In order to stay fly all day everyday often it’s about mixing business with pleasure. This week I had jam-packed day times, even busier evening social whirls and chock-a-block weekend commitments. But youmust always keep your ‘’image and style’’ at its top level as I was told over and again by one of my first bosses- an over the top fabulous African American media genius called Kim luck who was a diva to be reckoned with in my earlydays at MTV. When I used to present MTV NEWS Kim would waltz in every morning with her real minx coat flung over her shoulder and demand to see all us presenter’s nails and faces to ensure that make up, hair and nails were ship shape. She also held an end of week Friday 5pm session where we were taught to wine taste, discuss politics and other such worldly things that she deemed imperative to our future career progression. Her rules were instilled in us early on so this week whilst working late I had Celebrity manicurist Ama Quashie (who has done nails for Alexandra Burke, Alesha Dixon & Amber Rose to name a few) drive 10 miles across London to work her magic on my nails at my desk for my very first Gelish manicure. A new hybrid gel line that stays chip free for 21 days without damaging the natural nail at all! Perfect for ladies who like preened natural nails but haven’t got the time to visit a nail bar every week. I will be testing that out this week as I shoot footage, edit, wash up endlessly, tweet, text and bbm to see just how resistant it really is!
My team did look amused but not totally gob smacked. Hey- a diva’s gotta do what a diva’s gotta do to multi task handfuls of commitments in today’s day and age! 20 minutes later my gellish nails were set, my nails were clean and twinkling and I was able to continue typing away with no ‘’post nail smudge trauma’’. I’m a pink lady so opted for a baby pink colour called ‘Go Girl’ very apt I thought! Ill be testing out one of the other pink colours next time Ama comes over & she’s promised to teach me how to make Jolof rice too!
Next I took my LONDON 360 news reporting team to meet channel news legend Jon Snow. Jon had invited us up to his ITN building where he sat and regaled us with his witty, sharp and very warm personality. He told the team about his progression throughout the years and at midday took us all into the Channel 4 news gallery where a live bulletin was broadcast in front of the team who found it all very exciting. The director, audio man, vision switcher and gallery PA impressed the hell out of the team who told me later that their hearts started beating fast as the presenter Brigitte got her countdown. Bless them. Jon had me fascinated as he revealed how he got into the media…’’ I joined LBC on the day they started, and the great thing was all these commercial radio stations were new, there was no commercial radio until the last quarter of the last century, its pretty amazing, most people thought it wouldn’t work and so getting a job there wasn’t difficult, and in fact LBC went bust about 6 months after I got there, and they got rid of all the people that were expensive, and they kept the very very cheap people and I was very cheap, so that’s how I started’’. Jon’s story demonstrates that if you offer to work cheaply in your early career that the rewards and experience more than pay off. He added that it was his competitive nature that gave him his next big break ‘’
After about 3 years I got a break, the IRA were in London and I was on a bike and I had a Motorola, it was pre-mobile phone, but I had a Motorola walkie talkie and as long as you were within 2 miles of the ITV Southbank television tower which had a transponder on the top of it- you could broadcast, but you had to have reasonable line of sight- that was difficult but anyway sometimes I would broadcast live from my bike as I was cycling towards the bomb, nobody even knew where it was- you would only see the smoke, hear the bang and then you’d cycle like billy-o to get to it, and by the time I got there the traffic would bebacked up and I could see my colleagues from the Daily Express, the BBC , The Telegraph in the backs of taxis sitting in queues and I was racing past and then you’d get to the seat of the bomb and you’d find the police had put tapes around, but if you’d shot through the tape fast enough- they were so busy keeping the bystanders awaythat you could get through and by the time you got there they said well you may as well stay- so I often used to be the only person there and then ITN called me up one day and said we’ve got a job for you if you want to come which doesn’t happen very often- so I’ve been here ever since. Which is a very very long time’’
When talking about what makes a great journalist he explained ‘’ I myself believe that the best journalistsare the journalists who at least have learnt how to enquire, how to research, and who are fired up by the unknown and fired up by wickedness, because actually what frustrates the development of our society is corruption, mis-management, bad politics…’’. On this pint I wanted to kiss Jon Snow’s feet. What an inspiration and straight talker. Talking about how media has changed from a one way traffic information system to a 2 way interactive vehicle hestated ‘’This is the golden age of journalism, this is the moment when you have the greatest opportunity to break stories, when I started- when you were speaking to camera there was no mechanism for anybody to challenge you, there was no way anybody could get in touch with you, they could write a letter in green ink, underline in red, saying how awful you were or whatever but only 3 people would bother to do that. Now- you don’t move every day without email traffic, twitter, facebook, I mean the traffic the two-way relationship is on the go in a big big way, and the opportunities for people to break in unconventionally are much greater than they’ve ever been, we’ve just transmitted an entire documentary this last week which is all shot on mobile phones, this was on Sri Lanka which for the first time its been possible to document war crimes as they happened on camera, footage that was either shot by Tamils who were being herded into a supposed no-fire zone to be killed, hundreds of thousands of them were herded into a smaller and smaller piece of land and 50,000 of them were massacred and we have all this on film, so were living in an extraordinary vortex of opportunity’’.
