There’s a lot of tabloid space given to London vs. New York this month. My personal feeling is that London reigns with tea, fish & chips, chocolate, etiquette, cleaner city, arts and culture, its more international as a city – 40% of London is foreign-born (NYC: 36%), It is easy to travel from London cheaply, we have milder weather, European-style vacation days, health care and workers’ rights. Londoners are more cutting edge and genuine, we get more vacation time and are proud of our minimum gun culture, James Bond and of course our eclectic music acts from Spice Girls, Sam Smith, Adele and beyond.
New York wins with better public transport which is cheap and fast, and their subway runs 24/7, their range of food is generally better and they have superior client-centric service standards in restaurants and bars, lower taxes, everything is open late; bar closing hours are never on your mind, cheaper services like taxis, deliveries, laundry services make day-to-day life more convenient. You can talk to anyone in NY and its cool and of course the energy is dynamic! Not forgetting they are open minded and diverse enough to vote in a black man for President.
Another way in which America is certainly more superior, is in acceptance of cultural differences and exclusive events. In the UK we have awards and show brands like BUFF (British Urban Film Festival), MOBO (Music of Black Origin), Asian Awards, National Diversity Awards and many many more culture focused brands. Every time an event takes place, the British media questions ‘do we still need events like this?’’ The answer to this question is always ‘yes’ so lets stop asking it and move the conversation forwards.
Can’t we just be like America who have numerous black awards, black film festivals and black empowerment organisations, and just accept that in a world where everyone doesn’t have an equal playing field, and ethnicity often rules out opportunity, we will ALWAYS need our own events to champion, profile and support our talent.
This weekend the annual Screen Nation Awards took place at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel, where the year’s most successful nominees from the worlds of TV, big screen, both behind and in front of the camera came out to celebrate the black actors, directors, writers, producers, directors, crews, casts and more from the world of black British entertainment. The glitzy ceremony celebrated a decade of outstanding achievements on the British screen by many of the nation’s best-loved film & TV stars.
Acknowledged by the industry as ‘the’ media event for diverse talent and which has come to be known as the ‘black Bafta’s’, Screen Nation Awards celebrates, rewards and promotes products and professionals of African heritage working in the UK and global film, TV and digital media industries.
Why? Because after this past months OSCAR (#oscarssowhite) and BAFTA ceremonies, it’s clearer than ever before, that we need Screen Nation.
The evening kicked off after the champagne reception and warm up comedy sketches (by Mr Cee who made us bristle with the uncomfortable truth when he stated ‘’this years BAFTAS were once again a no-go-zone for the black man. At least we used to get close by working in the kitchen – now we don’t even have that as the Polish have nicked those jobs. BAFTAs stand for ‘’back away from the awards sooty!’’). Musical entertainment was provided by reggae legend John Mclean and eighties R&B legends Loose Ends and guests were treated to a three course dinner, which was sumptuous (soup/duck/sea bass/ jerk chicken/exotic fruit cheesecake).
BBC London News Arts Correspondent Brenda Emmanus hosted the show, which saw international star Idris Elba pick up the award for Favourite International Film for his thriller No Good Deeds. He emphasized that as a community we needed to get behind and support the awards to make it grow stronger.
Selma’s lead man David Oyelowo won Best Male Performance in Film. Belle director Amma Sante looked stunning in a sequinned white gown as she picked up Best Film for her period drama. She gave us all lumps in our throats after she explained that she wrote and directed Belle in tribute to her father, but alas he passed away before seeing it.
DJ and TV presenter (Xtra Factor) Sarah Jane Crawford won Favourite Female TV Star and thanked everyone for their support over the years.
Even lil ole me got a piece of the action when Ladies Talk won Best TV show led by a woman. Ladies Talk is a Loose Women style ladies panel show (SKY 218), hosted by Angie Le Mar with numerous panellists including Bonnie Greer and myself. Angie wanted to show that regardless of colour, women globally have the same conversations and our skin colour does not define our TV content topics and that shows that we make and feature on rate as highly as others.
Awards Presenters included actress Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of thrones, X Factors Sarah Jane Crawford, singer and broadcaster Jamelia, ITVs Michelle Matherson and Asif Zubairy and many more.
In the audience were hundreds of movers and shakers within the industry. Actor Aml Ameen, actor Shavani Seth from E4’s Youngers, Chizzy Akudolu from Holby city, actress Karen Bryson from Channel 4’s Shameless, actor Anthony warren, film director Mo Ali. There was much excitement as fans spotted The Good Lie lead actor Arnold Oceng fresh from his experience with Reese Witherspoon.
Also in attendance was Emmerdale star Fiona Wade, soap star Modupe Adeyeye, stuntwoman Amanda Foster, Channel Four’s Cockroaches star Daniel Lawrence Taylor and veteran screen star Don Warrington. Sean Cronin, Rebbeca Scroggs, Patrick Robinson, Petra Letang, Don Gilet, Laura Rollins, Lorna Laidlaw, Fiona Wade, actor Danny John Jules, acting legend Don Warrington (Rising Damp), Tobi Bakare, , ITV newsreader Charlene White, actress Sara Martin, actress Modupe Adeyeye, Denise Nurse, OT Fagbenle, Samuel Anderson, footballer Fabrice Muamba and many more.
Charles Thompson MBE who founded the screen nation awards told me backstage
‘’How we think about ourselves is the most important thing. The statements tonight by David Oyelowo and Idris Elba show that they’re committed to bringing the message of British talent around the world. That’s why ten years ago David Oyelowo was nominated for emerging talent. When no one knew who Idris was we were nominating him for The Wire. We know excellence is possible and achievable. If we work with our colleagues around the world we will win everything. We’re not diversity quota anymore and never have been! We’re mainstream!! ‘’
Full list of nominees and winners below.
