Welcome to the Nupé Christmas issue. 2012 has been an amazing year for those of us in the British Isles, with monumental sporting and national events taking place. We chronicle some of those very events and a great deal more. Plus incase you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas, we’ve got a few suggestions for you. You’ll be introduced to Martika LA, a young lady hoping to become one of the top female recording artists. Interviews with super hair stylist Errol Douglas and shadow minister Chi Onwurah also offer insight into their successful lives. We have a new columnist in the Nupé Nutritionista and she’s here to serve you glamourous ladies. Rounding off the editors take a reflective walk down memory lane and the fashion team show you how Christmas should be. However as 2012 comes to an end, so does my journey as Nupé editor. As I slide off the saddle and hand over the reigns to someone else, I have nine words for you, thank you for your support and may it continue! TJ Morgan Editor
Syrian civil-war continues The uprising which began in March 2011, following the arrest and torture of some teenagers in the city of Deraa, has escalated to its bloodiest these past few months. So far 200,000 refugees have had to flee to neighbouring nations, while it is widely thought up to 2.5 million people in the country are in dire need of aid. There has been a spate of bombings in Syria’s main cities recently. The government officials have blamed this on the recently internationally recognised rebels who have blamed the government. The rebels have blamed Assad’s authoritarian regime for the bombings, accusing them of planting the bombs in a bid to discredit the rebels and peaceful protestors. With estimates of the death toll as high as 25,000 the tragedy looks set to continue for an indefinable period with the opposing forces in a brutal deadlock throughout Syria. The UN is rendered unable to act due to the vetoed wielded by both Russia and China. Eurozone crisis deepens The Eurozone area fell into recession in the last quarter of the year as spending fell while inflation and unemployment rose. The jobless rate in the recessionary euro area rose to 11.7%. Inflation fell from 2.5% to 2.2% in November. Spain in particular has been savagely affected by recent economic events with an unemployment rate of 24%. In response to the situation in Greece Eurozone ministers have agreed to cut Greece’s debts by a further €40bn ($51bn; £32bn), as well as releasing 44bn in bailout money and aid, this measure and others like it have been taken in a bid to ease the concern of investors throughout the world about the potential for the likes of Greece or Spain to default on any loans given by them. Jimmy Saville scandal shocked the nation The Metropolitan Police launched a “formal criminal investigation” into Savile’s alleged sexual offences on the 19th October. Scotland Yard said it was following up 400 lines of inquiry, following complaints of abuse by the late entertainer. In total, more than 200 potential victims have been identified. The investigation has led to severe criticisms of the BBC and their failure to flag up the abuse that was occurring, resulting in the questioning of the director-general of the public corporation by a select committee in the House of Commons. Many see the misogynistic culture that pervaded the BBC in the 70’s as the reason that seemingly well known cases of abuse went unreported. President Obama re-elected: In one of the most important and bitterly fought US presidential elections in recent memory, the incumbent Obama eventually defeated the challenger Mitt Romney on the 6th of November. The campaign trail had proved a scintillating form of entertainment, with twists and turns a plenty. From the killing of the US consulate in Libya harming Obama’s reputation, to the president’s insipid first debate performance. And of course who can forget Romney’s infamous ‘47%’ gaffe? Obama won the election receiving 332 Electoral College votes and 62 million votes to Romney’s 206 Electoral College votes and 58 million votes. Conflict erupted in Gaza strip: Rockets and small gun fire were traded between Hamas and Israeli forces from November 14th – November 21st in Gaza. This came following the launching of an Israel offensive designed to remove the threat of rocket fire from the terrorist group Hamas, who are stationed in Gaza, aimed at Israel. At least 158 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed during the hostilities. The conflict ceased with the agreement of a cease-fire by Israel and Hamas after US and Egypt led negotiations. The details of the agreement are yet to be worked out, leaving the resumption of the fighting a hanging threat for the people of Gaza.
I think it goes without saying that 2012 has been a special year for sports with the crowning moment been the London Olympic Games where Team GB won its highest tally of gold medals ever. Team GB captured 29 gold medals - winning multiple golds in track cycling, equestrian, rowing, boxing and athletics. Andy Murray also finally won a tennis Grand Slam tournament with his 5 set win over Novak Djokovic in the US Open. So without further ado we recollect the most memorable sporting moments from 2012! London Summer Olympic Games Where do we start? There were so many iconic moments from the Olympics that this humble column simply can’t do it justice. However 4/8/2012 will probably go down as one of the greatest days in British sporting history. On that day Team GB won 6 six gold medals. The gold rush started in the morning with the rowers in the men’s four and the women’s lightweight double sculls. Then the women’s team pursuiters added track cycling gold in the London Velodrome in the afternoon. To round off a spectacular day Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah finished things off by winning the heptathlon, long jump and 10,000m at a jubilant Olympic Stadium. In total Team GB finished 3rd in the medal table with 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals making it 65 medals in total. The Greatest ever Olympic Games held in the capital of one of the greatest cities in the world, it’s a moment an event people of this country will never forget. Andy Murray Finally Wins A Grand Slam Andy Murray has always been recognised as a talented player ever since he burst onto the scene in 2006 and joined the full circuit for the first time. However the mental and physical side of his game were underdeveloped and let him down at crucial junctures. After losing in four previous finals Murray this year finally made it to the Wimbledon final before losing a hard fought match to Roger Federer. A man who the public had always perceived as surly and abrasive finally let his guard down and an emotional Murray thanked the public for their support over the years, it was the moment you could say the Southern side of the country finally truly embraced Murray as one of their own. After that devastating loss at Wimbledon Murray overcame that disappointment to beat Federer at the Olympics final and then in a 5 set thriller against Novak Djokovic after squandering a 2 set lead beat the Serbian for his first Grand Slam title. Formula One After successive World Championship titles for Sebastian Vettel and Constructor Championships for Red Bull Racing, the team entered the 2012 Formula One season as favourites to reclaim both titles. With Ferrari and McLaren closing in however and applying upgrades to their cars the task for Red Bull would be as difficult as ever and so it proved to be. Although Red Bull won the Constructors Championship in the end by a comfortable margin of 60 points the driver’s title went all the way to the wire until the final lap of the final race of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix where Vettel finished 6th and Fernando Alonso his main rival finished 2nd which meant Vettel won his third successive Championship by a paper thin margin of 3 points. The German already the youngest ever Formula One champion now becomes the youngest ever triple world champion at the age of 25 beating the previous record set by Arton Senna by 6 years. At this pace Vettel will break all existing records by the time he retires! Football At Euro 2012 England, although spirited, were predictably mediocre again and were knocked out at the Quarterfinal stage by eventual finalists Italy. After playing conservatively throughout the tournament and scrapping by with narrow victories Spain finally unleashed the full might of their tiki taka and demolished Italy 4 – 0 in the final. Mario Balotelli announced his arrival on the world stage with a spectacular 2 goal performance against Germany in the semi final but was helpless as his side were swept aside by the all conquering conquistadors from the Siberian peninsula. Spain’s Euro 2012 victory made it their third title in a row and they will surely now go down as one of the greatest international sides of all time. While the national team continued their futility on the European stage Chelsea became the first London club to win the Champions League and Manchester City secured their first Premier League title on goal difference from Manchester United.vv Since then things haven’t gone so smoothly for both clubs with the Sky Sports Rupert Murdoch funded Premier League circus kicking on to new heights of hilarity and drama when Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich sacked FA Cup and Champions League winning manager Roberto DiMatteo, a man whom he had just given a 3 year contract during the summer. WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
