested against the live presence and articulate skills that the old skool acts that week showed me. The manic, passionate energy and vibe of Red and Meth, the untouchable intellect of KRS-1, then finished up with the iconic hits of Public Enemy. It was no competition. Old skool wins!.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring MARY J BLIGE, GOLDIE and MARK JENKINS!


JASMINE WITH MARY J BLIGE

Wow it’s a month until Christmas and I really need to get it together! I’ve only bought 3 gifts so far and they’re silly stocking fillers for my godson, Nick Cannon and my mum!

Aside from that its been about reflecting on lovely things in life like being happy for my girl Mariah and her hubby Nick on their impending new spring arrival, attending friends wedding vow renewals, girly cook-offs and slumber parties, sleep overs and watching my cousin from Orange County, LA play international tennis at the 02! (The Dotiwala genes- they run globally!). Its any wonder that I’ve managed to get any work done.

The week began with a run of real hip hop shows in London by Redman, Methodman, KRS-1 and Public Enemy and even though you already know I respect the new skool of young music acts immensely, having been reminded of the old skool talent, lyrical skills and articulation I have to say……old skool really does out shine the new skool acts. The level of articulation, subject matter and stage presence can’t be touched. Young uns-You can’t know and respect hip-hop and R&B music now if you don’t know about the past history. Some acts actually don’t know who the Isley Brothers or Mobb Deep are and they think So Solid Crew are old skool LOL.

It was a full American run as the queen of hip-hop soul Mary J Blige then arrived for her UK dates too. I’ve seen her perform from the early days (since that legendary gig where the London crowd booed her offstage) and this time around her personal fitness trainer Mark Jenkins called and asked me if I wanted a work out. Every time Mark’s in town he reaches out and we have an army boot camp-like training session in Hyde Park where I try not to throw up after he’s put me through my paces. You can see he’s in Mary’s life when you watch her onstage. Her body is ripped and when she moves her grace and strength is apparent for all to see. There were so many hits! The 02 Arena was packed from top to bottom, Jay Z and Beyonce were in the house and Mary was belting out hit after hit and running the show like a ragga dance. Verse, chorus, NEXT!. I spend a lot of time in the gym myself and consider myself fitter than most but Mark has me doing sessions that take me right out of my comfort zone and freak out all my comfort senses. He had me doing special awareness exercises with hoops, medicine balls, and an array of equipment I’ve never seen before in my life! Mark explained that when his acts like P Diddy, D’Angelo and Mary are onstage they need to focus on the audience and their music and so special awareness and stamina are paramount which is why we never see Mary looking hesitant or meek as she struts her stuff nightly to packed stadiums. Mark credits Mary for his marriage and kids. He met his wife when he first began working on Mary’s tour over a decade ago after he’s spilt up with his then girl friend. He stood stage side one night and got really sad thinking about her as Mary sang one of her classic love ballads. Apparently Mark was looking woeful when his wife to be walked by asking ‘’what’s wrong?’’. Mark apparently said ‘’I’ve just split up with my girl, all I want to do is get laid, and Mary keeps singing these love songs depressing the hell out of me!’’. Clearly his wife to be scarpered after calling him a pig. 3 weeks later they got together and married in Vegas. Mary kept her eye on the couple and couldn’t be happier for Mark that its lasted long term. For that Mark stated he was forever indebted to his boss-the Queen of hip hop soul.

JASMINE WITH MARK JENKINS AND GOLDIE.

The next day after singing ourselves hoarse at the show alongside Mary’s dulcet tones, I invited Mark to lunch with myself and drum&bass legend Goldie. Goldie was just out of Strictly Come Dancing and back on his daily early morning bikram regime. We hadn’t caught up since he got married last Christmas and so we met at a great Japanese spot where Goldie ordered 2 massive beef lunches, another for me, and Mark had a salad LOL. I have known Goldie for 20 years after he used to date a girl fiend of mine. My earliest memory of him is from a flat in Shepherds Bush where he made us all dinner and burnt the rice! Back then he was an out of control, crazy, wild, creative type. With his roots in graffiti art, break dancing, making music and much much more he used to bounce across from the states and back to the UK and eventually channelled his talents and became known as nineties drum  & bass king Goldie which led to worldwide tours and even a role in a James Bond movie!  These days his energy is more spiritual, he’s a father and husband and juggles TV shows, live music events and his art is exhibited at art galleries. That’s what you call getting back on the straight and narrow and turning your life around positively. Currently he’s working on a BBC TV show with the royal family and his new mate Prince Harry!

So it’s true what they say about life- you’re always connected to everyone else on the globe via the six degrees of separation theory- where everyone is connected to anyone else via 6 steps. So I guess I could state that I am linked to a Royal. Step back and curtsey as I make my grand entrance at Will and Kate’s impending nuptials!!

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring TQ!

JASMINE WITH TQ

My cashmere sweaters from Uni Glo (I only wish they were from Prada), have been attached to my skin since the beginning of October so now that the weather has stepped up the chill factor a few notches its all I can do to stop myself walking out of my crib with a hot water bottle!. Luckily there’s been a lot of work and multitasking keeping me warm on my toes and there have also been some hot events to balance out the ‘all work – no play’ fear factor.
Hip-hop godfather Russell Simmons was in town this week to host a charity event that raised a cool million pounds for his cause. The lovely Michelle Williams attended alongside a lot of very wealthy folk. Just being in the room made me realise that there really is a lot of money available and up for grabs if you know how to pitch correctly for it.
Michelle also invited me to the massive NFL American football game at Wembley stadium on a brisk Sunday afternoon where she was singing the national American anthem to kick off the game. She sang beautifully in that strong, grounded voice she has been blessed with and it was also a once in a lifetime experience for me to attend. At MTV I never got involved much with our NFL programming and when Trevor nelson would get very excited about it I would quite happily let the males in the production team take over producing the shows. The game was immediately fun for me with its huge razzmatazz of fireworks, marching drum bands, trumpets, cheerleaders, floating helium balloons and much flag waving on behalf of the san Francisco 49’s!. However having said that ,once this grand introduction and fanfare was over it was the most boring game ever. The action takes place for a few seconds at a time before stopping in a repetitive stop-start manner. For 3 hours!. My mate and I soon put our access all areas vip passes to good use by taking a wander around the stadium which took us into every nook and cranny you can imagine. The photo room, press room, bobby Moore dinner suite, players tunnel and even….the staff canteen. That was hilarious. Clearly not dressed as staff or looking like staff we strolled through as 100’s of pairs of enquiring eyes followed us. The security guards even assumed incorrectly that my mate was a footballer and gave us a personal escort around the venue! I knew we had pushed it though when we found ourselves pitch side standing right alongside the players bench. We attempted to look like personal trainers and physiotherapists but within minutes an official caught on and politely informed us that we shouldn’t really be so up close. We laughed , apologised and returned to our seats with our £10 fish and chips and enjoyed the rest of the game-all 20 minutes that were remaining.

Next I popped into the D&G store for their joint party with INSTYLE magazine which was attended my lots of fashion peeps, models and Dizzee Rascal and Alexandra Burke amongst others. The next day I returned to the D&G celebrity closet to join VIP stylists to the stars Ruth and Chandni for a posh afternoon tea which we were having at the uber posh Wolesley Hotel. As I arrived ROC Nation sweetie Alexis Jordan was just finishing her fitting for a gorgeous gold mini Alice in wonderland style dolly frock that she was going to rock to switch on the regent street Christmas lights that evening.

Finally I met up with former ‘’Westside’’ hit maker, LA based TQ who happened to be in the UK for a few days to shoot a video for a brand new exciting music deal he’s just signed. I recalled interviewing TQ at the height of his ‘Westside’’ fame about 10 years ago in the main front window set of the then sonymusic building in great Marlborough street. He corrected me and revealed it was way back in 1998! And that on his current uk trip it was trip number 33! His hit had us hearing his voice on the radio 24 hours a day both on urban and mainstream radio and then just as if dynamo the magician had waved his magic hand over him, he disappeared. Totally. So when he approached me to have a catch up I was intrigued. Who wouldn’t be!
TQ explained that his hit had been so big that it kept charting at different times in various countries all across the globe and so he  was travelling constantly to perform it for months and months as its success was a rolling stone. He admitted that he certainly made some money from that song and continues to do so till this day.
TQ revealed ‘’When I first started I was just a song writer for different bands like n sync etc and travelled around the world on business. Sony my publishing company and after so many of my songs were hits for other acts they asked me to record as an artist in my own right. Even though I was content being just a songwriter they made a great offer that I felt I couldn’t refuse. I’ve always been into business. With ‘’Westside’’ I sold 50 000 copies around the world. I was financially secure and selling on my own. Then I signed to a big label and performed in a lot of different territories. When I parted ways with the label I continued making music and since then my fans bought my music directly from me’’.
TQ has been putting out his work silently and contently making a living via his own website- proof that not every act needs a major record label to back them. However with his new album-his 7th ,He has a new type of deal with Bauer Media who run KissFM, 4 Music, Kerrang and many other music brands. He’s the 1st act that Bauer have signed! .His new single is released via bauer on Jan 10th which is why he’s been spending a lot more time here in the UK. Every time he’s in London town he stays in east London-he tells me he likes the eastside as he has friends down that way as well as a property he’s bought for himself as his UK base.
With his new material TQ admits he ‘’ wants to break the genre as people keep labelling me rap and R&B, I listen to music now and I don’t even wanna be connected to R&B music right now’’. With that strong statement I pushed him for an explanation.
TQ expanded ‘’One of my biggest problems is people don’t write their own music and therefore I don’t respect them. If I wanna listen to an artist. I like Anthony Hamilton and artists from the nineties.Most people don’t wanna be put in a bracket. It’s all about breaking the mould’’.
TQ himself hopes to break that mould with his new album “I am legend” which for now is just a working title. TQ revealed that he worked a lot with a uk producer called ‘steel bangles’. He elaborated ‘’A friend picked me up and introduced me to him. I had only come here to shoot video for a couple days. But after we met musically it was a great relationship and so I stayed longer to work with him on my new material’’.
TQ’s first single is a toss at the moment between 2 of his new tracks ” I wish” and “no better love”.He says ‘’No better love’’ is a club joint whilst ‘’I wish’’ is a break from the norm- a positive song about the future and freedom of speech’’.
The new album is full of touching concepts like defiance. He added ‘’there’s a lot of heartache from where I come from. My message is keep on fighting’’.
The video that TQ popped over here to shoot is called “Oh oh” and it’s the 1st of his 3 single dealand features artist Danielle Senior who is the second artist that Bauer have signed. He describes the track as ‘’a duet, a dance record. Pop and club orientated, its a catchy joint. The video is a simple performance video’’. Describing the video concept TQ said ‘’the vibe of the song is that we are in a club with our significant others catching each others eyes-its just a flirty video’’.
As we were speaking a very excited young woman interrupted us and happily requested to take a photo with TQ.i laughed. TQ smiled and stated ‘’Everything I do is cos of the fans. I have the same fans from 10 years ago. I’m trying to make stuff for them. In fact the fans out here suggested I do collaborations with Wiley,  D Double O, Preeya Kalidas, and others so my new stuff is a great UK – USA remix.
With that TQ hopped back onto a plane to return to his homeland where no doubt he had a lot of business to catch up with in his companies which he runs which include a marketing company, a Car company , a Mobile phone company and a company that makes and sells blunt wraps.  Not merely about the cash TQ also has a charity, which he founded in 2000 which aids youth from inner cities to go to college.
A good chat with a man who clearly has a very solid, unfazed by fame, head on his shoulders.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring EN VOGUE, THE WAILERS TRIBUTE, NATE WALKA.

JASMINE, NATE WALKA AND ALESHA DIXON

November in London town saw a lot of music activity from established superstar music acts, as well as old skool artists with nothing to prove, alongside newbies with absolutely everything to prove.
To kick start things one of the coolest female act of all time- En Vogue- graced the indigo venue at the 02 Arena. I put aside all my old bitter memories of ex boy friends dribbling and gushing over dawn from the band and trying to make myself wear the tiniest little black dress and highest vertiginous heels to try and emulate the girls back in the 90”s and stepped into the arena full of excitement for anticipation of singing ‘’oohh my first mistake was….i wanted too much time’’. The original line up-the ladies looked as slick and sexy as ever.
The band lit up the stage with great memories of music. It was a straight 9 out of 10 show. For it to have been a 10 there would have needed to be another group like SWV or Brown Stone as a supporting act or clashing each other like a clash of the titans.
En Vogues Interaction with the crowd was excellent, getting the audience involved with every part of their performance speaking and asking the crowd questions they had the crowd jumping, dancing and waving their hands.
Their vocals were as strong as ever and nothing seemed to have thinned or weakened their voices from the 1990’s –it was as if nothing had changed. Hell no!-it was the same wonderful goose-bumping voices that first broke onto the scene all those years ago, singing all the greatest oldies. The audience really responded well with a great atmosphere within the O2 with all ages of people singing along from all different backgrounds whites, blacks, men, women, gays and heterosexual.
Anyone attending would have said it was money well spent as people left the arena still singing aloud. My mates mum said they were just as good as when she first watch
them nearly 20 years ago! It really was a must see concert!.

Next up I was invited by Melissa from G-Mag to attend ‘The salute to The Wailers’ show about Jamaica’s first super group. At Hammersmith Apollo the crowd outside was so sparse I wondered if we had the right date. We queued for a while and even though it was cold outside it was even colder inside the venue. I kid you not. It was freezing!. The crowd that had gathered might have wanted to take their coats off and dance to the music that they were clearly enjoying but there was no chance of that as the Apollo stayed freezing cold all night with not even an apology or acknowledgement from the stage of the audiences discomfort. Is it any wonder that music acts are all choosing to perform at the 02- once upon a time West London ruled with Wembley, Shepherds Bush and Hammersmith-that is a distant memory now.
The show itself plodded. It was billed as the reggae event of the year.  The band and backing singers were going through the motions. The show used a different singer every few tracks to represent a different era but they had no presence-on and off as if rehearsing or doing a walk through. The experience was sold as a vibrant story but it really wasn’t. The tracks weren’t all introduced and when the narrator did come onstage he was barely intelligible and he should’ve been on a lot more and directed us through the story. Whilst the die-hard reggae fans made the best of it in the cold and sang along it really was a poor attempt at a big show and I have in my time been to some amazing reggae concerts and alas this had all the potential of being one.

