DECEMBER 2019 ISSUE NO. 1903
COMPETITIONS & GIVEAWAYS! vConcerts & Festivals vFootwear vBeauty & Make-up vGiftBaskets vTheatre Tickets vBooks WWW.VOICE-ONLINE.CO.UK
Exclusive interview Sonita Alleyne the first black Master of an Oxbridge college
After 50 years of fighting for better health services for the black community Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is honoured with a Pride of Britain award - Page 3 n INSIDE:
DESTINATION BRIXTON p37-44
Chadwick Boseman speaks to Lifestyle about black talent on the big screen
The Voice Black Business Fair - December 7th
News, views, stories & videos
Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Home Ofﬁce to pay compensation
Faith leaders share festive messages p4 and p24
David Olusoga on the black soldiers Britain ignores p12 Part two of an exclusive chat with Sir Trevor McDonald p23 Croydon special feature p33
Cynthia Erivo on playing Harriet Tubman p49 Couple create African-inspired Christmas cards p53
...and a happy Christmas to all our readers!
THE HOME Oﬃce said it will pay the compensation of a Windrush victim who died last month. Hubert Howard died on November 12, after suﬀering with leukaemia and a long immigration battle that started more than a decade ago. Howard, who was brought to London in 1960, was given a national insurance number and lived in a council property – but discovered problems with his papers when his employers asked him to prove his legal right to work in 2005.
Oxford Union’s president resigns
THE PRESIDENT of the Oxford Union has resigned over his response to the treatment of a blind student who was “dragged by his feet” from a debate by union staﬀ. Brendan McGrath faced calls to step down from his position after he initially alleged that Ebenezer Azamati, a blind postgraduate international relations student from Ghana, had acted violently. McGrath apologised in a letter on Facebook.
THE 10 MOST POPULAR STORIES ON VOICE-ONLINE.CO.UK 1. Anyone ‘should be allowed to identify as black’ says university union 2. Where are the dark-skinned black women in JD Sports latest Christmas advert? 3. Doreen Lawrence stands by claims that racism played factor in Grenfell response 4. This black-owned swimming cap brand is the product you need 5. ‘Why I want the black community to back the Brexit Party’ 6. Reggae Girlz’ rising star stabbed to death 7. ‘It’s about legacy, it’s about community’: Black-owned dentist is open for business 8. Tyrone Mings named on Ugo Ehiogu ‘Ones To Watch’ section of the Football Black List 9. Raheem Sterling on Football Black List 10. Grenfell: Doreen Lawrence “reassured” race played no part in ﬁreﬁghters’ response
The Voice celebrates Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin who was consecrated as the Bishop of Dover on November 18 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The appointment makes Rev Hudson-Wilkin, who was previously Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Chaplain to the Queen, the ﬁrst black female bishop in the Church of England’s 485-year history. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, she was educated at Montego Bay High School, an all-girls secondary school. She was 14 when she decided to join the ministry. After coming to the UK in 1982 she was made a deacon in the Church of England at Petertide in June 1991. She then began her rise through the ranks of the clergy. From 1995 to 1998, she was assistant curate of St Andrew’s Church, West Bromwich. During this time, she also worked with the Committee on Black Anglican Concern. In 1998, she took up the role as vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Dalston and All Saints Church, Haggerston, an inner-city parish in Hackney. She was appointed Chaplain to the Queen in 2008 and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in 2010 in addition to her parish work. Speaking earlier this year, her niece Latoya Neil told The Voice: “Her appointment as Bishop of Dover is testament to her relentless campaign for equality for women in the church which paved the way for others. The family are very proud of her as she is a natural leader and inspiration to all of us.”
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DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 3
‘I’M JUST SO PROUD’ A Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement award for nursing professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is richly deserved
By Vic Motune
U RSING PROFESSOR Dame Elizabeth A nionw u has spoken of her honour at being given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Pr ide of Br itain Awards. The annual awards, organised in association with the Daily Mirror, Lidl, ITV, Good Morning Britain and The Prince’s Trust, recognise British people who have acted bravely or extraordinarily in challenging situations. Anionwu, who has campaigned on behalf of patients with sickle cell anaemia, received the coveted gong in recognition of her passion for nursing and dedication to reducing health inequalities. She was presented with the award by American singer Janet Jackson, and attended the ceremony, held at Grosvenor House in London, with her daughter and granddaughter, as well as friends and colleagues.
Speaking to The Voice, she said that the award was an honour for nursing, adding that what was important to her about it was shining a light on the issue of people living with sickle cell. She said: “I still can’t believe it. The Pride of Britain Awards is a big, well-known national event sponsored by the Daily Mirror and ITV.
This is great recognition of my work on the issue of sickle cell “It has a huge reach, so it’s great recognition of my work on the issue of sickle cell. And for it to get that kind of high-profile platform was brilliant, because millions of viewers will have been watching it and I’m sure they learned a little bit about sickle cell.” Now lauded as one of the most respected nurses in the country, her successful career was forged after a tough upbringing. As the child of a 20-year-old English/Irish Catholic student who studied classics at Cambridge and a second-year Nigerian law student in 1950s Britain, Anionwu grew up during a time when inter-racial relationships were largely frowned upon. As such, her early life was marked by racism and the stigma of illegitimacy. In her recent self-published memoirs Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union, Anionwu reveals how she overcame personal trials and trauma to tri-
umph in the fields of nursing, education, activism and ultimately, life. Anionwu was instrumental setting up the UK’s first Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening and Counselling Centre in 1979 with Dr Misha Brozovic. She also helped to set up the Sickle Cell Society, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Speaking about what first led her to campaign on behalf of patients with sickle cell, she said: “As as a health visitor in Brent in the early 1970s, I met families with children who were affected by the condition. “And I realised I couldn’t be of help to those families in the way I could have been if it was a condition I’d been taught about in my nursing and my health visiting course. I then became aware of how important race was in this issue.
“I trained as a nurse in Paddington, west London, in the late 1960s, where there was a significant black presence. “So how come this wasn’t an issue for the nurse tutors and the health service in the area?” The respected nurse was awarded a damehood in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal. Among her other awards are a CBE in 2001, and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing (FRCN) in 2004. In 2010, she
HONOUR: Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, second left, with her family and singer Janet Jackson was inducted into the Nursing Times Nursing Hall of Fame for services to the development of nurse-led Services and in 2016 she was presented with the Chief Nursing Officers’ Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Nursing Times awards ceremony. Anionwu, who is emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London, also co-led a campaign to have a statue of inspirational Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole erected in St Thomas’ Hospital in 2016. She told The Voice that in an
era of funding cuts to NHS services, the kind of campaigning that led to her to raise the issue of health care for people living with sickle cell was as important as ever. “My advice to others who are concerned about health inequality is that if there is a health issue or condition where there is a gap in the quality of care that you really feel strongly about, focus on that. “That gives you energy and drive, and work with others, because you can never do it on your own.
“It was meeting haematologist Dr Brozovic in the mid to late ’70s in Brent that was a turning point for me. We both realised that we had an interest in sickle cell. It’s very unusual to be able to do something on your own. It’s meeting like minded people who can work together that means you can achieve things. “Use your anger in a positive way, don’t let your anger eat you up. I meet a range of people in the NHS and there are always people driving an issue forward I find encouraging.”
London Metal Exchange developing a firm bond through Black History Month THE London Metal Exchange (LME) joined forces with the St Vincent and the Grenadines High Commission in London to celebrate Black History Month through the LME’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum. The LME is the world centre for the trading of industrial metals, with the majority of all non-ferrous metals being traded on its platforms. It is located in Finsbury Square in the City of London and its Diversity and Inclu-
sion Forum was established in 2018. The idea to celebrate Black History Month started from a suggestion by Adrian Farnham, CEO of LME Clear, at a Diversity and Inclusion Forum meeting, that LME should reach out to embassies and high commissions. The first event to celebrate Black History Month was held on October 16 and began with performances by the Wycombe Steel Orchestra, followed by
CELEBRATION: Members of the London Metal Exchange marked Black History Month
opening remarks by Adrian Farnham and a welcome address by Jinelle Adams, minister-counsellor at the Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines High Commission. The main presentation was made by Professor Hakim Adi.
Guests were then treated to sumptuous African and Caribbean food followed by entertainment. Jacqueline Roberts, of SV2G Heritage and Arts Organisation, co-ordinated the donation of the steel band and the evening’s entertainment. A member of HKEX Group, the LME brings together participants from the physical industry and the financial community to create a robust and regulated market where there
is always a buyer and a seller, where there is always a price and where there is always the opportunity to transfer or take on risk – 24 hours a day. Investors value the LME as a vibrant futures exchange, but also for its close links to industry. The possibility of physical delivery via the worldwide network of LMEapproved warehouses makes it the perfect hedging venue for industry and provides a reference price they trust.
4 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Faith leaders share their reﬂections on the festive period ‘All of us can make a contribution’ Les Isaac is the founder and CEO of Ascension Trust. He also launched Street Pastors in the UK in 2003. IT HAS been a turbulent year, globally. The turbulence has pitted communities, families and nations against each other. On an individual level, it has wreaked emotional havoc as people are daily bombarded with tragedies in the media. Featured largely amidst all this has been the many families that have lost loved ones in horrific ways. The word “trauma” has come into common parlance because this generation is experiencing trauma on a daily basis. It came home to me personally this year when a close friend lost his 25-year-old daughter and his 26-year-old son-inlaw in a tragic motor incident while on holiday. We certainly cannot deny the realities of the pain that is permeating the world today but beneath all the pain, we all need
to find hope! During my travels throughout 2019, I have witnessed that in spite of all the turbulence, there are people who are demonstrating hope by executing tremendous acts of kindness. Included is the lady I met in Africa who benefitted from such kindness when her community accepted and supported her, despite her living with AIDS; the man I met in another part of Africa, who is working with his family, and others, to help vulnerable young people and here in the UK; the elderly lady in Portsmouth who began her training to become a street pastor at the age of 79, giving up her comfort to patrol the streets at night to help those who may be in need. She did more training at 83 to become a school pastor. Such stories are laced with hope.
As we enter 2020, may we go armed with the confidence that all of us have the ability to make a contribution that can bring change to our world, nation and communities. I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year for 2020, remembering the words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” John 14:27
‘We must not look at Christmas as some mere historic event’ The Rev Canon Yemi Adejeji, Evangelical Alliance UK and Director of One People Commission. YEAR AFTER year, there is always a specific day when the Christmas lights will be switched on either in the shopping mall, on the streets, at the restaurants, in the churches and in many homes. The light reminds everyone that it’s Christmas time - the birth of Jesus. His birth brings light that shines into the darkness, because Jesus Christ is the light of the world. His birth switched on a unique light that goes beyond features and buildings but represent a glow that lives and abides with humanity. Each time we see the light, we are reminded that it’s Je-
sus’ birthday season. Through his birth, God fulfilled the promise to redeem us back to Himself by entering the time and history and, most importantly, engaging us personally in our day-to-day lives. Jesus Christ became our Emmanuel, God that is with us. We have to be careful not to look at Christmas as a mere historic event or be carried away with all the fanfare. It’s a time to reflect by looking upward to God, looking inward to search within and finally looking outward to the world He has created for us. The question we must ask is: Who am I remembering at Christmas and who am I celebrating?
This Christmas prepares us for 2020, a unique year ahead. “2020” is a term used to express normal visual acuity, clarity and sharpness of vision from a distance. Perhaps God is asking you and I to write out our vision for 2020 and make it clear to be read and understood. (Habakkuk 2:2) What could God’s vision look like for you in 2020? I guess we may not know until we ask Him to show us. I invite you to join me and others as we embark on praying on the 20th of every month at 20:20 for 20 minutes for God’s mind and His vision to be revealed to us. May you be blessed with the joy and the light of His birth.
‘No matter what your race looks like, keep running it’
Pastor Richard Jackson, President, North England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
AS WE LOOK forward to 2020 and beyond I cannot help but look back at one of the most inspirational stories of the 20th Century. In the 1992 Olympic Games an athlete, having trained, prepared and done all that he could, lined up alongside his competitors and comrades, each determined to secure a place in the 400m final. However, a situation arose that he could not have prepared for; he could not have known his hamstring would tear moments into the race. Given this lack of insight into the future he responded to the sound of the starter’s gun like all the others lined up alongside him and shot out of the blocks aiming for a place in the final. For Derek Redmond, however, this was not going to be the year he reached the final – but it was going to be the year he went into the history books. With the help of his father he completed the 400m semi-final cheered on by the entire stadium. That moment in time placed him into the
history books as an example of courage in the face of adversity. For each of us, 2019 has been a year of challenge, growth, development and change. And 2020 may well be no different. The race that we have run will be different to the races ran around us, yet there is one thing we must all do - reach the end of the race! We may need help along the way but no matter how we finish we must finish! We will all face situations that we have not prepared for. No matter what comes our way in the weeks, months and years ahead remember these things; To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1. Therefore no matter what your race looks like, keep running it, and keep striving because you will be rewarded! My prayer is that each of you will one day be able to be victorious and proclaim… ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed his appearing’ – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
‘The Christmas story is one of liberation’ Bishop Jonathan Jackson, The Rock, New Testament Church of God, Birmingham. THE CHRISTMAS story in our day can be lost in the new consumer traditions. However, the deeper message of Advent has even greater significance today and it’s still good news. It is the sign of hope and greatness so take your time to uncover the real gift from God Emmanuel. The Christmas narratives about Christ’s arrival on this Earth are about liberation. The birth of the Christ Child means that God has inaugurated the long-awaited deliverance of the people of Israel from their enemies. More precisely, God has begun to free the people from domination and exploitation by the imperial ruler and from their own rulers, particularly the tyrannical king. The people’s liberation evokes brutal repression and invokes suffering, but the dominant tone is one of relief and excitement as the people respond readily to God’s initiative. What the gospels appear to be calling for is a change of practice, and not simply an expansion or adjustment of one’s “horizon”. Richard A Horsley and Norman K Gottwald’s book The Bible and Liberation is a great place to start understanding the liberating narrative of the Christmas story.
Continued on p24
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6 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Exclusive Voice interview
ALLEYNE BLAZING A British universities have been criticised for a lack of diversity, but things are starting to change, with Jesus College appointing its first black female Master By Vic Motune
OT ONLY are Oxford and Cambridge the UK’s oldest and most famous universities, they share a reputation for being at the pinnacle of higher education excellence. Both universities feature in the top 10 of international league tables and are among the world’s leading brands. Failure is just not a word you associate with Oxbridge. But recent years have seen the elite universities accused of exactly that on one particular issue. Former education minister David Lammy hit the headlines recently when he accused both Oxford and Cambridge of failing to reflect the diversity of the UK’s population. In 2016, he requested ethnicity data from Oxford and Cambridge. When the data was eventually released, it revealed that just 1.5 per cent of all offers from the two universities went to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) A-level students. The figures represented an improvement from before 2009 – when 21 Oxbridge colleges offered no places to black students. After these statistics were published, Lammy called into question Oxbridge’s claims to national standing, saying that the lack of diversity represented “social apartheid and it is ut-
terly unrepresentative of life in Britain”. Perhaps what the headlines may have overlooked is that a number of initiatives to improve diversity, both in the student body and the academic staff, have been quietly taking place at both universities over the past five years. At Cambridge, these efforts will no doubt have been given a boost by the historic appointment of former BBC trustee and media executive Sonita Alleyne OBE.
She has recently taken up her post as Master of Jesus College, Cambridge University. Alleyne, who began her 10year post at the start of this academic year, became the 42nd Master and the first black woman to lead Jesus College since its foundation in 1496. Alleyne succeeded Professor Ian White, who was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Bath earlier this year. News of her appointment was greeted with anticipation and excitement. Professor James Clackson, Jesus College Vice Master, said he believed she had the ability to steer the college in a new direction. He said: “Sonita Alleyne has innovative leadership skills and a wide-ranging expertise across education, culture, media and business. She is an outstanding
choice to steer Jesus College through the challenges of the coming decade.” There’s no doubt that Alleyne is relishing the prospect of those challenges during her 10-year tenure. For the new Master of Jesus College, widening access and participation at Cambridge University and changing the perception of the institution that many students who don’t apply to go there may have are at the top of her priorities. However, she reveals she is being cautious in how she is going about achieving her goals. “I think what happens when people come into roles is that they have a mindset which says ‘change, change, change’, but actually, the first thing that is really important when they’re going into a role such as being Master of Jesus College is to really get to know people, which is what I have been doing. “I started officially on October 1, but I spent four or five weeks prior to that speaking to people in student accommodation and talking to students over the summer period as well, talking to the maintenance team, the gardeners, having conversations about fundraising and finance. “So that’s been the immediate goal. “Beyond this, I have goals around making sure that all students – undergraduates and postgraduates – really develop their academic excellence and that they can develop their sense of agency. “I want them to really get to grips with how they make a difference in the world and how they can go after the things that they want. “But widening participation is an area I’m very keen to look at. I’m joining a fantastic team doing really good work in that area. “It’s really important to make more efforts to have BAME people coming through the universities and going on to
careers in academia. I’ve been very pleased with seeing the efforts that the university has made to get that message out there and encourage people to come forward.” Alleyne continues: “Of the figures I know for students who are entering university in 2019/2020, Cambridge will have 68 per cent of its students from state schools.
“At Jesus, our figure is about 74.2 per cent from state schools, and of those, 20 per cent are from a BAME background. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done in giving young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to fulfil their potential and aim for academic excellence.” For Alleyne, a big part of that work involves getting the message out to a wide range of po-
tential applicants that it is not a mere bastion of elitism. “Cambridge has to be there for a wider group of people,” she says. “We have to look at how we take away barriers for young people who have come from care backgrounds, from schools that have never sent any pupils to Cambridge, or who are from deprived areas. “So when I’m asked what my vision is, it’s always going to be really about examining the environment, how inclusive it is. She continues: “I think the whole process that surrounds applying to and going to Cambridge needs to be demystified. “What also needs to be demystified is this idea that if at GCSE level you don’t get 10 straight As, then Cambridge is not for you. That is not the case at all. It’s not about bastions of
elitism, but bastions of excellence. “The entry requirement is something like 4 As at A-level. But if a student was aiming for 4 As and then got a B in, say, physics, they would self-select themselves out of applying to Cambridge. “However, I’ve been very impressed with the people at Jesus’s admissions department, who have been fantastic. “The reason why our admissions policy is fairly flexible is because it recognises that people develop at different times. “And there has to be a point at which there is that judgement, but the development between 14 and 18 can be very different. “So, if people don’t get the grades they’re looking for or expected, they shouldn’t write off applying to Cambridge. “What we should really be
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 7
TRAIL AT CAMBRIDGE LANDMARK APPOINTMENT: Sonita Alleyne is the new Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, the first black person and the first woman to hold the role since the college was founded in 1496; left, “There’s still a lot of work to be done in giving young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to fulfil their potential,” says Alleyne; below, Sonita Alleyne with Jesus College student ambassadors
doing is developing students’ potential for excellence. This, however, is not about lowering standards.” Alleyne is aware of the significance of her history-making appointment as the first black female to head an Oxbridge college.
However, she is wary of there being too much media focus on her. “I hesitate to think of myself as a role model, but I hope that some of the publicity surrounding me being here encourages more people to apply,” she says. As well as acknowledging the pressures of the role, the job represents something of a homecoming. Brought up in east London, Alleyne studied for a degree in philosophy at Fitzwilliam Col-
lege, Cambridge, graduating in 1988. She also brings a wealth of governance experience to her new role. Appointed by the Mayor of London to the Board of the London Legacy Development Corporation in 2012, she is part of the drive to promote and deliver regeneration in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding areas. In her five-year tenure as a BBC Trustee, she championed diversity and inclusivity to represent all communities of the UK. As part of the national media skills body Skillset, she also helped to shape and implement widening access and participation work around the radio broadcasting industry. Her current non-executive posts include chair of the British Board of Film Classification,
director of the Cultural Capital Fund, governor of the Museum of London and member of the Skills for Londoners Business Partnership Members Group – advising the Mayor of London on improving skills provision to meet the capital’s
It’s not about bastions of elitism, but bastions of excellence needs. Alleyne’s previous board roles include the National Employment Panel, BBC Trust, London Skills and Employment Board, chair of the Radio Sector Skills Council, non-executive director of the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport and member of the Court of Governors at the University of the Arts London. “There is an expectation from the immediate community across college – which includes fellows, staff, students – because they’ve appointed a new master for the college, and there’s an expectation about what that new master is going to be like, what are they going to bring to the college,” she says. “So there’s that immediate weight of expectation. “But the key thing for me here was that it was a role that I was familiar with, having worked with people who were operating at a similar level to me on different boards. “And I had been at Cambridge as a student in the mid-80s, so it was a familiar environment and one that I enjoyed.”