hi Onwurah is a breath of fresh air, unlike many politicians she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Raised by her single mother, the Newcastle native benefitted from council housing and a state education. Not the conventional provenance for a person holding high office in parliament, but her provenance provides the basis for her political affiliation, “I grew up in a very political household; my mother was a great Labour supporter. She grew up in the depression - her father was always in and out of work. So I grew up hearing about the struggles of people to get their rights.” Onwurah is an engineer by vocation who only gave a political career serious consideration when Jim Cousins stepped down as MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, “I’d always thought it would be a great honour to be an MP, but that wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do straight out of college or university ” she informs me. As the Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science her role entails two key components, “As the largest opposition party we have both the role and the duty to hold the government to account.” She explains further, “It is part of my responsibility to hold the minister to account for his policies on innovation and science. For instance, the coalition is cutting science at the moment its part of my job to make that as widely known as possible.” The second part involves policy development, “This is the time to get our thinking straight.”
“THIS IS THE TIME TO GET OUR THINKING STRAIGHT.” We’re meeting in the beautiful seven story high Portcullis House, one of the most expensive tower blocks in the capital, home to 213 MPs. The majority of the inhabitants are white, male and from middle class backgrounds, three fundamental things that Chi is not. I ask if she has faced any challenges being a minority woman in such an arena, “To be honest as an engineer I was far more in the minority so actually the house is the most diverse environment I’ve ever worked in. Prior to being selected to be the Labour candidate to represent Newcastle there was concern voiced by various different groups that Newcastle wasn’t ready for a black MP as it is a predominantly white city but that clearly wasn’t the case,” she says with a diminutive chuckle. “But I wouldn’t say that was a challenge, it was an obstacle.” Suddenly noticeably disturbed by the question her face grimaces as she adds, “I’m not as a black person a politician; I think that journalists and the media are often not quite sure how to treat black politicians, they only go to them to comment on issues about race and that can be challenging.” I quickly change the subject to the ubiquitous issue of youth unemployment. I question Onwurah on how she plans to use her role to benefit young people (yes I am that confident that Labour will regain power at the next election). “That’s a key question,” the minister takes a pensive pause, “For me it’s all about getting the economy right.” She expounds - evoking the spirit of Keynes, “By moving our economy away from
dependency on short term and service jobs to longer term manufacturing jobs that has to be about innovation.” Her eyes literally light up as she explains, “Economies which are based on innovation can grow and adapt to different environments. For example, we’re facing the challenge of climate change if we handle that in the right way with new exciting green technology that will create thousands of jobs for young people both graduates and apprentices.” By the look on her face it is clear that her passion for engineering remains unchanged, this passion drives her to want to get more women and ethnic minorities in the field. “I know how persistent the lack of representation and diversity in science and innovation has been. When I went to Imperial to study Engineering in 1984, only 12% of my course were women, a quarter of a century later that figure hasn’t changed at all. The same is true for almost all of the ‘hard’ sciences such as Physics and ICT.”
“When I went to Imperial to study Engineering in 1984, only 12% of my course were women, a quarter of a century later that figure hasn’t changed at all.” Onwurah recognises that getting more women and minorities in the field will not be an easy feat, “It’s a cultural issue, it’s a structural issue, and it’s also a practical issue.” The minister suggests that the remedy lies in promoting more female and minority engineers in the media, as well as working with groups such as the AFBE, the association for black engineers. The proud feminist continues, “Another thing is making it absolutely clear that it is unacceptable to have exclusively male university departments. Also - structuring the career to make it more attractive to women. One thing that puts some women off staying in research careers is that it is hard to take time off to have a child and get back in because the field is all about how many papers you publish in a year.” On the role of women in her current field the MP seems slightly more optimistic. As she begins to gather her things she boldly declares, “Parliament will become less male, it will become more representative.” And with that our time is up, she has another meeting to get to. As we walk out she asks about my life, my future plans - a rarity for an interviewee and further affirmation that Onwurah is a breath of fresh air. Dami Abajingin
December 25th has been earmarked for giving, But why just give on one day, when there’s another 364 we live in. You see December’s when I’m broke, finances resemble a joke, So I take out a loan for one day’s activities and descend down the slippery slope. Of debt...and now threats from bailiffs are due here in the New Year, Which is another day I sometimes hate, as we make resolutions on Jan 1st, like making resolutions on any other day resembles a true fear. Are you here...with me? Are you listening? Or are you captivated by the activated flashing of Christmas lights that are glistening? The funny thing is I’m far from a Scrooge and my appetite for Christmas is larger than huge, The sad thing is I’m just a dude, whose one-time love affair with Christmas has rather subdued. It would be crude...however to say cancel Christmas, forget it and it should be left forever, As Christmas can be beautiful when new and old, family and friends get together. Some indulge in mistletoe and wine, in my house there’s no mistletoe and instead of wine there’s Flemish, But we still party like Trafalgar Square revellers counting down to midnight on December 31st, according to the mean time of Greenwich. Ahhhhh haha what an image, This is the real Christmas story, not that made up guy from Lapland, he’s Finnish. Don’t grimace, smile, make a wish and if your wall is wooden pat on the wall, Because Christmas is for happiness, so there...#thatisall Mr BB WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
amian Jones is a BAFTA award winning film producer. Born in England, Damien Jones has produced over twenty feature films which include: Adulthood, The History Boys, Welcome to Sarajevo, Gridlock’d, Millions, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. A successful career in the movie business was never something that Damian planned to do but many people want to pursue a career in this competitive industry. How did Damien do it?