Finally songwriter to the stars, American Nate Walka who has won a Grammy Award for writing for  Jamie Foxx amongst others held a listening party for his latest music at Molton House in the bond street area. No expense had been spared as both Nibbles and champagne were being passed around all night. Unfortunately I wanted a soft drink or water and neither were available-only champagne-how ironic-and they say there’s a recession?!.
Nate has also written tracks for Alesha Dixon who was also in the house looking lovely and truly letting her hair down. She laughed, joked, drank and had a great time all night as well as hosted the evening for her friend Nate.
A lot of the London inner urban circle from all walks of life attended and for a practically unheard of artist it was a very impressive turn out. Comedian Kojo and I wanted DJ for the night Manny Norte to play ‘’Westside’’ by TQ as TQ was sitting alongside our table. Industry folk like radio1xtra DJs, singer Cherri V, Jamal Edwards founder of SBTV, Nadine Scott from Michelle Williams management team, the flavour magazine team and many ,many more underground uber cool faces were in the house.
Nate finally turned up fashionably late and after Alesha introduced him he jumped on the decks and talked us through a very fast version of his new mix tape. It was a surprising listen as after his hit songs for other acts we expected catchy, soulful, melodic hooks, instead we had a quite heavily rap based mix-tape with various influences which was just as catchy but unexpected. Nates just been signed to an indie label called Versatile so a lot of acts coming up were in the house, hopefully hoping they could grab a hit song from him. Look out for him!

JASMINE’S JUICE feat THE MOBO AWARDS 2010!(the bits you didn’t already know!)

JASMINE WITH THE LEGENDS BILLY OCEAN AND RADIO1XTRA DJ MISTAJAM!

A fortnight ago I laid the first series of my ITV music show ONE NIGHT STAND to rest (its on air from this month!), and legged it down to bond street to the D&G store to get fitted for a fabulous frock for the MOBO Awards. Ruth in the D&G celeb styling team ushered me into the inner sanctum of the VVIP closet where Angela – fitter to all the stars including kylie and Madonna- pinned me into a beautiful, structured black frock. Usually I wear something sassy and sexy to the MOBO Awards as I usually attend as a red carpet presenter or a guest. However this year I was on team Mobo booking celeb presenters so I decided I should be more formal and elegant. I figured there would be enough skimpy nakedness going on without me adding to the mutton lamb mixture.
I had also decided to treat myself to a couple of classic shoes from designer Christian Louboutin. I often get fancy frocks sent to me by designers to wear to public functions and a couple of shoes that would go with all were much needed.
My designer mate Anneliese- born and bred in new York, now a Londoner, wont let anything beneath a Stella McCartney shoe touch her hallowed foot took me to the Mayfair Chrissy Lou store where a lovely guy called Claude helped us with our purchase of 2 pairs of décolleté classic 4 inch stilettos. I bought one black pair and one nude pair and even though I gulped hard as I handed over my credit card I reassured myself the shoes would be worn for years to come and therefore a good purchase.
The next morning the D&G courier dropped off my form-fitting frock, I threw a few garments into a case and off I went to jump on the Virgin Mobo train to Liverpool with the rest of the team. Scripts and running orders continued to change on the hour as artists were booked, unbooked, and so on all the way to the Mersey!.
The next day was full of rehearsals where 100 camera crew and riggers ran around laying down cables and setting up their shots, lighting was being fixed in place with stage hands running up and down the rope ladders hundreds of feet into the sky, microphones were being tested, event organisers ensuring the table cloths are the correct colour and size, stage hands were hastily building the stage, backstage dressing rooms were being labelled with artist names, the kitchens began grinding out menus and recipes and talent began arriving and rehearsing their sets. Mobo hosts Alesha Dixon and Reg Yates were working on their scripts with myself and producer Shurwin throwing in the odd unhelpful cheeky comment here and there.
I actually find the preparation for celeb functions more entertaining than the show itself. There are always so many issues that the general public never hear about. Certain acts have hissy fits about getting on the train which is a 2-hour easy journey and insist on a private car which is a horrible 4-5 hour traffic nightmare. Talent insist they bring not a couple of guests but try to force 10 extra people upon the organisers. Imagine if we said yes to every star requesting 10 guests? There would be no tables for the public to buy!. Artists argue over who has the flashest transport arrival on the red carpet, artists calling me every hour to ask which table they’re on, whether it’s a good table and who they’re sitting with, Issues between presenters who didn’t want to go on with who they were partnered up with, who has the biggest dressing room, they insist they have a car to drive them 50 meters to the after-party even though the walk would take half the time over a private path that only they would have use of. Oh the dramas, they’re fascinating!.
The great observations are witnessing acts like Roll Deep just being so happy and proud to be performing at the show, Alesha and Reg having so much fun rehearsing, the screamers who are hired to scream up the red carpet arrive looking so excited-the best thing Mobo ever did was to take the show out of London. The regions are just so much more welcoming, happy and have a positive attitude to the event.
The rehearsals went on all day the day before the show and the whole morning of the day of the show. Mark Ronson’s a nice early riser so was first onsite to run through with Wiley. Lets just say with Wiley being the temperamental genius that he is, that Mark had to change songs and ideas a few times before all was agreed upon. Next up was mister professional Tinie Tempah followed by hostess Alesha. Roll Deep came thereafter and ensured to practise their giant swing entrance properly , next it was sweetie Tinchy Stryder with his featured acts Professor Green, Giggs, Devlin and Tinie Tempah.(this was my favourite perfoamnce of the night, not to everyone’s taste but as a pure hip-hop fan I appreciated the rawness of a group of talented MC’s and their onstage dynamic)  Heartthrob Nelly came next and finally it was the mischievous ones N Dubz. On show day dancers Peridot were up first followed by JLS and their surprise collaborator Travis followed by now international superstar Jay Sean.
After all the guest presenters had arrived and settled in for their dress rehearsal I managed to slip into the make up room to have my hair and make up done by the lovely Abbey Rose who turned me around in 45 minutes flat from bedraggled to elegant. Next to me in the make up chair was former Eastenders actress and singer Preeya Kalidas who had 2 ladies working her hair, make up and sequinned henna tattoo look. We discussed dresses and exchanged gossip before being joined by DJ Max from Radio1Xtra. With an hour to go before show start we all grabbed a plate of whatever food was left over and legged it to our positions.
One of the busiest rooms backstage was the gifting suite where artists could go and grab an abundance of freebie goodies including DJ Hero games and Money clothing. There was also a talent retreat where acts could get massages, facials and mani-pedis except most were so busy getting their show look together that I didn’t see anyone taking advantage of it all day.
The show went without a hitch- only Peter Andre was unable to attend due to illness and Nelly’s dancers should’ve been naked and painted gold but BBC banned it so had to wear black leotards instead.
The only things I can reveal that you might not have seen on TV are…and you need to guess here,….which act sent the runners out 4 times to get the “right brand of orange juice, I only drink oringina NOT tropicana!!!”.  Which acts have the worst rep in the industry for being the biggest freebie liggers and exit every event with armfuls of bags and did the same here?. Which male artist had on loads of make up on and kept going back to the makeup room for more powder?. Which artist threw a hissy fit cos they didn’t have their own dressing room and made MOBO pay for a hotel room next door? Which artist refused to walk 50 yards to the official party and had to be driven there?. Which artists didn’t want their dancers looking better than them and so instructed their make up be changed?.  Which act onstage kissed at least 200 ladies during the show?-that award goes to mister Billy Ocean. Which artist’s secret wife was with him backstage looking stunningly gorgeous? I wasn’t impressed by the N Dubz security issues at the Mobo table with a guy called UK Warrior or something who was after Tulisa or some nonsense. Apparently he’s been sending her inappropriate images and messages recently and kept trying to get near the bands table leading to a band affiliate allegedly whacking him over the head with a bottle, leading to 2 of them getting thrown out of the building etc etc. Mad beef. Kiddie time. It was interesting to note that whilst once upon a time the arena would’ve gone nuts for American rapstar Nelly, in this show he seemed like an understatement where the audience took the opportunity to visit the toilet!. Remember years ago the MOBO Awards were accused of being too Americanised with not enough attention on the British acts? Well that’s a total 360 turnaround in 2010 . Its what we wanted 15 years ago and we were ecstatic with the representation. Now we just need to get our talent to use their time onstage to say something rock n roll and worthy so their 15 minutes of fame is remembered.
Post show we all went across to the PanAm building for the official MOBO party where Mobo hosts and acts mingled as Steve Sutherland played a great mixture of 90’s classics. I danced with Billy Ocean and ate enough of the free nibbles and drinks going past on silver trays including butternut squash risotto, fish ‘n’ chips, ceaser salad, fruit kebabs and chocolate covered strawberries. After dancing up a storm with Preeya, Alesha, Reg and Kojo we went to check out Reg Yates TRADING PLACES party at the Blue Bar which wasn’t as plush a venue but was heaving with artists and music industry. We had a good catch-up with everyone here and then Trevor Nelson suggested we check out the Hilton hotel party. So across the road we went to see loads of people standing outside the Hilton Hotel alongside a lot of police. My mate being cheeky and noting they weren’t allowing anyone else in told the police we were staying there and that they better let us in immediately. We were let inside where a huge party was just apparently coming to an end. It wasn’t a cool industry crowd, more wannabees wags and wannabee balers. We were ready to get out. Music manager to the stars Kwame Kwaten said ‘’lets get out of here, my instinct tells me something’s about to kick off’’. Instead of trying to escape down the now overcrowded stairs we tried the lift. Just as we were about to enter the lift a group of Caucasian guys ran in pushing one of their gang into the lift chased closely followed by a group of black youths aiming bottles at their heads. As we rushed in the opposite direction I said to my mate ‘’hold on, I can’t run all the way out in 4 inch Chrissy Lou shoes-let me slip into my ballet pumps’’. Flat shoes on and Chrissie Lou’s in my handbag we ran out, along to the taxi rank, jumped in a cab and got safely back to our Hope Street boutique Hotel. As we shook our heads at young boys drunken foolishness and I unpacked my handbag the colour drained from my face as I noted that I only had 1 shoe in my bag. The other must’ve dropped out mid escape!
I was gutted. 1 pair of Christian Louboutin shoes bought 24 hours earlier, worn once for 5 hours and gone. What a night. Cinderella’s spirit lived with me as all around me started mocking me calling me ‘’Jaserella’’. Clearly God didn’t want me to have them. I can always save for another. If anyone finds a black patent size 3 decollette shoe though I’ll reward them well for its safe return!.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring NE-YO.

I’ve worked with practically every music act from the urban scene internationally and nationally over the past 15 years. The biggest most successful acts are always the best mannered and humble and work extremely hard to get where they are.
The most obnoxious and difficult are always new acts that assume they’re bigger than they are.
A few years ago an artist called Mario stayed at Number 1 in the charts for weeks and weeks with a hit song called ‘’Let me love you’’. The song was so catchy it was ridiculous (or as the Yanks said ‘’bananas’’) . The Def Jam team kept telling me about the song writer. A guy called Ne-Yo. A few weeks later the industry buzz was that this song writer Ne-Yo would be following in Kanye and Timbalands footsteps and making the move from behind the hit songs to in front of the hits. Ne-Yo arrived and he gave us hit after hit after hit. His music is always in the charts globally whether it’s him singing or one of his music superstar mates.
Recently ITV have commissioned a new music show and its really one that stands out in a league of its own and gives the music lover and fan the best of both worlds. Its called ONE NIGHT STAND and each one hour show focus’ on a different act and see’s them doing an hour long set of their music to an intimate audience. This footage is inter-cut with access- all- areas diary style backstage footage-the ultimate buzz for any fan.
The first series of ITV’s ONE NIGHT STAND shows special’s on Scissor Sisters, Pixie Lott and the incomparable Ne-Yo.
Ne-Yo flew into Heathrow on his jet one very early morning where we met him and dragged him straight to our studio where all day long he with his 7 dancers, choreographer, stage team, band and management worked, sound checked, camera checked and did pieces to camera all day long without complaining or looking tired once.
He greeted everyone with the most polite manners and was an absolute star from the moment his plane touched down until he flew back out again. His tour manager Ronnie Stephenson had promised me he was a robot at work and never stopped and he wasn’t wrong. As soon as Ne-Yo jumped into his car from the airport to the studio he announced ‘’I love coming over here, love the UK I love British People, I love England, there’s just a vibe here that you really can’t find anywhere else here on the planet. . I’m really big on things that make a place unique, that make a place genuine and I think that’s the vibe that London has. That’s the vibe that British people have. You can literally not find it anywhere else. Its the weather to the accent to style of dresses, its genuine and I love that’’.
Ne-Yo’s attitude is still on that ‘I cant believe this is my life’ high. It’s a joy to see someone so ampt about how blessed they are. He agreed ‘’I never really fathomed what my music would do nationally when I first started, my biggest concern when I first started was trying to get my music on the radio anywhere; you know in the neighbourhood that I lived in, that was how small my thinking was, who’d have ever known that 6 years later I would be on the other side of the Ocean. So it’s a truly beautiful thing’’.
The thing I love about Ne-Yo is that he never courts the press like so many other music acts we see daily flaunting themselves at Movida and other dubious desperate spots. He takes over the charts; his bank balance is phat and he quietly and surely does his thing with an easy grace. He admits that Europe and the UK have been an influence on his style too as he talks about his hit ‘’Closer’’. ‘‘My favorite song to play out here has got to be ‘Closer’ ,it was inspired by my time here and the people appreciate that song so much more because the people now they were the inspiration that brought that song to life. Closer’ came to be after spending allot of time over here in the UK and just seeing the energy of dance music and me just trying to my R&B interpretation of it really’’.
His creative director and choreographer Jamaica put him through his paces onstage during the day time and at the side of stage Ne-Yo confessed to me ‘’this is one of things people don’t really know about me…I’m really not that good of a dancer…i can’t believe I’m about to tell ya’ll this right now but really if you’re paying attention I have about 5 go to signature moves ,i just mix them up so that if youre not really paying attention you don’t really catch it’’.
Ne-Yo has written hits for many of his friends in music including Beyonce, Britney, Jennifer Hudson, Whitney and many many more. For his ITV spot he went left field and asked someone unexpected to join him onstage. He revealed ‘’My special guest today that I have invited to sing with me and help me out with the duet in Hate that I love you…(Rhianna was unavailable) is the lovely miss Kimberly Walsh from the group Girls Aloud. I met her not too long ago actually it was one of the last times I was here; and we just hit it off –she’s really cool, I asked her to do this and she said yeah without a doubt and she sounds very good for the part if I do say so myself. So all we needed was a couple seconds to get on stage and figure out moments we were gonna create and that’s what’s going to happen tonight’’.
Before Ne-Yo and his crew hit the stage they bowed their heads for a prayer and then like an SAS team that has walked the path many times they went into the slickest musical showcase. The set list included every big Ne-Yo hit-and there were a lot!
Ne-Yo even gave one of his fans a one in a million experience on the show- you’ll have to watch to see how.
Aside from praying before the entourage hit the stage they tucked into what I can only call a mountain of Nando’s chicken, mash and sweetcorn. Honestly no word of a lie, I went like Oliver from Oliver Twist and begged the record label head of TV for a piece of chicken. (I’m still ghetto like that!). And all this Nando’s even though there was also personal catering for Ne-Yo onsite! Ah the life of a star on Universal Records!
When we were just hanging out backstage Ne-Yo confessed he wished he hadn’t given away his first hit for Mario….’’’Let me love you’’ at the time that i wrote it i wasn’t trying to be an artist, I was completely content with just being a song writer but I think back on that song and I look back and think had I been trying to be an artist at the time that’s definitely one I would of held on to, another one that comes to mind is Beyonce ‘irreplaceable’ . Now, I initially wrote that song for me but that song taught me a really valuable lesson about lyrical content and the way its perceived in regards to gender. That exact same song with exact same lyrics that is sung by a man comes across a little different than it does being sung by a woman, so when Beyonce sings it its empowering and its uplifting to women and its like girl power and all of that and if a man sings it comes across kind of brash, mean and insensitive so I made that decision on my own and I decided to give that to a nice strong woman who pulled it off.
Ne-Yo then pulled off an amazing live show where his fans had the night of their lives and even all the rock music lovers on the tv crew that usually hate what they call ‘’urban music’’ were converted. Now that’s the sign of a true superstar! He ended the night by telling me ‘’this is everything I ever hoped for and more I really could not have fathomed this when you know sitting in my room singing into a broom handle. I feel blessed I wake up every morning and I thank god and my fans. God and my fans -every single one of you!’’.
ONE NIGHT STAND with NE-YO transmits on ITV on December 8th 2010.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring MICHELLE WILLIAMS