Alleyne continues: “So when the opportunity came up to go for it, I wasn’t thinking about this great history of the place or breaking barriers, I was really thinking about ‘is this a role that fits for me and my family?’ because it’s a 10-year commitment and ‘is this an organisation that I think I can flourish in and make a difference to for everyone?’”
So what exactly does being Master of Jesus College involve? “Cambridge operates a collegiate system, so there are 31 colleges that make up the university. The role of master means you are the figurehead of the college,” she says. “You’re also chair, because you sit on a lot of the college committees that look at things like buildings, investments, the
student board, the educational board. There’s a whole variety of committees. “So your job is to understand how everything works and what people want. “But you also represent the college at university level where they are a number of broader university initiatives that might look at issues such as student welfare, careers, widening participation. “That involves meeting with other heads of colleges and the vice chancellor.” In taking on the role, Alleyne developed a strong vision for what she wanted it to be about. “There are 500 undergraduates, 400 graduates, 120 fellows and 150 staff. “When you go for a role like that you have to think ‘what is the job about’ and for me it’s about a call to care about the college community.”
8 | THE VOICE
BUILDING A FOUNDATION Architect Elsie Margaret Owusu OBE tells Darell J. Philip she’s working for the next generation
N A career spanning 33 years, Elsie Margaret Owusu OBE has been recognised as one of Britain’s leading black architects. She was responsible for the masterplan for Green Park station in London, as well as being lead architect for arts and interiors on the UK Supreme Court’s refurbishment. Owusu has also completed designs for public transport systems in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. But as well as the plaudits she has received for her body of work, she has also won recognition for her efforts to nurture the next generation of African Caribbean architects.
Owusu is the founding Chair of the Society of Black Architects (SOBA), a role which led to her being honoured with an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2003. “SOBA is an organisation for architects of colour,” Owusu explains. “There were seven founding members and I was the chair. We had three main objectives which were education, the practice of architecture and legacy in terms of the contribution that those of colour have made to architecture.” SOBA was relaunched at an event earlier this month (October 15) and had the backing of people such as Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, recently appointed as the Bishop of Dover, and Dame Baroness Lawrence,
Stephen’s talent was a great loss – not just to his family mother of the murdered promising young architect Stephen Lawrence. “Having support from someone like Baroness Lawrence means a great deal to me,” says Owusu. “Along with Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, I have two strong black women in my corner and of course Baroness Lawrence is one of our patrons. “Sadly I never got to meet her son, Stephen, but I know that he was a very talented young man because I’ve seen his early drawings and it was quite extraordinary for a young person of that age to have that level of interest in architecture and to have that much passion and understanding. “Stephen’s talent was a great loss – not just to his family which of course is a huge tragedy but also a huge lost to architecture and society as a whole which I think would have benefited greatly from his talent.” It seems that the need for an organisation like SOBA is greater than ever given the issues that black architects face. To register as an architect requires a three part qualification, taking a minimum of seven years to complete. A three year degree is followed by a two year masters programme of study before a further two years of work experience leading up to final exams. It is not unusual for the full qualification process to take up to 10
PASSIONATE CAMPAIGNER: Clockwise, from main, top left, Elsie Margaret Owusu OBE is helping aspiring architects; Owusu with Baroness Lawrence; Owusu was the lead architect for arts and interiors on the Supreme Court’s refurbishment; emerging architect, Abdul Rauf Issahaque years, costing in the region of £75,000 to £100,000. According to statistics published this year by Architects Journal, female and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students face discrimination and exclusion throughout their long training.
The figures also found that during their careers, levels of mental illness are disproportionately high. Added to this the failure rate for BAME students is 90 per cent plus from Year 1 to final exams (Year 7). Unemployment among qualified BAME and women architects is also high. Owusu and her team at SOBA are seeking to address head on many of these barriers faced by women and BAME architects. “There is a need for British architecture to end discrimination, to reflect the richness of diversity and to give all
talented young people the opportunity to succeed on their merits – no matter their race, gender, sexuality, disability, family background, or accent” she says. While addressing these barriers, Owusu is facing her own challenges. The SOBA founder has taken legal action against the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) over claims of harassment, victimisation and institutional discrimination. “For 33 years of my professional life I have campaigned for more equality, diversity, inclusion and equal access in the profession which I love,” she says. “This case is about the struggle to ensure that antiquated attitudes, practices and institutional barriers are removed so that success becomes the norm for BAME and female architects in the UK.” The case is scheduled to go to court in January 2020. Owusu has received a boost
“For people who don’t have much money themselves to be dipping their hands into their pockets and contribute to the crowdfunding campaign is just fantastic. “I’ve been really touched by that because without that support I wouldn’t have been able to carry on. To also know that many architects, though wanting to be anonymous, are prepared to support the case not just verbally but also financially means a lot to me and especially in these times of austerity.” As well as the relaunch of SOBA, Owusu has gone back to her cultural roots in launching
an initiative to drive Ghanaian architectural excellence in her support of up and coming BAME architects through the JustGhana initiative. The first beneficiary is the emerging architect, Abdul Rauf Issahaque, who has just completed a placement at HRH the Prince of Wales distinguished architectural school, The Princes Foundation. For Owusu, her vision remains clear – to continue to be a champion for young women and BAME aspiring architects. “The example of Abdul Rauf Issahaque demonstrates what we lose out on when we push back and resist against diversity in architecture. “If British architecture is to evolve it needs innovation and creative thinking and this will come only from the next generation including those from BAME backgrounds both locally and internationally. It’s for those individuals I will continue to fight.”
in the form of a crowdfunding campaign which has raised over £15,000 to help pay for legal fees which are estimated to reach £50,000. She says she has been overwhelmed with the public response to her case.
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10 | THE VOICE
General Election 2019
‘IF WE WANT TO BRING ELECTION, WE HAVE TO Disillusionment and lack of trust in politicians are just some reasons why people do not vote. But, says Labour’s Dawn Butler, we must not give up our voice
ECENTLY, JACOB REES-MOGG thought it was okay to belittle the victims of the Grenfell fire, which only illustrates how out of touch he and those in the Tory party really are. The Conservatives are full of people like him, but we should not put up with this level of arrogance. Grenfell was an avoidable tragedy, and for Rees-Mogg to suggest that the victims lacked common sense is an insult of the highest order. Let’s not forget the reason why Grenfell was covered in combustible material in the first place — the Tory council did it because some of the wealthier residents considered the flats to be an eyesore.
– now is not the time to give up voting. If we want to change things, we have to vote for it. Last year, many people forgot to celebrate working-class men getting the vote. There were many celebrations in honour of 100 years of women’s suffrage when some women won the right to vote, but I was the only one to mention in parlia-
ment that there should have been an official celebration of working-class men winning the right to vote, as this was just as important. The fact is that working-class people are less likely to be registered to vote and BAME people have a lower registration rate than their white counterparts. Our greatest hope of getting more voters could be left with the younger crowd. Almost 1.4 million people below the age of 34 registered to vote in the past five months alone. Compare that to the same period in 2017 and it’s around a 50 per cent increase.
So what can we do to change the hands of power? What can you do to make sure that it’s not just rich, white, Etoneducated men who are making decisions that benefit them and their friends? You can vote. Voting was originally reserved for the wealthy and landowners, and it took time for everyone to be given the vote. It was only with the Representation of the People Act 1969 that it was extended to allow all adults over 18 a vote. So it hasn’t been that long that we have been able to vote
This is in part thanks to some universities rolling out the automatic enrolment systems for their students, and the increased and targeted engagement of young people via social media campaigns. Those aged 25 to 34 are still the highest age group demographic registering most actively, but in September this year it was the 18- to 24-year-olds who signed up in the highest number, with more than 350,000 joining the electoral register. But we can still do more.
The wealthy have always tried to stop the UNHEARD in the 2015 general elecworking classes Back tion, 66.1 per cent of the eligible population voted. Just from voting
under 35 per cent of those who had registered to vote did not do so. Those people have become known as the ‘unheard third’, and if they had voted, the ruling government could look very different. There are many reasons why some people don’t feel the need to vote. Disillusionment brought on because people are sick of the political elite, a lack of trust in politicians, and also a total lack of interest in politics are some of the reasons why. But if we want to see change then we must go out and vote. The right to do so has been a hard-won battle – the elites and the wealthy have always tried to suppress working class
HARD-WON BATTLE: MP Dawn Butler says it’s important we use our right to vote in elections people from voting. That’s why I think we should consider the Australian model where everyone is obliged to vote, but voters can also select ‘none of the above’ option. In Australia, voting is compulsory and failure to vote at a federal election without a valid and sufficient reason is an offence that results in a $20 penalty. Perhaps this is the sort of motivation we need in the UK for all of our citizens. So why have a winter election? It makes little sense but what we know is that on December 12, students will be travelling as universities break
for Christmas. Boris Johnson is also banking on the fact that people will not want to go out in the dark, the wind and rain to campaign or to vote. He is partly right – there hasn’t been a general election in the winter since 1923. It disadvantages those who feel vulnerable and basically everyone who does not like the cold and the wet. But it is also true that we only know our own strength and resolve when we face challenges. This election will be a challenge, and it is a challenge where people must not give up their voice. This election will be about
lots of things, like Brexit, and if you want the final say, the NHS not being for sale and valuing women and equalities with a stand-alone department, but it will fundamentally be about whether you feel you matter. It’s about the people who fought, died and were imprisoned so that regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race or ethnicity, we can use our vote. Dawn Butler has been the Labour MP for Brent Central since 2015 and is campaigning to be reelected on December 12.
Record number of ethnic minority candidates A RECORD number of ethnic minority MPs are likely to be elected in the General Election, due to a “late diversity surge” in last-minute selections by the Labour and Conservative parties. Analysis of candidate selections by the think tank British Future finds that there would be 67 ethnic minority MPs elected to parliament if each party were to win the constituencies that it won at the last General Election – a rise of 15 from
the 52 sitting in the previous parliament. There would be 44 Labour MPs, 21 Conservative MPs and twoLiberal Democrat MPs from an ethnic minority background. This would see 19 new ethnic minority MPs – 14 Labour, four Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat – elected to the House of Commons, with just two ethnic minority MPs standing down. Two candidates, Sam Gyimah and Chuka Umunna, are seeking to gain new seats, hav-
ing changed parties. For the first time at a General Election, more ethnic minority women will likely be elected than men, reversing the pre-2017 pattern of ethnic minority politicians being more likely to be male. While the final number will depend on constituency outcomes, the think tank’s analysis suggests that, in all likely scenarios, the next parliament will be the UK’s most diverse ever.
There would be 65 ethnic minority MPs if each party wins those seats where it is currently the favourite in constituency betting markets, since a handful of former MPs or new candidates defending party-held seats go into the campaign as the underdog. There would be 38 ethnic minority Labour MPs, 23 Conservatives and four Liberal Democrats, were the parties to win the seats where they begin as favourites. Sunder Katwala, director of British
Future, said: “The next parliament looks set to be our most diverse ever, with more ethnic minority candidates likely to be elected, whichever way the political pendulum swings on election night.
“Ethnic diversity has become a ‘new normal’ in British politics, across parties, and we should expect to see rising diversity in our parliament given the growing diversity of so-
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 11
General Election 2019
REAL CHANGE IN THIS GET OUT AND VOTE’
There’s no doubt that Brexit will be a key issue for many people in the General Election. But are other issues important to the black community being ignored? Aaliyah Harry and Darell J Philip spoke to voters to find out what they think... now steering it towards the fault of the firefighters. That’s really upsetting – they work hard. They shouldn’t be the ones getting the stick for it.
Marc Thompson, 50, self-employed, Brixton: Yeah, of course Brexit is obscuring other issues. There is healthcare, social care, care, policing, housing – a whole range of things really. I think [after the General Election] we will still be pulling ourselves out of the Brexit mess. And I think it will take a long time for politicians to re-focus their energy on the things that affect real people daily. Rennée
Davis, 21, student: There’s a lot of issues [other than Brexit] that upset me. For one, there’s Grenfell and the rehousing crisis it’s brought. I hate that the government is
D e b o r a h Adefioye, 18, student: The government don’t understand the stress for us [students]. They haven’t taken it into consideration. They also haven’t thought about how they are going to sustain all the changes, it’s
scary. Dami Okusaga, 27: I do not believe that Brexit has obscured other issues – interestingly, I don’t think even before there was Brexit, any of the issues that are prevalent had been fully addressed. I feel that [politicians] are selective about what
they address and it creates a narrative. When you think about what else is going on, a lot of what they do is gloss over our issues usually, with a bigger issue, so it’s almost like we get forgotten. So no, Brexit [or not] – it has always been the same for me, personally. Ahmed, 45, social worker, Stratford: The elections should not just be about Brexit, because it does not cover all the issues that desperately need to be addressed. We have public services - hospitals, schools, mental health services, police and social care – that are crumbling. People are arguing over Brexit like that’s all that matters. I think people need to wake up and vote in the party that will actually best address these other issues. Devine, 28: I think there’s a lot of political policy issues
in the UK, so addressing the black community I think is a separate thing, because when you look at the Brexit, it’s to do with all the trade wall and all that context, so I feel to be really honest with the black community, we need to create our own. So that’s my own opinion on Brexit right now. Georgina Opoko-Afriyie, 72: Brexit is obscuring a lot of issues, mainly those affecting the youngsters and their future such as education and jobs. There are a lot of things. Darius Akinbodsede, 22: I think Brexit is directly linked to issues affecting the black community – when you think about economics, for example, all the trade things, it is going to affect the lowest and poorest in society, and a lot of that is filled with black people. So I believe that [with] Brexit we’re not discussing how it affects the people lower in society. All we’re talking about is how it affects the corpora-
tions, how it affects the NHS – which is eventually going to affect black people in society, how it affects everything – our education, our freedom to move into the EU and out, immigration from other countries. So, I believe it’s been just another excuse to not directly address how wider government affects black people. Shelly Ann, 22, hospitality worker, Elephant and Castle/Vauxhall: The whole thing is frustrating. These days I really don’t even know what Brexit is. If I’m honest, I’m confused. We just know that we are all going to be broke and that we have to hustle harder. They are ignoring everything else and forcing something that shouldn’t happen. None of us really know all the details of Brexit, only the government do. Do we really know what we are voting for? There is a lack of trust. Ellen, 30, performer: I’ve honestly switched off
from politics now, because I can no longer keep up with Brexit. It’s completely taken over, all the news is about Brexit. Sometimes we do want to hear about other things that are happening in the world. But absolutely, everything else like the NHS funding is being ignored. This will have a huge impact on healthcare in our country in the long run.
Emmanuel Akin, 21, political activist and advocate for young people: I do not feel that Brexit is turning the focus away from the actual problems that different societies and economies are actually dealing with. However, what I do believe is Brexit - because it is such a national problem - I do believe that it should be put first.
are likely to be elected, reports top think tank ciety. Depending on results, it’s possible that one in 10 MPs will be from an ethnic minority background – a first for our parliament. Just a decade ago, that figure was one in 40. “The gap between parliament and the society it represents is now closing – but there is still work to do to match the electorate, estimated to be around 12 per cent BAME and rising. “This likely rise in parliamentary diversity looked unlikely due to the
poor rate of BAME candidate selection in target seats. “The parties took the chance to play catch-up with this late diversity surge. It’s welcome that they have acted, but it’s clear that a deeper cultural change is needed if our politics is to be as diverse at the grassroots as it is at the top.” Candidate selections have been a game of two halves – with a late surge in selections to replace retiring MPs and those who were stand-
ing down mitigating a decline in the proportion of non-white candidates selected in target seats. The Conservatives have no ethnic minority candidates in the 30 seats they came closest to winning in 2017, while Labour has one ethnic minority candidate in its top 30 target seats. The group of candidates in target seats are less diverse than the parliamentary parties they are seeking to join. But the 2019 General Election has seen an unusually large number of
last-minute selections, after a short and volatile parliamentary term in which an unprecedented number of MPs changed parties. It appears that both parties have taken that late opportunity to correct the low diversity pattern of selection in target seats: of the 20 ethnic minority candidates most likely to become MPs, all but three were only selected in the last three weeks. Perhaps counterintuitively, both major parties are more likely to se-
lect ethnic minority candidates in the most sought-after contests for “safe seats” than in more precarious marginal seats The ‘game of two halves’ pattern of selections appears to signal a greater commitment to ethnic diversity among party leaderships than in local councils, where many new candidates cut their political teeth, or in constituency party memberships making earlier candidate selections.
12 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
RACIAL GAPS IN REMEMBRANCE
Last month saw Britain mark 101 years of commemorating the First World War – but some black soldiers are still being forgotten in our ceremonies, writes David Olusoga
HIS YEAR marks the beginning of Britain’s second century of remembrance. Some 101 years after the guns fell silent, the First World War is kept alive in our national memory through long-established traditions and familiar rituals. Just a few decades ago, it was imagined, by some, that Remembrance Day, the twominute silence and the Poppy Appeal were all destined to eventually wither on the vine, becoming less important and with each passing year. Once the last of the veterans had gone, once there were no more grieving mothers or war widows, it was presumed that the collective, national act of remembrance that began 100 years ago would come to a natural end and the First World War, like previous conflicts, would be left to the historians.
Nothing remotely like that has happened. Remembrance Day is, if anything, getting bigger; meaning more to more people than it has for many decades. The Poppy Appeal is now so much part of British culture that (somewhat disturbingly) politicians and public figures who neglect to wear one are attacked on social media or in the press, accused of disrespect. Previous wars - the struggles against Napoleon, the Crimean War and of course Britain’s innumerable wars of imperial
conquest – were all, within a few decades of their conclusion, quickly forgotten. The First World War is, evidently, different. Yet despite the fact that remembrance is going from strength to strength there remains a problem; a problem that was there from the start. A century ago, when the traditions of remembrance were being invented and its infrastructure put in place, Britain’s military and political elite made decisions about who was to be remembered and who was to be forgotten. Those decisions were fundamentally about race. The First World War was a war of empires. Britain and France called upon men from across their domains, while America drew 200,000 African Americans into the army it sent to the Western Front. Yet in 1918, with victory won, the allies almost immediately began to dismiss and marginalise the war service of nonwhite soldiers and auxiliaries, men who just weeks earlier had been their comrades-in-arms. Some 100 years ago this year, Britain held a victory parade in London. While Indian troops who had fought on the Western Front and in the middle east and Africa were permitted to take part, black soldiers from Africa and the West Indies were excluded. One official at the Colonial Office concluded that it would be “impolitic to bring [to Brit-
ain] coloured detachments to participate in the peace processions”. Britain was not alone in this forgetting of the role of black soldiers. The US army that marched through Paris in 1919, during another victory parade, did not include any of the 42,000 African Americans who had taken part in the fighting in France and Belgium. Among the units not permitted to take part was the 369th Infantry Regiment, who had served on the front lines longer than any other US regiment – black or white – and suffered 1,300 casualties.
France, too, was careful to ensure that the service of black men was kept on the margins of their emerging culture of remembrance. In 1920, the bodies of eight French troops were exhumed from the battlefield of Verdun. From these, the remains of one was to be selected in a lottery to become the symbolic ‘Unknown Soldier’. Yet when the French newspapers discovered that one of the exhumed bodies was that of a Senegalese soldier, who had died in the recapture of the Verdun forts, it was then decided that his remains should be removed from the lottery. Throughout the war, the French had made a distinction between the “sons of France” and the “children of the em-
VITAL ROLE: West Indian troops stacking eight-inch shells at a dump on the Gordon Road, Ypres, in October 1917; inset, politician David Lammy in the documentary pire”. Africans, it was suggested, could die for France but could never be counted among her “sons”. Now in The Unremembered – Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes,
that African soldiers and African carriers, who transported food and ammunition to the battlefields, were not to be given the same individual burials as their white comrades.