NUPÉ Hi Damian. What would you describe as your first steps to having the career that you have today? DJ I took a course on Film Theory as part of my Politics and History degree at university but that was about it. After graduation I was still unsure about my career path. I thought that a second language might be useful so I moved to Paris to learn French. Whilst working there as a barman, I heard about a vacancy for a bi-lingual production assistant on a film being made and I applied. I got an interview with the line producer and embellished the truth to land the job. It turned out to be on the set Roman Polanski’s 1988 thriller Frantic and I found himself working with Harrison Ford. Working as a production assistant or ‘runner’ may have meant that Damian started with doing jobs such as making tea and coffee but with this experience on his CV, Damian was able get his foot in the door at Working Title Films, a British production company.
NUPÉ So how did you make the jump from production assistant to producer? DJ From the work experience, I knew that I wanted to continue to work in films. I didn’t want to act or direct which only
left producing. Damian’s first producing success was The Candy Show, a short film he made with a friend. The Candy Show won the 1990 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film and on the strength of this he moved to Hollywood. It was during his time in America where he produced many successes which included Gridlock’d which starred Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur.
NUPÉ What would you class as your big break? DJ Getting my first film GRIDLOCK’D financed by Interscope/Polygram when everybody else had turned it down.
NUPÉ What is the most stressful aspect of your job? DJ It’s all stressful. But equally rewarding when it goes right! The financial closing rates high on that scale because until the money is in the bank account you never quite know what is going to happen. But probably most when you see the film all finished and you finally see whether the general public embrace or not what you’ve been putting together all these years.
DJ I’m not sure how different we are as we are all inherently different from each other. We are all unemployable doing anything else! I like to think of myself as creative and business - able to find and develop an idea into a film and then being able to raise the budget and get it physically produced, marketed and distributed.
“I like to think of myself as creative and business.” After 10 years in America, Damian came back to the UK to continue his career. Since returning, Damian has concentrated on making iconic British films such as The History Boys, Millions and The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep
NUPÉ What is your proudest achievement to date? DJ I came back to the UK to make some cool British movies and I’m happy so far achieving that goal with films such as Kidulthood, Adulthood, The History Boys, sex&drugs&rock&roll, Fast Girls and The Iron Lady being hopefully just that.
NUPÉ How do you deal with it?
NUPÉ What is your advice to aspiring up-and-coming producers?
DJ You have to have the courage of your convictions and trust your instincts while recognising your film evolves during its creation.
DJ Work hard and show initiative. Filmmaking is a collaborative process and often who you work with matters more than yourself.
“You have to have the courage of your convictions.”
NUPÉ Could you describe what differentiates you from other producers? WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
nly five minutes to go I’m thinking and this Tube hasn’t even pulled up at Knightsbridge yet. I hate being late and I’m about to live up to my pet hate. I’m off to see Errol Douglas, the renowned Knightsbridge hairdresser, who has received honours from the Queen and helped the nation rise in the mornings to good hair with his regular feature on GMTV. The Tube pulls up at the platform and I do my best impression of a rude Londoner as I barge past two people and rush up the escalators. On the way to the salon, I walk past stores relating to the who’s who’s of luxury clothing such as Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferregamo, I think to myself that the rent must be sky high. So to hold a lease in the area since before the Millenium, Errol’s salon must be doing quite well. That also makes me slightly nervous, as I’m booked in for a haircut and I’m unsure as to whether it is complimentary or not. A quick glance into a wallet does little to calm my fears.
I arrive at the front desk to be greeted by women so glamourous looking that they could easily pass for Bond girls. My jacket is taken from me, I’m offered a drink and told Mr Douglas will be with me in a minute. Looking around the shop floor, I’m astonished by the high levels of elegance and class. This is typical for Knightsbridge I tell myself. Moments later Errol emerges wearing a wide smile. I’m impressed by his humbleness as he tells me that he is to trim me. As two former east enders, we recount what growing up in that part of London can be like and Errol says he, ‘hopes to open up a salon in East London’ one day. We finished with the haircut and commenced the interview. Intro yourself and what you do? Hi, I’m Errol Douglas. I’m a hair stylist. I wouldn’t like to class myself as a celebrity stylist but rather a super stylist.
Describe your personality as a hair style and why. That’s a hard one but I’d have to say the Grace Jones look, because it was cutting edge and ahead of it’s time. It’s known that you started out in the industry at 11. What made an 11 year old East Londoner decide to move into hair and how was the response from your peers? I was always interested in hair but I had to keep it a secret from most people apart from my close friends, because it was a very rough area when I was growing up. If you were associated with doing anything even slightly feminine, you would be victimised. It seems that in the early part of your career you had people such as Paul Edmonds take you under their wing. How important is it have to a mentor and someone that believes in you, early in your career? Very crucial, they were able to show me the ropes and the benchmark for what needed to be done. We still talk to this day even. Why is educating up and coming hairdressers/stylists a key part of your career? I love what I do, working with people and I love to help others progress. I think it’s best to take on people from a young age and we have people as young as 15 gaining experience with us. I think it’s important to give them a structure to work towards. It’s a three year contract but we review it at the end of the first year and only extend it if we think they’re good enough. It’s fair and we have a good success rate, people like Junior Green who’ve gone on to have a shop and become a renowned stylist. Also not too far from here, Jamie Stevens who was once under our wing is now resident on X Factor.