ABN TV (Sky235) will broadcast highlights of the ceremony at 11pm Saturday 28th February 2015
UK SCREEN AWARDS
Aaron Fontaine – Actor in Hollyoaks
Antonia Thomas – Scrotal Recall
Georgina Bobb – Producer/Entrepreneur
Nosa Igbinedion – Director WINNER
Tarah Welsh – New Reporter on BBC LOndon
Royce Pierreson – Actor in Murdered by my Boyfriend, Misfits
Ryan Calais Cameron – Actor in various
Young Shooting Star (16-25)
Ade Oyefoso – Youngers, Silk
Georgina Campbell – Murdered by My Boyfriend WINNER
Jacob Anderson – Game of Thrones, Mimic
McKell David – Montana
Modupe Adeyeye – Hollyoaks
Rebecca Scroggs – Eastenders
Favourite Female TV Star
Denise Nurse – Escape to the Country
Jamelia – Loose Women
Lorna Laidlaw – Doctors
Rochelle Humes – This Morning, Children in Need, etc
Sandra Martin & Sandy Channer – Gogglebox
Sarah Jane Crawford – X Factor WINNER
Favourite Male TV Star
Ade Adepitan – Various WINNER
Marvin Humes – The Voice, This Morning
Reggie Yates – Various
Richard Ayoade – Various
Simon Webbe – Strictly Come Dancing
Female Performance in Film
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle WINNER
Nadine Marshall – Second Coming
Carmen Ejogo – Selma
Male Performance in Film
Aml Ameen – Maze Runner
Arnold Oceng – The Good Lie
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Half of a Yellow Sun
David Oyelowo – Selma WINNER
Harley Sylvester – The Guvnors
Idris Elba – No Good Deeds
Female Performance in TV
Laura Rollins – Doctors
Letitia Wright – Glasgow Girls
Lorna Laidlaw – Doctors
Nathalie Emmanuel – Game of Thrones
Petra Letang – Holby
Sara Martins – Death in Paradise WINNER
Male Performance in TV
David Gyasi – The Whale
Don Gilet – Holby
OT Fagbenle – Looking
Patrick Robinson – Casualty
Samuel Anderson – Dr Who, Trollied WINNER
Tobi Bakare – The Smoke, The Tunnel
UK SCREENCRAFT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Diversity in Factual Production
Fostering & Me with Lorraine Pascale – BBC2
Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark – BBC4 WINNER
Storyville: Mandela, The Myth & Me – BBC2
The Secret Life of Your Clothes – BBC2
The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire – BBC2
Welcome to Rio – BBC2
Diversity in Drama Production
Death in Paradise – BBC2 WINNER
Doctors – BBC2
Game of Thrones – HBO
Holby – BBC2
Murdered by My Boyfriend – BBC3
Independent Spirit Film Production
Beauty Is WINNER
Hard Time Bus
1 Way Up
Through the Lens of Hip-Hop: UK Women
Achievement in Film Production
Half of a Yellow Sun
Favourite International Movie (made by or featuring British talent)
Maze Runner (Aml Ameen)
No Good Deed (Idris Elba)
Selma (David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo) WINNER
The Good Lie (Arnold Oceng)
The Whale (Alrick Riley, John Boyega)
Favourite African UK Movie (made by or featuring significantly British based talent)
Afua’s Diary – Bibi Owusu-Shadbolt
Double Cross – Ama K. Abebrese
Gone Too Far – Destiny Ekaragha
Invasion 1897- Lancelot Odesuwa Imasuen & J2 Konsult WINNER
Love or Something Like That – Shirley Frimpong Manso
Mum Dad Meet Sam – Segilola Ogidan & Edith Nwekenta
The Devil in Freetown – Archie Collins Pearce
Urban Rythmn – Michael Ibiayo & Yinka Kuponiyi
Favourite Black TV Show (Magazine/Chat show led by a woman)
Culture Vultures (Rosemary Laryea) – OH TV
Family Time (Nana Akosua Boateng) – ABN TV
Ladies Talk (Angie le Mar) – Vox Africa WINNER
Pauline Long Show – BEN TV
Real Talk (Trish Adudu) – OH TV
The Nana Churcher Show – Vox Africa
The Sporah Show (Sporah Njau) – Vox Africa
Favourite UK Afrobeats Music Promo
Fuse ODG ft. Sean Paul – Dangerous Love
Kwamz & Flava – Wo Onane No
May7ven – Werk WINNER
Mista Silva ft Syron – Green Light
Moelogo ft Giggs – Baddest
Zafi B ft Atumpan – Superhero
PEOPLE’S CHOICE INTERNATIONAL SCREEN AWARDS
No Good Deed WINNER
Think Like A Man Too
Favourite Female Screen Personality
Ava Duvernay WINNER
Favourite Male Screen Personality
Denzel Washington WINNER
Honorary Awards were bestowed upon;
Outstanding Contribution Award
Harry Belafonte theAfrican-American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist.
Edric Connor Trailblazer Award
Anton Phillips the iconic British actor, producer and director, who has an acting career in Britain that broke many racial barriers.
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee (posthumously) Hollywood’s hugely respected and much loved ‘black power’ couple and civil rights activists.
Classic TV Award
Fresh Prince of Bel-air the iconic comedy series that launched Will Smith’s acting career is acknowledged as it reaches its 25th anniversary.
The Awards were sponsored and partnered by BBC, ITV, ABN TV, Tama Ra Event Designers, New African Woman Magazine, Scene TV, AfricaX5, DJA Media, Hilton, Suba App, GUBA, Kato Enterprises, Ultimalt, Star Lager, Guinness FE and Talking Drum Entertainment END