Then I was happy to catch up with my West London home girl ESTELLE who was in town to talk about her new album ‘’All of me’’ and her new single ‘’Break my heart’’ featuring mister Rick Ross-whom she performed onstage with at his London date. Estelle has always been a champion of right over wrong so we asked her about issues that have us debating this week on LONDON 360 NEWS. I mentioned that a young, London child called Kye was in final stages of searching for a matching blood donor and that the ethnic community were difficult to engage. Estelle agreed ‘’I think the cultural barriers in ethnic minorities when it comes to bone marrow donation is based on slight ignorance I think people don’t quite get that it’s not about a big old needle going in your arm…. Its about as simple as a swab it’s like you know a little prick it’s not gonna hurt you that much and it can save somebody’s life and do a good thing and you’re not gonna die. That’s the main misunderstanding people have and the sooner and the quicker that people get over that and realize exactly what it is maybe you could help save somebody’s life. There’s nothing more amazing than that!’’.
When I told her my frustrations about young London menkilling each other over minor issues she was frustrated ‘’Every time I’m home the main thing I keep hearing is “oh somebody got stabbed, somebody got kidnapped, you know. I can’t go to that area. I don’t do music over there because of this.” When I keep hearing that kind of stuff it frustrates the hell out of me. Because I know how I came up doing music. You could just be a regular kid and just go round. I hate the fact that my cousins and my little brothers are like ‘we don’t go there’. I don’t understand, I don’t know if I could ever be the person I am today if didn’t have friends in south London, north London, west, just everywhere. You know I couldn’t hang out with them and roll with them or whatever, , that frustrates me, we need to end that right now, we just need to end it, its ridiculous’’.
Finally we laughed at the repeated outrage over young children being sexualised by music artists and videos and discussed the main culprits. Estelle added ‘’I think music and sex now apparently goes hand in hand. You have o give people a lot out of yourself…I don’t know why, but it is what it is and I feel like sometimes you just gotta stop fighting it, you’re not gonna see me with knickers on at some point or anytime soon. At the same time as it is the artist’s expression I just feel like it doesn’t need to be like that all the time. You can give it a balance, sometimes you can have clothes on, and it’s all right. Sometimes you don’t have to be on the beach naked posing and then be like ‘oh they caught me’ You know, I choose not to do that kind of thing, but at the same time if they caught me on the beach I’d try and look my best though! It goes hand in hand, it is what it is.
And then obviously if your core audience is 5year olds you might want to lean off sex, you don’t want your five year old walking around being like ‘mummy what are those things on her chest., omg their actually nipple tassels. I just feel like know your audience know whom you’re selling too’’. Later that night Estelle swung it home at the forum by dazzling rick ross fans with her onstage presence and repped well for teamuk. With champions like jon snow and Estelle still courageously fighting for the right cause we can aspire to be greater ourselves! All hope is not lost!.