“I love what i do, working with people and I love to help others progress.”
get it. So yeah I’m proud.
If there were to be a movie of your life, who would you like to play you and why? Laughs. I quite like the two Wayans brothers, so one of them. That crazy person who always played alongside the Japanese or Chinese cop. Oh Chris Tucker. Yep that’s it. That would be me all over, never anything serious.
What challenges did you face when starting your own salon? Nobody would give us a lease, because we hadn’t been trading before and in this area it goes without saying that you need to have a credit record. What they call a blue chip company record. But because I had been in this area since I was 16, I got to know the right people. So we had references from the Grosvener family and the Queen’s Physician amongst others. They helped demonstrate that I was credible and I got in.
We’ve spoken about some of your mentees going on to further success. How does that make you feel? Well I’m proud but they’ve done it. Most of those people they’re cut from the same cloth, they’re not afraid of work, they’re not afraid of hours. This business takes over your life if you’re successful. I’m not saying you can’t turn down anything, but they were like me in saying yes to everything. And now look at them. It’s the same thing if you want to be a good chef or designer, you have to put in the hours with your mentor or the person that’s teaching you otherwise you won’t
You’ve had many achievements in your career such as a considerable amount of mainstream media work and accolades such as receiving an OBE. Which of these has meant the most and why? I would say fathering three kids. My first son passed away and we went on to have three children after that. We have three great kids and I hope they’re gonna do very well. One is going into medicine, nobody is going to get into this profession which is sad. But I’ve got a great nephew who wants to do hair. I’m gonna groom him. WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
What haven’t you achieved yet, that you would wish to happen? I’ve got quite a few things actually. I absolutely cannot wait to bring out a brand, that will contain shampoos and other things. My mentor and he doesn’t know it - laughs - will be Tom Ford. I like the empire of what Tom Ford stands for. I want to be the first hairdresser who is known for being successful in other areas. I would like to start off the Errol Douglas Foundation. Also a shop in New York which will be imminent in the next year. Plus we will build up the shop here with another floor. We’re working on the brand Errol Douglas - picks up his logo that is known now. That ED and the branding is known. When you started off your career did you imagine getting to this stage? No of course not! You just go as far as you can go. For me now, it’s about building on it and helping the next wave of young people come through. To help them realise that they can do it. I think in this country people are always told what they can’t do. That’s why so many people fail. In the States it’s totally different. If you tell me I can’t do it, I’ll do it. I remember when people told me you can’t open up a shop here, not someone of your colour, but I did it. I’ve got about ten, twenty years to hit my point. There’s still a lot of work to do. There’s still a lot in the oven. I will be the first hairdresser to get a knighthood, you watch.
“If you tell me I can’t do it, I’ll do it.” 26
We know that you used to be a musician in a group called Sabrina Sound. What you be doing if you were not involved with hair? Gasps! How do you know all that? We engage in a side conversation about mutual friends. That was the culture then and it kept us off the street. Mark Winter - another former member - is a big promoter now and that’s how we started off. We loved it but we just grew up. Bloody hell that was a shock - laughs. How would you like your legacy to be remembered by people alive in a thousand years time? Wow that’s a deep one but an easy one though. The foundation. The work which it does and that legacy. Wow in a thousand years, I don’t even think people will be cutting their hair. Hair will probably be removed electronically. I love technology and remember when Alexandra McQueen stunned everyone by using a hologram of Kate Moss at a show. Any last message for readers? I’ve been taught this by my Dad, God rest his soul and it’s an old saying. I believe you should just leave your mark. I know that I’m here to do something with hair and I love it because it’s about people. It goes back to your question about leaving your legacy. I’d say come up with something special, be different. Invent something, have a goal, have a dream. TJ Morgan
aving grown up in the 90’s there’s no doubt a young Kendrick Lamar would have experienced the emergence and dominance of the West Coast/GFunk movement in hip-hop. With the likes of NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Warren G (RIP) the West, Los Angeles in particular truly dominated. Since the turn of the century however, momentum either trickled down South or fizzled out of the West altogether. The Game held it down for a while but stuttered after he severed G-unit ties and every once in a while a new star would emerge and be falsely dubbed the new “so and so”. I’m sure we all remember Nipsey Hussle being dubbed the new Snoop; well, we can safely say that hasn’t gone to plan. Through a string of reasons, the LA rappers became dulled down into caricatures of those gone before them. “Bloods…Crips…40’s…Lowrider…Compton”. There’s always been a huge sense of ‘been there, done that’ for the majority of the past ten years. Then stepped forward Kendrick Lamar, creeping under the radar of expectation and comparison, he was able to quietly hone his skills and creativity. A few underrated mixtapes later, he caught the attention of the Doc. 2011 set the wheels in motion and under the tutelage of Dre, Kendrick dropped his debut independent album Section 80 to stellar reviews and was inducted into XXL’s Freshman Class for 2011. Whilst this wasn’t the year Kendrick would ‘blow’ he came to the forefront of popular consciousness with show stopping verses on the intro of The Game’s RED Album and dropped a contender for ‘verse of the year’ on “Buried Alive” featured on Drake’s double platinum sophomore LP Take Care. Kendrick eventually signed with Dre at Interscope and dropped
his debut major label album Good Kid m.A.A.d City in October, spearheaded by the single “Swimming Pools”. Whilst the lead single was a moderate hit the album outperformed expectations commercially and shifted 240k first week. GKMC works as a concept album and to me is purely a genius demonstration of creativity and lyrical ability blending perfectly with the hip-hop genre. Perhaps the most remarkable point of reference with K Dot concerns his crew, ‘Black Hippy’ consisting of fellow LA natives Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. With each member having dropped independent albums also to great acclaim, man-forman they probably hold the title of being the most talented group in the game today, with nobody willing to settle for that ‘Tony Yayo role’. 2012 has undoubtedly been the year of Kendrick Lamar. Very few rappers today manage to garner both universal critical and commercial acclaim and sustain for a period as long as K Dot. As far as predictions go, Kendrick ‘falling off’ doesn’t seem to be anywhere near likely and the star of the rest of Black Hippy rises constantly. If I’d have to predict anything I’d suggest come the 55th Grammy awards next year don’t be surprised to hear Kendrick Lamar and GKMC somewhere in the conversation. Look out for the proposed joint album with J. Cole coming in 2013 and Kendrick should be returning to the UK in January for a string of dates across the country. We’ve already got our tickets. Follow Kendrick on Twitter @KendrickLamar Tobe Oke
Images by Jevetta Boyce
Image by Gedeon Ory
he 2012 games were over months ago but to some I’m sure I resemble an Olympic hurdler as I navigate some large puddles on a soaking wet day in Old Street. I have a disgust for tardiness so I arrive in good time for my interview with Martika LA, a young singer. However, a slice of window shopping at Boxpark slows me down and I still need to get the final touch for the interview.
