JASMINE WITH KOJO!
Its that time of year! Full of Christmas cheer and numerous Christmas parties to attend. this past 6 days alone I have had 3 work parties, dinners and cocktails, attended the very fabulous posh peoples puffa jacket party for designer Mon Clare at their Christmas cocktails evening, shook my booty at the Adidas EIM end of year bash at under the bridge at Stamford bridge, congratulated the Spirit of London ambassadors at the SOLA Christmas ball at the Mayfair Hotel,
So last week Mariah flew into town to attend Prince Azim’s NOBLE GIFT GALA ball at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane. The Noble Gift Gala is an event that pays ‘tribute to those who help support and foster awareness for children and the empowerment of women around the world.’ Mariah was the guest of honour at the event and received the 2011 Noble Gift Humanitarian Award for her efforts in helping disadvantaged children. Mariah has generously donated her time and energy to a range of philanthropic causes near to her heart, including Save the Music and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. A tremendous supporter of children’s charities, both domestic and international, Mariah, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund founded Camp Mariah, a retreat for inner city children to explore career development. So you can see that Mariah’s impact transcends the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the world at large.
On the Saturday morning Upon her arrival, MC was welcomed by a huge crowd of her fans outside the Dorchester who congratulated her on her new baby twins otherwise known as “dembabies” and sang her original Christmas tunes “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Oh Santa,” and “When Christmas Comes”. MC spoke to the fans, signed autographs and even took pictures with the fan gifts later posted on her twitter. We hung out in her suite all afternoon and then made our way down to the red carpet where my favourite desperate housewife- Eva Longoria looked sweet in a long flowing purple gown and she bought along her boyfriend of 10 months, Eduardo Cruz, brother of Penelope Cruz. I also spotted legendary model Jerry Hall on our table who wore a knee length black dress and opted for flat shoes as she arrived with her husband Warwick Hemsley. Wealthy lady about town and new reality TV star Tamara Ecclestone arrived in an attention grabbing black sequined dress but none outshone our girl Mariah who was the guest of honour at the event and received the 2011 Noble Gift Humanitarian Award for her efforts in helping disadvantaged children. The event was held at the Dorchester Hotel and honoured Mariah Carey for her charity work. Proceeds went to Eva’s charity-The Eva Longoria Fund and there were plenty of celebrities on hand to donate. We were treated to musical performances by Leona Lewis, Dionne Bromfield and a wonderful band and Mariah made a very heartfelt touching speech when awarded her award by Prince Azim. A great night!
Finally I caught up with my old MTV BASE talent and friend Kojo who has been plonking his fingers in many pies in a way that makes me stay proud of him. As well as hosting comedy nights across the country and performing onstage weekly Kojo is also now the main breakfast show presenter on ChoiceFM radio and his star looks to expand even more next year! Kojo popped into the BBC staff canteen for a catch-up. He explained to me that after his very successful stint at MTV BASE (he was even nominated for a CDN Award for Kojo’s comedy funhouse!), he had gone to America to learn and grow as a person and comic. He won a place in the American stand up show “last comic standing” and so got a visa so thought he could use the visa to stay and work with one of his mentors –hip hop godfather Russell Simmons. he explained to me that he ‘’wanted to learn how to really do well because at one stage I really lost my hunger’’. He continued ‘’I had done MTV Base, Fresh Prince of Hackney and many more and was giving to many others but felt slightly lost so went to get his hunger back in the USA’’.
‘’I did that for a year’’ he explained ‘’I wanted to just go away and live. Richard prior wrote about what he lived, his real experiences. It took me a lot of courage to pack and move. It was character building. I knocked on a lot of doors and everyone was too busy. In New York I had no time to worry about others. All of us were on our own grind and hustle. It was about how to survive’’. But proving he still does have the Hackney boy in him Kojo hustled and got himself onto New York radio stations like Hot 97 with DJ cypher sounds.
After a year Kojo was ready to return home. He told me felt like he had enough experiences to talk about. Kojo gushed ‘’People think the USA is great etc but I really missed the UK’’.
Kojo had decided that his Game plan on his UK return was to do mainstream shows. He took no bookings for a year except his corks wine bar regular Sunday comedy cub and jongleurs comedy club to pay the bills. ‘’I was Looking at other big British comics like Michael McIntyre etc so I spent 2 years doing mainstream festivals like the Edinburgh festival so people could see I was credible. My experience with the BBC and MTV Base all adds to my stand up. Hanging with Russell in New York and accompanying him on yoga classes and business-this all opened my eyes’’.
Kojo admitted that he really wanted to write a film with producer Damien jones who produced Kidulthood /Adulthood. He learnt that writing was a good talent to have credits for so he wrote a film and a cartoon series. He wrote numerous scripts and 2 are about to go into production. One is a film called “The Weekend”. Another is a cartoon animation titled “The Hoodz” about a black family who win the lottery and think all their troubles have gone. But they’ve just begun. Kojo’s film is in production from march and expected to be out in October.
Keeping the whole scene unified is important to keep pushing more new talent out into the nation and one man helping do that is my friend and film director/actor Noel Clarke who has put Kojo in his new movie titled ‘’The Knot’’ which is out on valentines day 2012. In THE KNOT Kojo plays a delivery guy in a strong role in 5 scenes!
As many of you already know, ChoiceFM approached Kojo to become the breakfast show presenter earlier this year in March too. Kojo said he felt like this was a natural transition and progression. Kojo stated ‘’ I wanted to have a voice’’. Next he brought in his co host- DJ Max, as he wanted a female co-host with experience. Now he is talking to a very diverse audience-he has his comedy fans as well as a captive daily morning radio audience. When asked who his favourite radio host was from ChoiceFM’s history Kojo immediately stated old favourite Geoff Shuman due to his daily morning prank calls. ‘’I always respected Geoff’s co-host DJ martin jay too who was there 14 years, Martin gave me a lot of good advice and supported me when I took over from him’’.
Next Kojo is putting on another one-man live show called ‘‘live n kicking’’. This was inspired he says as ‘’I’ve spent 11 years doing things on MTV and online and there just aren’t enough big opportunities for us to do our own thing-so I’m doing my own thing again. Now its time for me to get something on the public’s shelves. People buy DVD’s. And I want to be on shelves with Michael McIntyre and other mainstream comics. Live and kicking will take me in a different direction and we are filming it for DVD release. . I’m much more mature now than I ever was. In the show I will be talking about my thoughts on the riots and why they happened. And Obama. Will we ever have a black prime minister? And why David Lammy isn’t it. I have invited David Lammy but have no idea if he’ll turn up. I’ll be talking about my own experiences of being in foster care and many other things that the ethnic communities are afraid to talk about. I’ll have a section on Relationships. I’m in a relationship now. (And yes my lady will be in the house!)’’
Live n kicking IS all about the stories. It’s about Kojo’s progression. No doubt all his mates from the press, celebs, footballers and more will be in the audience. Lets continue to catapult our ethnic young talent up and all make this night a huge success! Will you be in the house? I will!
To get on board the next stop in Kojo’s rise to fame check www.OFFICIALkojo.com for tickets-see you there!