A fortnight ago an e-mail pinged into my blackberry that had me all excitable. One third of Destiny’s Child and solo star in her own right the lovely  Michelle Williams  had invited me as her special guest to watch her do her thing on strictly come dancing!. I thought about it for all of 5 seconds before hitting her straight back with my RSVP. I felt like I’d won the golden ticket in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! During the week at work in the ITV building when people were discussing their weekend plans they were open mouthed with shocked impressiveness when I announced I was going to watch SCD. Apparently the tickets are like gold dust!. So we rocked up to the BBC in white city-love that place- a British institution! Nadine Scott from Michelle’s team met us and escorted us to the bar where we met other production guests before being led into the studio. Well that was a shock. I should know better working in TV that all studios look much bigger on telly than in reality. The vast ballroom space that looks humungous on screen was actually much smaller than imagined. We took our seats in the ‘’yellow production guest’’ area. I should have known that our very specific seat numbers would mean something more down the line.
Firstly came the warm up man who was as expected very entertaining, gave us bits of information about the night, the presenters and the usual told before a few times jokes. Then all the talent were introduced one by one. The judges came on. My mate said ‘’do you think Alesha will spot us in the middle of all these guests?’’. No way I responded, she’ll be too focused on her job. Well, didn’t lovely Alesha spot us minutes later and waved hello-bless her.
Next came my mum’s long time crush-Mr Bruce Forsyth. He is such a sweetie and what a pro. After all these years he’s as slick as if he were still a 30-year old- and his face still looks suspiciously youthful too. I know his jokes are meant to be awful, and they were but like your old granddad at the family function you find him so endearing.
Thereafter Tess Daly tottered on in her never-seen-without-vertiginous heels. As my mate drooled over her outfit and shoes (that’s what he said anyway), I elbowed him hard in the ribs.
Once the dance couples began I was mesmerised. I mean honestly- they were all so impressive. Old Anne Widdecombe was clearly cussing her partner all the way through the show much to all of our amusement, Eastenders Jack/ Scott Maslen was astonishingly good and as cute in real life as on screen and was really giving it some, comedienne Pamela Stephenson was very saucy and had all the mens attention with her ever so raunchy wiggling , former Eastenders actress Kara Tointon looked amazing in a white Grecian dress and danced with grace. My mate got all excited as former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton came on but alas peter wasn’t as good with his feet as he was with his hands and was more comedy than hotshot. My mate Goldie did his thing wearing a gold waistcoat and matching hat. Felicity Kendall still looked so pretty and sophisticated years down the line after seeing her in the good years but my male mate was more captivated by Paul Daniels missus Debbie McGee. Apparently loads of guys used to have a thing for her cos ‘’she used to be a sort’’?
For some reason rugby player and Charlotte Church’s ex Gavin Hensen seemed to evoke much hatred from the males in the audience. Admittedly he and his partner did look like the chav king and queen like they’d just stepped out of Movida nightclub but I’m guessing that’s the look they were going for. Actor Jimi Mistry’s mum was sitting next to us and was so proud her hands were clapping harder than ever. Even though she’s getting on a bit now actress and notorious rock star wifey Patsy Kensit looked hot and showed she still has that certain je ne se qua, whilst coronation street actress Tina O Brien was as northern off screen as she is on.  When Michelle did her turn we were so nervous for her but she danced so daintily like a ballerina and did us proud! As they went to the judges score for her the crowd camera suddenly turned on me and whereas I had been grimacing at the judges and giving them my ‘’bad- gal- you- don’t- wanna- mess- with- my- girl- Michelle’’ look, I rapidly switched it to what I hoped looked like a pleasant smile.
In the interval we went to meet Michelle off set and hug her tight and congratulate her for working so hard- its no easy feat to learn a different dance weekly and perform it to a nation!. We then went and grabbed dinner and drinks at the BBC bar before returning to the studio to pre-record the results show that was transmitting the following night. Do you know how much will power it took me not to reveal all the results on twitter there and then? It took a huge effort on my part not to spill my guts!. Meanwhile I had placed my bets on going to see the show record again via Goldie who only went and got booted off that night- so its all bets on Michelle now- although I mustn’t be a Bug-a -boo hitting her up for tickets 24-7!.Michelle- Independent Women everywhere are relying on you to Survive so get to Jumpin Jumpin and don’t let the judges tell you to Get on the bus! Be a Soldier but not a Nasty Girl and it will surely be Destiny Fulfilled. Ok. I will stop now. Peace out.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring Kanye and Rihanna

It’s just a few days until this years MOBO Awards and hair salons are over whelmed with demand for appointments, beauty clinics have run out of wax, nail parlours are heaving with last minute requests and designers are being wooed for fabulous garms just hours before the big night. And this is just for myself and MOBO Awards CEO Kanya King!. Only kidding folks but honestly its all go-go-go up at MOBO towers!.
When I’m not at ITV towers editing my new music special ONE NIGHT STAND, I’m legging it up to the MOBO office to work on last minute plans for this years show.
So far-it’s looking to be a stone groove, sure-fire winner.
Alesha Dixon and Reggie Yates are hosting together, N Dubz, JLS, Professor Green and many other names you’d expect will be performing. I on the other hand have been just as entertained by the pre-show behind the scenes antics as I will be by the show. In fact-maybe perhaps even more so!. I have all the UK and international acts riders. Oh if only I could reveal the details and hadn’t signed that confidentiality agreement!
Certain acts have demanded the biggest dressing rooms, one act has demanded nearly 40 international flights for their entourage, one urban celeb couple cant bear to be apart for the evening so one half of the couple is performing whilst the other is presenting an award! It’s all very amusing. Showbiz. You gotta love it!.
On the night there are going to be cocktails named after the artists. I’m thinking perhaps a Tinie Tempini, a JLS Julep, a long slow Stryder, a Dubmopolitan, a black urban, a white lady, a Cruz colada, or maybe even a Diva Dotiwala!
2 acts are flying into Liverpool in the last 24 hours, which is worrying-I wonder if they’ll make it? It only takes one international connection to be late and that’s a whole performance up the creek!
Last year at the MOBO Awards in Glasgow all the traffic lights in town were switched to green for speedy arrival of guests and no traffic. Not sure if the city of Liverpool are doing the same this year. To ensure punctual arrival I might jet up the Mersey River myself by speedboat-that might be a sure-fire way of avoiding the crazy road block traffic that will be present. Especially if JLS pull a stunt like last year and all arrive in one formula 1 style car each up to the red carpet causing mayhem.
I love that the show starts at 10 past 8 on October 20th 2010. So that’s 20.10, 20.10. 20.10. A date not to be forgotten on its 15th year anniversary!
I can’t wait to see the cream of our scene on the night. The excitement backstage will be pandemonium and I need to sort out a frock ASAP!.

Boris Johnson held a black history month soiree at City Hall where around 120 of us were invited and the evening was to highlight the amazing achievements of Africa and Africans globally were highlighted. Except it was a bit flat. There was no smell of African food, no sign of African décor or art, no sound of African music or drumming, nothing that portrayed love of all things African had gone into consideration when planning the evening. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session but ultimately although the event planners meant well in putting this night on it lacked spirit and was a little flat.

Next Roc Nation royalty Rihanna and Kanye West flew into town to play their new albums to us. RiRi held her function at uber trendy bar Sketch in Conduit Street whilst Kanye of course upped the ante by throwing a viewing of his new film ‘’Runaway’’ at-BAFTA- of course!.
Rihanna’s soiree was full by 7pm –doors opened at 6.30pm, she was expectedly late and arrived around 8.30pm. Waiting staff were passing around trays of mini burgers and hot dogs as well as drinks galore. There may be a recession but Universal Music isn’t feeling it!  Looking uber tall like the Amazonian warrior she is in heels, short dress and bright red most recent beehive hair style she looked striking. The evening was attended by a very un-urban crowd, probably cos Rihanna now transcends genres and is a straight pop star. The session was hosted by CapitalFM radio DJ and showbiz reporter Kevin Hughes AKA the pop prince who made her feel at ease and smoothly went from track to track whilst interviewing her onstage. The new music sounds like typical Rihanna hits, a few up tempos, a couple of ballads, a few collaborations with Drake and others. The blueprint for her hits hasn’t changed and why should it. You know what they say ‘’if it ain’t broke….’’. The songs were played with a casual format interview in between Kevin and  Rihanna and once the 5 tracks were played for us the Q&A session was opened up to the floor. Some journo’s questions are so cringe-some and inappropriate I wonder whether they really just want a 2-minute attention session as opposed to asking an interesting question. Luckily for them Rihanna is most dignified and answers her questions with grace unlike her label mate Kanye West who would usually shoot down a wack question just with a withering look.

The following evening Kanye’s night was a late one at BAFTA in Piccadilly where a very cool guest list of industry movers and shakers were in attendance. Everyone attended to view Kanye’s 45 minute long film titled ‘’Runaway’’. Not many artists could get a packed room out this late on a school night and it showed how much the industry respects and values Kanye. We were ushered up to a champagne reception where I mingled with Universal Music big wigs Matt Voss and Helena McGeough as well as Kanye’s right hand man Mr Don C, boxer David Haye (in his trademark woolly beenie hat) and reality show star Alexandra Burke (in very pip Chrissy Lou spiked boots!). The night began late – 10.45pm. Kanye bounded onstage with no introduction and introduced the movie with a long monologue about his inspiration for the work being his dreams, his early days at art and fashion school, and his desire to clash all 3 art genres. I loved the fact that he’s so relaxed, confident and real and after chatting casually to the audience he requested the technician press play on the movie. As the film started he sat just behind me with his mates who included Mr Hudson and announced to all ‘’ its still rough!’’. We all laughed. The film started and the first couple of seconds didn’t play the music so he demanded ‘’sound!’’. Immediately there was sound. We all laughed.
I wanted to discuss parts during the film with my mate but with Mr West sat right behind me I was paranoid he would shout and point me out so I sat like an obedient school kid. The movie was half narrative, half abstract and seemed to hold a deep message about different kinds of people, worlds and judgements. It see’s Kanye partnered up romantically with a ‘’bird lady’’ and how the outside publics remarks affect him and his happiness. If I’m honest, I felt a little nervous that I’d misinterpret it or not see the message. I am in fact known to be a movie imbecile. Post film it was nearly midnight and even though there was a mad scramble for the exit as guests attempted to catch the last train home, Kanye promised he would stay and answer all questions for the remaining guests -and he did. For nearly 2 hours! I didn’t want to be rude and leave, also I value his opinions and find him entertaining so I stayed, missed all transport home and forked out £40 for a cab home. It was a once in a lifetime moment to be able to spend so much quality time with an act as eloquent as Kanye-I hope all in the room appreciated it-it doesn’t happen often. In retrospect I think Kanye’s biggest flaw is that he wants people to understand him and always feels he needs to explain himself. He feels misunderstood. He doesn’t need to feel this way. He has more than proved himself musically as well as opening up much of the hip hop community around the world to new sounds, fashion, art and encouraging debate and thought. Kanye- you are a first class G!.

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring Alexis Jordan and Oona King.

For the past couple of years Jay Z’s latest record label RocNation has generated much excitement by signing up new acts including London’s very own Rita Ora who shot her video just this past fortnight and no doubt will be a name to be reckoned with very soon.
But before that a 17 year old young lady named Alexis Jordan has had the music scene excited in recent months with her very cute, extremely young looks and undeniable vocal talent. Like a RocNation version of Britney Spears but with class, Alexis is bubbly, petite and confident beyond her years.
Her showcase in London on the same night as a Mobo Awards launch party had the industry torn as which to attend and many ensured they made both.
Her label head Jay Z swears by her superstar qualities, and his wifey miss Beyonce complimented her on her cover of ‘Halo’. How much more star co-signing is needed. Clearly this isn’t the rule and there are exceptions. After all who recalls the massive who-ha when the Princess of the Roc Tierra Marie was catapulted onto the scene? Except she never really was. Simultaneously a newcomer called Rihanna also put out a couple of singles on the same label but without the fanfare that was afforded Tierra Marie. A few years on Rihanna is a bonifide a list celeb snapped around the globe and who knows what happened to Tierra?
Anyhoo-I digress- Alexis Jordan looks like she has all the ingredients for a successful music career in place. Her showcase was packed and had smooth touches like ROCNATION drinks menus and branding.. She looked amazing, she sounded even better sining her single ”happiness’ and she has youth clearly on her side. seemingly like a true lady she also refuses to cuss which i find endearing in the current overpopulated ocean of female celebs that like to outrage with filthy mouths. At the showcase location Studio Valbonne, Alexis told me (whilst she was being fitted into a sexy black basque) that she loves TopShop , has never heard of Primark, is not allowed any boyfriends but saw a picture of Chipmunk and thinks he’s cute and apparently wanted to call him up! (Hope Jigga doesn’t read this!- Chipmunk might become Chipmunk meat!)