Martika arrived some minutes later and I was still racking my brain for the perfect ice-breaker. Instead of drawing on a line from my book of never-ending wit, I present her with a birthday card as I knew her 21st was coming up. She appreciates the gesture calling it ‘cute.’ Wanting to capitalise on the good feeling, we move straight into proceedings. To get everyone’s mind off the dreadful weather, I ask her to choose a holiday destination to illustrate the personality of her music. With a smile she replies, “Hawaii. I love Hawaii, it’s tropical, my music is tropical.” After watching the video to her first single ‘Give Me Your Love’ I couldn’t agree more with the statement. For her first single she looks like a natural in the video, it’s no surprise considering her background. Her mother was a backing singer for Sting and Faithless, whilst her father was a bass player for Rebel MC and Urban Species. Plus when you throw into the equation that Martika herself was formerly a member of girl group RD, it’s clear to see why she comes across like a seasoned professional. I want to know what impact those factors have had on her career. Could having parents with such a wealth of experience in your field be a help or hindrance? “It’s been a help to be honest.” With a glint in her eyes she continues, “I’ve seen my Mum tour with Sting and Faithless, so I know what it’s like to be in front of thousands of people and it’s inspiring.” With her Mum sitting beside her, I expected such a diplomatic response, but the honesty seems sincere. How about her time in RD? What did she take from that experience and how’s life now as a solo artist? Judging from her facial expression, this seemed like a line of questioning she didn’t want to go down. She opens up though as she recounts, “I’ve learnt a lot from being in the group. Good and bad. It’s made me more focused, so now I know what I’m doing and no-one’s going to stop me.” She continues by saying, “I’ve always been solo in my head. I was making music before I was in the group.” The drive in her is clear to see and a few days later at the cover shoot I discover Martika doesn’t like talking about RD as she wants to be considered on the merits of her own music and not on past endeavours. When first researching Martika, I was amazed to see the enormous amount of views for her video on VEVO. By the time you’re reading this, they may have passed the one million mark. Having a response like that on your debut single would make most people a little big-
headed, but not Martika. “It even grounded me a little. It was like woah, people actually like me for me and my music.” But does a response like that pile on the pressure for subsequent releases? “It’s not a pressure that’s gonna hinder me, it’s going to push me to do better.” With an attitude like that Martika was winning a new fan in me. After naming Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, Prince and Jill Scott as her musical influences, I noticed that there were no UK names in that list. So I touched on the subject that female singers in the UK have come and gone in recent times, without making much of an impact. How would she be different? She quickly answers, “I bring something different to the UK because I’m not just trying to be from the UK. I want to be an international artist.” World domination would be a tad harder than domestic, but as aforementioned Martika is clearly a driven and ambitious character. The old adage reads, ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ and I’m sure she’ll find one to achieve her dreams.
“It’s not a pressure that’s gonna hinder me, it’s going to push me harder.” Wanting to keep a focus on the music, I ask her what she would class as success for her pending single release. She playfully whispers, “No.1” before embarking on a short and humorous conversation with her Mum about blonde moments. It’s a really relaxed moment so I push her for any information regarding the album. We discuss how she hasn’t finalised a name for it yet, but that it will come naturally to her at some point in the not too distant future. We also talk about the lack of features as she is, “Still deciding whether or not I want it to be all by me”, but if she did have a feature, she would, “Love it to be from Azaelia Banks” the 212 starlet. After remarking on the fact that she has had no definitive life experiences because, “I’ve always been really happy growing up and my parents are very kind to me”, we move on to discuss the challenges she’s faced getting to where she is and if she had any words of wisdom for others wanting to break into music. She starts off by saying, “The music industry is one of the hardest industries to break into. I’ve always had good people around me and that is very important.” As someone trying to break into a highly competitive industry myself, I totally agree and find solace in her comments. She continues to show she’s more than a pretty face with words of encouragement such as, “Can’t doesn’t exist in my vocabulary...believe in yourself and know your worth...there’s always something great for someone to do, you just have to find it.” Whilst not getting involved in the interview, I could see her mum
proudly nodding in the background. It must be a great feeling for any parent to see their child to walk in their footsteps. Going back to the music, I also noticed that many of the reviews for ‘Give Me Your Love’ were positive. Martika seemed to be getting a lot of love and I wanted to see how this affected her mindset. After mentioning how good feedback made a change from her RD days, “We had loads of bad criticism, so for me to come out as a solo artist and have people say good things, has built my confidence up again.” She again stated how it just made her humble and eager to work harder.