When Britain held a victory parade in London, black soldiers from Africa and the West Indies were excluded a Channel 4 documentary, presented by David Lammy, and (by way of disclosure) made by the production company I corun, another scandal has been brought to wider attention. The documentary is based on the work of Professor Michèle Barrett of Queen Mary University of London. Professor Barrett has revealed how the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, working with the government and colonial governors of the 1920s, decided
The policy and the history of wartime suffering it has helped erase was summed up in 1922 by the British governor of what, before the war, had been German East Africa. In a letter to the Imperial War Graves Commission, he argued that remembering the tens of thousands of Africans who had died while serving in the Carrier Corps with individual graves would represent “a waste of public money”. The same official stated he did not care “to contemplate the statistics of the native Af-
rican lives lost in trying to overcome the transportation difficulties” of the war in East Africa. The view taken was that the cemeteries in which African Carriers had been buried should be “allowed to revert to nature”, rather than being carefully maintained [like the cemeteries of other war dead]. Denied a place in the culture of remembrance and, in Africa, physically excluded from the war cemeteries, black Britons and our brothers and sisters in Africa and the Caribbean, begin the second century of remembrance facing the enormous task of trying to undo the racial thinking that wrote the role of people of African descent out of the first century. David Olusoga is a British Nigerian popular historian and broadcaster. He has been described as ‘one of the UK’s foremost historians’ and has presented several acclaimed documentaries for the BBC. The popular academic is a regular Voice columnist.
14 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
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FIRST’S THE WORST Celebrating the inaugural achievements of black people only highlights how long it has taken
S MUCH as I want to congratulate the 34 West Point cadets stateside who comprise the largest-ever contingent of African-American women to graduate from that esteemed officer’s training institution (the Yankee version of Sandhurst) in one go, I nevertheless feel queasy at having to jump for joy and feel pride over another reminder that racism has been so bad in the past that, wherever you turn, there is another black “first” coming right round the corner. In a just society, this, of course, would not be the case. But we have known for some time now, indeed throughout this 21st century, that we are still dealing with prejudice, injustice and the vestiges of hundreds of years of subjugation. The US military, for example, has relied on black soldiers for at least 150 years and on black women soldiers for 100 years. However, black soldiers are only now being permitted to compete with their white counterparts on a level playing field. Consequently, the prevailing hype has been that white is better than black and is rightfully in authority. We’re just not smart enough to be equal, otherwise we would have been graduating from West Point in large numbers since time immemorial, is the conclusion those who believe the hype draw from this nonsense. That’s the hype. I don’t know a single black person who believes it any more. But I know some white folks still do. Some (if not many) of them work at Facebook. Once upon a time, of course, many of us believed it. And so we rejoiced every time a black person showed, by achieving an acknowledged “first” for his/her people, that we could, in some extraordinary cases, be as successful. We literally jumped up, danced a jig and gave a big shout out for joy. One or two of
you might be old enough to remember how, exactly 41 years ago, we whooped and hollered and felt pride at Viv Anderson becoming the first black footballer to represent England in the senior team. Believe me, it was so momentous for us that when Viv came round my house about 10 or 11 years ago now, I was still whooping and hollering as if it had only just happened. It was embarrassing for me and him, especially the bit where I tried to kiss his feet. But that response is wearing thin. As I sit here to write this, I wonder what it was all about and why we get all excited and all extra about a black man being the best footballer on the pitch. It’s not like Viv Anderson’s glory reflected on us. Same for Paul Ince becoming the first black footballer to captain the England team 15 years later. I mean, what has that done for us lately?
It’s not like we’ve been allowed to be the captains of industry. It’s not like we are likely to be given the keys to Downing Street any time soon to be the political captains of the country. And it’s not even like being captain will stop the racist abuse that comes from the terraces. In short, it don’t mean nuffink. When we consider who we’ve got in the White House at the moment, we cannot help thinking back to that night in November 2008, when we thought it meant something that Barack Obama, pictured inset left, had become the president of the United States. We wept and we kissed the ground he walked on and we wept again and threw our hands up to the heavens and praised the Lord, and when we looked into our crystal balls they prophesied a brighter day for those of us who were made in the shade. Slowly but surely, it became
GLORY: Viv Anderson representing England was a milestone – but something happening for the first time doesn’t set history right clear, and we came to realise that the election of a black president was a giant leap for white folks, but only a small step for us. Like Trevor McDonald being the first black reporter at ITN in 1973. It is to ITN’s shame that it
nundrum: we’re damned if we celebrate these firsts, because that will be a tacit acknowledgement that it was a fair race from the start and we have only just caught up with the white man after hundreds of years of trying... and we’re damned if
If we celebrate these firsts, it will be a tacit acknowledgement that it was a fair race from the start took so long. For us to celebrate that shame would be demeaning. Surely. No, we ain’t got the time to be jumping up, dancing a jig and giving a shout out of joy every single day of the year – because that’s how often these firsts occur. And yet, we do want to big up ourselves, because we know what it has taken for any black person to have their achievements acknowledged publicly. So we’re caught in the co-
we don’t celebrate these firsts, because the honour of bestowing pride without prejudice to our mighty race will be denied. And it don’t stop there. There are many moments of truth ahead for us. Black firsts will continue through our lifetime. At some point, the powers that be will have no choice but to appoint one of us to run the Metropolitan Police. That time isn’t far off.
In fact, the future black commissioner is probably in the ranks right now. But will it be a moment of joy for us or will it be another opportunity for white folks to slap each other on the back and to reassure themselves that Britain is no longer a prejudiced place? And what about the first black mayor of London? I don’t remember the Asian community invoking a historic precedence and acting like it was a new chapter in their presence in this country and that it marked the end of ethnic abuse as we know it.
So, will we be celebrating in Brixton at the election of the first black mayor, or will we reserve our judgment and restrain our enthusiasm, lest the capital feels it has given itself permission to conclude that it has corrected all the injustices of the past and that now black people don’t have any excuse whatsoever and that we can all
draw a line under the past five hundred years? So whilst I am really proud of those West Point cadets (34 out of a student boy of 4,294) I will keep ‘mum’. What I won’t keep to myself is that whilst they are graduating, elsewhere in the United States, the ‘master of the universe’ Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is presiding over a workplace that is a hostile environment for its few black workers. This is the second time in a year that black workers there have blown the whistle on the hostility they face from their white co-workers, some (if not many) of whom feel that the black workers are less intelligent than them, and yet little if anything has been done to correct that. It took West Point 217 years to make its academy less hostile to black women. I’m getting concerned that none of us will be alive to see Facebook become a welcoming place for black staff.
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16 | THE VOICE
Midlands News NEWS IN BRIEF
DOUBLE TRANSPLANT PATIENT JUST THE TICKET Commuters across the region are becoming increasingly familiar with Michael Willis, the recipient of an incredible double lung transplant two years ago. The face of the 63-year-old retired jewellery manufacturer and his incredible story have been carried on tickets used on the West Midlands Metro service for much of the past year in an effort, sponsored by the NHS, to boost organ donations. Willis now features on the service’s shelters across the region. The shelter adverts, in sync with the foundation Michael set up, aim to also spread awareness of a forthcoming change to legislation. Every day in the UK, three people die in need of an organ, because not enough organs are available for transplant, but there aren’t enough donors.
POSTER BOY: Michael Willis Next spring, all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have opted out or are in one of an excluded group. Michael was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis, which can inflame and stiffen lung tissue, making it hard to breathe. During his illness, his weight dropped from 10½ stone to 6½ stone, and he was given less than six months to live. He was saved because after just seven weeks on the register a compatible donor was found. FREE BUSINESS SURGERIES FOR NOTTINGHAM FIRMS Aspiring business people in Nottingham can access free weekly surgeries in the city centre to help them “cut through the noise and guide [them] to find the right support products”. Part of the D2N2 Growth Hub programme, the surgeries can offer a range of services, including support with applications for grants for growth, to improve digital connectivity, opportunities to network or advice on trading internationally. The sessions are funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The sessions are run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at
the Business & IP Centre in Nottingham. To book, search ‘D2N2 Growth Hub programme’ on Eventbrite.
TOP: Masterclass attendees NATWEST REGIONAL HEAD JOINS MASTERCLASS The Midlands & East’s head of business development banking at NatWest joined a reception to mark the final day of the Motivational Queen Masterclass Programme it sponsors. Trevor Maxwell joined programme leader Zoe Bennett for the session in Birmingham, in which graduates received certificates for their efforts on the programme which helps individuals create a foundational plan for their business success. Reflecting on another successful year, Zoe said: “It is evident that there needs to be more focus upon combining mindset and entrepreneurial spirit when conducting business. It is exactly the same as building a house – you must have strong foundations and get to grips with the basics before you can experience true entrepreneurial success. “The highlights of the programme were the many testimonials the ladies gave on the final day upon their reflection of their business journey from the start to the finish of the Masterclass programme.” The programme will return in 2020. UNIVERSITIES PROMOTE DIVERSITY IN FOOTBALL Discrimination in football was among the topics tackled by Birmingham City University, the University of Greenwich and Charlton Athletic Community Trust following the racist chanting against black players during the England international team’s Euro 2020 qualifier match against Bulgaria. Academics, youngsters and diversity champions gathered for a day of workshops, panel debates and a lunchtime football match during the ‘Common Goals: Pitching for Equality and Diversity in Football’ event, which was organised by Birmingham City University criminologists Dr Ben Colliver and Melindy Brown.
by Veron Graham
CELEBRATING SUCCESSES OF EDUCATION’S UNSUNG HEROES Birmingham tuition centre hails great exam results after unlocking children’s potential
BIRMINGHAM MAN who was introduced to mainstream education aged 10, before becoming a qualified teacher and opening his own tuition centre, is to host an awards and dinner to celebrate unsung heroes, young and older, in and around the field of education. The Potential Unlocked Annual Awards and Dinner, taking place on Saturday January 25 2020 at Birmingham’s Rowton Hotel, will be a black tie affair to mark a milestone in the centre’s history.
David C Hall, founder and director of the Potential Unlocked Tuition Centre, told The Voice: “Last summer, we celebrated 83 per cent pass rate in our Year 6 SATs results and 90 per cent pass rates for GCSEs from the previous academic year, September 2018 to August 2019. “It’s likely that roughly half of these children would have achieved significantly lower grades had it not been for the intervention of Potential Unlocked Tuition. “We want to celebrate our children’s efforts and to reinforce that a solid work ethic always pays dividends in the end.” The gala dinner will present awards in several categories, for current pupils and their parents/guardians, in addition to three for external candi-
dates: for Significant Contribution to Children, Role Model of the Year and Overcomer of the Year. The event will also see David launch his first book, The Empowering Parent, which will detail his story of overcoming
We want to celebrate efforts and to reinforce that a solid work ethic pays dividends multiple challenges, including a dyslexia diagnosis at three years of age, poor Year 6 grades, his father’s serious illness, as well as negativity from his teachers. In his book, David has highlighted seven key principles any parent, guardian, carer or practitioner can use to unlock potential to allow the children to flourish academically and emotionally. “The important thing I want everyone to remember and realise is that by the grace of God, and with the support of my own empowering parents, I came through. “This means no matter what the obstacle, you can come through, too. “I’m hoping to have a packed house on January 25, when we
BIG VENTURE: David C Hall is releasing his first book, The Empowering Parent, at the gala dinner at the Rowton Hotel can raise the roof and celebrate success together.” The event will be hosted by BBC Television’s Nicola Beckford, and will include musical performances, a guest appearance from motivational speaker and author Kul Mahay, and
a question-and-answer session with David. For more information, contact Potential Unlocked at 0121 405 0853 or visit a.potentialunlockedtuition. com/awardsevening for more information.
If you have a story for the East or West Midlands, call/text Veron Graham on 07954 572 988, email email@example.com, or find him on Facebook or LinkedIn
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 17
HELPING KIDS UNDERSTAND CANCER
KEY ROLE: Joan Blaney, centre, at a recent netball tournament with players Lisa Naylor, left, and Hyacinth Francis-Watson; below, Joan received an honorary degree earlier this year
NEW BOOK aiming to help children understand cancer is the latest offering by a feted author and campaigner and has been released to rave reviews by patients and activists. Penned by Joan Blaney, Goodbye to Cansie Cancer features a foreword by Lord Digby Jones, former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, and tells the story of
a bad cancer cell that arrives in the fictitious town of Bodiwell. The book, in which the cancer cell gets its marching orders, is part of a series called Adventures in Bodiwell, by Joan.
The book was commissioned by Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer (LFBC), a West Midlands charity. LFBC has received a donation of £1,500 from M6toll Drive for
Charity and the series has been endorsed by Jamaican High Commissioner Seth Ramocan. “A diagnosis of cancer is devastating news for a family. The treatment that follows, which often results in emotional and physical challenges, can be a daunting experience for children. This book is a fantastic resource and we’re proud to support it,” said Maxine Estevez of M6toll. Ann MacMillan, a breast
cancer survivor, added: “This little book will help free children of any blame they may feel as it explains how cancer happens, its harmful effects and how it can be treated, in a nonfrightening way.” The book will be available at participating local hospitals, clinics and health establishments. Priced at £3.99, all money raised from its sale will go to LFBC to assist with its charitable work.
“The autumn of 2019 has been an eventful one for Joan, in which she has added an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton, where she once studied, to her list of accolades.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Joan was a nurse and lecturer in the region, before taking on senior positions in public and private sectors. She established
a number of voluntary and community organisations for young people and women in the UK and Africa. Joan’s previous books – Hidden Lights and From Kitchen Sink To Boardroom Table – both captured women’s triumph over adversity in extraordinary situations. The CBE was awarded to Joan by the Queen in 2002 for her outstanding contribution to community development.
Jamaya on top table AN INDEPENDENT Jamaican restaurant, which opened last March, scooped the top prize at the Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner and awards. Jamaya, based in the iconic Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull, was crowned Business of the Year at the event, which took place at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club. Jamaya – a mash-up of Jamaica and Maya, the name of the founder/director Byron Carnegie’s 19-month-old daughter – serves a variety of chicken-based and vegetarian meals/ sides plus soft and alcoholic drinks. Helen Bates, chief financial officer at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and chair of the judging panel for the awards, said: “Our esteemed judges were in awe at
Jamaya’s achievements as a new business, and were in agreement that they were deserving Solihull Business of the Year winners. “Their dedication to customer service and authenticity has resulted in the restaurant achieving more than 110 five star reviews on TripAdvisor, and hopes to reach even more customers in the future.
“All of the other award winners demonstrated excellence, innovation and initiative to our judges, and are stellar examples of the types of businesses that are a part of the Solihull business community.” Jamaya’s victory was welcomed by business veteran Errol Drummond, CEO of the pioneering Sunrise Bakery, which has been
INNOVATION: Byron Carnegie’s restaurant Jamaya serves Jamaican-inspired cuisine trading since 1966. He said: “I am so proud to see that more Caribbean takeaways are opening up all the time. “It’s good to hear that Jamaya won the
Solihull Business of the Year Award. I want Sunrise to continue to inspire Caribbean businesses because our food has not yet cracked the mass market.”
THE VOICE| 9
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 19
BEING BLACK IS NOT A CHOICE
Hudson-Wilkin will be a huge asset for the Church of England and the nation
FOLLOWING HER consecration as Bishop of Dover on November 18, tributes have poured in honouring the achievement of Rev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin. Her appointment to such a senior position in the Church of England means she is the first black female to hold the office of bishop in the church’s 485-year history. That is no small feat. So it’s no surprise that such a wide range of people, from both the black community and elsewhere, have been keen to highlight what a remarkable individual she is. Over the years, she has played a key role in challenging the Church of England’s leadership about the lack of BAME individuals in senior positions. This is a critically important issue. As the new Bishop of Dover has said herself in recent years, there are churches in cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol that would have very small numbers turning up every Sunday were it not for the active role played by minority ethnic congregations. So it’s important for black Christians, and especially
NOT BORN WITH IT
Re: Anyone ‘should be allowed to identify as black, regardless of their skin colour’ says university union IT’S FUNNY how a certain group of people now want to identify as the very thing they have hated for centuries. One thing is for certain, you can’t be something unless you were born into the essence of it. Audrea Laverne, via Facebook
STOP YOUR DILUTION
Re: Anyone ‘should be allowed to identify as black, regardless of their skin colour’
h t on m e f h t o Letter
younger worshippers, to see themselves reflected. As well as making the voice of the church heard on key national issues, she will be big on equality across the board, not just for the BAME community, but people of all backgrounds and faiths. Many observers have claimed that her appointment as Bishop of Dover is one of the most important in the Church of England’s history. And they are right in calling it a historic moment. Her passion for diversity, both in the church and in society as a whole, combined with the prominent position she holds, will play an important role in helping to create an ever more diverse and integrated society. Although her new diocese faces a number of social and economic challenges, they will hold no fear for her. All tributes to her abilities allude to the fact that Rev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin undoubtedly possesses the ability and the quality to lead. The Church of England and the nation as a whole will be richer for having someone like her in such a prominent position.
says university union BEING BLACK in this country is an experience that we did not choose. Wearing braids and having biracial children does not give you a pass to co-opt our culture. Have a seat. We can love you, but stop trying to dilute the melanin or the experience of black Americans. Lenita Robinson, via Facebook
I’M BACKING BREXIT
Re: No UCU, people can’t just identify as black IF YOU want to identify as black, also accept the discrimination in housing, accept the killings and beatings from cops, accept having the cops called on you for simply living, accept the discrimination in education, workplace and let’s not forget the discrimination of you wanting to wear your natural hair. Accept being followed
in stores or not being able to rent an apartment… the list goes on and on.
You want to identify as black – come now into our world and let the games begin. Only for us, it is not a game. This is our LIFE, you privileged, soulless jerks!!! Earlie Clendion, IDENTIFY: Rachel Dolezal famously claimed to be black via voice-online.co.uk despite her European ancestry (PICTURE: The RealYouTube) I VOTED to stay in Europe, and I still want to stay in Europe; the public was not given the truth about the impact it will have on us. And I will never understand why Boris and Nigel are so set on coming out of Europe. Could it be because they both want power? Nigel wants to be in parliament and Boris wants to be prime minister and it’s the only way they both get their gold at the end.
VOTING: Abdul Turay called for the black community to back the Brexit Party the EU is not in Caribbean or African interests. I voted not to join the Common Market in the original 1970s referendum, for the same reason – not to turn back on the Commonwealth. EU has damaged Commonwealth trade because UK is not allowed to give preference to Commonwealth countries as before. Why do you think the majority of bananas are not from the Caribbean now? Similarly with immigration – EU citizens have to have preference. Could we please have measured opinions rather than hysterical or ignorant insults?
racism like Rachel Riley is trying to do. The apartheid strugSPONSORED BY gle, the holocaust, and slavery are all huge events and yes you can keep going back in time till BC (literally some do). But it is all evil to me. The way forward is seeing how to bring about equality for all to live in peace.... That includes the peoples of Palestine, Kashmir, Kurdistan and all the other places people are discriminated against for being different. Delores Gordon, Jeremy Corbyn is a principled ing voter registration via voice-online.co.uk man on this and should be apWE NEED to get out and plauded, not labelled a racist. vote. Speaking to other black people over the past few CORBYN’S NO RACIST Wayne Richards. weeks, so many have said Re: Countdown host faces via Facebook they’re not bothering to vote. calls to resign over t-shirt callThe only way to promote ing Corbyn racist change is if we cast our votes. I OBVIOUSLY don’t like rac- TAKE TIME TO VOTE ism, and I can’t stand people Re: Operation Black Vote Monica McClean, trying to prioritise and rank launch campaign encouragvia Facebook
Notablindfollower, via voice-online.co.uk
Re: ‘Why I want the black community to back the Brexit WHY I CHOSE REMAIN Party’ Re: Are you for or against ABDUL IS right. Being in Brexit?
ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM: Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from many over concerns of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, with Rachel Riley the latest to call for the leader’s resignation
20 | THE VOICE
by Abigail Reid
NIGHT TO REMEMBER Guests gather to celebrate the achievements of a black-led organisation
UEST OF honour at Manchester’s Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) Gala Dinner was the highly respected Baroness Doreen Lawrence, who called for the community to “value our young”. Launched 20 years ago, BAPA Greater Manchester (GM) was convened with the express intent of being a voice to the issues facing BAME communities in the city. The event, held at Emirates Old Trafford, aimed to commend the ambition, aspiration and endurance of the organisation with a theme of Service, Struggle and Sacrifice. Former criminal barrister Sharon Amesu, who hosted the gala, said: “It is in full acknowledgement that an organisation of this stature, duration and impact was borne in response to a stark need for greater equality, clarity and fairness, both for members of the policing community and the wider community it’s pledged to serve. “It has been 20 years of service, 20 years of struggle and 20 years of sacrifice.” Guests were welcomed with a drum performance by professional dance company Bhangracise, with further entertainment on the night from Jet Black, a local dance company which fuses various dance styles including street, stomp, African and Caribbean, and the musical talents of the Bygrave family and Bollywood dancers, SonAash. Proceeds from the raffle on the night went to the Warriors,
Survivors and Heroes Foundation UK, which provides support for the BAME kidney disease community. Baroness Lawrence, who now sits in the House of Lords, congratulated the youngsters’ dancing: “Sometimes we tend to forget that our young people are important. Their lives matter. “Since my son died, I realise that we have to value our young. They are our future. “As parents, we tend to forget that we should always treasure the moments we have with them. I realised after Stephen died how much I took him for granted and, now he’s gone, how much I could have said and done.”
Baroness Lawrence now sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords and, talking of her tenure, she said: “There aren’t many there like me, but I believe we are there to make a difference, to lend our voice. “We are there to hold the Government to account; to scrutinise whatever they do and I take my role very seriously. “I was last here 10 years ago, and since then, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has been set up. So many young people have now become architects and quite a few have started their own practices. “Stephen’s name has made such a big difference in this country and I wanted to continue that. “This April, we had the very first Stephen Lawrence Day and the idea is for schools and
COLOURFUL OCCASION: Clockwise from top left, Zac Idun – partnership consultant from Slater & Gordon lawyers, Nan Harris (collecting award on behalf of PC Dalton Harris) and Baroness Lawrence; NBPA president Tola Munro; Charles Crichlow and, right, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of GMP; BAPA chair Elaine Clarke-Williams; SonAash Entertainment; Bhangracise the community to use the day to look at what they can do for young people and to study the history of black people in schools. I’d like to see this be-
come part of the curriculum.” Baroness Lawrence also spoke of the support she had received from one of BAPA’s founding members, Charles Crichlow, who sits on the executive committee.
Charles said: “It’s not a coincidence that BAPA was launched in 1999, the very year the Lawrence Inquiry report was published. “The publication and acknowledgment of institutional racism in policing empowered the architects of BAPA to speak out very loudly about their experiences, but moreover to work constructively to create a strong network of support for black staff that has stood the test of time. “Baroness Lawrence was here for our 10th anniversary and it
was fitting to invite her back to allow her to see how we have developed.” The awards ceremony recognised the many contributions members had made and included a tribute award in honour of PC Dalton Harris, who was
Stephen’s name has made a big difference. I wanted to continue that seriously injured whilst serving as a Greater Manchester police constable. Collected by his wife on his behalf, the award was sponsored by Slater & Gordon lawyers.
Assisting to acknowledge those who have led the association through the years was former detective of the Metropolitan Police and Counter Terrorism Command, Zac Idun OBE, who received over 20 commendations during his career, including recognition from members of the judiciary and the chief coroner. Zac, who is now a partnerships consultant with Slater & Gordon, gave a moving account of the challenges he faced within the force. “We wanted to communicate a narrative about our dedication to public service, our struggles within a very tough system and the sacrifice that often comes with the territory,” he said. “The night was a triumph for me in terms of the incredible positive feedback we received from the people within our local communities.”
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 21
‘I BELIEVE THE PERPETRATOR IS THE VICTIM’
HEN RHETORIC such as ‘youth crime’, ‘knife crime’ and ‘gang crime’ are commonly used in society, it’s difficult to conceive the notion that the perpetrator is also the victim. But this is what Londonbased author Robyn Travis would like his audiences to contemplate in his ‘Freedom Tour’ around the UK. Speaking to members of the Manchester community at The Hideaway Youth Project in Moss Side for the launch of his third book, Freedom From The Streets, Robyn says “there is no justice in treating youth as criminals, because when you’re in a particular environment for too long, you only know how to react to that environment”. Refusing to accept the title of ‘ex-gang member,’ Robyn claims that his message isn’t getting the exposure it deserves because he won’t allow himself to be stereotyped or accept the
categories that others, especially the media, see fit to box him in. “I don’t believe in the perpetrator-victim argument as the rest of this country does. What would they say if I told them
When we teach fear, we are teaching children to be violent that nine times out of ten the perpetrator is actually the victim?” Talking of his first book, Prisoner To The Streets, Robyn claims that he is friends with every person mentioned – those that he either stabbed or was stabbed by. “Why don’t people want to talk about that if we are in a
knife epidemic situation? The film Top Boy, which was filmed in my area, reinforces all the stereotypes but offers no explanations and no solutions for the behaviour or mindset,” he said. “And this is what gets talked about. I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because that is what is adding fuel to the fire and perpetuating young people to become prisoners to the streets.”
His second book, Mama Can’t Raise No Man, is not, as perceived he says, an attack on single mothers, but is in fact a book rated highly by single mothers on Amazon. “I didn’t learn manhood from my mother,” he explains. “My son is 15 and I praise myself for the way he turned out. Not because he is better than anyone else’s child, but because what I learnt from all the many mistakes I made when I wrote Prisoner To The Streets
IN DEMAND: Robyn Travis, above; left, with the billboard promoting his tour so that your children wouldn’t make those mistakes, I have embedded in my son. I’ve broken down the streets so much that he knows the streets are not a cool place to be.” He says from an early age our children are taught violence, self-defence and retribution “If somebody hits you, hit them
back” but we were not taught to deal with conflict resolution. Although Robyn does not reveal all of the solutions in his tour – because he details it clearly in his books – he also says the community has “the power in our hands. We have the answers and the solutions”. “Let’s fix this ourselves. This
book needs to be on every curriculum of every school throughout the country,” he said. “At the moment when people go into schools talking about knife crime, they are creating more knife crime. There is moral panic and fear. When we teach fear, we are teaching children to become more violent.”
Carol’s art is a winner at Waterside AS ONE of the winning artists of a competition run by an art gallery in Trafford, Carol Duhaney was invited to exhibit her collection of Caribbeaninspired artwork throughout October. One Year On was the title of the exhibition featuring four of the winning artists from the 2018 Waterside Open, a competition run by Waterside Arts Centre in Greater Manchester.
The competition showcases a wide range of high quality and contemporary art, craft and design from established and emerging artists, designers and makers from the North West and across the UK. Carol, who is of Jamaican descent, is heavily influenced by the rich and vibrant colours of the Caribbean.
IN THE FRAME: Carol, left, and examples of her work “My artwork connects to my culture. I am influenced by anyone who knows about colour and beauty,” she explained. “My artwork stands out because of the vibrant colours. People from the West Indies are colourful people with bright clothing and colourful conversations.
“My work represents liveliness and a love of nature. “My winning piece in 2018 was a painting of Prince. “He was not just a music artist, he spoke about the injustices that black people suffered in his songs. He also looks very artistic and his presentation was always immaculate.”
Carol is a strong believer in the power of art to heal, and nourish our lives, and in her kaleidoscopic works, she mixes an array of materials including paints, biro, tissue and fabric. Carol has enjoyed art from an early age, and recalls happy times at school where she would draw for one of her
teachers. Initially self-taught, she refined her skills at Manchester Polytechnic, now Manchester School of Art, and has exhibited her work in and around Greater Manchester whilst working with a number of community groups in the Trafford area as an artist, a poet and occasional stand up comedian.
The recent exhibition has led to a surge of interest in her work and she has since sold a number of paintings. She is hoping to receive more commissions for her paintings and her sights are firmly set high. “I’m always working on new pieces and I’d love to exhibit at The Louvre, Sotheby’s and Tate,” she said.
22 | THE VOICE
POLICE TARGET SOCIAL MEDIA Battleground moves online as forces across the Caribbean aim to highlight dangers of internet By Debbie Ransome
O UPDATE Junior Murvin’s classic song, today the Caribbean’s “police and thieves” are not on the streets, but online. And they are fighting the nation with social media postings. Like their colleagues around the world, Caribbean police forces are grappling with the new opportunities for illegal behaviour on social media platforms. The Trinidad & Tobago Police Service (TTPS) has been one of the first to set up a Social Media Monitoring Unit. It was established in October of this year with the job of monitoring social media channels to prevent child pornography, child prostitution, human trafficking, terrorism and other issues. Police Commissioner Gary Griffith assured the public that the unit was not meant to spy on the average citizen. “What this unit will be doing, in fact, is actually seeing what anyone could see on Facebook, on social media. It is something that is in the public,” he explained. “This is going to assist us greatly in just a few matters that could be of concern in
this country that we never took seriously in the past, which is child pornography, child prostitution, human trafficking by ads, terrorist recruitment, gang recruitment, tips when persons make comments to solve a crime, info to prevent a crime that may be about to take place and a number of other matters.”
Trinidad & Tobago has moved quickly on two issues: illegal human trafficking from its troubled neighbour, Venezuela, and the prospect of people returning home from Syria after being taken out there by relatives to join Islamic State. But other police forces have
been tackling the issues thrown up in their territories by the wrongful use of social media. The Jamaican Constabulary Force appealed in September for the public to be more responsible when using social media platforms. The old adage of “is town say so” [everybody knows] might have been a standard in island life since the year dot, but social media platforms can take such chatter to a global audience. The Jamaican Constabulary’s Corporate Communications Unit said there had been reports about events which had been “false” and “misleading”. It followed the sharing of posts by a man who had alleged he was mistreated
by police – one of several posts critical of local officers. Barbados, like several other territories in the Caribbean and elsewhere, is trying to tackle the exposure of young people to some parts of social media. Earlier this year, the Royal Barbados Police Force urged parents to monitor their children’s social media activities. They advised that young girls might have fallen prey to men they had met online. Stating that there had been only a few examples, the force’s PR officer, Inspector Rodney Inniss, said: “We don’t get parents complaining about it, because most of the time they don’t know, or when they find out, it is something long gone.” Of course, there’s always a good side to sharing some material. In Grenada, two bus drivers were nabbed by police after a video showing their eccentric approach to driving the vehicles was highlighted on social media in August. Grenada News Now said that two drivers had been apprehended by police for dangerous driving following the social media posts. Former BBC Caribbean Service Head Debbie Ransome currently runs the website caribbeanintelligence.com.
THE WORLD AT A GLANCE Bahamas assets cover ‘failure’
Bahamas deputy prime minister Peter Turnquest has said that up to 80 per cent of private homes and businesses devastated by Hurricane Dorian were uninsured. Calling it a failure to properly insure, Turnquest said this had created an unsustainable burden for the state which could threaten fiscal stability and the country’s sovereign credit rating.
Transgender activist payout
A Zimbabwe court awarded a transgender activist the equivalent of £19,000 in compensation after she was arrested for using a ladies’ toilet. Ricky Nathanson was detained for 48 hours in 2014 and charged with criminal nuisance after she used a women’s toilet at a hotel. She was acquitted by local magistrates and approached the High Court seeking £2m damages for unlawful arrest, illegal detention, malicious prosecution and emotional distress.
Qatar Airways to fly to Guyana
Qatar Airways has become the latest business to recognise Guyana’s soonto-arrive oil wealth and signed a deal offering its routes to Guyana. Qatar officials said the deal would lead to a range of passenger and cargo flights to Guyana.
‘Faith drive’ for Jamaica tourism Jamaica’s tourism minister Edmund Bartlett has expressed hopes for more faith-based tourism. Bartlett’s aims were outlined at the arrival of 1,800 visitors on the American pastor TD Jakes’s 2019 Faith and Family Cruise. Bartlett said that the influential pastor of American megachurch The Potter’s House had a social media following of 16 million, potentially positioning Jamaica as “a place for meetings and for conventions”.
Drogba kicks off trees project
Football legend Didier Drogba helped launch a drive to plant a million trees in Ivory Coast. The campaign “is a first step, the start of the recovery”, forestry and water resources minister Alain Richard Donwahi said. “Our goal is to recover at least 30 per cent (of lost forest cover) by 2030,” he said.
Barbados meets Mauritius rum
A new rum which blends ingredients from Barbados and Mauritius will be the first of its kind to use African and Caribbean molasses in one product. Equiano is named after the Nigerian-born 18th Century abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and is said to follow his journey from Africa to the Caribbean to the UK.
Never mind Christmas, it’s time to get carnival planning FOR THOSE of you planning your Christmas activities, bear in mind that planning on a far greater scale is going on in the Caribbean. The past few months have already seen the launch of Carnival 2020 bands. The starting pistol for band launches actually took place in July in Trinidad – the region’s biggest carnival venue. With the peak events on February 24-25, 2020, you can’t waste time to get started. Early carnivals often mean that carnival tunes back into the Christmas music on Boxing Day on some local radio stations if you’re in Trinidad & Tobago. Other carnivals have been making gains on the carnival holiday tourism calendar in recent years. Jamaica’s Carnival, scheduled to take
place between April 16 and 20, has been seeing its big band launches in early November. Jamaican band Xodus has been the latest to showcase its 2020 costumes with a message pitched at the island’s large overseas communities.
Xodus is a very good example of the growth of Jamaican carnival since its first official appearance in 1989. Only three years old, the band has grown into a 15-section display. Band co-director Xodus Carlos Phillpotts said that the growth had come from “a combination of strong local and international marketing, but also our reputation for great service, quality costumes and the best experience on the road”.
PARTY TIME: Carnival planning has begun Jamaicans had their first carnival celebrations way before the 1980s, right back to the 1950s on the University of the West Indies Mona campus
where, as the Jamaican Gleaner described it, local students had been influenced by their Eastern Caribbean classmates. The original French/ Spanish-influenced first pre-Lenten Caribbean carnivals started in the late 18th Century in Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti and Martinique. Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica have stuck to the Lenten religious calendar, creating a welcome start to the carnival season. It allows hardcore masqueraders to schedule their “jump up” across the year and across the region and then into the diaspora carnivals in London, Toronto and New York. So before that last autumn leaf has fallen, don’t be too surprised if you hear your Trinidadian and Jamaican friends asking “who yuh jumping with?”
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 23
‘MANDELA UNITED HIS COUNTRY’ In the second part of an exclusive interview with The Voice, broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald recalls his famous interview with Nelson Mandela, plus his early years listening to the World Service and his time as an ITN foreign correspondent. By Vic Motune
HE LIVES of journalists who travel all over the world covering major events from conflict zones can be tough. For a start, there is the danger to one’s life in the pursuit of the story. Many a foreign correspondent has spoken about the stress involved in trying to file a report while crouching behind makeshift shelters as bombs explode nearby. Then there is the constant threat of kidnap or harassment from overzealous officials of media-averse governments. And let’s not forget the devastating impact on family life that a such a job has. But despite these difficulties, it was a job that legendary broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald relished. In the years before becoming a household name as the presenter of ITN’s News At Ten, he worked as a general reporter, and then sports reporter, after joining the company in 1973. However, it was an assignment to cover the Troubles in Northern Ireland – a conflict between unionist Loyalists, mainly Protestants, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain as part of the United Kingdom, and nationalist Republicans,
mainly Catholic, who wanted the country to become part of a united Ireland – which provided a big challenge in his early career. Back in the 1970s, the conflict dominated the nightly news bulletins and front pages of newspapers. Although the Troubles mainly took place in Northern Ireland, the violence spilled over into parts of England, the Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe.
Some of McDonald’s friends and family couldn’t understand his willingness to go to Northern Ireland. However, his desire to go was shaped by his passion for international politics, developed by listening to the BBC World Service as a child growing up in Trinidad. Having persuaded his father Lawson to buy the first radio that the family owned, he became an avid listener to the station from the age of 10. In his autobiography, An Improbable Life, McDonald writes about how he grew to admire and envy the BBC’s correspondents as they reported from the major cities of the world on significant political events, summit meetings, elections and outbreaks of civil unrest.
CHERISHED MEMORY: Sir Trevor with Nelson Mandela
“I’d grown up listening to the World Service, hearing the experiences of people who were in places like Moscow, Bombay and Beijing, and I thought ‘this is the life’,” he tells The Voice. “In the book, I make the point that when you live on a small island like Trinidad, I felt you don’t get the chance to be introspective for very long. You tend to look outwards, because there is such a lot out there.” His time in Northern Ireland proved a great learning curve. “I’d never been in a situation like it,” he recalls. “I couldn’t understand how people who lived across the street from
Nobody could describe what life was like under apartheid each other could have such different views, and so one had to delve into the history of Northern Ireland. It was a great learning process. “The people at Ulster Television were great to me and I sat at their feet and learned. After you are there for a long time, you begin to understand how people see the differences.” After his stint reporting in Northern Ireland, McDonald rose steadily up the ranks at ITN, becoming diplomatic editor. Among the exclusive interviews with world leaders he conducted were ones with Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bill Clinton and former PLO leader Yasser Arafat. His passion for international politics was also behind anoth-
er assignment – one that led to an interview which lived long in the memory of millions of television viewers around the world. In 1984, he began reporting on South Africa for ITN. As a student, he had written angry essays about the politics of a country that was ruled by a system of apartheid. Although he regularly followed news about the country, nothing could prepare him for what he experienced when he went there. As he writes in An Improbable Life, his visits to the country were “perhaps the most challenging and instructive of my career as a television reporter”. “All the places I’ve reported from have a fascination that is almost impossible to describe, and nothing beats being there,” he says. “But nobody could accurately describe what life was like under the apartheid regime. “You can’t not be shocked by a sign that says ‘whites only’ or be told ‘you can’t go into this restaurant because it doesn’t have an international licence’. “You have to live these things to understand them properly and report on them. As someone who has always had an international view of life, it was stunning to see what that system had done.” But, as in Northern Ireland, his work in the country was driven by the need to answer a central question. How could a country create a system of government that excluded more than 80 per cent of its population who were black? “It was another great learning curve for me,” he recalls. “The one thing I found, much to my surprise, was the government’s desire to keep people so separate, which was the policy of apartheid, wasn’t really working, because all South Af-
INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK: Respected broadcaster and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald; below left, Sir Trevor in his younger years; below right, his autobiography An Improbable Life
ricans needed each other. White South Africans needed black South Africans to work and black South Africans needed the work. “So they were in fact inseparable, and the government’s policy of banning black people to townships didn’t really work, because they wanted to come together.”
He continues: “I mean, I was shocked by some of the things I saw, but I was always hopeful that a person like Mandela would arise, because I thought it was crazy for them to think they could go on doing this.” And when Nelson Mandela was released from prison on Robben Island in 1990, greeted by cheering crowds, it was McDonald who conducted the first British television interview with the man who would go on to become South Africa’s first black president four years later after forgiving the apartheid regime that imprisoned him. Speaking recently about the interview, he described it
as “one of the most cherished memories” of his journalistic career. McDonald says: “I couldn’t quite come to terms in my own mind how somebody had been put in prison for 27 years and had emerged from that experience so lacking in bitterness, and with such a conspicuously clear idea about what he needed to do to unite his country.” He continues: “And no matter how much I told him ‘this is going to be difficult, because the divisions are so steep’, he said ‘if you are prepared to seriously engage in these negotiations, everything is possible’. “And he surprised me by the brilliance of his foresight and his imagination about what was possible. I hadn’t met anybody like that before. “We are more prone to predict disasters. There were a lot of people who said that South Africa was ‘going to end in bloodshed’. But Mandela thought you could do it peacefully.” Mandela Week of Action 2020, see page 48
24 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
CHRISTMAS MESSAGES Faith leaders share their reflections on the festive period ‘WE CAN SHARE WHAT WE’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH’
Muyiwa Olarewaju, singer/songwriter, presenter of the Turning Point TV show and station director at Premier Gospel.