In other news, its 2 weeks until the Mobo Awards, have you voted and bought your tickets yet? I voted this week. It was very difficult as there are so many acts I like to champion and support- so I sneakily had my mates vote for my other choices so as not to sleep at night with the music equivalent of ‘’favourite child- parent guilt’’. Mobo Awards founder Kanya King has been working 24-7 this month in preparation and so when she needed a breather and invited me to MP Oona Kings soiree to celebrate her running for labour candidate for London mayor I went along. The night was at a posh pizzeria in the city where a sound system was playing wicked old skool tracks, ladies in white outfits were walking around in Oona-ettes looks and other tastemakers like actor Kwame Kwei-Armah were in the house showing their support. As usual Kwame made a very articulate, touching speech about Oona’s achievements.  Oona looked very elegant in a black frock and higher than high vertiginous heels and the evening was a quiet celebration of someone in our community doing extremely well. Oona took the mic and thanked her guests for their support and we all wished her well. Even though she didn’t win her nomination in the end the fact that she stood up to be counted and continues to be a positive role model in media and politics and spans many industries is a testament to her work ethic and reputation.

Finally lets play guess who?. Guess which international celebrity this week in London ordered over £500 of Nando’s for their team and when the order turned up all wrong had the most disappointed look on their face ever. Nandos really is the food for the modern hip hop generation!.
Guess which male and which female from the UK urban scene has just been dropped by their respective record labels? Can the dream be over?
Guess who the feisty act is that is hosting backstage at the MOBO AWARDS this month? Will they behave? Guess which mangers of 2 superstar uk acts are fighting behind the scenes as their young groups also have a public beef? Finally, guess who had to do a live audition onstage in front of a whole TV crew to see if they were good enough to sing on a national music TV show this week? Luckily they passed with flying colours!

JASMINE’S JUICE FEATURING ANGIE LE MAR AND NAOMI CAMPBELL

So the manic month that I’ve been dreading all year has finally arrived. I knew months ago that I was spreading myself a little thinly by agreeing to do 5 jobs simultaneously but did that stop me from accepting them all? Oh no. I’m the queen of multi tasking I thought-I can do this. And readers-I can, and I am, but I wont lie, its taken all my organisational and professional skills to stay absolutely focused and on my A game so as not to drop any balls.

Sometimes work takes priority over pleasure and so this week I have forgone a very fabulous moment in la with Mariah (working) that I had been looking forwards to for weeks. But she understands. And I just did my KanyeWestshouldershrug and told myself there will be more fabulous moments.

London town is the place to be right now. In the past few days the Cash money crew threw a party here, Kanye and Rihanna are here, I have spent no less than 12 days filming and editing with Ne Yo, Pixie Lott and the scissor sisters for their ITV music shows ONE NIGHT STAND- (look out for them starting in November).

An event that I produced recently was the 20th year anniversary of The word. For those of you too young to remember, THE WORD was channel 4’s flagship outrageous youth show in the nineties hosted by myself, Dani Behr, Mark Lamarr, Terry Christian, Alan Connor and Michelle Collins. It was the original wild Friday night viewing must filled with stars and public. We had every big iconic music star including nirvana, Mary J Blige,  MC Hammer, Janet Jackson,  Cypress Hill, Oasis, En Vogue, Salt & Pepa, I even did a dance duet with Alliyah RIP. We had every Hollywood icon ever from Arnie, to Sylvester, to Sharon Stone, to Halle Berry, to Sean Penn, to Billy Zane, I even did a ballet duet with Jean Claude Van Damme opposite the Eiffel Tower!. We offered TV viewers the original 15 minutes of fame when they did ‘’anything to be on TV’’ in a segment called The Hopefuls where Joe Bloggs from down the road would sit in a bath of cow dung, poke skewers through his face, pull a wheelbarrow by his man parts, drink a pint of his own vomit, snog a granny, and so on. Honestly watching back the old shows I was in stitches at the thought that this content was EVER ALLOWED TO AIR. In today’s OFCOM dominated world that could never happen now. We threw a party for every staff member and presenter that ever worked on the show and had 2 live bands perform on the night. Every staffer that began with TV genius’  Charlie Parsons, Waheed Ali and Bob Geldof at their TV company Planet 24 became ‘’someone’’. Band booker Jo Wiley is now a DJ, and nearly everyone else runs their own successful TV company. Between the guests in that room on the night, the power players of all British TV, print press, radio and celebrity were in attendance. So whilst I should’ve been a nervous wreck, I was actually amped at the challenge of proving to them that years down the line I had graduated from my runner/presenter days!.

Next I was invited to An audience with Angie le mar at the Barbican Theatre which is a stunning, very modern, Manhattan esque venue. Angie performed in front of a celeb audience which included actors Chucky Venice, Jason Barret, Michelle Gayle and many others. The show was in word amazing. A really professional, very diverse, fun evening. Angie is a very charismatic, gifted comedian with unique material and an abundance of hilarious characteristics. The audience which was full to the rafters were roaring from start to finish.

Before the show began I rummaged around in my handbag for money at the bar to buy a drink and lo and behold pulled out a pattie that had been in there all day that I’d taken to work for lunch and then forgotten to eat. About to throw it away a giant hand reached down and grabbed it stating ‘’never throw away a pattie’’ and with that my mate Richie popped it safely into his jacket pocket and proceeded to embarrass me all night by asking the theatre ushers if there was a microwave he could warm it up in . Shame.

Hilariously at the after party soiree drinks in the restaurant next door a waiter heated it up for him and a table of ladies including Michelle Gayle flocked to the pattie and helped eat it. Hilarity.

I finished my week by attending a party thrown by designers D&G for their good friend model Naomi Campbell –celebrating 25 years of her career.

The bond street store was a sea of flashing, popping light bulbs every few minutes as celebs and friends of Naomi arrived to show their support of her. As we arrived the paparazzi were like crawling ants outside and luckily as I went to take my place in the never-ending queue, the dolce celeb team Ruth and Chandni spotted me and ushered me in straight away. Phew!

Olly Murs was being chased by paps outside with a desperate female grabbed him,hugging and kissing him for the now de-rigor kiss and tell fake story, Inside Alexandra Burke was holding court in a fitting purple ensemble, a gaggle of Naomi-etttes were strutting around the store looking like they just stepped out of a Samuel L Jackson Pulp fiction movie , Sinitta was no doubt spilling a few of her mate Simon Cowells secrets to eager journos wanting to catch a tit bit, , looking lovely as always Jamelia stroke through the crowd with her entourage like a whirlwind, Janice Dickinson apparently so merry hat she was trying to steal t shirts lol ,designers  Wale Adyemi , Romero Bryan and friends were being courted by us common folk for fashionista tips, promoter Mr Play was hustling and conversing , boxer David Haye had most of the ladies eye balls on lock down, model Claudia Schiffer was posing for endless pics. Naomi had designed t shirts for D&G that they were selling at £200 for the Pakistan disaster fund. If they had been around £40 I might have donated some cash but £200 for tee I will never wear seemed a little steep queen Naomi meanwhile seemed oblivious to all the fuss around her and like the calm eye in the midst of a storm was obediently doing press interviews and posing nicely for pics.So all in all, A LISTER after A LISTER, model after model and never ending cocktails. A pretty boring night. LOL.

Jasmine’s Juice Featuring THE MOBO AWARDS NOMINATIONS PARTY

In a month it will be time for the annual MOBO AWARDS in association with Lebara Mobile. The biggest urban music event in Europe and unlike the show in past years of old where it may have been overrun and dominated by American stars from the black music world, now it’s a new day! Us Brits are the stars of our own scene and the MOBO AWARDs last year proved that point beautifully!.

Last week it was the MOBO AWARDS  launch party at the plush Mayfair hotel where as you can expect, anyone who is anyone in the industry was in attendance. This year I am part of the MOBO team alongside my old mate founder kanya king and so when they asked me to conduct the press room interviews on behalf of MOBO TV. I only had one stipulation ‘’only if I am the first interview that the talent come to’’ I demanded. Kanya laughed. Yep. Nothing changes. At MTV I always insisted to press teams that we would only cover an event if MTV were the first crew on the red carpet too. It’s business-nothing personal.
So there I was on the night having just run across from my full time day time TV job across town arriving to meet my MOBO TV producer Chris who was awaiting me with sheafs of paper that I was told were the all important MOBO nominations for this year-that no one had seen yet! How exciting!

Mobo Awards founder Kanya King turned up in a blood red dress in a number 15 red double decker route master bus with N Dubz as the paparazzi flashed away to capture the moment. Number 15 obviously reflected that this year marks the 15th year anniversary of the show -what an amazing achievement! Until you’ve been in the industry and attempted to organise events and moments its impossible to imagine the struggle, obstacles and tenacity that’s needed to have longevity in this game.

I dragged my 47 bags up to the MOBO suite to get freshened up and no sooner had I had a quick wash than Chris was on the Dotiwala batphone instructing ‘’we need you down here NOW-Chipmunks just arrived!’’. So with no time to pop on a cute outfit or get made up, I sprinted back into the press room where my crew were ready and the manic marathon run of interviewing this years big nominees began.

First up to get the Dotiwala treatment was best UK HIP HOP/ GRIME nominee Akala who was very happy with his nomination as were the whole of the articulate hip-hop fans he was representing.

Roll deep caused excitement on their entrance as they came full crew 8 people deep and told me they were worried about any of their competition as they were in a league of their own. Sexy ladies former Mis-Teeq member Su Elise and artist Egypt were happy to speak to me together. Su Elise reminisced about her history with the MOBO’s where she and her fellow Mis-Teeq ladies took over the stage and awards at the height of their fame. A girl group that no one knew posed and pouted for a minute but quickly moved on as no one knew who they were. There were whispering that they might be wags or page 3 girls so most of the press were pretty sneery about not wanting to speak with them. It was only later that someone mentioned they were a new girl group. Oops.

Actress and singer Preeya Kalidas arrived with her musical partner in rhyme skepta who is nominated for BEST UK HIP-HOP/GRIME and he also revealed he was one of the MOBO tour headliners.
Aggros Santos looked pleased to be on the red carpet especially after his track has dominated the urban radio airwaves most of this summer.

Magician Damian O Brien impressed me with some devilry trickery slight of the hand magic. I also had a nice chat with relative newcomers to the mainstream Devlin and Fugitive. Jazz musician Yolanda Brown and Guvna B were in high spirits as they celebrated Guvna’s best gospel nomination whilst heartthrob of the grime scene-Scorcher was doing his best to bat the ladies off.

My favourite moment was revealing to Tinie Tempah that he was the lead nominee with 4 nominations for best newcomer, best UK act, best song and best video. He was expectedly shocked and delighted. He genuinely had no idea about his nominations and for the rest of the night was beaming from ear to ear.

Comedian Kojo was mingling with his crew backstage and the sweet mannered DJ Ironik and Kanya King were bantering together about the success of the UK scene this year.

MOBO host 2009 and 2010 Mr Reg Yates was on top form and threatened to present part of this years show in a mankini.
One time MTV character Andre Spence was running around grabbing twitpics on behalf on the MOBO twitter page.
After all the interviews the crew and I ran downstairs to the main public lounge where cocktails were flowing, free

Caribbean food courtesy of Cottons restaurant was being munched, a lot of networking (or was it flirting) was going on and Reggie Yates was the master of ceremonies inviting music stars to unveil various category nominations. Chipmunk was as articulate as ever, as was Akala. It was impressive to see how far our perception of cool has come. Just a few years ago music stars tried tom play down their intelligence under the false assumption that being stupid somehow helped their street cred. Acts like Chippy and Akala have really spun this myth around 180 degrees and I thank them for helping the younger generation see the light.

I did have one gripe whilst the nominee announcements were being made though. Annually the attending guests talk all the way through it not paying attention or hearing what’s being announced! Why? If this were a Brits, MTV, Mercury press announcement you wouldn’t be able to hear a pin drop so serious are the journos and talent about hearing what’s being said. In the MOBO room it was so noisy its pretty pointless having Reg and the rest trying to remain professional onstage whilst all around them are ignorant noisy attitudes.

I told Kanya next year to forget the food and drink that makes the guests think they’re here just to party. Open the doors at 7pm. Make the announcements at 7.30pm. Kick everyone out my 8.30pm. Lets see how attentive they are then. Its about manners and respect people. There is plenty of time to socialise afterwards. Can you not give 20 minutes of your attention to the main point of the evening!?. What nonsense!. Ok rant over. Smile. We’ll get there. One day. Yes we can.
Straight afterwards we all piled into the elevator to crash the gifting suite en masse where every artist and celeb in attendance was walking away with free goodies. I spotted the gifters trying to convince vertically challenged KissFM presenter Melvin to try on some stack heels that add inches to your height. Apparently they’re very common in Japan. Not sure if he went for them but he did leave laden down with girly stuff like handbags for the women in his life. Su Elise and Lisa Maffia walked away with GHD tongs and twinkly costume jewellery. Tim Westwood accepted some clothing, N Dubz had enough to need a people carrier to help them home , Donaeo was eyeing up some nice jackets whilst I settled for the coolest looking sneakers by new hot on the block brand cr8tive creation and a pink manicure. This years awards are on October 20th in Liverpool- if the launch party was any indication of how big the awards night will be-I suggest you book tickets, bikes, planes, trains and automobiles now to make it!

JASMINE’S JUICE FEATURING COMEDIAN EDDIE KADI!

I started this week juggling projects for Channel 4, ITV , MOBO and the BBC which even for me is a major feat-im a great multi tasker but even I have limits! I caught up over dinner with lovely BET News anchor woman Sharon Carpenter as well as worked the MOBO LAUNCH press run (more on that next week!)