“for me to come out as a solo artist and have people say good things has built my confidence up again” Good looking, talented and ambitious yet humble, this young lady is certainly a good catch for a lucky fellow. I knew she was also a keen martial artist, after being asked what move would she like to perform on internet trolls who disparage her work, she took the diplomatic approach, while fluttering her eyelids she replies “I wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Adding in a more serious tone, “In class we’re taught by our sensi not to provoke the situation.” We spoke again about her video, as I remarked that it, “Seemed relatively big budget for a debut single.” She cut a wry smile and laughed as she explained that, “You’d think there was a really big budget for that video, but there wasn’t. It was just a really beautiful setting and it had me in it. Haha no I’m just joking, I’m joking.” Well all jokes aside it’s a well-shot piece of work. This high quality is again evident in the video to the dance remix of the song. Being able to produce such high quality with a small budget requires a close-knit and reliable team in my opinion. When questioned on the importance of such a team, she agreed and said, “It has to be important, because if it’s not, things go wrong.” Again speaking from personal experience, I can attest to her thinking, as having numbers onboard doesn’t guarantee success, having determined characters who see the bigger picture gives a greater chance of success. We were approaching the last section of the interview, so I wanted to find out a little about Martika, the young lady, not just the recording artist. We started off by talking about music we were into and who she was
currently playing on her iPod the most. She warned me that it was familiar names which she would bring up, “Azaelia Banks, I listen to all her stuff. I still listen to Jill Scott. Beyonce. I love Labrinth, I think he’s wicked. Then I’d say someone like Ed Sheeran, I love his indie sound.” I asked her for three possessions she could not leave home without and after being told that she cannot pick ten, she settled on, “My phone, my make-up bag as you can never leave without your make-up bag, especially when it’s raining like this. Money.” Speaking of money, her parents need to prepare for a major hole in their wallets as Martika proudly yet cheekily proclaimes she wants a Range Rover for Christmas. Judging by the jokingly dismissive look on her Mum’s face, I guess Martika will have to sell a good few singles before she’s pulling off in her dream car. For the penultimate question, I challenged her to come up with a dream team of five female artists, herself included if she desires. “Rihanna, Beyonce, Alicia Keys that would be dope. Even Rita Ora. If I were not to include myself, then I’d put in someone like Delilah. Boom! That’s a sick mix, there’s your number one team there.” That sounds like a very feisty line-up and the mix of personalities may not allow for more than one album, if even that! Now it’s a Boyz 2 Men moment as we had come to the end of the road but before we finish I want to know if there is anything else she wants you the readers to know. She kept it short and sweet, “Listen to my song Give Me Your Love on Youtube and Vevo. Stay connected as I will have more things coming soon.” And if you want to stay connected with Martika then follow her @martika_la and search for Martika LA on Facebook. As we wrap up a very pleasant interview and I look forward to the cover shoot - a video of which is on our Youtube channel Nupé VT - with immense anticipation. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing Martika grow in forthcoming years, I tip her for success. TJ Morgan Tweet me @tjmorganuk Image by Lauren Marsh Photography
Slashies are a multiplying breed. They’re everywhere you turn - sometimes they’re even staring back at you in the mirror! For the sake of this article a slashie is not a homicidal machete yielding psycho. A slashie is a member of Generation Y who holds more than one job title; i.e. they’re an accountant/painter or a teacher/ photographer. You just need to look at the Twitter bio of the majority of your followers to see a demonstration of this. The slashie title was traditionally reserved for celebrities such as the entrepreneurial Jennifer Lopez (actress/singer/ designer/serial bride), but it seems that more and more of us are embracing a variety of job roles. Young people have elevated hobbies to a whole new level - we take our passion and turn it into profit. Remember that year when every Luke, Jamal and Tunde had a T-shirt line on the side? In my opinion that was Generation slash in its infancy. The internet, most notably social media, allows many of us to get our slashie on. In recent years YouTube has become a viable source of income as demonstrated by the explosion of YouTube makeup guru’s for example. Because the increased percentage of graduates has lead to the diminished value of degrees, more and more focus is being bestowed on ‘transferrable skills’ than ever before. In many cases your degree no longer dictates your profession. In addition, the workforce is no longer as static as it used to be, nor is it as kind to graduates as it used to be. Juggling more than one job is also a great way to ensure you don’t go into the red in the economic climate. The current milieu is perfect for cultivating Generation slash.
The baby boomer generation that came before us were married by the time they reached 21, had their first child at the age of 23, and by the time they’d blown out the candles on their 25th birthday cake they had a mortgage. Because of this trajectory they didn’t have the luxury to be explorative career-wise. But Generation Y aren’t getting married as early, or having children as early, and they certainly don’t have a mortgage as early - thus giving license to indulge in the giant oyster that is the contemporary job market. This shift is often attributed to what some call ‘arrested development’ or the ‘peter pan syndrome’; all of which have negative connotations and all of which I refuse to accept. I don’t believe that being a member of Generation slash is an indication of unwillingness to ‘fully’ grow up. Nor do I believe that it is an indication that young people don’t know what they want career-wise. Many young people desire more than just a monetary reward from their occupation this generation covet jobs that are be both intellectually and creatively stimulating. The latter is usually where the slash comes in; like the corporate lawyer who is also a graphics designer, or the dentist who is also an acoustic musician. With a smorgasbord of career options on offer, just one bite really isn’t enough.