MY EARLIEST memories of Christmas are of parties thrown by my parents Kayode Karimu and Sola Olatundun Olarewaju for disadvantaged children in Africa. I didn’t grow up with the idea that it was a period where I was to expect, or be entitled
to, presents. I grew up knowing it was a time to share the great benefits that I had enjoyed all year and I never felt denied in any way. In this day and age, we have become so accustomed to taking from people and feel upset if we don’t get as much as attention on our social platforms, forgetting that the person who the season is about has more followers than all of us put together and doesn’t have as much as a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit or LinkedIn account. Can I encourage us all to look outside of ourselves and for who and where we can share the great benefits we have been blessed with. It’s easy to say “I have my own problems and don’t have enough”. Remember there are billionaires and millionaires that are terribly unhappy with their lives – it’s not what you have on the outside, but who you have on the inside. I have two sons aged nine and 11 and they can’t watch the Children in Need campaign without emptying their piggy banks. Dare to give even the little you have, and show greater love in this season and the New Year.
‘This Christmas will mark the end of one decade, and also marks the start of a new one’ Pastor Peter Nembhard, Senior Pastor, ARC Group of Churches. CHRISTMAS IS always a busy time for churches. There’s usually lots of events and activity – whether it is members celebrating the season with those within their ministry departments, or people finding special ways to be a blessing to the community by holding special services or giving gifts and much needed items to those in need. For me, the great thing about Christmas is that it gives the church another opportunity to turn a spotlight onto the amazing story of Christ’s birth and reminds everyone that it’s a sign God is with us, and that He desires His creation to experience, peace, joy and hope, and also longs for humanity to build a better world and enjoy a closer relationship with Him. This Christmas season is particularly special because it will mark the end of one decade, and the start of 2020 – a new decade.
I pray that the forthcoming New Year and decade provides new opportunities for all of us to become better people who’ll make that effort to serve our churches, family and communities selflessly and to make renewed efforts to fulfil our potential to become all that God’s called us to be.
‘While many consider what will they get, my concern is: what more can I give?’ Karen Allen, preacher, public speaker and community champion. AS WE APP R O A C H Christmas, the close of the year and the end of a decade, my thoughts are almost consumed by the speed at which time is moving and the true essence of life being a vapour. 2020 is virtually upon us and many people have turned their attention towards their
‘vision’, focusing on reaching targets, setting goals, fulfilling dreams, etc. My thoughts, however, are elsewhere. H a v ing lost my baby brother around this time last year, my views on the season have altered somewhat. Also, as a single mother of five, while many are considering what will they get, my concern is: what more can I give? What more of my time,
talent or treasure can I give to my family, friends and community? I think now more than ever the reality of sudden death has given me an appreciation and determination to truly live my life. Motivational speaker Les Brown eloquently sums up my mission for the next chapter. I fully intend to “live full and die empty” and would encourage others to do likewise. 2020 will be the year where I will look back and confidently say I did everything God purposed me to do. Where I succeed I will embrace the triumph and where I fail I can say at least I tried.
‘Remember who you’re celebrating and pray for those less fortunate’ Reverend Jacqueline Peart. BLESSINGS AND Christmas greetings to all The Voice readers. I want to ask a question – what does Christmas mean to you? For some it’s about the turkey, mince pies, parties, Christmas trees, games and the Queen’s Speech. For others, it’s about family and the exchanging of gifts. That’s why this year, amidst all of the things that Christmas has become to so many, let us remember the true meaning – it is the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Isaiah 9: 6-7 (as translated by BibleGateway. com) says: “For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” We also want to be aware of some of the trends that increase at Christmas, such as debt,
abuse and loneliness. So, as you celebrate this year, remember who you’re celebrating and say a prayer for those less fortunate, like the homeless, children in care or hospital, the elderly, those alone, etc. As we look to 2020, we are expecting our best year yet, as a ministry we are preparing and being intentional about seeing God change lives! I don’t know what 2019 was like for you, whether it was littered with challenges or successes, yet what I do know is – in 2020 you can change (transform and shift) for the better through Jesus Christ!
DECEMBER 2019 THE VOICE | 25
THOUSANDS AT RISK OF DISEASE IN MOZAMBIQUE Devastating impact of cyclones felt as sanitation, water and hygiene facilities are severely damaged
ORE THAN half a year since Cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique, thousands of people are at risk of disease outbreaks and worsening food insecurity during the coming rainy season, according to aid workers. Food insecurity is expected to affect two million people in Mozambique by early next year and it is estimated that nearly 38,000 children are currently at risk of malnutrition. The communities that were worst affected by the recent cyclones are among those that are at greatest risk. Health experts say that the damage wrought on water, sanitation and hygiene facilities by
the two cyclones are in part responsible for the increased health risks. Communities in the most impoverished areas of urban and peri-urban Beira have inadequate water and sanitation facilities, exposing families to diseases.
Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Under Secretary General for Partnerships, has been in central Mozambique leading a high-level delegation of Red Cross officials and donors visiting areas affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth. She said: “The rainy season poses a real threat to the health
of communities that are already extremely vulnerable. Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. We have seen a clear trend of these disasters increasing. “We know future disasters will strike; we cannot prevent them. But we can massively reduce their impact by investing in local humanitarian capacity, by improving sanitation and hygiene practices and infrastructure, and by building stronger shelters that can weather storms.” Dr Mahmood believes that the devastating human and economic toll of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth are in part due to a lack of this kind of anticipatory or preventative investment and programming. In May, IFRC
reported the price tag attached to Red Cross and UN response operations after the two cyclones was roughly 1,000 times the 340,000 Swiss francs (£267,000)that IFRC released before Idai made landfall to help evacuate and prepare at-risk communities.
She said: “This is one of the most painful and pertinent lessons of Mozambique: investments in preparedness are critical to reducing human suffering and saving countless lives. We call on governments, donors and humanitarian actors to do more to prevent and reduce the impact of future disasters.” The Red Cross is working with affected communities to prepare
DESTRUCTION: Cyclone Idai caused catastrophic damage and, according to experts, its impact will continue for the coming rainy season as well as future disasters. This includes reconstructing homes that are flood and wind resistant, supporting community outbreak prevention and helping farmers grow stronger crops to tackle food insecurity. The Red Cross has provided more than 192,000 people with emergency relief and continues support for those most vulner•
able by providing shelter, health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, food assistance, psychosocial and livelihood support. Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. It caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, leaving more than 1,300 people dead and many more missing.
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26 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
‘MY MUM HAS BEEN MY INSPIRATION’
Determined Ese follows in her late mother’s footsteps to graduate
SE AKPOCHIMORAA was just 15 when her mother Marian tragically passed away after suffering a brain haemorrhage weeks before her own graduation ceremony. Crossing the stage on behalf of her family to collect the degree her mother had worked so hard for, Akpochimoraa was determined to make her proud by going on to study at university herself. “Mum was a real inspiration for me,” Akpochimoraa, from Lewisham in south east London, said. “She was the first in our family to go to university, finding the time to study in the evenings despite working as a nurse and bringing up four children. She was always pushing me to succeed and I knew it would have meant the world to her to see me graduate.” Despite not having secured the A-levels she was hoping for, a call to Kingston University’s clearing hotline helped the now-24-year-old secure a place on a mechanical engineering course. She recalls: “I didn’t do well in my A-levels the first time around, and when I went back and retook them, I still didn’t get the grades I needed for the places I’d applied for. I called a few universities and they
couldn’t help. I was running out of options and didn’t know where to go. “Then I tried Kingston and spoke to one of the tutors on the course. He looked at my GCSEs and we talked about what my options were. I was offered a place with a foundation year, which I passed. Now, a few years on, I’ll be graduating with a masters in engineering in January.”
It motivates me to really push myself as hard as I can to achieve my goals It was in 2010 that Akpochimoraa’s mother collapsed while working at Lewisham Hospital and passed away a short time later. She had just finished a nursing course at the University of Greenwich, and Akpochimoraa can remember her delight at completing her degree. “It was so sudden, she had just passed her driving test as well,” Akpochimoraa says. “I remember her receiv-
ing her university award in the post and showing it to me, saying ‘Ese, I’ve done it!’ As the eldest, I had the honour of collecting her award. It was all a bit of a blur, I didn’t really fully understand the implications of a degree and what it can do for you. “I find myself looking back, wishing I had been more understanding of all the work she put into raising us, doing a job and studying in the evenings. “But now it motivates me to really push myself as hard as I can to achieve my goals.” Akpochimoraa’s passion for problem-solving led to her interest in studying mechanical engineering. Now she hopes to be able to make a difference with the skills she’s learned after she graduates. “I’ve always loved puzzles – the concepts of why things fit together and fall apart,” she said. “I enjoy looking at how things can be done better, finding ways to make life easier for people through design and technology. “Eventually, I’d love to start my own company, but for now I just can’t wait to apply all the skills I’ve developed during the course and see what impact it can have in the real world.” Her advice for anyone going through the clearing process is clear. “I would say don’t give up
SO PROUD: Ese Akpochimoraa now boasts a masters in mechanical engineering, after previously collecting the degree earned by her mother (pictured with a young Ese, below) just months before her death
– you have your whole future ahead of you and grades aren’t everything. Pick up the phone and make that call. University can be truly transformative and help you achieve your dreams. “Mum was the first in our family to graduate, now I’m de-
termined to be the first to make a difference with my degree.” Dr Ali Heidari, course leader for mechanical and automotive engineering at Kingston University, said Akpochimoraa’s dedication and drive shone through from the moment she started
the course. “Ese is a brilliant student who is not afraid to ask questions and is incredibly hard working,” he says. “She takes the time to understand how things work – her passion for engineering is really clear.”
Second World War veteran helping youngsters reach their potential
A SECOND world war veteran is sharing his experiences with young people from inner city primary schools, secondary schools and colleges to inspire them to reach their full potential. Neil Flanigan MBE, the retired president of the West Indies Association of Service Personnel and member of the British Legion, is one of the oldest mentors in the UK and eldest member of Urban Synergy, an awardwinning mentoring charity specialising in early intervention programmes for young people. As a teenager, Flanigan left Jamaica for the UK to be trained as a skilled
instrument technician in the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command. Flanigan, pictured inset right, was one of more than 10,000 people from the West Indies who responded to the British Armed Forces call for help. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1943 where he worked in aviation, checking and servicing aircrafts such as the Lancaster’s flown by Bomber Command pilots during the war operations. Following his military career, Flanigan worked as a graduate
engineer on aircraft engines and airframes throughout the West Indies, Britain and Europe. On retirement he became a financial consultant and mental health manager, and was director of Citizen’s Advice. Now in his 90s, the Second World War veteran has been an active member of Urban Synergy for over 10 years, regularly visiting inner city schools and sixth form colleges together with a team of professionals from the private and public sector. The aim of the mentoring pro-
gramme is to educate, better prepare and equip students from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly during their transition from school into further education and work.
The charity’s objective is to help young people aged 11-18 unlock their full potential by understanding their options and the opportunities available to them within the education system, via work experience and by preparing them for employment. Flanigan said volunteering and acting as a mentor at schools and col-
leges is an opportunity to “give back to society what it has done for me”. He said working within secondary schools and sixth form colleges is a “tremendous challenge” because “every child is different”, and “we have to respond to them in order to address those diverse needs”. He said it was “imperative for us to let them gain confidence and know their capabilities and emphasise the importance of equality, fairness, honesty and integrity” in a “language children understand”. To find out more about Urban Synergy, visit www.urbansynergy.com
THE VOICE | 27
by Marcia Dixon
‘I’M SO GRATEFUL TO SEE ANOTHER CHRISTMAS’ In 2015, Sharon-Ann Phillips was diagnosed with cancer and told she had six months to live. Now, she’s thanking God for the chance to enjoy her first Christmas as a grandmother
HE CHRISTMAS season is a special time for Sharon-Ann Phillips. In September 2015, the wife, mother of three and Christian started treatment for amyloidosis, a heart condition caused by cancer. By December 2015, doctors told Phillips she had just six months to live, and they gave her additional treatment so she could spend her last Christmas at home with her family. That was four years ago. Phillips is still alive and she’s thankful to God, her family and the church for helping her overcome her sickness.
Phillips said: “Every day, I give thanks that I’m alive. It’s another Christmas that I’m seeing and I’m just grateful. “I’ve just been blessed with four more years than the doctors even expected. I look forward to Christmas and spending time with my family.” This Christmas will be an extra special one for Phillips — she’ll also be a grandmother, as her middle child, a son, is set to become a father.
INSPIRATION: Phillips’s book, Why Me?, is one that offers so much hope for everyone
Phillips has chronicled her experience battling illness and her life story in Why Me? My Fight for Life, from Heartbreak to Hope, her first published book. Born and raised in south London, and a Christian for 23 years,
She prayed and sang with me, and my faith level rose up again Phillips was, before her illness, an active 50-year-old, raising her children, pursuing career and business goals, keeping fit and active in her church Living Word Christian Fellowship in Lewisham, south London. In 2014, Phillips started to experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath and lack of energy. Doctors initially said she was suffering anxiety and stress. It was only when Phillips’ good friend, who is a GP, encouraged her to get a second
opinion from a different hospital in 2015 that she received a correct diagnosis and was told she had amyloidosis, a heart condition caused by myeloid cancer, a rare form of the disease. Phillips looks back on that time as very challenging. She recalled: “When the doctor gave me this news, I fell to the floor in tears. “The next day, I phoned my pastor, Rev Curdell McCloud (who passed away two days before the book was released). She prayed and sang with me. When she did so, my faith level was able to rise up again.” Her husband, Danny, also proved to be a tower of strength, as were the many prayers she received. Phillips said: “We had a WhatsApp prayer group of about 50 people praying for me; believing and trusting that the prayers were going to be answered. It did POSITIVE THINKING: Sharon-Ann Phillips said prayer helped her through cancer treatment help me through that time.”
Phillips underwent nine months of chemotherapy and, although it was a tough journey, in 2016, she was informed the cancer was in remission. “The chemo did what it was supposed to do,” she said. She decided to publish her book because she wanted to chronicle her life and her experience of a deadly illness. She also wanted to leave a legacy for her children, and encourage others by sharing her story. Phillips has a word of advice to people experiencing illness. “Please don’t be alone, don’t curl up and not share what you are going through,” she said. “It helps when you have people to talk with you, share with you, pray with you. There’s power in numbers, positive speaking and positive thinking. Meditate on positive scriptures and sayings. “Don’t succumb to what the doctors are saying. Look to the Lord.”
Kanye plans another hit gospel album FOLLOWING ON from the success of his gospel album Jesus Is King, rap superstar Kanye West has revealed that he will release another gospel record at Christmas and has enlisted superstar artist Dr Dre to produce it. West told his followers of this development on his Twitter and Instagram account and posted a picture of himself with Dr Dre in a studio. Since releasing Jesus Is King in November, West has been setting the music and church world on fire.
The album hit the number one spot in the US Billboard charts and to date has been streamed 196 million times. West’s increasingly religious public persona has become more prominent than ever. In midNovember, he appeared at the Texas church of American televangelist Joel Osteen (inset). During the Sunday service, West said that “the devil stole all the good producers and artists” – but added that, referring to himself, “the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for Him”.
Thought for the month
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents, but opening our hearts” — Janice Maeditare
28 | THE VOICE
BROTHERS’ SCHOLARLY GIFT SCHOLARSHIP LAUNCH: Jamal Iqbal, Head of Development for the Faculty of Engineering, with the Olanrewaju brothers and Samuel Albert-Antwi, recipient of the scholarship; inset, Dr Sunday Popo-Ola
Imperial alumni’s £60,000 donation to aid participation of black students in engineering
MPERIAL COLLEGE London has established a groundbreaking scholarship for black students thanks to a generous donation from three alumni. The Lara & Biodun Olanrewaju Scholarship, which was awarded for the first time this year, supports black undergraduate students of exceptional academic merit in the Department of Mechanical Engineering or the Department of Electrical Engineering. The scholarship, which covers tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant, was created thanks to a £60,000 donation from brothers Tunde Olanrewaju (Electrical and Electronic Engineering 2002), Jide Olanrewaju (Mechanical Engineering 2002) and Yemi Olanrewaju (Mechanical Engineering 2005). And in addition to setting up the scholarship the Olanrewaju VP40_UK_Ad.pdf brothers recently committed an
additional £50,000 donation to spur the establishment of an endowed fund for future scholarships. The first recipient of the scholarship, Samuel AlbertAntwi, has just started his studies in the Department of Electri-
Education is a master key that unlocks many doors in society cal and Electronic Engineering. He said: “Education to me is a master key that unlocks many doors in society that I would not have been privy to otherwise. Imperial is a pioneer in the 9/19/19 fields of technology, science 1 9:40 AM and engineering and I am so
happy to have the opportunity to study here. “I don’t come from a family who has a lot of money, and that means I could be at a disadvantage compared to my peers. This scholarship has alleviated financial pressures and allowed me to enter university fully focused on my studies.” The announcement of the scholarship comes after Imperial hosted an event to celebrate the achievements of black engineers and reflect on the transformative impact of philanthropy as part of Black History Month in October. During the event, Dr Sunday Popo-Ola, a Research and Teaching fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, shared his views on the impact of philan-
thropy, his own journey, and his motivations to support diversity in STEM. Dr PopoOla won the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement for establishing the Creative Futures programme. It is an initiative that aims to inspire underrepresented pupils from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to
consider careers in STEM subjects. He has also led and championed initiatives to support BAME participation in science and engineering.
At the event, the Olanrewaju brothers called on others to join them in the establishment of an endowed fund for the scholarships. Jamal Iqbal, Head of Development for the Fac-
ulty of Engineering in the College’s Advancement Division, said: “Samuel is a remarkable student and a truly deserving recipient of this scholarship, which is a powerful testament to the impact of philanthropy. “The generosity and foresight of the Olanrewaju family has allowed us to establish an unprecedented scholarship that will accelerate the participation of black students in technology.”