Late summer always brings about a whirlwind of urban event excitement in the UK. For the past few years urban comedy and young street style comics have really come through and made their presence felt within the inner city youth circuit. One of these that have gone above and beyond just a weekly show, an appearance here and there and a few small venues is Congo’s most famous export- Mr Eddie Kadi!
Last fortnight Eddie actually made history my performing at the 02 Arena. Not one of the small clubs in the 02 Arena, but the main venue where superstar music acts play. The only comic I recall on this level are is Chris Rock. Edie actually had the scene excited months ago when he first announced the gig, then a few days before the show his PR machine went into overdrive as he staged a sit in at the venue and actually slept on site setting off alarm bells and everything when he mistook a door for the toilet!.
Eddie informed me that after he had performed at the Indigo 02 in the past, his team knew they could sell the arena gig. And from the 16,000 capacity Eddie sold 8,000-a great achievement. ITV’s London Tonight picked up on the show as did Channel 5 and thereafter Channel 4 and the Lenny Henry spot.

The week of his show twitter was popping off with celebrities, fans and friends all talking about the show so it was no surprise to then turn up and find a mile radius in all directions around the 02 were gridlocked. I mean really badly. There were cars honking, people excited, girls abandoning cars with heels in their hands running barefoot into the arena, couples arguing in the standstill traffic, billboard lights flashing car parking directions to help people get in, it was like Armageddon!
The neon lights screaming Eddies name were making me panic that I wouldn’t get inside in time and I through all caution to the wind and instructed my mate to pull into the nearest car park. ‘’but that’s £25’’ he glared. ‘’I don’t care-I am not missing eddies start!’’ I spat back. So notes were exchanged with the lip licking parking attendant before we sprinted from the car to the venue. We got to the entrance to find it looking like a scene from carnival with people collecting tickets, mingling and having photos taken in front of the press boards. PR girls were juggling guests and tickets, wannabee celebs were show boating and last minute ticket buying were all blocking up the area. The VIP entrance was full of celeb’s having their pictures taken against the branding board and small TV crews were conducting quick red carpet style interviews.
I picked up my 4 tickets and legged it hell for leather into the venue and DJ Twin B was entertaining the crowd on the decks.
I had great seats a few rows from the front with comedian Kojo and actor/ muscle man Tiny behind me-so the jokes were flying thick and fast between us.
The show began predictable late. We saw a set that resembled Eddies bedroom (bed sheets courtesy of show sponsor Adidas LOL), there was also a living room set up. And when it did start there were audible sound problems and at one stage some visual technical errors too which had me holding my breath in concern for a few minutes but clearly Eddie and his team were back there kicking some serious ass cos once it got going again it was flawless until the end.
Eddie entered the stage in his pyjama’s as if to prepare for his big night changing out of his PJ’s into his slick suit and tie get up.He re emerged in a very well cut, fitted suit and from here on in the show was a blast.

The evening took on the formula of ITV’s ‘’An Audience With’’ by Eddie telling a few personal stories and then picking up on celeb’s in the crowd and focusing his cameras on them to speak with. First up it was lil Tinchy Stryder who had his stunners on all throughout the show-very unnecessary but I understand that artists become very insecure as they get bigger and eye contact with us mere commoners isn’t desired. Tinchy was challenged to speak Ghanaian. Also in the crowd was the ultra articulate Chipmunk who for once sounded shy as Eddie bantered about using ‘’Chip diddy chip’’ as a nursery rhyme. Eddie swore blind to me that none of the acts knew he would be focusing so closely on them!  Kano was teased about his footie career which Eddie stated couldn’t have been very good forcing him into music! And he joked that Kano needed to learn the whole alphabet not just his P’s and Q’s. Mclean meanwhile looked really nervous.
Lethal B laughed hard as Eddie performed his own version of ‘’Pow’’. A running theme through out the show was that Eddie had written most of the artists hit songs and not been repaid for his input.
Next Eddie donned a Dappy-esque hat and N Dubz members Fazer and Tulisa joined him onstage- Dappy was unavailable as he was with family in Greece. Eddie played on the joke that he could be part of the band and take Dappys place with a few well thrown in ‘’Na na nai’s’’. Eddie told me later that they hadn’t rehearsed the set with Fazer and Tulisa which was very good if it was really all free styled.
Eddie also had Nigerian personality ‘’Vocal Slender’’ who appeared on BBC2’s ‘’Welcome to Lagos’, and paid for him to fly him to London…
A lot of celebs had all turned out to support Eddie from Radio 1’s Reg Yates ,Chucky Venice the actor, DJ Abrantee, Su Elise, Billy from Eastenders, footballers, Eastenders actor Rudolf walker and female boxing star Lesley Sackey proving just how liked Eddie is by the scene.
The finale showed 4 times MOBO 2010 nominee Tinnie Tempah who sounded strong and fearless performing his smash hit  ‘’Pass out’’ in his dynamic as ever way.
Eddie revealed post show that his favourite part of the night was performing the medley of comedy songs the most.
Next on this go getters to-do-list he tells me confidently is ‘’Chasing TV, presenting and combining his comedy genius with TV’’. Watch him fly! (but not via AIR KENYA whom he has issues with!-you had to be there LOL!)

JASMINE’S JUICE featuring Scorcher!

August and September are notoriously busy months what with summer parties and events galore. I have been working harder than I ever have in my life this past few months with projects from Channel 4, ITV, MOBO and the BBC so I decided that I deserved at least one night out to let my hair down and shake a leg. This was done at the BBC staff carnival party, which never fails to please. It was a full house by 9pm and people weren’t backward in coming forwards with their soca bottom action and beverages were flowing heavily, luckily not all into my throat. Genesis carnival band ladies were in full costume in the house and entertained us with their pre-carnival jubilation. DJ’s Seanie B and Simply Jus Music sound system had us all two stepping and doing the cameo dance with full screaming and step it up gusto.

The next morning my Godson and his mum popped over early in the morning just in time to polish off all the fresh pancakes I’d just made-much to the held back amused vexation of the boy friend who had assumed he was going to guzzle them all down all by himself. Hilariously the godson returned the following week unannounced after his early morning football game by which point the boy friend was one step ahead of him and had put his batch of pancakes aside in advance!

My girls and I hit the hip-hop karaoke to fuel our never going to be Mariah passions. Even though I’m tone deaf I couldn’t keep off the mic and at one point they all had to sit on me to stop me dominating the set. My bad behaviour didn’t last for long as I had to summon up my best manners for the UK’s number 1 Hip-hop photographer Paul H’s baby son’s christening which was attended by his nearest and dearest which also included the cream of our hip-hop community.
On Saturday night I dragged my West-London-for-life butt down to comedian Eddie Kadi’s one- man show at the 02 Arena and then it was time for the MOBO Nomination Launch Party where anyone who is anyone in the urban music scene was seen. (More on that next week).
Even with all that social butterfly action I still was most excited about Sunday morning when my brand new silver, ‘A Grade washing machine with maximum crease free spins ‘was delivered- a true sign I am getting old.

A young man that’s had the scene buzzing with his presence is Tayo Jarret AKA young MC Scorcher. I love hearing stories of how artists got their names and Scorchers is a cute one. He revealed that he was sitting in a room in the 1990s, playing a football video game, when he made a goal and the computer flashed up the words ‘’that was a scorcher!’’ and from there on in his crew called him a scorcher!.
24 year old scorcher has the industry excited this quarter by getting signed to major record label Geffen- which is a big deal as his stable mates include snoop, Keisha Cole and Nadine Coyle. (Scorcher was recently snoops only support act at his Shepherds Bush gig)  Scorcher decided to sign with them as ‘’they were up on what was going on…they seemed to understand where I was going, when people want to sign you, you have your fears as an artist, but geffens colin Barlow says he likes ‘’’gangsta’’…I couldn’t believe that a man I hadn’t spoken to much before totally understood what I was trying to be. Geffen can get me from a to b. and with global plans for more than one territory’’.
In a year where P Diddy is acknowledging UK act Skepta and Jay Sean and Estelle are still working in the USA Scorcher understands that the UK sound is slowly but surely going global. ‘’I think the Americans are finally sitting up and listening. They realise there’s money to be made and I hope we can elevate it past the money and focus into music, I hope Jay Sean, Estelle and Tinchy end up being more about the music and their potential as opposed to the amount of cash they can make their American sponsors and I take off my hat to sway for pioneering that stuff.
If I were aligned with any American act I’d love my USA partner in music to be Dr Dre –just look what he did for Eminem, The Game, his many empires. I also respect Akon with his vision for Lady Gaga’’.
Bu don’t get it twisted, scorchers true hero’s are far closer to home with him admitting that his real life hero is his uncle André- cos he was born in St Vincent, was a poor man, came to uk, studied, hustled, became a solicitor, and now owns cars and goods that your average rap star owns and has shown me that hard work pays off. Uncle André would take me on holiday and talk to me, all young kids need adults to talk to them’’.
As a child scorcher reluctantly revealed he wanted to be a fireman and played piano at his grandmas house and even too real piano lessons at grade 5 and 6, but inevitably the bedroom sets, turntables, spitting lyrics, and peer pressure meant that he started taking street music more seriously until he got onto pirate radio. He never entered talent competitions at school as he thought they were sad. Scorcher was more eager to get onto local raves at Eros, Zenon and Castles,
Scorcher adds that he was in a group from his local area (Tottenham) , but the man who  ran the local radio station didn’t like him so he wasn’t offered radio spots until a local gangsta noted his talent and ‘’sorted it out for us’’.
His youthful peers included wretch32 who was in the same boat as scorcher  ‘’we came together, wretch was into writing songs, we took focus from what each other were doing then Logan got the first real grime show on radio, he started playing us then I got to know Ghetts. What I think made us different was we were the first set of people that did rap and grime, rappers respected us, back then rap and grime were separate, one day we would be doing a song with Bashy, then sincere, the lines between both were really blurred and we brought a different element to grime’’.
I had to try and embarrass scorcher by mentioning that he and Skepta were often referred to as the ‘’Heart throbs of the grime scene’’ he laughed and smoothly replied ‘’I’m grateful for the tag, Skepta and I were having a joke saying every time we put out a single we take more female followers back from each other!’’.
Scorchers look is very distinctive with his love of motorbikes and a bunch of tattoos gracing his body. As he shows me them all he reminds me that ‘’the pen is mightier than the sword’’. His tats include musical notes, ‘’scorcher’’ on his right hand  ‘’Skywalker’’ on left on his hand, on one inner arm the script ‘’”I stand alone because I choose not to follow the path but create my own and leave a trail . . . . . . CONCRETE JUNGLE”. A star on one elbow, he’s thinking of getting the sun on his other arm and states that he ‘’needs to earn the tats’’. The 1 tat he wont talk about is his
Very prominent lighting bolt under his eye which he insists has personal meaning.
This act is not to be confused with your average UK urban act done good however as he see’s his extended empire not just as his clothing line Skywalker (which most average acts now have 1 of), but he also runs his own video production house called  ‘’Staple House’’ which came about as
‘’the first video I made I paid the director to do the video, the director asked for my creative input, so I gave it to him, after the video was edited ,I had paid him all the money upfront, he sent back the cut but all the he scenes he used were my ideas, my lighting, my choreography, it made me realise that I had practically directed it all myself. I did some research, saved up some money, my friends have similar interests. one that’s good with cameras, an animator, and the label trusts me totally to do my videos after I directed ‘its my time’. They took a risk and I didn’t let them down so it’s a good place to be in’’.
Scorchers single- its my time-is out this week. its a very empowering, positive, feel good, inspiring track that reminds me of Nas’ ‘’I can’’ song. Scorcher revealed that he wrote it in protest after feeling down as a few broadcasters weren’t play listing him and he had been feeling down but ‘’despite all the badness, I knew I was getting love from the street and net , and it made me feel unstoppable. I wanted to relay that idea and make other people feel positive and empowered too.
Scorcher leaves me with more wisdom as he tells me ‘’ I always say ‘’Be all u can be instead of be all that you can see’’.
Wise words from one so young with a life of obstacles that he’s had to overcome.
To see him in action catch the MOBO TOUR where he says you can expect him to ‘’go crazy and shut it down, I’ve been looking at some of the locations, Glasgow in particular sounds exciting!’’. Good luck with the single Scorcher! Readers-Watch out- I feel there’s a global takeover coming!.

JASMINES JUICE feat Addictive, N*E*R*D, Vanessa Amadi, African Music Awards Launch.

Jasmine & Addictive.

Aisha Stuart and Louise Bagan, are 2 musically talented young ladies that go by the name Addictive.i spotted them at controversial blogger Perez Hilton’s recent party at the 02 and noted that they were the only act to have the paparazzi excited with their Richard shoyemi styled outfits and swag. The girls have already tasted success thanks to a massive club hit, the T2-producedbassline masterpiece ‘Gonna Be Mine’. They’ve also had success on MTV DANCE and MTV BASE as well as in the BBC1 radio dance chart. Not bad going for two girls from East London. They first met as children ten years ago, through Louise’s cousin, but it wasn’t until one fateful Christmas in 2005 at an open mic night that the girl’s realised their shared ambitions. “I went up to the mic and started singing Silent Night, the Mariah Carey version,” laughs Louise. “Aisha was there, and ‘cos we knew each other I invited her up onstage to join me. We just started vibing off each other. Everyone assumed we were a group already – so we decided to give it a go.”
Both girls had years of singing behind them, honing their musical talents in gospel choirs and talent shows which included Louise beating Leona Lewis to 1st prize in an East London singing competition but it was only when they formed Addictive that everything seemed to click. “We could write music individually, but we worked better as a duo,” explains Aisha. “It fell into place. We had the same goals, had had similar experiences and we were both really serious.”
The ladies recently invited me down to the release party for their Mix CD ‘They Wonna Wife Me’ – a welcome breakthrough after their years of hard work. “We killed ourselves trying to get things done,” laughs Louise, “but it’s all been worth it. We’re so proud of the work we are doing worked hence the amount of effort we put in. World domination is next – we want an Addictive perfume and clothes range!” You heard it here first – It’s all go in the Addictive world -get ready to be addicted to Addictive.