It’s a sad time for a number of reasons; we’ve come to the end of the year so everyday prices are due to rise and according to the Mayans the world is due to end. But for me the fact that I’m unable to relive such a great year of leadership and courageous ambition is the saddest aspect. This fact is compounded by the realisation that we live in a world relatively lacking in leadership and immersed in the follower-syndrome, which is cultivated by the cherishing of microwave celebrities. 2012 was the year the Olympics came to the UK and it was something the country desperately needed. For the first time in my living memory (I was too young to notice Euro ’96) an international sporting competition united the country in voice and in spirit. We were all running with Mo Farah as he claimed double Olympic Gold, just as we were all willing Jessica Ennis through her various events. In a year when trust and faith in bodies such as the police force via Hillsborough and the BBC via Saville were invariably damaged, the Olympic athletes gave the public people that were credible to look up to. Sport is vitally important as it is the clearest ‘cause and effect’ example of what hard work and never giving up on your dreams does for you. The Olympics was the best example of this as it was the biggest event and it showcases four years of hard work in one moment. In the case of great champions like the Paralympian David Weir, it was seven years of hard work for one moment. But it would be unfair not to mention other great examples of leadership, especially as they proceeded moments of disappointment. Andy Murray winning a Grand Slam after four previous final losses, Man City capturing the Premier League after falling 8 points behind Utd, England thrashing the All Blacks after a poor Autumn series and the cricket team winning in India after the Pietersen saga. All the sportsmen involved in these achievements showed a will to win in the midst of vast criticism and setbacks, but they kept on going. Many Paralympic athletes were previously able-bodied sportspersons who sustained life-threatening injuries, but refused to give up. They absolutely personified leadership. You may ask; why do I think leadership is so crucial in today’s world? Being only confined to one page, I must keep this brief. Firstly I’d like to say that leadership is not just refined to what you for others but also what you do for yourself. We need to lead because a challenging financial climate which has given birth to shark-like creditors who offer loans at exorbitant rates, needs vigilance from the consumer. A rapidly developing new world through technology is changing the way humans exist on the planet. We’re moving into times which are becoming increasingly contact-less physically, whilst the electronic connections we have are seeping into most aspects of our lives. Technology is also playing its part in the world of media and communications, so we now have more voices informing us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that information is valid or productive. Finally one of the major reasons why we need leadership is because we cannot rely on our governments to lead for us. They themselves are facing redefinition challenges and may not even exist as we know them in years to come. Therefore if we want better lives we must realise change begins with us. Governments certainly administrate change but they have no monopoly over change. Let’s think like an Olympic athlete and work hard so we are ready for those definitive moments which crop up in life. I heard Dave Brailsford, the Head of UK Cycling makes his riders improve on minute percentages continuously for large overall impact. I like that thinking. WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
Without a shadow of a doubt you’re going to have the New Year’s resolution conversation after Christmas. I’d like to politely suggest one: take responsibility. Responsibility is something everyone lacks from time to time. It’s a virtue and a great characteristic and it’s also a massive key to recovery. You got a bad grade? It was your responsibility to achieve your highest potential, not the tutor or the internet, it was yours. The blame game is played too much, it’s unprogressive. The idea of taking responsibility came to mind when a friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend. They’d both been unhappy for a while; my friend took the brave step to end it. After they broke up she began seeing someone else and her ex went mental. Saying things such as: “You left me for him!/you used me!/I was a pastime!/you never cared/you this [insert explicit]/ you that [insert ruder explicit].” He threw a flurry of excuses at her, he blamed her for the demise of their relationship when the reality of the situation is she tried to salvage things but it just couldn’t work. One of my friends had a similar situation; he blamed his ex for their break up too, then one day he finally got sick of throwing himself a pity party. He picked himself up and took RESPONSIBILITY. He looked at why she wasn’t happy and he fixed it. He looked at the reasons she had given for the break up and acted on them. They didn’t see each other much; so he learnt to drive and got a car. She felt he wasn’t ambitious; so he got a job (not highly paid but a job nonetheless) and boosted his extracurricular activities. She said he was lazy; so he now goes gym when he’s got time. These things may not be major but he made a start. A friend of mine said this to me after a terrible gym session: “It may have been bad but you ran rings around the guy that’s still in bed now.” He hasn’t got to where he wants to but it’s a start. He ran rings around the guy still pointing fingers and making excuses. I do realise that there are things out of your control, you cannot control everything. I’m not suggesting you blame yourself in every bad situation. What I’m suggesting is that you acknowledge that you cannot blame others for all the failures in your life. This doesn’t just apply to relationships; this could be academically or career wise. Don’t blame your boss for not giving you that promotion, maybe you were genuinely undeserving because you have areas you need to improve on. What’s stopping you from improving those areas so that next time you’re in line for it? Your failures are in your hands and even if they’re not, there’s nothing wrong with bouncing back from them and getting better. Take responsibility today. If not today, then for New Years.
Ricky Hatton wanted redemption upon his return to the ring. He craved it desperately. He wanted it; he desired it perhaps more than anything he has ever desired in his life. This particular emotion is not unique to Hatton of course, only displayed and illuminated through him in the most tragic and saddening of circumstances. After a brutal knockout at the hands of the knuckleduster-like fists of Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao, the most humiliating loss of Hatton’s career, the two time two weight champion retired and vowed never to return. We all know of sportsmen who retire and promise never to return but inevitably comeback for “one more” shot at glory. This promise from boxers is even hollower with the history of the sport littered with great champions that lingered on for too long or made ill advised returns to the ring. Even “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali couldn’t stay away and made an ill advised come back against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick, losing both bouts before wisely retiring for good. After Hatton’s first retirement his life spun out of control. Without the discipline and training required for upcoming bouts and with a tendency to put on weight between fights sometimes weighing up to 180 pounds, approximately 40 pounds above his fight weight, Hatton hit a nadir when was caught on camera in 2010 snorting class A drugs and admitted himself to a rehabilitation centre in London for drug and alcohol problems. Hatton it seemed despite the chastening losses to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was most comfortable inside a ring where he could escape his demons and unleash all his emotions by pounding way at another man but when forced to confront the deepest embers of his soul alone in a dark corner it appears Hatton did not like what he saw and could not cope. So he drowned himself in harmful synthetic substances to chase away the pain. To chase away the sorrow. The insecurities. The shame. The self loathing. Checking himself into a rehabilitation centre was Hatton’s first step back on the road to redemption. With his emotional issues brought under control and seemingly starting to turn his life