THE VOICE | 29
‘ALL STUDENTS MUST FEEL THEY BELONG’
PRIORITY: Universities must do more to boost BAME student achievement, says Professor Nishan Canagarajah, below, Leicester University’s first BAME vice-chancellor
University of Leicester’s new vice-chancellor is making it his mission to ensure BAME students feel part of the community and eliminate the degree classification gap
TUDENTS FROM black and ethnic minorities must be made to feel like they belong and are part of their university community to help boost achievement, the University of Leicester’s new vice-chancellor has said. Any institution which is serious about raising the achievement of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students should look at what they can do to improve issues such as the diversity of its workforce, according to Professor Nishan Canagarajah. In an interview with the PA news agency, Professor Canagarajah, who has taken up his post as Leicester’s first BAME vice-chancellor, said universities could also look at areas such as assessment and nonacademic opportunities for undergraduates. Figures published in a Universities UK report earlier this year show that in 2017/18, there was a 13 per cent attainment gap between the likelihood of white students and those from BAME backgrounds getting a first or 2.1 degree. At the University of Leicester, where more than half
If you feel you are the only one, it’s very hard to realise your potential (52 per cent) of students come from a BAME background, this gap is 10 per cent. Prof Canagarajah, an engineer originally from Sri Lanka, has pledged to eliminate this difference – which he calls an “awarding gap” – by 2025. According to Prof Canagarajah, it is “one of the most pressing priorities both for me, the university and the sector”. He said: “That includes the way we talk about the awarding gap, as opposed to the BAME attainment gap, which shifts the onus on change from student to institution.” Prof Canagarajah argued that institutions could look at what the issues are that contribute to various groups of
students having different experiences of higher education. He said: “In my view, there is a strong correlation between the students feeling a sense of belonging and included in the community and their achievements.” The academic went on to say that there is a need to make sure “our university communities are diverse and inclusive for students from all kinds of backgrounds”. “In this case we are talking about BAME,” Prof Canagarajah said, “but I would also add it relates to social backgrounds as well, so for white students coming from widening participation they also need to feel they belong to that institution.” Another “fundamental issue” in higher education is the under-representation of BAME professionals in the workforce – not just among academics, but professional services staff that students come into contact with, such as student wellbeing and finance. “This is a systemic issue that cannot be fixed overnight, but we need to act now, if that is one of the fundamental problems we need to fix
for students from diverse backgrounds to feel they belong to that institution,” he told PA. In addition, he said, while growing issues such as decolonising curriculums are important, students also need to feel they are not alone in their lectures and group work. “For example, the student body themselves need to understand there are diverse students,” he said. “In STEM subjects, typically you will have laboratory activity where you are working in a smaller group, similarly in humanities you will work in seminar groups. “If you feel you are the only one, kind of isolated, it’s very hard for you to contribute and realise your full potential.” Similarly, assessment could be looked at to see if it in any way disadvantages certain groups, Prof Canagarajah said. “A simple example I might
give is that when you are working in groups, one form of assessment is peer assessment, and when you are in a group of say five or six, and you are the only ethnic minority, we don’t know if they feel anyway disadvantaged by that assessment.” He added: “It’s not simply the material they are taught, it’s how they contribute to that learning experience, how they achieve the outcomes that we want them to achieve in different settings.” Finally, students who are given opportunities to do non-curricular activities, such as working within their institution, tend to do better in their degree programmes, Prof Canagarajah said, and more must be done to ensure that
BAME students get this type of chance. The University of Leicester has set up a number of initiatives to close the awarding gap, including an initiative to recruit more BAME staff and a curriculum project to embed equality, diversity and inclusion. Prof Canagarajah said: “My vision is to enhance the experience of every student from every background at Leicester University by equipping them with all the necessary skills to be successful in whatever career they choose.”
Many universities ‘overconfident about ability to deal with racism’ MANY HIGHER education institutions (HEIs) are unaware of the scale of racial harassment in their institutions and are overconfident in their ability to handle it, according to a recent report. Research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), published in an inquiry report called Tackling racial harassment: universities challenged revealed that with racial harassment occurring at British universities, many HEIs have inadequate policies and strategies to deal with the problem. Students and staff suggested that
they did not come forward about their experiences because they had no confidence that the incident would be addressed. Others said that fear of reprisals also played a part, as two-thirds of staff said that better protection from personal repercussions would have made it easier for them to bring a complaint. The report also warns that uni-
versities are reluctant to admit the prevalence of racial harassment on campus for fear of reputational damage or putting off potential students. The research found that universities are overconfident that individuals will report harassment, with 43 per cent of universities believing that every incident of racial harass-
ment against students was reported, and 56 per cent believing that all incidents against staff were reported.
University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady, pictured inset left, said: “There must be a zero-tolerance approach to racial harassment in and around our universities. Universities have to recognise the scale of the problem and take serious steps to deal with it, and to support those affected by it. “We agree with the EHRC that there needs to be a proactive duty
on universities to protect staff from harassment and an improved reporting process for staff and students.’ Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, said: “The findings of this sobering report cannot be ignored and I would like to thank the EHRC and the many individuals who shared their experiences for helping bring timely attention to this issue. Whether we mean outright prejudice or less obvious micro-aggressions, racism in every form is an affront to the values of respect, inclusion and progressive thinking that are held dear across UK universities.”
30 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Business & Money
HOW TO KEEP DEBT AT BAY Unexpected expenses are a common reason for Britons to end up in financial trouble, so plan ahead to avoid being caught out By Chima Obieze
ARLIER THIS YEAR, the Financial Times held a discussion event with the website Black Ballad, which is aimed at black British women. Discussion at the event centred around learning how to manage money better. The theme of the discussion was certainly timely, as recent research has revealed that money management is an issue that many Britons are struggling with. Things such as car finance deals, credit cards and personal loans are fuelling record debt levels. According to the Finance & Leasing Association, Britons have built up a total of £9.9 billion on credit, an eight per cent per increase over the past 12 months.
Other research from think tank the Royal Society of Arts found that at least 70 per cent of the UK’s working population is “chronically broke”, leading it to claim that economic insecurity for the UK’s working population is the “new normal”.
Apart from credit cards and personal loans, one of the most common things that throws people into debt is not planning for unexpected expenses. It could be that your car’s engine just gives up at the same time as you need to pay for an expensive school trip. And on top of that, your washing machine calls it a day. Unexpected expenses are part of life. But how do you deal with them? The most important thing is to be prepared as far as you can for when you’re hit with one of
life’s financial curveballs. Try to anticipate upcoming expenses. For example, if you’re driving an older car, or your dishwasher has seen its better days, start saving up to replace the item. You may also want to start making notes on good deals when you see them advertised. Another important strategy is to start an emergency savings fund. Just set up a savings account with your bank and add to it every month with an amount that you’re not likely to miss. Use it only for unexpected expenses and once you’ve taken the money out aim to replace it as quickly as possible. But once you’ve met the immediate bills, how exactly can you do this? One way to recover quickly after you’ve dipped into your emergency fund is to aim to temporarily cut back on some other items of expenditure.
Think about cutting back on the Saturday night takeaway for a few weeks. Skip a night out clubbing or maybe have a movie night at home instead of going to the theatre.
The basic idea is to use the money you’re not spending for the next few months to refill your emergency fund. And if you’re able to get a few hours of overtime or get some freelance work, this can help you get back on track from unexpected expenses a lot faster. But what do you do when, for example, you need to fix a broken down car before you’ve had a chance to save up in your emergency fund? Try and assess the situation rationally. Can you make do without the item for a few months? Will that time period
WORRIES: Unexpected bills have thrown millions of Britons into debt
give you enough time to bring in the funds you need? If it’s the washing machine that has broken down, for example, could you use a launderette? If you really need the item, evaluate if it would be less ex-
pensive to repair it than replace it. Whatever you decide, your sole goal is to pay off that unexpected bill as quickly as you can so you don’t fall into debt. If you put every penny you can into it, you’ll achieve that goal very quickly.
THE VOICE | 31
Business & Money
ZIMBABWEANS INVITED TO HOMECOMING OF A LIFETIME
HOST: A number of events will be held in the country’s capital Harare
Businesses and individuals urged to return to their homeland in 2020 to mark 40 years of independence and encourage investment in country once known as ‘Africa’s breadbasket’ By Tidi Kwidini
T IS estimated that during Zimbabwe’s years of economic turmoil under former president Robert Mugabe, who died earlier this year, millions of Zimbabweans left the southern African country in search of new opportunities. Among the countries they settled in are South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Under the leadership of current president Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean government has been making efforts to woo members of its diaspora back and attract new investment. It was this development that gave two young Zimbabweans the seeds of a business idea. Mike Tashaya, who now lives in the UK, and US-based Mildred Munjanganja have launched ZimThrive, a global initiative aimed at uniting Zimbabweans who live in the diaspora around a series of events in April 2020, which will mark 40 years of independence for the country once described as the “breadbasket of Africa”. ZimThrive, the first event of its kind, will co-ordinate a whole month of business, sports, arts, entertainment, fashion and cultural events aimed at not only celebrating the country, but persuading many of those who have left to return and invest. Events are scheduled to take place in a number of historic destinations that include the capital Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and Kariba throughout April.
Tashaya, who moved to the UK almost 20 years ago, said that ZimThrive had been a project he had been thinking about for a number of years, but there never seemed to be the right time to go ahead and pursue it. However, when long-time friend Munjanganja approached him with the business idea, they knew it was the right time to turn a dream they both had into a reality. “We are excited to be launch-
this platform to try and bring together all Zimbabweans, home and abroad, at the same time.” Tashaya added: “It will be the biggest event ever staged in the country, and the first time something of this magnitude has ever been done. It is particularly significant as it is a project for Zimbabweans, spearheaded by Zimbabweans.” Through its theme, Homecoming, ZimThrive seeks to
The hardest part of living in the diaspora is having my heart split between two places ing this global socioeconomic initiative, which will see thousands of Zimbabweans reunite for a whole month of celebration in our native country” he said. “Zimbabwe celebrates 40 years of independence next year, and we aim to use UNITY: Co-founder Mildred Munjanganja
bring members of the diaspora together to collaborate, create and innovate in areas that include tourism, business and entertainment. It will also aim to enhance social mobility and sustainability. For Munjanganja, the ZimThrive initiative was born out of the experience that came out of living in the US but longing for the culture, heritage of Zimbabwe, as well as the friends and family that she grew up with. Duri n g her
frequent visits home, she would often find family members, friends and old classmates had also left for better opportunities in other parts of the world, which increased her sense of separation from the things she loved while growing up. “This remains the hardest part of living in the diaspora for me – having my heart literally split between two places and navigating the socio-economic impacts of this decision,” she revealed. Through ZimThrive, she is hoping to create a cultural event that will unite and attract many of those who have left the country, either as a place to do business, to live or as a tourist destination. As far as the latter is concerned, for example, Munjanganja believes that the tourist destinations of choice for her fellow Zimbabweans have always been everywhere else in the world, but rarely Zimbabwe.
She said: “It is sad to think that we hardly go back to a country whose sunsets evoke feelings of nostalgia and whose sense of wonder is unparalleled. I believe our economy could stand to benefit from our intentional attention.” One of the aims of ZimThrive was to divert foreign currency expenditure to the Zimbabwean economy. “We want to go home to be entertained by our artists, eat our local food and buy art & crafts made by our own people” she said. “We want to bring everyone home from the diaspora at the same time to strengthen our identity and to collaborate with Zimbabwean
MILESTONE EVENT: ZimThrive will be the first event of its kind, says Mike Tashaya, left
locals to bring back the unity and prosperity of our nation.” The ZimThrive team, led by Munjanganja and Tashaya, are currently working on putting the systems and processes in place to enable next year’s event to run smoothly. ZimThrive is also working with social media influencers to engage with alumni from a wide range of local high schools, further and higher education institutions in a bid to ensure they play an active part in next year’s event. It is also aiming to be a catalyst for other business and community projects locally, in line with its goal of driving investment opportunities into the country. “We have a strong team of people working hard behind the scenes to ensure it is an unrivalled success,” said Munjanganja. “They all have a strong presence in their various sectors around the world and are driven not only by their passion to build a sustainable nation, but by their innate leadership qualities that will help contribute to putting Zimbabwe back on the international map again.” With the Zimbabwe tourism industry on the rise, it seems
as though ZimThrive has been launched at the right time. Last year saw the tourism sector record growth of six per cent from 2,422,930 in 2017 to 2,579,974 in 2018, grossing over £1bn. According to expert analysis, the numbers are set to rise again in 2020. The country was last year voted as the third must-visit destination after Sri Lanka and Germany by travel publisher Lonely Planet. And National Geographic has also acknowledged Zimbabwe as one of the prime tourist destinations in the world.
Tashaya said: “Africa is the future and Zimbabwe, a former breadbasket of the region, needs to reclaim that tag and be central to all future developments. “Technology will have a lot of influence on how this development pans out, and it’s important that from today we really begin to tell our own stories to the world and oversee the entire narrative of a prosperous future.”
THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
‘LESSONS MUST BE LEARNED’ Family of dementia patient who died after going missing from care housing in plea
HE FAMILY of a vulnerable London man who was found dead more than two months after he went missing from Willow House, the housing facility where he lived, have spoken out following an inquest into his death. Leocardo Loney, who had dementia, left Willow House Extra Care Housing in Wembley on August 3 2017, but the staff did not realise he was missing until the following morning. His family launched an urgent appeal to try to find him, but his body was found in a hedgerow in Breakspear Road, Harefield – about 10 miles from his accommodation – several weeks later on October 17. Following the 82-year-old’s death, his family instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help establish answers over what happened to Leocardo
and support them through an inquest process. An inquest held at West London Coroner’s Court was told that Leocardo had lived at Willow House since August 2015, having been placed there by the London Borough of Brent, and had left the facility unaccompanied on a number of occasions, often being returned by the police. Leocardo had been located as far away as Heathrow Airport and at the side of the M1 motorway. Although a GPS tracker was placed in his front door key, he often did not take the keys with him, and on occasions, the GPS tracker did not correctly pinpoint its location. It was also revealed that management at Willow House had voiced concerns to the London Borough of Brent with increasing urgency over a two-
year period regarding whether Leocardo’s needs would be safely met at the site, but, according to the lawyers, inadequate action on the issue was taken.
Willow House was not able to offer the level of support Leocardo needed Leocardo’s daughters Marie Loney and Denise Dooley have revealed their hope that lessons will be learned from what their father went through. Fiona McGhie, specialist lawyer from Irwin Mitchell, who acts for the family, said: “Marie, Denise and the rest of Leocardo’s family have faced a long wait for answers regard-
ing what happened to Leocardo. “For more than two years, the pain and suffering they have experienced has been made worse by having so many unanswered questions to the concerns they had. “During the course of the inquest, Leocardo’s social worker accepted that there was clearly a foreseeable risk that harm would come to Leocardo should he leave Willow House unaccompanied. “It was also clear that as extra care housing, and therefore not as secure as a residential care home, Willow House was not able to offer the level of support that Leocardo needed to prevent him leaving his home unaccompanied. “It is vital that the lessons are learned from the issues identified during the inquest. “Whilst there is a balance to be struck between promoting
INQUEST: Leocardo Loney went missing from Willow House Extra Care Housing in 2017 and was found dead several weeks later
an individual’s independence and providing a safe system of care, it is clear that the right balance was not achieved for Leocardo.
“We will continue to support the family at this distressing time to help them come to terms with Leocardo’s death the best they can.”
Come and Adopt with Bedford Borough Council
BEDFORD BOROUGH Council is keen to hear from people from black and ethnic minority (BME) communities who are thinking about adoption. We know that locally and nationally children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds often wait longer to be adopted. This can mean that while BME children may wait longer, adopters from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are often matched with a child or children more quickly.
Cllr James Valentine, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Social Care said: “People are often surprised to learn that anyone can adopt, we are interested in your skills and capacity to parent. “The adoption process focusses on finding the best possible match for children for whom adoption is the plan. The process is less daunting than you may think and could be one of the most rewarding things you ever do” This is what a Bedford Borough Adopter told us about their experience: “Because we were open to the miracle of adoption, we now have our two perfect children who bring constant laughter, pride, and undeniable happiness into our lives every single day. “I cannot emphasise enough how lifechanging and rewarding adoption has been for us. It only took one simple (but frightening) phone call to initiate this wonderful journey and that phone call was the single most important thing I have ever done in my life.”
FAMILY: Adoption can be ‘life-changing’ If you can offer unconditional love and support to a child, or children, from a BME background for whom adoption is the plan, you have the potential to be an adoptive parent. If you would like to find out more about adoption, staff in the adoption team can answer any questions you may have to help you decide if adoption is right for you. Just give us a call on 01234 718718 or email email@example.com. uk or visit www.adopt4us.com to download an information pack.
BLACK BUSINESS FAIR 2019
THE VOICE | 33
CROYDON MAYOR WELCOMES THE VOICE
As Mayor of Croydon it gives me great pleasure to welcome The Voice newspaper with its 2nd annual Black Business Fair to the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. When I started working at age 17, I saved for two years and opened my first business at age 19. I have gone on to run many other businesses since that and I have never looked back. I welcome also the businesses who are participating in The Voice Black Business Fair 2019 and I encourage those of you who are thinking of going into business. In thinking of where to do business and locate your business please remember Croydon is open for business. As Mayor, supporting local businesses is a priority hence I have decided to visit 100 businesses in Croydon. I have also called a Business Summit to provide information, raise awareness of op-
BOROUGH’S DIVERSE POPULATION KEY TO ITS SUCCESS
(Clockwise from bottom left) Members of Talawa Theatre Company; Chineke Orchestra after local performance; Croydon’s young Mayor and Deputy Mayor at a Choose Your Future event; (below right) dancers from the Croydon Mela event.
portunities and provide any possible support from the Mayor’s office and sometime resolving any issues for local businesses. All the best from the Mayor of Croydon 2019 – 2020, Councillor Humayun Kabir. By Patsy Cummings
CROYDON PARK HOTEL
Saturday 01 Feb / 07 March / 04 April / 02 May / 06 June 04 July / 01 August / 05 September / 03 October / 07 November
Rum punch on arrival, Caribbean themed buffet, steel pan, DJ, limbo dancing & plenty of fun. BOOK NOW 020 8680 9200 | firstname.lastname@example.org croydonparkhotel.com/caribbean-experience 7 Altyre Road, Croydon, CR9 5AA TheCroydonPark | CroydonPark
roydon, London’s growth borough, has a population of over 384,800 people and is rightly proud of it’s tremendously diverse and vibrant population. 51.7 per cent of Croydon residents identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and over 100 different languages are spoken across the borough. We are proud of our diversity and despite reduced funding to local authorities, our strategy is to invest in our services to create places where businesses, investors and residents want to be, creating a business environment for growth and investment in our people for a fairer economy. Croydon is home to 14,637 businesses. And according to the Office for National Statistics, 99 per cent of Croydon’s business community are small to medium sized businesses which are the backbone of the UK economy. Their contribution, which includes many entrepreneurial BME businesses, is vital to ensure Croydon’s growth potential. With the support of our Business Network, a collaboration of business support and membership organisations including the Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, BME Forum, Shaking Hands, the Legacy Youth Zone, Croydon, New Addington and Purley BID, our Good Employer Charter and
Good Work Standard promotes inclusivity and social mobility and good practices. We are also working towards becoming a Living Wage Borough. We continue to work towards creating a place where everybody has the opportunity to work and build their career, with an extensive skills and employability offer for residents to help them access local jobs.
We have nearly 100,000 young people in Croydon and the Council, along with our partners, residents and communities have a shared responsibility to give them the best possible start in life. All our major partners such as police, health services, voluntary organisations, local colleges and faith groups are signed up to making young people our key priority. With the success of our Choose Your Future campaign, we support young people to make positive decisions; offering opportunities including access to skills training, education, volunteering, apprenticeships, business and employment advice. This is supported by our partnerships, local employers, public services, and vast numbers of voluntary and community organisations. We know that it is not enough simply to help children and young people when they
need us; we must work differently with our families and communities in order that our young people feel safe and lead happy, healthy independent lives, wherever possible. By bringing services closer to children and families who need them, building alliances across partners and providers in localities, we aim to intervene at an earlier stage and address issues before they become problems, delivering a joint approach to early help and family support alongside schools, health services, the police and voluntary organisations, to build resilience, and ensure more children and young people are safe.
With Talawa Theatre Company showcasing black british artists, Chineke, a black ‘Orchestra in Partnership’ with the venue, Windrush Generation celebrations across the borough and Mela which showcases Asian culture, Croydon reflects a society where we all flourish, recognising, respecting and celebrating our diversity with pride. Where else would you want to live? Patsy Cummings is the Councillor for South Norwood Ward and Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources
34 | THE VOICE December, 2019
BLACK BUSINESS FAIR 2019
Providing a platform for black enterprise.