Whitney’s right hand in Europe and my friend, PR maven Vanessa Amadi threw her birthday drinks at Soho Hotel . The hotel even gave her their private bar room at no cost cos they know they should keep this powerful media honey on their good side. On entry the barman was pouring rose Armand De Brignac champagne for us all,which I’m told is currently the worlds number 1 brand. Other industry players like newspaper editor and one time VOICE ex staffer Eva Simpson passed through, as well as Radio One DJ Reg Yates, MOBO founder Kanya King, KISS100FM DJ Manny Norte, Ex Sugababe Keisha Buchanan, and artist Chocolate Doll AKA Nay Nay. There were 2 huge cakes. I tried to feed one that looked like it may contain walnuts to a man with a peanut allergy to ‘’see if it really works’’ but was held back. Instead I wrote a message to the sophisticated Vanessa on her huge white canvas board and stuck a Polaroid of us next to it. Good times!

Its very exciting that finally African music seems to be about to have its big about to blow moment. International acts have been collaborating with African artists for years and many European countries like France have huge African music festivals like Africa Express so it’s a little strange that the UK has for once been the last to catch on instead of at its usual forefront status of trend setter. The 3rd annual African Music Awards takes place at Wembley Arena this October 15th and the launch party was held at Covent Gardens Africa Centre where champagne, wine, nibbles and t shirts were handed out to a sparse crowd that were a little weary of the late start but their passion and belief in the focus of the event kept guests like entrepreneur Alexander Amosu, ChoiceFM DJ Abrantee, old Big Brother contestant Aisleene, founder of Colour Blind Cards Jessica Huie, and many more in the venue to watch Chocolate Doll and MC Sway do their thing onstage as founders of the AMA’s Eric and Nick told the attendees a little about it. I alas had to run about 10 minutes after it began as I had a date with Pharrell Williams.

Well I say a date. What I meant was I had been invited to an exclusive listening party in a store in Shoreditch to hear NERDs new album ‘’Nothing’’. When I jumped out of the black cab with my MTV and Channel 4 buddies we were a little intimidated by the hardcore looking guest list bulldog on the door but luckily our faces seemed to be our tickets in, so we were ushered in with her muttering to the security ‘’ok these are the last 6 allowed in-we are at capacity!’’.
Inside the brightly lit, sparse clothes store was filled with uber trendy fashion heads wearing mis matched, bright, ill-fitting garms in the way that only north London trendys can do. I bantered with RWD magazine top lady Hattie Collins and her crew who impressed me by being out the night after their own massive RWD bash after which they hadn’t slept all night.
NERD man Shae was walking and working the crowd speaking to all and sundry in that relaxed, non-diva manner that he has. We reminisced about old days when we were all running around New York and Cape Town and recalling unprintable stories. Pharrell of course was working his profile like only Skateboard P could rocking Billionaire Boys Club camouflage clothing and stunner shades. The crowd was ultra cool and not one person asked him for a photo or screamed at him groupie style. A really nice vibe. The last time I was in his vicinity it was like the Beatles and Justin Timberlake had just walked out together!. Pharrell talked us through each track on the new album and played at least 50% of most of them. I really liked ‘’Perfect Defect’’ and ‘’Victory’’ whilst ‘’Help me’’ was a very slow down tempo song that I felt could only work if you were very high and chilled. But in all honesty it was so busy in the room and so many people talking you couldn’t really appreciate the sound except to note that the new material sounded very similar to the NERD we know and love and no doubt there will be thousands of skateboard types putting yet more cash into the NERD trios pockets once NOTHING is released. It was way too hot and sweaty for us in the room though and the strange outfits surrounding me were starting to break me out into an imagined rash so we stepped out and went for a late night curry instead.
Enjoy your bank holiday weekends and make the most of your free time! (in my spare moments I like to add to my CV and think about what else I can add to it-life’s too short to spend 3 whole days at carnival worrying about where to go to the toilet!).

JASMINES JUICE featuring PEREZ HILTON!

Jasmine with Perez Hilton

My boss threw his annual summer party at his country retreat 2 hours outside of the capital. We arrived to find a few outdoor marquees with chandeliers housing silver service dinner placings, an outdoor dj set up with Saturday night fever style dance floor, an open bar that never emptied, a croquet playing area, a huge maze which led in the centre to a strawberry and chocolate fountain, a huge home that was open to wonder around, a living room with a piano and opera singer in full performance mode, a hot air balloon that guests were taking turns to go view the countryside from and….wait for it…..a full fair ground. Oh how the other half live! I must work harder to make this my reality too!

The launch party for the AFRICAN MUSIC AWARDS was aptly held at Covent Gardens Africa Centre. If you have your finger on the music pulse you will already be aware that very soon African music is about to blow up in the mainstream. For years now British and other international acts have been slowly collaborating with their African peers and performing at international music festivals alongside each other. This year the AFRICAN MUSIC AWARDS take place at Wembley arena on October 15th- a mere 5 days before the MOBO AWARDS in Liverpool on the 20th. So much opportunity for young talent to get a platform to shine! As if that wasn’t enough, the multi award nominated Broadway musical based on musician Fela Kuti’s life ‘’FELA’’ comes to London in November at the National Theatre. This show has been financed by none other than Will Smith and Jay Z, proving that this genre is ripe for picking!.

Then it was time for a chat with a kindred spirit- a man that loves to chat and gossip and have fun doing it making loads of power moves and money! Mr Perez Hilton!. Showing how technology waits for no-one, perez had me conduct the interview via skype whilst we were both snuggled up on our respective sofas. I could work like this all day!

Love him or hate him you cant ignore this incomparable showbiz gossip blogger and taste maker and believe me, ive loved and hated him!. We’d last worked together on the 2008 MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS in Liverpool where we had a lot of fun. Perez recalled the most amazing moment when we were both backstage and Sir Paul McCartney wandered over to Perez unsolicited and said ‘’I hope you’re staying out of trouble!’’. Perez recalled being shocked thinking ‘’I didn’t think he’d be that plugged into the blogging world to even acknowledge my existence!’’. I am so ingrained in the showbiz world that I didn’t think it was possible for anyone not to know who Perez Hilton was so was particularly shocked when my mate had to be told recently so for those of you who aren’t aware a young man who grew up called Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. called himself ‘’Perez Hilton’’ after a trip to Miami where club bar staff kept cajoling him to stay and buy drinks on the premise that ‘’Paris Hilton will be here tonight’’ and Mario snorted ‘’I don’t think so-more like Perez Hilton!’’ and an icon was born! Back then Perez used to blog about celebrities as ‘’just something fun I used to like doing when all other bloggers were blogging about their daily boring lives’’. Nowadays, 7 years down the line Perez life couldn’t be any different from his past where he had a job working as a janitor at a department store where ’’my title was store clerk- I had 2 responsibilities; separating hangers’’(Perez proceeded to tell me about 20 different types of hangers) and ‘’cleaning the bathrooms where the women’s toilets were WAY filthier than the mens!’’.

Like a kid in a candy store that cant believe how their luck has changed Perez admits that his proudest achievement was 3 years ago when he was able to move his mum and sister from Miami to la to work with him. With readers now getting their daily gossip fix online rather than via a newspaper we discussed whether print press and gossip mags can still exist in this day and age. Perez thinks they will explaining ‘’they will exist-people will always be travelling and want a mag, although now that aeroplanes are getting wireless internet as well as trains , well who knows!’’. I know from my wild days of gossiping on CHOICEFM that once you begin to befriend celebs you end up having to tone down the bitchy stuff but Perez insists he doesn’t ‘’I Never tone my material down, I have grown and evolved, it would be silly of me to stay the same, I’ve changed in that I don’t post extremely naughty things anymore, no more nip slips…I have a new website for naughty stuff called –‘’unratedperez.com’’. he then goes on to explain that people like looking at ‘’celebrities vagayjays’’ and it generates a lot of traffic but his advertisers don’t like it. Hilarious!

Also from my wild days I know the threat of law suits are funny. In fact they’re extremely scary but once again perez laughs and says ‘’I am never scared of lawsuits, they are scary if you worry about money and I never had money back then so I didn’t care-I had nothing for anyone to take,i didn’t start my blog for money, it was just for fun, I knew I couldn’t go to jail, I was just expressing myself’’. Perez like many has become a victim of his own success in many ways but lets not get it twisted, he has made millions and is a celebrity himself now. So I wonder how he feels when people bad mouth him, and they do. He admits that he is ‘’constantly googling myself-I’m not even exaggerating, sometimes a few times an hour, I’ve read a lot of bad things,but I remind myself that its worse not reading anything about myself…I wouldn’t say it bothers me, but its not always easy’’. Ah ha! So he does feel emotions and breath like the rest of us! He recalls the best thing that’s ever happened to him is a ‘’video that Madonna made for me, she acknowledged my existence!’’.

I follow Perez on twitter so I know his moods know no bounds and he can switch on a m***** f****** in hours so I asked him what the defining factors are in whether he likes or hates a celeb? He revealed ‘’There are factors, its a gut thing, my gut is usually right, I like people who are talented, that’s why I love musicians especially those that have a sense of humour…and those that work hard’’. Now hearing Perez quote that made me sit back in awe as he is always cussing my girl Mariah and she is a talented hard worker with the funniest sense of humour most people have come across so I of course challenged him on it. Perez broke it down like this ‘’I love Mariah, she is funny, but I expect more from her. Art is all subjective, I feel possessive about her and her music, and I have said this publicly, I think I have a good ear, I would love to give my ear to her and give her feedback….the last couple of albums haven’t been the best,,…I talk to Nick Cannon daily, I do a live feature to Nicks morning breakfast radio show, I know lots of hot producers for Mariah and would love to suggest people .i think she lost her sense of self, and wanted to rebel against her previous image too much, to me she’s a pop act but along the way she tried to reinvent herself as an urban artist, in the 90s she made Honey! I want Fantasy , Honey , Dreamlover….L.A Reid played me her album early once….’’ ‘’ In fact I’ve championed her when I had secret meetings with Simon Cowell and Simon asked me who should be an X Factor judge, I said ‘’not Cheryl cole, I said MC, ,then I think a rumour was started by Sinitta telling people it would be mc!’’.Perez and I then had around 10 minutes of me breaking it down for him that MC has to like all of us grow and change with the times and informed him that she had been doing urban versions of her tracks since the beginning and surely at this stage she should be allowed to make good music that she wants to make as opposed to trying to please everyone all of the time. We debated, we laughed. We raised our voices. We agreed to hang out in L.A the next time we were all there. My theory with Perez feelings towards MC is that he’s frustrated that she doesn’t acknowledge him the way the madonnas and the kylies of the world do. Truly a diva in a league of her own not bowing to media manipulation.

Perez agreed that when celebs don’t react to him he does get frustrated and the one hes been dying to get a rise out of for years is Oprah….’’i love her even though I make fun of her…I make fun of her and say she’s a lesbian, in fact Oprah, Madonna and Angelina Jolie are the 3 that inspire me most. Angelina is someone who isn’t perfect. She is flawed but an amazing brilliant actress, mother and humanitarian’’. Like most of us media hacks, Perez loves twitter as it cuts out the old fashioned middle man of the publicist. Now he can get the words straight from the horses blackberry and respond immediately-albeit in full view of the watching, titillated globe of gossip hungry followers. Perez admits he loves following Dita Von Teese on twitter as her life is fascinating, we aren’t familiar with the life of a show girl so it enthrals me!’’

I’m convinced Perez wicked tongue comes from the fact that his parents are Cuban. Any island in those waters will give you fiery, feisty blood! Trying to milk all his projects whilst he can Perez revealed to me that he’s setting up a music production and management company and is currently looking for a boy band . he gushed ‘’The time is right for a boy band for a global impact, JLS are great in the UK but they haven’t broken worldwide- I really like them though, they’re hot’’. Perez admits that he doesn’t do ‘’payola’’ (talk about bands in exchange for money), but that he chooses the music acts that he promotes online in his ‘’listen to this ‘’ category as his ‘’readers send him links and he listens to everything including singers in different languages!’’. Nearly everyone alive these days has their own blog, so its interesting that Perez stands out first and foremost in our world. He explains it thus ‘’in this day of illegal downloading and MTV not being as relevant as they used to be and artists need every but of help they can get, anything helps. I first started writing about Lady Gaga years ago and championed her and now look how far she’s come’’.

I challenged Perez on the fact that even though he appeared on MTV’s Celebrity Rap Superstar show he didn’t seem to focus on hip hop stars very often and joked with him that it could be as he was worried they would get all will I am on him. He laughed ‘’ I talk about Lil Wayne and T.I! ,I am a hip-hop fan if its good- Kanye is a genius, he transcends the genre, he’s not a rapper he’s a musician; I think B.O.B is amazing, I love his variety. He’s not rapping about violence or materialism he’s talking about dreams , I love Nicki Minaj’’ (Perez then recites a whole 3 Nicki verses much to my amusement and if im honest-I was impressed at his flow!) . Getting serious about the hip hop world for a minute though Perez said ‘’I wish that they were slightly more accepting of gay men, if you’re bisexual that’s cool but gay men and lesbians aren’t accepted and welcome in the hip-hop and mainstream music world and that saddens me’’. I wondered if Perez had made up with will I am and the Black Eyed Peas after THAT incident? He answered ‘’we haven’t made up and i’ve not run into him, but I have congratulated the band online’’. Perez confessed that there was once that he regretted writing something online ‘’my biggest regret was when I said that fidel castro was dead . we were really sure it was true as our source was very reliable-oops’’. Perez revealed his top celeb mates are now ‘’Lady gaga, she and I talk several times a day and see each other regularly-we talk about art, I feel like part of her team, she likes to pick my brain, Katy Perry- ive known her for over 3 years, we too see each other regularly’’ I recently saw Perez at his ‘’One night in Perez’’ music show at Londons 02 and noted that he’d slimmed down and had a demure dark brown hairstyle. A conscious effort to get healthy? He nodded ‘’ yes its a lot of hard work, all my successes in life are from hard work, from my blog to my physical transformation, I’ve lost 61 pounds. my lack of sex inspired it and now I’m getting laid a lot, I’m dating around and right now that part of Perez is looking fine honey!’’.And with that I laughed, suggested we better stop before we got carried away. After all, 2 media hacks , both with fingers in print press, radio press , tv and multi platform media frolicking together can only be an explosive, dangerous hot mess waiting to happen!.

JASMINES JUICE featuring Dynamo, Aml Ameen & Zoo Nation.