around speculation began to mount that Hatton was making a return to the ring. The ring that brought him his fame and fortune. The ring that made him the most beloved fighter in Britain rivalling and possibly even surpassing the adulation enjoyed by the likes of Chris Eubank, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno. Three years removed from the ring and with a burning sense of pride gnawing away at Hatton eager to erase the memories of the 2 round knockout blow he suffered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Los Angeles in front of thousands of his loyal supporters who travel up and down the country and abroad to see his fights. Where ever the “Hitman” goes they go, they sing and they drink and have a merry time doing it whether their man wins or loses. Looking to complete the final part of his journey back to redemption Hatton announced his return back to the ring with a fight against little known Ukrainian fighter Vyacheslav Senchenko. By now the victor of that fight is already known. The manner in which he lost is inconsequential; the happy ending Hatton was looking for unfortunately did not materialize. Mr Senchenko and Hatton’s battered, battle weary body had other ideas. It would have been a nice fairytale ending to Hatton’s boxing career but alas life rarely affords us such graceful exits let alone the cruellest of professions in boxing. Hatton was looking for redemption in the ring, the one place and the one thing in life he did better than anyone else. By turning his life around outside the ring however, Hatton had already found the redemption he was looking for because ultimately that is where he will have to live the rest of his life. At least now his curiosity has been satiated and he knows there is nothing left for him in the ring and he can bow out and be proud of his achievements which will undoubtedly stand the test of time. Hatton did not find redemption in the ring, he found redemption outside of it and for that we can all be grateful if it means this is the last time he will ever put on a pair of boxing gloves. For his sake, we can only hope. WWW.NUPE.CO.UK
Jessica Varnish – Track Cycling The summer 2012 London Olympics was supposed to be the crowning moment of Jessica Varnish’s young cycling career. After taking gold at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup earlier in the year in February at the new Olympic Velodrome along with her teammate Victoria Pendleton in the women’s team sprint, breaking the world record in the process it seemed liked nothing could get in her way not even her opponents. Going into the Olympic Games Varnish and Pendleton were the overwhelming favourites in a discipline in which British athletes have virtually turned into their personal fiefdom. However disaster struck when she was disqualified in the semi finals by the racing officials for what they deemed an illegal change over and her Olympic dreams were dashed. With a burning passion to right the wrongs of the past lookout for 2013 where Varnish is set to dominate after already breaking multiple world records at the tender age of 22. Jack Butland – Footballer The critics will sneer and attribute Jack Butland’s elevation to the England setup at the tender of 19 as evidence of the shortage of world class talent at the goal keeping position for England. However after representing England at all levels from U-17 all the way up to U-23 having been named the starting goalkeeper for Team GB at the Olympic Games it is safe to say Butland is a legitimate star and well deserving of the accolades he has received so far. Currently at Birmingham City but with a host of Premier League clubs sniffing round the young goalkeeper look out for him in 2013 where he is expected to finally make the move to the next level and challenge Joe Hart for the England No.1 jersey. Anthony Ogogo – Boxing After winning the silver medal in the middleweight division at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in relative anonymity Ogogo literally burst on to the scene during the summer Olympic Games when he captured the public’s imagination with a hard charging no holes bared style of boxing but fell short in the semi finals before securing the bronze medal. Although many amateur boxers have cashed in on Olympic performances and declared for the profes-
sional ranks with Amir Khan and James DeGale been recent examples, Ogogo has also spoken of the possibility recently but is yet to make a decision. At Nupe sports a decision however has been made that 2013 will be a big year for the boxer. With a World Series of Boxing yearly showcasing changing the landscape in the amateur ranks thereby lessening the need for boxers to go professional Ogogo is set for a breakout year in 2013 either as a pro boxer or as a celebrated amateur. Heather Watson – Tennis The tennis world and British tennis were officially put on notice when Watson at the age of 20 with her first WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) title became the first British female to win a WTA singles title since Sara Gomer in 1988. The young Brit who is based in Florida in the US has come a long way after been passed over in favour of Laura Robson to partner Andy Murray in the mixed doubles at the Olympic Games even though she was ranked higher. Nonetheless Watson has brushed aside minimal disappointments such as that to become the No.1 British ranked female. With a top 50 ranking in the world and a rapidly improving skill set we expect Watson to take the next step in her development and have a breakout year in the Grand Slam tournaments in 2013. Wilfried Zaha – Footballer A talented player at both striker and winger Zaha has been turning heads ever since he was introduced to the Crystal Palace first team with a host of Premier League scouts regularly visiting and watching his games in the Championship to assess the Ivory Coast born player in lieu of a future move to the Premiership. Zaha’s main attributes include pace, trickery, excellent ball control at top speed and a deadly finish. With the overvaluation of English players continuing at pace he has been linked to £20 million moves to Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. Although whichever club he ends up at remain a mystery what isn’t a mystery is that 2013 is set to become a big year for the third year Crystal Palace player where he will finally get a chance to display his talents on the biggest stage.
Picture this. A rocket launching in 3, 2, 1...BOOM and it’s gone. Right up into the air. It didn’t have any problems, no start-up or mid issues, it just got there. Nice and easily. I’d love to tell you your life is going to be like this but it isn’t. Truth is there’s going to be many ups and downs but it is a very big learning process. And one that you, as time goes by, will learn from. But now that Christmas is fast approaching, I’d love to tell you about the many warm family Christmases you have to come and also the importance of what it means to give. Give to those that have and do not have, whilst not expecting to receive. Something for your blessing will come in due time. P.S remember to turn the oven off, you burnt the turkey. - Charlie-Louise It’s that time of year where everything is packed full; the fridge, West End streets and your anticipation of great presents. Sorry to disappoint you but Dad won’t get you the Scalectrix set or the Playstation One neither will he get you the PS2 or PS3 in years to come - so that’s a shame. However he will give you the best gift possible; a present and loving parent. Most of the close friends you will make in years to come will not have this luxury, so embrace it and enjoy. Also don’t buy into the aggressive marketing to ‘shop until you drop’. The festive season is built around who you spend it with and the subsequent memories. Those valuable memories will last longer than the warranty on any product you may buy or receive.
In my younger years - a strange turn of phrase for a 23 year old - I admit I had a much more idealistic relationship with Christmas compared to my present indifference towards it. Or maybe that’s just a function of general indifference in general. Any way I remember the joy and delight that used to grip me upon waking up on Christmas day and the anticipation of spending the day sharing memories and laughter with friends and family. Fast forward to the present and Christmas is nothing but an irritation and expensive extravagance to be navigated with the minimum inflicted disturbance. The child innocence is gone, now I’m just a cynical old goat. Merry Christmas - Razaak One day you’ll realise that Christmas isn’t about how many gifts and how much cash you can accumulate in 24hrs. One day you’ll see that its a day to enjoy the company of those closest to you; seeing everyone happy reminds you how grateful you are for your amazing, loving and supportive family. It’ll be a day you’ll continue to look forward to as you grow older and perhaps even a little wiser. So younger me, don’t be so disappointed when that Furby you were so desperate for aged 9 turns out to be a colossal waste of a slot on your gift list. The best is yet to come :). - Siobhan
Last but not least, don’t wait until New Years to make resolutions, the hard work starts now. - TJ