B L AC K
For over 37 years The Voice has proudly served Britain’s black community and supported small black-owned businesses. These businesses play an important part in our economy by providing employment and creating wealth in our community
Participating companies and individuals at the Voice Black Business Fair
AMAZING YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS Not old enough to drive or vote but running their own successful companies
WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT! 26 year old Asher builds his own carpentry business
UNTANGLED Hair education programme for parents and children in Birmingham
Akinster Books - Denis Olasehinde Akinmolasire. Following his first book, Love, War and Glory: Spoken Words for All Seasons, Denis shares his debut novel The Mission to End Slavery under his own publishing label, Akinster Books. He hopes this book will make people consider what the world would be like if there had been no slave trade. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.akinsterbooks.co.uk AquariusB We are an exciting new fashion brand inspired by vibrant African textile patterns and prints. AquariusB offers high quality, exclusive products that are ethically sourced and produced in Ghana & London. AquariusB was launched in 2014. We aim to utilize local skills and generating employment, to delivering the finest product to the consumer. All products we sell are 100% handcrafted with pride by individual Artisans. www.aquariusb.com https://www.facebook.com/aquariusbofficial https://www.instagram.com/AQUARIUSBOFFICIAL/ Aureliean Aureliean is a fine jewellery brand for discerning women, dedicated to exquisite materials and British craftsmanship. It works exclusively with 18ct gold, diamonds and quality coloured gemstones, all of which are responsibly sourced. Email address: Info@aureliean.com Website: www.aureliean.com Instagram@aurelieanfine Dr Frances Benskin Author of three educational books relating to black youths in schools and children from underprivileged backgrounds Dr Benskin has been researching this topic for over 25 years. With encouragement and guidance he has mentored and counselled children at various ages and stages in education with good results. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.francesbenskin.com/ Black Treasure Books Black Treasure Books is an African-Centered book repository specialising in the sale of books for the purpose of decolonizing and empowering African minds. The vast majority of our books are written by, and for, Black People. The books’ topics include history, politics, spirituality, psychology, health and more. Email address: theblacktreasurechest@gmail. com Telephone: 07496 469 878 CL Laites CL Laites is family-owned and run. Specialising in genuine gemstones to lovingly create unisex bracelets and accessories. We use sterling silver & 9-carat gold accents. All packaged in a lovely CL Laites pouchette We provide a bespoke service for brides, bridal parties, performing artists & special commissions. Understated elegance is our trademark. Email Address: email@example.com Website: cllaites.com Instagram: @cl.laites CND Drinks Operating since 2017 CND Drinks is a father and daughter led family business. The name CND comes from Crowther-Nicol & Daughter. Based in South London we have specialised
in homemade tropical drinks since 2012. Our core products include ginger beer, sorrel and fruit punch with a number of additional specials. Website: www.cnddrinks.co.uk Telephone: 07984 575 581
study. Specialising in all nail services and selfcare talks you can find me online. Website: www.fisbeautybox.wordpress.com Telephone: 07724 781 752 Instagram: fisbeautybox
Dark Girl Boss Black Unity & Nation Building. RISE OF THE DARK GIRL “Empresses, embrace your greatness and revel in it, for you cannot wait upon others to validate your God given natural stature.” The Dark Girl Boss brand will empower you to to successfully grow your personal brand. IT’s TIME TO RISE. – Khadijah Ward Website 1: www.blacksterling.uk Website 2: www.darkgirlboss.com Telephone: 07913 363 051
Flakie’s Fashion Flakies produces contemporary women’s fashion using Ankara fabric which is designed by Fola manufactured and sewn in Nigeria by local community tradesmen and women. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.flakiesfashion.com
Dayo’s Card Dayo’s range of cultural diversity cards reflect the fact that world is more of a global community, mixing together like never before. Each card is unique. Dayo’s cards have now been highlighted for racial harmony In addition, her cards have now been official archived in the British Card industry. www.handmadecardsbydayo.com www.instagram.com/handmadecardsbydayo www.facebook.com/Handmadecardsbydayo https://twitter.com/handmadedayo Debra Floristry Professional florists based in Thornton Heath. We add warmth and grace to any occasion with our stunning floral arrangements. Our services are available to customers throughout the Greater London area. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.debrafloristry.co.uk Telephone: 07498 184 315 Denfidesigns We create Made 2 measure, made to match Afrocentric fashion items with a contemporary twist... Every item is made to be worn exclusively on its own or to match with another fashion item in the same exclusive print. Matching items range from limited edition bags to hand made jewellery items. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.denfidesigns.co.uk Telephone: 07956 832 653 Eden Mayers HR Consulting At Eden Mayers HR we help you to build the skills to hire, manage, motivate, develop and retain staff, in a way that is compliant but uncomplicated, so that you can focus on building your business. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.edenmayers.com Telephone: 020 3612 0207 FeFus Designs FeFus Designs offers a range of cute, eye catching & vibrant merchandise & art for children with a strong emphasis on diverse characters, which are all hand drawn & digitally illustrated by myself. Email address: Fefus@yahoo.com Website: www.fefusdesigns.com Telephone: 07392 060 777 Fi’s Beauty Box My name is Fiona and from as early age, I have always had a passion for beauty. It has only been in my latter years, I have decided to pursue my love in this industry through
Forever, The Aloe Vera Company Forever is a multibillion-dollar company in the health and fitness sector, with 41 years growth, in 160 countries. We specialise in helping people to work part time or full time, with complete flexibility, but still have the potential of a full-time income. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.soaringeagles.myforever.biz Tel: 07595 161 764 Fostering Support Group We are looking for Foster Carers! Could you open your home and your heart to care for a child or children removed from their parents? Do you have a spare room? Please come and talk to us if you are interested. We need you! Email address: FSGinfo@fosteringsupportgroup. com Website: www.fosteringsupportgroup.com Telephone: 0208 778 9669 Frank Employment Law Advice Ltd With over 40 years’ experience in employee relations, tribunal representation, and training; we provide HR and employment law services to businesses UK wide. We specialise in all aspects of employment law and HR including TUPE, redundancy, disciplinaries and performance - you name it we do it! Email address: info@frankemploymentlawadvice. co.uk Website: www.frankemploymentlawadvice.com Telephone: 0772 553 5820 or 0116 367 0928 HAIRporrn HAIRporrn Ltd is a UK based online company. Suppliers of quality hair pieces and hair extensions in the form of hair frontals, closures, wefted bundles, clip ins, full lace and custom made wigs. Create different textures and lengths for everyday wear or for special events along with protective styles. Email address: email@example.com Website www.hairporrn.com Telephone number 07956 298 822 Inside Advantage Limited We are people and performance specialists! We use our extensive knowledge of employment law to protect your business and our wealth of HR and leadership experience to develop commercially focussed strategies and solutions to power your performance. We also provide Advocacy services to support employees who are in dispute with their employers. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.insideadvantage.co.uk Telephone: 0203 582 0107
J.D. Okoro J.D. Okoro is a celebrated Londonbased author of much-loved children’s books, including ‘The Scruffapillar’, as well as the critically acclaimed graphic novel ‘Beetle Reich’. His new titles ‘Sir Newt (The Brute)’ and ‘The Rat That Flapped’ are due for release next month. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.jdokoro.com JoRae - Swimming Caps For Big Hair We are two working mums who saw a need for a more diverse swimming cap. Recognising that hair can be a barrier, we want to make swimming and water sport activities accessible to all adults and children whilst ‘Taking Care Of Big Hair’. Website : www.jorae.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/Joraeproducts@gmail. com Instagram : Joraeinsta Facebook : Jorae17 Twitter : Jorae17 Just Add Water Just Add Water is all about you and taking time out to reclaim that “me” time you so deserve. From as little as £19.95 a month, our gorgeous selection of natural handmade products will take your bath-time from routine to ritual and all you have to do is – JUST ADD WATER Email address: Hello@justaddwater.uk Website: www.justaddwater.uk Telephone: 0330 133 1703 Jupiter Soaps Ltd Suppliers of retro, nostalgic, quality Household and Toilet Soaps. Many of our customers are sensitive to the highly perfumed soaps on the market at this time and this is something we try to avoid. Presentation and quality are our main concerns.Examples of our soaps include Sunlight Household, Redbuoy Carbolic, TCP Soaps and many others. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.jupitersoaps.co.uk Telephone: 0208 888 7360 Kitts Kare Ava Payne is a published co-author of the Single Mother’s Diary and a passionate advocate for children. She is also a powerful Venture Facilitator, making connections; breaking down barriers and getting the job done. Email info@ kittskare.com for details on how she can provide solutions to your accommodation needs. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07936 845236 Website: www.kittskare.com instagram:@kittskare facebook.com/kittskare Laini Malai Laini Malai Shea butter plus; all fully organic ingredients. For use on skin, hair, nails and lips. Produced with a variety of oils. This soft non greasy cream is just what is needed to keep you moisturized from head to toe. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.ueni.com/en-gb/b/laini-malai Telephone: 07506 189 240 Leicala Natural Products We are an award winning family run business. We sell a variety of products for the hair and skin. We are passionate about our customers and make them look and feel great. We focus on products that are chemical and paraben free. We source
our ingredients from Jamaica, Ghana and the UK. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.leicala.co.uk Mason’s Exclusive Gaming Applications (M.E.G.A.) Ltd- Games Creators Dominotion is a new, fun and exciting dominoes based board game. It is a great way to bring friends and family together. Dominotion can also be used as an effective educational tool to support numeracy and colour recognition.” Email: email@example.com Telephone: 07791 701 909 Website: Currently under construction NanisoCreate NanisoCreate is a young startup born from the founders’ experience of growing up in Zimbabwe and raising children in the UK. Our motto is “Imagine it. Create it. Inspire...”, and our objective is to use storytelling and education to bring children closer the rich cultural and historical heritage of Zimbabwe and Africa. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nanisocreate.com Naturebless Plant Based Products We sell quality, affordable handcrafted health and wellbeing products made from natural ingredients with skin nourishing properties including essential oils. Products include Lip balms, eczema relief, sleep aid, pain relief, bath salts and more. Our oils are created using recommended dilution levels. With wonderful uplifting aromas our products are made to please. Email address: NBplantbased@yahoo.com Website: www.naturebless.com Telephone: 07468 589 839 NZINGA Natural Spring Water NZINGA Natural Spring Water was launched by four entrepreneurs in 2019. We provide bottled water and free fridges to barbers & hairdressers providing an impulse buy for their customers. NZINGA has been naturally filtered through land certified by the Soil Association as ORGANIC and drawn from a UK protected source as Mother Nature intended. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.nzinga .co.uk OTC Beverages Limited OTC Beverages Ltd are a premium brand of Ginger Beer and Sorrel soft drinks for non alcoholic drinkers to enjoy a stylish tasty product to compete with the rest! Produced from organic & naturally flavoured ingredients from sustainable farmers, our drinks are based on traditional ‘Homemade’ Caribbean recipes. Enjoy the drink at all seasonal celebrations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.otcbeverages.com Telephone: 0844 357 0441 Peaches Publications Winsome Duncan is a multi-award-winning author of 11 books. As the CEO of Peaches Publications, she is a book confidence coach. Her company focuses on BAME stories and voices from people of colour. She
BLACK BUSINESS FAIR 2019 works tirelessly with budding authors and entrepreneurs to help them realise their book-writing dreams and aspirations. Website: www.peachespublications.co.uk Telephone: 07944 455 010 Piknik Ground At Piknik Ground, we provide mobile crèche services at your events. We tailor our services to our clients’ needs, according to the spaces provided. We ensure the safety of your children as our top priority by providing well trained and vetted staff. We also host children parties and annual outdoor family fundays. Email: email@example.com Website: www.piknikground.com Telephone: 07868 980771 Instagram: @piknikground Punch by Shar Bespoke handcrafted rum punch with 25% ABV; available in several cutting-edge flavours from Mango to Candy Floss which is sure to tantalise your taste buds with every drop. Try our “create your own service” where you are the creator, choose your favourite flavours and leave the rest to Shar. Home deliveries are available too! Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.punchbyshar.com Queen Esther Spa My name is Fifi Anderson I am the founder of Queen Esther Spa. I am a qualified beauty therapist. I am married
and a mother of 2 children. I enjoy what I do as I love seeing my clients feeling relaxed after each experience...I have been a beauty therapist for 10 years. Email address: email@example.com Mobile: www.queenestherspa.co.uk Telephone: 020 7642 0249 Instagram:@queenestherspa Roxanne M St Clair FRSA MIOEE Roxanne is a mother of two, an Award Winning Author, International Speaker, Transformational Executive Coach and Chairlady of a charity. Roxanne decided to leave the corporate world after 15 years to set up her own bookkeeping business which helps business owners to implement systems and processes to enhance their businesses. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thevalueinyou.com Sherene Rutherford - Jamaican Author My first two memoirs are about “barrel children”; ‘A Journey for Perlene’ followed by ‘A Journey for Rowna the Loner’ was published in the first half of this year (2019). I have also published my first children’s book in August 2019; ‘Robin Sparrow and Porcupine Pete’s Adventure’. Email address: email@example.com Website: www.sherenerutherford.com Sassy By Name “Sassy By Name” is breaking generational cycles and building generational wealth within the community, by providing free
financial consultations for individuals, families and businesses. Guiding them on how to protect, secure & plan their financial futures. They specialise in life insurance, income protection, critical illness, public liability, indemnity, mortgages and more. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.instagram.com/IamSassyByName Telephone: 07990 548 417 South London Notary “As a notary public I am primarily concerned with the authentication and certification of signatures, authority and capacity relating to documents for use abroad. I am locally based and happy to assist you in achieving your specific needs for your international transaction. I look forward to speaking with you.” Email address: email@example.com Website: southlondonnotary.co.uk Telephone: 0208 611 2986 SMG Mediation Ltd SMG Mediation Ltd is a Settlement through Mediation with our Guidance, an award-winning mediation service. Helping individuals and businesses resolve their legal disputes in Civil, Commercial, Employment, Family and Workplace areas. ‘Refresh your Day and Mediate your Dispute Away!’ by booking your FREE consultation with us today. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.smgmediation.co.uk Telephone: 0207 406 1456
WELLNESS CENTRE SET TO OPEN IN FEB 2020
• Serious Youth Violence • Domestic Abuse • Elderly People • Race and Equality issues Recent changes have included a move to new premises and the appointment of a new Chief Executive. The entire team works tirelessly to ensure that the BME community is involved in activities, decisions, and events that affect their lives. Some of the Forum’s accomplishments and present work includes: Black History Month events, Windrush Celebrations, Domestic Violence, Serious Youth Crime, and Mental Health Summits and a regular programme of activities for older people which has included, the very popular Shopping Bus which provides vital transportation to and from supermarkets for older adults to do their shopping. Partnerships include those with Croydon Council, Whitgift Centre, Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, SLaM and Croydon Univer-
TrishaKCreations TrishaKCreations was established in 2018 by Trish and Ken. We provide affordable apparel, accessories and tote bags which are ethnic specific. The concept behind TrishaKCreations is to have strong images that reflect our culture which will uplift and inspire. Email address: Info@trishakcreations.co.uk Website: www.trishakcreations.co.uk Telephone: 07736 094 672 TruEduCulture TruEduCulture offers carefully matched authentic products and services tailored to meet the needs of your child. Whether you require support from our highly personalised tutors promoting excellence through our unique ‘Power Learning’ programme, beautiful images reflected in our children’s books or excellence and cultural empathy through our Saturday Schools and Holiday Clubs, TruEduCulture, will provide. Email address: TruEduCulture@cantab.net Website: www.TruEduCulture.com
Telephone: 07555 276 594 Village and Home We are a home interiors company designing products with an African and Caribbean theme. Our bright and bold range includes tea towels, oven gloves, aprons, napkins, placemats and coasters. Our designs include scotch bonnet, okra and plantain. Our products are sustainable, excellent quality and create dialogue due to their unique designs. email@example.com www.villageandhome.com Tel: 07494 022 541 Wembley Mortgage Centre Provides whole of Market mortgage advice specialising in the following areas: Buy to Let, Residential, Commercial, Development and Bridging Finance. We are fully regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We can access multiple lenders to find the best rates and lowest fees, allowing us to provide more options for our clients. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.wmcplus.co.uk Telephone: 0203 368 8747
FOR INFORMATION, VISIT: www.voice-online.co.uk or call 0207 510 0370
By Paul Reid
sity Hospital as well as with local businesses in the borough. The Forum employs expert and highly skilled Community Development Workers, who have run Domestic Abuse and Mental Health Awareness workshops. The Croydon BME Forum’s remit is to also Advocate on behalf of the community, Represent the BME community at a strategic level within Croydon and ensure that their voice is heard. CEO Andrew Brown was asked what the biggest take from their mission was so far? He said: “February 2020 will mark the dawning of a long term objective, the introduction of a Wellness Centre, which will be based in the heart of Croydon and we simply can’t wait.” The Welllness Centre will have over 23 dynamic health services and workshops available including: • Counselling • Mentoring • Stress Management
Tony Biola Dada Author of The GPS System - 7 Universal Principles For Growing Personal Success Tony reveals through real stories of some of his students how through conscious awareness an individual can identify their natural talents, abilities and unique gifts. Through aligning with Universal spiritual principles, one quickly can develop a new mind-set geared towards successful outcomes and clarity of purpose. Visit www. dadarichsociety.com
DISRUPT SPACE PROMOTES BLACK ARTISTS
Croydon BME Forum head Andrew Brown (Left) with other members at a recent community event in Croydon.
roydon Black and Minority Ethnic Forum will be opening a Wellness Centre in the heart of the borough of Croydon from February 2020. The Wellness Centre will offer a variety of services for the community which will include mentoring and counselling as well as other health oriented initiatives. The Croydon BME Forum was established in 2002, with a remit to maximise the engagement of BME communities in all aspects of living and working in the Borough. To date, the Forum has seen hundreds of individuals through their doors in 17 years of service to the community and they are still only getting started. The Croydon BME Forum is the umbrella organisation for Croydon’s Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector and their work covers: • Capacity Building • Mental Health
THE VOICE | 35
reativity is one of the black community’s greatest strengths. As a community we are at the forefront of spearheading all kinds of cultural expression – all the time. You could say that this necessity for continuous innovation is a response to the nature of British society, where racism is alive and kicking. The visual arts are no exception here. There’s a huge amount to be done to truly appreciate black visual artists and for us to gain our fair share of the economic pie. According to the British Art Market 2017, the UK represents 21 per cent of the global art market share. The UK is second in the world to the US at 40 per cent and just ahead of China at 20 per cent. Furthermore, the UK dominates in the world of art and antiques in Europe, amounting to 62 per cent of all EU sales. In 2016, the overall value of all sales in the British art and antiques market was a staggering £9.2 billion.
It’s fair to say that we, as an African and Caribbean community in this country, do not see anywhere near a reasonable proportion of this wealth and there are good reasons for this. The whole area of ‘the arts’ in western society is driven by cultural bias that tends to lock us out. Then, let’s face it, buying art is a luxury. You need a certain level of income and comfort to get into this world. All of this leads
Paul Reid in the Disrupt Space studio to the reality that there are far too few of us buying black art from the perspective of wealth creation. So let me take this opportunity to highlight one thing, developing a collection of carefully chosen works of art is to create an asset that can significantly increase in value over time. Like classic cars, fine wine and property, art is an area that we need to know more about and black art an area for future investment. These are some of the ideas behind why I established Disrupt Space Limited to support talented Black Artists by connecting them with other artists, art collectors and people passionate about social change. Let’s take the spirit of creativity, innovation and excellence to market. For further information about Disrupt Space Limited visit: www.disruptspace.org
36 | THE VOICE December, 2019
BLACK BUSINESS FAIR 2019
NatWest Entrepreneur Pre-Accelerator Pre-Accelerator is designed to give entrepreneurs the power to start, scale and succeed. It is a fully-funded, quick-fire, intensive eight-week course for early-stage entrepreneurs. Who is it for? Pre-Accelerator is for you if you have a great business idea that you want to bring to life or if you have just started a business that you need to validate. How much does it cost?
Join the NatWest Pre-Accelerator and enjoy: A bespoke digital learning journey
Everything is fully-funded for you. All we ask is that you work as hard as we do to make the most of this opportunity to grow your business.
An eight-week action-focused online course
What is involved?
A specially designed portal to support you all the way
We concentrate on providing early-stage businesses with the best environment, digital learning and networks. Environment The course is eight weeks long but starts with an exciting, immersive, ‘Ignition’ event and ends with a chance to celebrate and swap experiences. Digital Learning We want to help early-stage businesses grow and succeed as quickly as possible, so we focus on giving our Pre-Accelerator entrepreneurs the best possible digital experience with action-focused, intensive online training. Network We’ll also help you connect with other entrepreneurs just like you and plug you in to the power of your local business ecosystem.