Streetdance has come a long way since I was a break dancing kid on my mates lino in Covent garden back in the day. Back then hip-hop wasn’t even taken seriously let alone the dance form that accompanied it in the 4 cornerstones of the culture that also included graffiti and turntablism. So now that djs are superstars and graffiti is being displayed at art galleries its only natural that the dance form explodes too. Over the years UK ambassadors like Jonzi D have kept the art form in the theatrical world. More recently filmmakers have made a small fortune from dance films both American and English leading to dance troupes Diversity and Flawless achieving mass fame last year. Another group that’s been sweating away selling out theatres and wowing audiences from around the world are choreographer Kate Princes group called Zoo Nation who have been performing a spectacular show titled ‘’ into the hoodz’’ . the show had a sell out run in theatre land last year and last week brought back another run at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. The press night was attended by a lot of talent from the music world and celebrity but it was the reaction that Diversity got that was mind blowing. The audience were seated and the show was ready to begin when diversity came in quickly, quietly and without fanfare to take their seats and before you knew it a few kids spotted them, shrieked with delight and chased them for autographs and photos. Well within minutes 40% of the audience that were seated were trying to grab, scream and get a piece of the group. The show start had to be delayed until everyone could be calmed down.
Once the show began it was as amazing as I recall it the first time around. The story is a very witty amalgamation of fairy tales with characters including Lil Red, Spinderella and Rap-un-zel but all based in the Ruff Ends Estate. The story sees 2 young kids run away from home, one of whom is played by reality dance show star –Akai, who the crowd roared for throughout the show – his female counterpart was ultra impressive with her dance skills too. The kids befriend a dodgy character who persuades them to ‘acquire’ 4 items – a red hoodie, an ipod, a weave and a gold sneakers. the music is an amazing mix of urban genres and the dancing is literally out of this world!. The choreography is very witty and perfectly narrates the story enchanting young and older audiences simultaneously. A thoroughly well thought out show with brilliant graphics, sets and atmosphere that leads to spontaneous audience participation and excitement. Later the same week ZOO NATION performed at the queens park festival for the west London community and had local youngsters enchanted with their 15 minute set.

I was invited to join actor Aml Ameen at his 25th birthday party that was doubling up as his and his girl friends leaving the UK party. Aml had people from all walks of live glued to THE BILL years ago as the young black policeman, and also in Noel Clarkes movie Adulthood as well as appearing onstage in theatre roles. Both actors are moving to L.A as Aml has been offered a big part in an American drama. Fittingly Aml’s party was held at the Hollywood Arms in Hollywood Road in Chelsea. Could it have been in a more apt location? On arrival I was pleasantly surprised to note that it was a very small gathering of his closest family and friends which included actor / playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah and good friend and actor Adam Deacon, both of whom gave heartfelt fitting speeches in honour of Aml on the night. As well as Amls lovely daddy singing bob Marley songs and both Aml and his lady speaking of their love for each other and the support of their loved ones ,a cake was cut, a lot of catching up was done and you could feel the love and unity in the air.  Also it must be recognised that a young aml must have had to battle all types of stereotypes, issues and hurdles to reach the top of his profession throughout the years. Its easy to get pulled the wrong way for young people in the current society climate but Aml has been a strong, positive soldier in TEAMUK , helped make my job empowering young people and giving them a platform to show their talent to the world and I cant wait for his American takeover.

Finally I caught up with a young man that has had me intrigued for a good couple of years now. I first spotted magician Dynamo on the music scene pulling magic for stars that I was working alongside and always wondered what his story was. We always have fun together at parties but I don’t really know his story so  I met up with him in a pizzeria opposite the roundhouse in Camden where we spent the afternoon chewing the fat.
Dynamo grew up in Bradford which he admitted ‘’doesn’t have much goin on. It’s not a wealthy city. It’s famous for riots. For me being a kid I got picked on cos I’m small and an easy target’’ but he admits that ‘’If it hadn’t have been for the negative things I went through, they wouldn’t have shaped me’’.

Dynamo revealed it was because he got bullied as a kid that his granddad stepped in with an occasional trick to cheer him up and the young dynamo calls him his ‘’magical grandpa.-My role model’’. ‘’I had 2 guys who used to pick on me called  “Sonny and Dean”. They put me in a wheelie bin and threw me down the hill. After that my Grandpa taught me a technique to stop people lifting me up-and that’s how it began’‘’I had to use magic to get me out of trouble and it became a way of life. I entertained the kids at playtime. The big kids were scared of me cos they thought I’d put a curse on them lol!’’.

His granddad may have introduced him to magic but it was a magician in New York at a convention that dubbed him with the name ‘’Dynamo’’. He explained ‘’it was in New York in the Hilton hotel in 2002. I was there for the legendary magician Whodinis 100 year death anniversary. All the big magicians were there. I ended up performing to all these famous magicians. A magician called Aaron Fisher yells “this kids a fuckin dynamo” so that’s how the name came about’’.

Its interesting to me that Dynamo has performed for many music stars and events and I was intrigued to learn how music had influenced his career.
He informed me ‘’Music has always been a part of my life. My mum had a radio but no TV. So I grew up to MagicFMs style songs. Like many kids I tried dance moves that I saw in music videos. Michael Jackson used a lot of magic in his music videos and shows. The most famous being the Lean forwards in Smooth Criminal,I started body popping at Mapa West Bowling Estate. It was run by a guy called Emile who introduced me to The Princes Trust’’.

Dynamos success story is paralleled by sadness and pain though as he tells me that his first big break came in hospital as he has always suffered from Chrohn’s disease. He nearly died aged 19. He describes Chrohns disease as being ‘’Like an open wound and having dirt rubbed into it all the time. Its a pain u get used to 24 hours a day’. In hospital I was having treatment and remember thinking, If I had died in hospital what legacy would I have left behind? So I decided to pursue my magic. My mum often let me try anything and fail myself so I could learn my own lessons’’.
Dynamo created a master plan for funding. All his mates were making mix tapes on laptops so he used the same technique to create a mix tape style DVD.
He then got a princes trust award in 2000 to buy a laptop and planned road trips where he went to the middle of town centres and just did magic all day long to random strangers. He moved to London 7 years ago but didn’t really want to be here .‘’I didn’t wanna move here. I’d still prefer to be in Bradford.When I buy my first home it will be in Bradford. at the time my manager was promoting rappers tours. All the people were too drunk to notice me as a magician but I persevered’’.

Dynamo encompasses a true young element of swagger and hustler that reflects the ‘’cant stop wont stop’’ ethos of hip-hop icons such as P Diddy. He once ended up blagging himself backstage to Snoop Dogg at Wembley, and showing the hip hop star some magic which led to the over impressed snoop making up a 3 min freestyle in honour of the young dynamo and now they’re twitter compadres!. Since then he has performed backstage for Coldplay leadman Chris Martin and his wifey Gwyneth Paltrow as well as footballer Rio Ferdinand and many more superstars-just go to his site to see the footage-its impressive!.

Dynamo is also responsible for bringing a modern day approach to his field which up until now had mostly been dominated by older magicians like Paul Daniels in the UK. He is responsible for the worlds first twitter magic by asking snoop to pick cards online across the Atlantic-once again just go to his twitter page to check him out.

He reveals that to get him into the right frame of mind pre show he listens to a lot of hip-hop. ‘’I use music a lot and am inspired by it. I always listen to Lil Wayne “shoot me down”….and “stronger” Kanye West. it gets me ready to take on the world!’’.

Dynamo stands out amongst his peers cos he thinks out of the box and involves current visuals and excitement into his magic set. During a 5 night theatre show at Soho Theatre he included hip-hop elements that had a diverse crowd awed by his talent when he brought a hip-hop style to his set with a hype man and a dj. To finish the show he made the dj booth vanish!.

This smartass now does as much work in Asia and Singapore where he is treated like a superstar.He smiles ‘’My vision of a stage show is I want to be a rock star on stage, People from Bradford don’t travel the world and party in Vegas and I can’t believe where I am now. When it comes to young people there are too many doors that are put up and we need to smash them down. Kids are force fed a structure for success but we need to let kids make their own paths. Most successful paths come from mistakes. Nowadays there’s too much control. There needs to be more creativity and freedom. Magic is taking something that doesn’t yet exist and making it happen. I constantly reinvent tricks. I like interaction. I am doing well but I try to only use my powers for good!’’.
Another young champ doing his thing in his own lane- you’ve gotta be proud of our UK strong hold right now, its unbeatable!

Quincy Jones & comic duo KG & Nicholas Marston!.

KINDRED SPIRITS- Quincy shows Jasmine his must pack suitcase item- hot pepper sauce.

When asked whom in the music world my industry friends would most like to meet its not the artists that grace our tabloids that come up most frequently but a man who is single handedly responsible for much of the great music from yesteryear that has facilitated present day music- a man renowned for working with Michael Jackson on off the wall and bad, and who pointed Michael in the direction of new jack swing and Teddy Riley to update his sound. A music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter.  A man that worked alongside Ray Charles, Dizzy Giiespie, Lionel Hampton, a man that arranged music for Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, a man who scored the music for iconic movie The Color Purple’, earned a record 79 Grammy Award nominations,27 Grammys- a man called Quincy Jones. One of the last living music legends that encompass’ and embraces acts from the early days to having respect from modern day acts like Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg. In all my work with young music stars in the states, when Quincy turns up on set, its as if the lord himself has graced earth with his presence!. Probably as many modern day artists have sampled old classic beats that Quincy was responsible for making!

I first met Quincy in South Africa 4 years ago at Oprah Winfreys New Years Eve celebrations. He spent hours talking to us and recounting olden day stories that are fascinating. Listening to him recall the conversations with legendary figures and talk about what the world was like once upon a time is a thing I could do daily. So when our mutual friend fashion and jewellery designer Heba Elawadi asked me to join herself and Quincy- (or Q as all his friends call him) it was a no-brainer. Heba asked me to invite a few friends if I liked so I reached out to music colleagues and friends including MOBO founder Kanya King, singer Terri Walker and others that I knew would appreciate lunch with a legend.
We arrived in the grounds of a fabulous home in the country where Q, Heba and a few family members were awaiting my arrival before eating. I was of course late due to the usual hiccups and racing around country lanes trying to figure out why they don’t just number their homes instead of giving them fabulous, grand names. When I did finally turn up, Q was sat chilling in the garden chatting to friends and enjoying the rare UK sunshine. Hebas parents had laid on a feast fit for a king which was apt as Q is royalty. Heba was rocking a lovely maxi dress by her own brand El Horreya: Designs For Freedeom (www.elhorreya.com <http://www.elhorreya.com> ).

We spent the afternoon laughing, teasing each other and talking about music.i kept trying to force Terri to sing but she kept it moving with polite conversation. We toasted our blessed lives and danced with the belly dancer that came out to entertain us post-lunch. It was a very opulent day sipping the best beverages, tucking into exotic Egyptian food and sharing time with very special people. My favourite moment was just before Q began his food and pulled out of his travel bag a bottle of hot pepper sauce! Well-I nearly screamed with delight! I have always put hot sauce on all my food. When I say all I mean all. I have even been known to smear it on pancakes much to Mariah’s families disgust lol! Quincy revealed he took mini bottles on all his travels as well as small packets of healthy Korean seaweed to eat alongside his food. those tips from Q, plus his still twinkling eyes and appreciation for life and the good things were enough to make me smile all week long! Always up for a laugh, when asked what the secret to his long, successful life was Q retorted ‘’booty!’’.

The next night I was invited to dinner at the rooftop Chinese restaurant at the royal garden hotel overlooking hyde park with another legendary A&R man – Jack Stevens- a man that has worked alongside Sade, the Eurythmics and many more. Me being the ever attentive nosy journalist hack pried him for more music industry stories from back in the day and whilst I’m under oath not to repeat any I did conclude that back in the 60’s and 70’s they were really rock n roll unlike our pretenders to today’s throne.

With young comic talent like Jason Lewis and Kojo  making waves at the BBC and MTV it was only a matter of time before many more began emerging and one duo that are making a name for themselves with music artists even pointing me in their direction are new urban comedians KG & Nicholas Marston who are a comedian and a writer that have with their comical interludes had the internet alight this month. I attended their live show night at the Gem Bar just off Regent Street which was heaving with a young, sexy crowd that were hysterically laughing all night as the comics did their thing with their hilarious characters ‘’English Dread and African Dread, Shadrack and the Mandem, Caramel the R&B group from Brooklyn South London’’. 2 other performers that had us rolling with their original, very on-point comments were Jason Howard and Kayleigh. Look out for them!

I ended the week by having my hair trimmed at the uber cool 3V HAIR SALON in Notting Hill where paparazzi stalk clients. I go there so I can pretend to be famous whilst I enter and leave- sometimes it works but it mostly doesn’t. as soon as my Barnet was a decent state i whizzed up the road, again to the Royal Gardens tea rooms for a high champagne tea for my friends birthday before popping off to the ‘’Off the Radar’’ music event at Westbourne Studios where a lot of music acts including Preeya Kalidas and Terri Walker were performing for a very local, cool, West London crowd.
Finally I attended THE BILL/KIDULTHOOD actor Aml Ameens birthday/ leaving for L.A soiree –more on that next time!

Queens of American Soul, Mikhailovsky Ballet ,Nas & Damian gig, Cartier International Polo!

NAS & Jasmine.

As well as the very commercial pop acts that sweep through the uk on tour that are regular chart toppers, there are also just as successful, legends that quietly pass through doing their shows that you’d only know about and attend if 1-you really know your music. 2- you want a night with fellow hard-core music lovers. So imagine how excited I was when leaving the 02 arena a few weeks ago and being handed a flyer promoting the ‘’QUEENS OF AMERICAN SOUL’’ -Gwen McCrae (All this love that I’m giving) , The Jones Girls (Nights over Egypt) , and Jean Carne (Don’t let it go to your head) all in the same show! The one person I knew who would know and be excited alongside me was friend and colleague Trevor Nelson who expressed delight too. The night was the most fun, old skool classics were sung amongst a beautiful crowd and all was good in the world of real soul music. Watching the oldies kick back, sing and dance with their two-step was sweet and made me yearn for yesteryear where men and women two-stepped with each other all night.

My once-upon-a-time fellow ballet student and teacher Gavin roebuck invited me to see the Mikhailovsky Ballet (from St Petersburg. Russia) at the stunning Coliseum theatre in Covent Garden where I attended the opening night of the great classic ‘’Swan Lake’’ alongside Hugh Grant and Cilla Black! It was my first time seeing a bonafide Prima Ballerina (the young diva Polina Semionova) perform live since my dancing days years ago when I used to practically stalk ballerina Darcy Bussell . Polina was breath takingly beautiful and divine. The evening was magical and a much-needed refreshing bit of cultural entertainment that had us enraptured from the moment the live orchestra struck up their first note. There is something so traditionally quaint and classic about attending the ballet. If you love great live music that will touch your soul and admire the elegant lines, technical skill and beauty of the dancer then a night at the ballet every now and then is a great thing to share with a loved one.

The much anticipated Nas and Damian Marley concert finally took place at Hammersmith Apollo which was packed to the rooftops with a mix of hardcore hip-hop aficionados for Nas and weed smoking rasta heads who rocked up for Damian son of the almighty Bob. The anticipation for the concert had reached fever pitch by the time I rocked up to the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. It was packed to the rafters!!
With a line up like this you know it wasn’t going to be just any UK support act who had paid to get on the bill. Kicking off proceedings were Ty and rebel Akala with their positively progressive hip-hop stance. Things just got hotter as sound clash master David Rodigan selected some classics! Next up DJ Green Lantern took to the wheels of steel. It felt like a blues as the herb smoke rose and the crowd swayed, putting their lighters in the air and did I mention it felt like 100 degrees in there.  ‘As We Enter’ blasted out and the flagman was in full swing with the Lion of Judah; there was a roar from the audience as The Distant Relatives emerged. The magic in the air was electric.  What followed were two brothers so naturally interconnected in sprit, you saw them lean on each other and laugh, throwing meaningful looks between them as they weaved between solo performances and collaborations. Nas’ ‘You Can Hate Me Now’, ‘Made You Look’ and Damien’s ‘Jamrock’ brought the house down. ‘Road to Zion’ and ‘War’ showed them ease between verses. We went back stage (where everyone on our scene seemed to be) and watched from the side of stage. Damien stood opposite me had locks that reached his ankles and his proud stance felt regal while Nas retained his crown as rap’s favourite son. They mashed up the dance with the multicultural crowd jumping, dancing and singing every word. This was the gig of 2010 and the fusion of these two giants proves positivity in music rules!

I ended the week at the annual Windsor Cartier international polo day at Windsor Great Park where the England team were playing new Zealand. This is a very long and fabulous day where women spend days in preparation preening themselves with hair and make up artists at their beck and call and spent thousands of daddies money on a sexy frock to strut amongst their peers and get trollyed out of their minds by 3pm. The day begins with a champagne breakfast at the open bar area where still hung-over from the previous night Henrietta’s and Sebastian’s all chortle and toast their spectacularly wonderful lives. At 11am the first match begins after which is a 4-course lunch in the grounds of the tres exclusive china white tent. Post lunch there was yet another match by which time the grounds are packed with jewel coloured frocks of every assortment and men in typical Ralph Lauren meets puff daddy attire. I managed to drown a pint of Pimms in the heat and then watched enraptured as riders thundered along the pitch , one strong arm controlling the speedy horses, whilst the other swung the stick to whack the ball into the goals. The excitement and danger of the game makes it extremely sexy to watch and that coupled with alcohol made this upper classed crowd extremely frisky!. At 6pm the party begins and for a furiously noisy 5 hours the guests get through 50,000 bottles of champagne, shots and goodness knows what else. I of course found myself in the vip amongst the music heads like Wileys manager John Woolf and record label head Clive Black as we caught up and giggled at the madness surrounding us. I spotted a couple of England footballers, a lot of young lords and ladies and a lot of chancers who were hoping to bag themselves a rich partner. Thank goodness DJ Sam Young played the first part of the party with great music or Pete Tongs main dance music set would’ve finished me off!. It occurred to me as I left that unlike the festival scene which had now been taken over by our urban music strong hold, the Polo arena is ripe for the picking and having the occasional NERD or Dizzee performing to this crowd would be a good new untapped venture.

CYPRUS, SNIPER & MS DYNAMITE.

After experiencing Ibiza many years ago as a 19 year old over excited bunny with my girl friends, getting smashed on tequila for my first alcoholic experience ever and observing crazy crass antics by sex mad, drunk desperados, I swore never to go down that road again. So how did I find myself in Ayia Napa last week!?

Well, for the past 3years an artist/producer called Sniper had been inviting me to experience life in his native home of Cyprus. Always laughing at him I swore I would never attend the annual summerfest urban craze fest that is Ayia Napa. Relentlessly every year Sniper would reach out and offer to show me ‘’the real Cyprus’’ and I would decline. Not just cos I had heard about its crazy 3 month wild fest of debauchery, but also because whilst working at MTV it would not be morally correct to be seen hanging with music acts and accepting ‘’payola’’. MTV were very strict-quite correctly about us walking the straight line and if there were even a sniff of ‘’corruption’’ you could be fired.

So-when Sniper heard I had left MTV towers for terrestrial TV last year he insisted that now that I couldn’t be ‘’musically corrupted’’. So with a new, open mind I arranged for a Cypriot friend to show me around the city and jumped on a British Airways jet to Larcana and kept it real quiet cos on the low I was a little embarrassed that I was finally making the dreaded journey. I guess it’s how men feel when they visit a lap dance joint lol! Before we even left UK shores there was a sign that things had begun as they were going to continue. My mate made a joke about having a huge knife in his case to the check in clerk, then got excited about a discontinued aftershave line in duty free which he bought. Then forgot on the cash desk. On the plane he insisted he was going to go back and retrieve it and then told air staff that it was his wallet and they practically put out an APB to go get the aftershave and get it back to him!

So we arrive in Cyprus on day 1 where Sniper has a car meet us at the airport. As soon as we got in it was playing Snipers music (www.snipermusic.com)  . As we drove past bus stops they were advertising Snipers music. As we zoomed past the gigantic Waterworld Themed  Waterpark there were massive Sniper posters. As we cruised through town we saw lots of young hip hop fans wearing Sniper t-shirts!. We couldn’t help think we were in a hip-hop version of the Warburton’s bread advert where there is product placement everywhere you look. The car dropped us off at the 5 star Grecian Park Hotel which was plush, marbled with a huge pool and set just outside of the main town as I had insisted sniper arrange somewhere where the grime music scene boys wouldn’t bump into me in my bikini-how unprofessional would that be!

The next few days turned out to be my version of heaven and hell equally interspersed.
On our first night it was heaven, Sniper and his lovely lady took myself and my guy to a traditional Cypriot village-The Good Village- where we tasted a meze of local dishes which ended with my guy being encouraged to try the delicacy of a goats head that had been sliced perfectly in half and opened up on a silver platter. Not wanting to offend I tried a penny size piece of goat brain that was very pate like. My uber competitive, trying to impress fella did goat brain, goat cheek, goat tongue and the piece-de-résistance- goats eyes!. 10 minutes later the horror of what he’d done caught up with him and he was gulping down red wine and smoking a cigarette to calm his nerves. He doesn’t smoke. You know there was no kissing till Colgate!

On our 3rd day the concierge called our suite and informed me there was a gift awaiting me at reception. I walk down to find the coolest buggy that had been sent to me for the week. All black, a solid cage and slick as hell-I was amped zooming it around the ocean paths. The day was made even better as we attended the huge infamous Waterworld Themed Waterpark which 50 Cent had mentioned I must visit. Jay Z had also informed me that on his Cyprus trip Memphis Bleek and Sugababe Mutya had closed the park down after hours to experience the rides. Sniper offered to open out of hours so I could have the park to myself but I reassured him it was totally fine to mingle with the great unwashed public-how weird would it be having a park full of operational staff attending to just me and my guy? Too weird. Instead sniper had a security man escort us around the park, leading us to the front of all the queues-which I found totally embarrassing but was grateful for.
The rides were really exciting! Like Thorpe Park but full of water. It all looked clean, fun and pretty sexy with everyone in beachwear. I went on every ride except the hell high red vertical slide drop cos sometimes even I’m a scared-cat. My favourite was a really high-entwined slide that dropped you into a giant spinning wheel-esque, bowl shaped bottom before plunging you deep into a plunge pool called the AEOLOS WHIRLPOOL. POSEIDON’S WAVEPOOL was pretty hardcore too! It was nice that the crowd was both British, Scandinavian, and Russian so I didn’t have to just hear cockney, northern and scouse accents all day long. A heavenly day!.

Day 4- we were taken to the various beaches to experience water sports that included jet skiing, donuts, banana boats, and a new ride that I loved called fly fishing. My big achievement though was water skiing. Hanging onto the bars on the side of a speedboat I braced myself sturdily as it ripped me through the warm Cyprus waters. Too much fun!. My guy tried to yell instructions at me from the boat. Finally peeved by his criticism I suggested he show me how to do it. Cockily he jumped into the ocean only to find he couldn’t even balance on the skis and insisted the skipper take him back to shore!. Shake My Head.  But heaven was followed by hell…
I tried not to take in too many out of shape topless chics with bright red burning breasts and foreheads that were peeling. In this day and age its unfathomable that people are still so old fashioned with the thought that if they don’t have a dark, burnt look on their return to the UK, that they will be seen not to have had a great vacation. Pathetic. Honestly-I observed people that had flown over the seas to experience not another culture or have active fun in the sun, but idiots that refused to wear sun lotion for protection and instead were frying their skin with cocoa butter!?. Forget the fact that this is the one thing that will damage and age your skin to resemble crocodile skin, but what about the health issues? Cancer is not just something that happens to other people!.
I calmed myself down with a delicious fish supper where we all dismantled a huge local fresh fish called Stone Bass

Sniper also took us to see cultural buildings and churches as well as the caves of Cape Greko where people used to pray in hiding during the crusades, as RICHARD THELIONHEART was once ruler of this land, those days people were persecuted for their religion, faith and beliefs. It is also said by US scientists that the edge of Cape Greko is where the lost City of Atlantis broke off to sink in the ocean and searches will start in the near future!.

Twitter is a great thing and I saw that my boys Rampage (RADIO1XTRA) were playing one evening at club Black & White (seemingly the only R&B/hip-hop club to go to out there). When Rampage play I know I will rave until sunrise and we did. In the house were many UK urban faces as well as local hip hop lovers, international big ballers from Russia, Scandinavia, THE USA, and most ballers that playn in the country or nearby countries like Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and some players from our premier league

Before we went into the club though we stood in the infamous centre square strip road watching the madness unfold. It was pure hell. Young girls and guys all staggering around drunk looking as if they’re about to throw up. Ladies with literally no clothes on wearing classless lycra scraps of fabric giggling incoherently as guys grope them as they wander past. Hen night groups plus stag night groups, plus teens that are all on heat and of the mind set that ‘’what happens in Cyprus stays in Cyprus’’ OR GOES ON FACEBOOK! all mixing to devastatingly dangerous results. Photographer to the hip hop world Paul H and promoter Mr Play stood alongside me as we watched the horror unfolding before our eyes. We also popped into Club Ice where DJ EZ was killing the crowd doing what he does on the decks. After raving with Rampages Mike Anthony until 6am we stopped by the jerk chicken stall where we had an early breakfast before hitting our 5 star beds before the next days fun and frolics.

To rebalance my chav over dose the next night Sniper took us to uber fancy Japanese restaurant Nozomi which was outdoor, elevated and overlooked the sea. With an all white very classy bar and décor we sipped the finest cocktails, popped a gold bottle of ace of spades and nibbled on my favourite black cod and fancy food as Snipers business partner and old skool A&R GURU to the stars JACK Steven (Annie Lennox, sade etc) told us stories from the music world of yesteryear! Jack encouraged my guy to match him drink for drink. Clearly my guy obliged by knocking back cognac brandies and espressos in abundance and was so wired he was on a food hunt at 5am and then couldn’t sleep until 2 days later! The drinking continued at the Nissaki Lounge Bar by the beach where i got high on secondary smoke from everyone elses shi-sha!

The following night I was forced to watch a very boring world cup football final. SNORE. The end. Thankfully this was also ‘’ JET –SKI SUNDAY’’ where we all roared around the Cypriot coastline on high powered jet skis!.

On our last 2 DAYS Sniper had us pack an over night bag and took us to experience the nearby town of Limassol where we stayed at the Londa Hotels amazingly cute suites. That night all 6 of us piled into a huge, white Porsche cayenne stretch limo which took us to a fancy restaurant at the Columbia Plaza which houses the Columbia Steak House for a steak dinner. The venue had a live music area upstairs called the ‘7 SEAS’ where we all jumped onto the drums and piano as I did my best Mariah impression. No one was impressed lol.

The next morning Sniper took us to a diamond manufacturer where I had my not very expensive jewellery valued and we watched as precious stones were turned into all kinds of expensive merchandise. I sat in the huge vault for a minute. It was the closest I was ever going to get to being surrounded by diamonds and I was going to make the most of it!.

On our last night we heard Ms Dynamite was performing at Club Ice so we decided to brave the madness again and go down and surprise her. The club was heaving once again packed with young, naked holidayers on heat. Sniper hijacked the mic and performed some of the tracks from his newly formed 3fifty7 Group of Companies brand,  including the Ayia Napa anthem with  Drew Astro and Pump It Up that features his new artists Oxide and Neutrino-remember them?). The crowd loved his set and I was pretty impressed. Dj Masterstepz and promoter Mr play kept us amused with their funny comments and I was left speechless as I saw folks wearing t shirts that read ‘’dat gal will get dash down’’. Oh dear.

I was also horrified by an old white guy called Johnny. Apparently he’s infamous in Ayia Napa as ‘’Johnny loves black girls’’. He had on a disgusting slogan t shirt and a group of young black girls were even flanking him wearing his t shirts!. I could only feel pity for them as I thought ‘’lord forgive them for they know not what they do’’. Ms Dynamite took to the stage and did her thing like the true professional she is as the crowd sang alongside her word for word and South London’s finest started showing off their uk garage day moves! We finished the night taking a very hammered DJ Mastersteps to the jerk chicken joint where in his best patois accent he proceeded to coarse out the cooks!

The next morning we had a final champagne spray fight in the pool- yes- I was caught up by now in the foolishness-  before being dragged off to the airport as certain peeps with me who didn’t want to leave had to practically have their fingers prized off the hotel door.

The conclusion? Cyrpus is a lovely island that can be either party central or more relaxed and classy depending on how you choose to spend your time. Both heaven and hell its a young, mad place that can be classy-but only if you know where to look! VIVA CYPRUS- IT WAS SPECIAL!.