An introductory immersive ‘Ignition’ event An end-of-programme, learning and sharing celebration event At NatWest we are passionate about supporting you and your business. This year we piloted our BAME Pre-Accelerator supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to validate their business ideas. In 2020 we will be bringing the BAME Pre-Accelerator programme to 5 cities in the UK.
To find out how to apply and how we could help #PowerUp you and your early stage business contact us at Accelerator@natwest.com or search: NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
FA I R F I E L D H A L L S
National Westminster Bank plc. Registered in England and Wales No. 929027. Registered Office: 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR. Financial Services Firm Reference Number 121878. We are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Fri 10 Jan Doors open 8pm
We at CSEP invite YOU to • • •
Research at our NEW community library Enrol your children at our Saturday School Enrol your children on our after-school Enrichment Programmes
The Croydon Supplementary Education Project (CSEP) has 38 years of academic excellence and community supporting engagement. With pupils achieving higher than average results and with distinguished staff including a recipient of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Annie B. Singleton Award, we are a leading centre of BAME Education in London. We invite the community to research at our NEW Johnson Graham Community Resource Library. With a high proportion of African Caribbean books, we are open Monday to Friday 2.00pm to 7.00pm and Saturdays 2.00pm to 6.00pm. We also invite you to enrol your children on our Saturday School and after school Enrichment Programmes. Catering for children aged 5 to 16, we offer Maths, English, Black History, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Entrepreneurship, French, Spanish and Mandarin.
A Exclusive £10 tickets for The Voice Newspaper readers with promo code: VOICE10 Website: fairfield.co.uk Telephone: 020 3292 0002 *Transaction fee may apply @thevoicenewspaper
For further information call 0208 686 7865 or email email@example.com
THE VOICE | 37
LINTON KWESI JOHNSON ON WHY HIS HOME TOWN IS A CULTURAL HUB By George Ruddock
ROM THE 1960s to 1980s, Brixton was regarded as the symbolic frontline for migration from the Caribbean and many household names came out of the music and culture which they brought with them. One of Brixton’s renowned icons is dub poet and reggae superstar Linton Kwesi Johnson who recalls that he lived only streets apart from the likes of music legend David Bowie and John Major in the south London suburb. Major was a local councillor before he went on to lead the Conservative Party and succeed Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minster. Johnson’s links with Brixton, which some regard as the capital of Lambeth, is not only through music but also his civil rights activism with the likes of
Darcus Howe and the Race Today Collective, and also his earlier associations with the Black Panthers, both of which had their base in Shakespeare Road. He recalls: “As part of the Panthers I remember going door to door trying to get people interested in our activities. I would be in Brixton market, Croydon or Balham on a Saturday morning distributing our newspaper or attending educational meetings where we would study black history. I was also involved in demonstrations for justice and equality. “There were similar activities in the Race Today Collective, but this was around the journal which we produced and it was more focused on education activism, policing and justice. That was a different phase in our struggles, we had moved on from the black power activism to a more class orientated politics, but we had to do these or-
ganising, agitations, insurrections and uprising to integrate ourselves into the society.” Jamaican-born, and raised in London, Johnson is one of the most acclaimed chroniclers in the UK of the immigrant experience.
He was just 11 when he moved to Brixton, where he was reunited with his mother and father, who had earlier left Jamaica in search of a new life. Writing in the street vernacular of Jamaican dialect, he has been heralded the voice of the ‘Windrush Generation’, reflecting those who came to Britain from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971. He coined the term ‘dub poetry’ for his blending of poetry and music. He is only the second living poet to have his work published by Penguin Modern Classics and
was the 2012 winner of the Golden PEN award for his ‘distinguished service to literature.’ In the 1970s, Johnson wrote for NME and Melody Maker music magazines and penned sleeves notes for reggae albums. In 1978, at the height of punk, he released his wellknown masterpiece, Dread Beat An’ Blood, a collaboration with producer Vivian Weather and credited to ‘Poet and the Roots’. The Roots were a reggae band consisting of Dennis Bovell, Lloyd ‘Jah Bunny’ Donaldson, Desmond Craig, and others. The Poet was, of course, Johnson. The project came about after Johnson was hired by Richard Branson to write introductions to Virgin Records reggae releases. In a studio one afternoon, Johnson suggested recording poetry with dub accompaniment. Branson was up for it, and supported the project fi-
“On Dread Beat An’ Blood, Linton Kwesi Johnson expressed the black British experience as it has never been heard before, using the language of Jamaican patois set to a rocking roots reggae beat,” said British poet Benjamin Zephaniah, in a BBC documentary about the making of the LP. “LKJ voiced the anger and frustration of a generation. This was the era when the police had the right to stop and search people simply because they suspected they had done something wrong. And, most of the time, the people they stopped were young black people.” This is one area Johnson feels has not changed much over the years, which is the relationship between the police and black youths. He told The Voice: “The
fact that my grandson has had to go through the same kind of harassment and intimidation that I went through 30, 40 years ago then really nothing has changed. It’s a cycle that doesn’t seem to be changing.” The Macpherson Report which came about following the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence concluded that the police were institutionally racist. This was a watershed moment, Johnson says, and attitudes of many senior officers have changed, “but the rank and file culture hasn’t changed at all.” The other concern too, he said, was the cycle of violence among the youth, something which his generation also experienced. “There was a lot of fighting among the youths of my generation and a lot of Continued on page 43
38 | THE VOICE December, 2019
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40 | THE VOICE December, 2019
Town Centre Landmarks
Whether you are looking for the perfect gift, catching up with friends and loved ones, or savouring a great Christmas meal, Brixton has a lot to offer this festive season. Come and get pampered, listen to live music and visit B O N M A R C H E
our markets - indoor or out. Make Brixton your destination this Christmas. London Artisan Market 1st December Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
3D Embroidery Workshop 4th December (book online) Diverse, 390 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF
T H I S W AY
Christmas Gala 4th December (book online) Queen Esther Spa, 80 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PX Pop-Africa Market 5 December Brixton Village, SW9 8PR Black Culture Christmas Market 11am - 5pm 7th & 8th December 3Space, International House, Canterbury Crescent, SW9 7DE Green Rooms Market 15 & 22 December Brixton Village, SW9 8PR Arkestra Christmas Day and Night Market 12pm - 10pm Saturday 14 December Brixton Village, SW9 8PR Brixton Brewery Tap Room
Arches 547+548, SW9 8PF
45 Trinity Gardens, SW9 8DR
Duke of Edinburgh
W204 Ferndale Road, SW9 8AG
The Brixton Windmill
22 Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5BZ
The Blues Kitchen Brixton
40 Arce Lane, SW2 5SP
389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ
The Price Of Wales
467-469 Brixton Road, SW9 8HH
Rum Kitchen Brixton
437 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN
443 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN
49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
89 Effra Road, SW2 1DF
Gremio de Brixton
Effra Road, SW2 1JF
94 Brixton Hill, SW2 1EB
447 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LP
250 Ferndale Road, SW9 8BQ
Upstairs at the Ritzy
Brixton Oval, SW2 1JG
95 Effra Road, SW2 1DF
The Beast of Brixton
89 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN
Business Improvement District are not for profit organisations who have come together to promote and improve their local business area, there are currently over 60 BIDs in London each creating projects and developing programmes to benefit the local business area and community.
THE VOICE | 41
B R I X T O N
Diverse* 390 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF *10% off purchases in December if you bring this copy of The Voice
Tunstall place MORLEYS 1880
R E L I A N C E
Full Moon Designs
8 Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
73 Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
65 Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
79 Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
46 Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
414 Brixton Road, SW9 7AY
British Heart Foundation
36 Acre Lane, SW2 5SP
The Chartwell Cancer Trust
43 Acre Lane, SW2 5TN
2 Acre Lane, SW2 5SG
61 Atlantic Road, SW9 8PU
0-24a Pope's Rd, SW9 7PR
442 Brixton Road, SW9 8PA
457-461 Brixton Road, SW9 8HH
431 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LN
451-453 Brixton Rd, SW9 8HH
518 Brixton Hill, SW9 8EN
The Keep Boutique
Brixton Village, 8PS
Make Do and Mend
Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ
Marks & Spencer
446 Brixton Road, SW9 8ED
472-488 Brixton Road, SW9 8EH
45 Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
12 Electric Avenue, SW9 8JX
20-24a Popes Road, SW9 7PR
440 Brixton Road, SW9 8BH
Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
10-12 Electric Avenue, SW9 8JX
36 Brixton Village, SW9 8PR
Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ
Pure Vinyl Records
246 Ferndale Road, SW9 8FR
Granville Arcade, SW9 8PS
110 Acre Lane, SW2 5RA
Universal Roots Records
33-35 Reliance Arcade, SW9 8JZ
16 Atlantic Road, SW9 8HY
Currys PC World
51-57 Effra Road, SW2 1BZ
A R C A D E
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Remember to pose in front of Instagram Mural designed by Hillmead School & the Brixton Project to capture a flawless festive moment. Tag us @brixtonbid
42 | THE VOICE December, 2019
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THE VOICE | 43
OLD TRADITIONS STILL EXIST IN BRIXTON By George Ruddock
OUNCILLOR SONIA Winifred is the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture in Lambeth Council responsible for the strategic approach to the borough’s rich, diverse cultural and tourism sectors, including the library services, parks and open spaces. Her role involves working with partners across the south London borough to make Lambeth more equal, including embedding equalities into all parts of the council’s work and delivering the work of the Equalities Commission and overseeing Equalities Impact Assessments. This puts her right at the heart of working with community groups to support the thriving arts and cultural projects which she feels passionately about. She said: “Lambeth is an open and welcoming borough where people care about one another and we celebrate our diversity.”
She is also equally passionate about the borough still maintaining its identity as a cultural hub in London because of its strong links with the Caribbean population that made Brixton
Continued from page 37 early poems were precisely about the warfare among the youths. The fact that it is still going today on is deeply worrying,” he said.
Johnson has lived in Lambeth on and off since 1963 and has seen many changes, most noticeably, the demography of Brixton. He said: “After the riots of 1981 and ’85, a lot of black families moved up to Norbury, Thornton Heath and Croydon. Many of the old slum buildings were demolished and new buildings put up before the middle class professionals moved into the area. Even the famous Brixton market has seen changes, he said, because gone are the days when Caribbean people used to head there for their weekly supply of fresh fruits and vegatables, now it’s a mixture of meat traders, cafes, bars and eateries.
their home after the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948. She said: “Brixton is a wonderful place to live and my goal is to establish it in a way that it reflects its diversity. Members of the Caribbean community who came in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s and made that lasting impression, we must continue to make it even better, but we must also make it inclusive.”
While some will say Brixton has changed over the years due to the regeneration process that gave rise to new buildings and new commercial interest moving in, Councillor Winifred says that while on the surface change might be apparent, many of the traditional activities still continues. She said: “I still visit the luncheon clubs for elderly Caribbean people which are still being run by community groups and churches and it is always wonderful to listen to the history which these members retain. Yes, some of the first generation have passed on, but we are also engaging with the younger generation through programmes that tell them about their history in this country. Johnson, however, feels that one of the best things that have happened to Brixton is the establishment of the Black Cultural Archive (BCA). “This has raised the profile of Brixton as a cultural hub where a lot of people from all over have visited the venue as it is the country’s leading repository of black British history.” Johnson has consistently provided the social commentary absent from so much of the public narrative around issues that have faced the black community in Britain. From the tragedy of
PICTURE CREDIT: IPTC Photo Metadata
“The Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is very important to the BME community as it’s the only institution of its kind dedicated to preserving our history and we need to maintain it. The council funds it now, but we want the Government to fund it too, and if they are serious about righting the wrongs against the Windrush generation, then where better to invest than in the BCA.” Councillor Winifred was also keen to speak of her support for the West Indian Ex-Service men and women who are always remembered on Remembrance Sunday, but not necessarily given the same national recognition for their contribution to the War years.
She said: “It saddens me that there are no war graves which show were our people were buried so we can honour them properly, that’s why the council supports the West Indian Association of Ex Service Personnel (WASP) Remembrance March in Windrush Square on the Saturday before Remembrance Day. Many thousands of these men and women gave their lives for this country.” the New Cross Fire in 1981 and the Brixton riots of the same year through the Metropolitan Police notorious Special Patrol Group (SPG), the infamous SUS laws, the Stephen Lawrence murder and the Macpherson Report, right up to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. He has written poetry on all these events to illustrate the struggles that the community had to face and overcome.
One of Brixton’s famous residents was David Bowie and Johnson recalls that when Bowie was once asked to choose his favourite 20 best albums, Johnson’s album ‘Forces of Victory’ was in the top 10. Johnson also feels his poetry and music has helped to put Brixton on the literary map. Based on his catalogue of thought-provoking dub poetry and revolutionary music, no one can argue with that.
Lambeth Councillor Sonia Winifred
44 | THE VOICE December, 2019
Destination Brixton Almaz Thomas performing
ALMAZ WANTS TO GET YOUNGSTERS ON BOARD By George Ruddock
LMAZ THOMAS, is a young rising star from Brixton, south London who has her eyes firmly set on helping other young people who want to pursue music as a career, simply because of her own journey to get where she is today. The 25-year-old singer and songwriter’s genre speciality is a mixture of soul, R&B and reggae, but she is also a classically trained pianist as well and this has added to her versatility. She is currently putting the final touches to her first threesong EP which is set for release later this year and follows on from her performances at venues like Hootananny in Brixton and in Trafalgar Square during a Black History Month festival where she performed with the Buru Drummers.
While singing is certainly what Almaz puts at the top of her list, she is currently teaching music at Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School in
Brixton where she leads a Caribbean in mind, but coming 60-piece band and choir. In ad- from a mixed Caribbean heritdition to this, she is also pur- age of St Lucian and Jamaican, suing an international music she is still undecided where she teaching course to go with her will go. “Once I have done the teachCommercial Music Business degree which she gained at uni- ing course, my goal is to get my music out there and that expoversity. She has chosen the year- sure will get me to the Cariblong international qualifica- bean where I can impart my tion teaching course because knowledge of music to as many she wants to help young people young people possible.” who are not aware of the challenges in the industry. She said: “The music educaReflecting on growing up in tion system can be quite exclu- Brixton, Almaz says although it sive and I have experienced this has gone through many changfirst hand, especially as a young es, there is still a special vibes black woman, who had been about the area that pulls you in. left to feel like I didn’t belong She said: “I grew up around in this space by the people who Acre Lane and Brixton Hill are organising it. and that feeling of community “They made me feel out cast- still exist today as you see the ed and this is what has inspired same faces and everyone knows me to get the teaching quali- everyone. Many Caribbean resfication so that I could go to taurants are operating there places to help young who are and you get that homely atinterested in music but who are mosphere and sense of security not necessarily supported, es- from the area. Having the Black pecially when it’s the classical Cultural Archives in Windrush or the theoretical side, to show Square has been great too and them that they can do it too.” on Coldharbour Lane you can In the long term, Almaz is still get that cultural vibe from also hoping to take her teaching the hair shops that are located @thevoicenewspaper skills internationally with the there.”
Lifestyle Get this yearâ€™s winter look p54
What do you know about Shakka? p57
The acclaimed actor speaks to Lifestyle about police, politics and proving just why the future of black cinema is bright
Afrobeats or Dancehall: must we choose? p59
46 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
PUT THE ‘WIN’
We’ve got plenty to make you merry with our Christmas competition giveaways An Eaton Pepper gift basket!
CODE: EATON We’re giving away a special gift basket of Eaton Pepper products. The gift basket will include Eaton’s Jamaican Jerk Barbecue Sauce, Boston Bay-style Jerk Seasoning, Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce and much more! For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: Eaton’s Jamaican Jerk Seasoning & Hot Pepper Sauces have a large following all over the world. But whereabouts in Jamaica is Eaton’s produced? A. Falmouth B. Kingston C. Portmore
A pair of tickets to Oasis Festival!
CODE: OASIS Oasis Festival is back for 2020, and we’re giving one lucky reader a chance to win a pair of tickets to the three-day event, which takes place from September 11 to 13. Morocco’s pioneering destination festival continues to make its mark on the global music scene, bringing a truly unique cultural experience to the ancient city of Marrakech. For a chance to win tickets to the festival, answer the following question: Q: What is the capital of Morocco? A. Casablanca B. Rabat C. Marrakech
dancers and musicians as they come together to tell a story about how we’re all connected. To win, answer the question below: Q: Which of these stations is closest to the Royal Opera House? A. Hammersmith B. Piccadilly Circus C. Upminister
A free consultation package with Shiloh PR!
CODE: SHILOH For those looking to grow their business in 2020, we’re offering one lucky reader the chance to win a gold consultation package with Shiloh PR. The bespoke public relations service, founded by Evadney Campbell MBE and Karen Campbell, will be providing the winner with a one-hour Skype/telephone consultation, where they will develop a personalised written plan of action for you, worth £197. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: In what year was Evadney Campbell awarded an MBE? A. 1994 B. 1989 C. 2011
Tickets to see The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House!
CODE: ROH We’re giving away four tickets to see The Lost Thing on January 4 2020 – a new musical reimagining of author Shaun Tan’s beautifully illustrated book, playing at The Royal Opera House. The show features a cast of disabled and non-disabled singers,
Tickets to see Keith Sweat + Montell Jordan live!
CODE: SWEAT Keith Sweat and Montell Jordan will be bringing their ’90s hits to 2020 with a new UK tour – and we have a pair of tickets to give to one of our readers! Promising to be full of nostalgia, stellar R&B jams and Keith and Montell’s show-stopping, soulful vocals, this upcoming tour is one not to be missed. To win a pair of tickets,answer the following question: Q: In what year was Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It released? A. 1985 B. 1995 C. 2015
A pair of tickets to see Omar live!
CODE: OMAR The UK’s King of Soul will be bringing his stellar vocals to Croydon’s Fairfield Halls – and we’re giving you a chance to win a pair of tickets to see him live on Friday, January 10, 2020. Performing songs from his latest album The Man, plus hits including There’s Nothing Like This, Say Nothin’ and Golden Brown, don’t miss the chance to see the UK’s finest neo-soul star in his element. To enter the competition, answer the following question: Q: Which county did Omar live in? A. Essex B. Kent C. Wiltshire
A Zanzi Beauty gift box!
CODE: ZANZI Zanzi Beauty is a black-owned cosmetic brand, which specialises in make-up for dark skin – and we’re giving away a gift box of products for one lucky reader! The fresh British beauty brand celebrates the diversity of black beauty, which is reflected in their bold, showstopping product range that cares about the skin we’re in and is paraben free, talc free, hypoallergenic and animal cruelty free. This specially curated Zanzi Beauty gift box will include; two Metallic Liquid Lip Creams, one Zuri Eyeshadow Palette, two Matte Liquid Lip Creams and a gift card. To win, answer the following question: Q: What is the name of Rihanna’s cosmetic brand? A. Beauty Bakerie B. L’Oreal C. Fenty Beauty
chester Academy on Friday, February 21, O2 Academy Birmingham on Saturday, February 22 and a third and final show on Sunday February 23 at O2 Academy Brixton in London. For a chance to win a pair of tickets, answer the question below: Q: Where in Jamaica was Sanchez born? A. Kingston B. St Mary C. Trelawny
JoRae swimming caps!
A Voice hoodie!
CODE: JORAE JoRae swimming caps are perfect for those with locs, braids and Afro hair – and we’re giving away three adult-size and three child-sized swimming caps! The black-owned brand designed a swimming cap specifically to keep out as much water as possible and thus protecting thick hair. For a chance to win, answer the question below: Q: What is the name of Team GB’s only black swimmer? A. Alys Thomas B. Alice Dearing C. Anna Hopkin
A pair of tickets to see Sanchez & Barrington Levy live! CODE: LEVY Reggae legends Sanchez and Barrington Levy have announced a set of UK live dates for next year, and we’re giving a Voice reader a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the artists live in 2020! The duo will be performing at Man-
CODE: VOICE We’re giving two lucky readers a chance to win a special Voice hoodie! To enter the competition, answer the following question: Q: Who founded The Voice newspaper? A. Roger Alton B. Harold Evans C. Val McCalla
A Caribbean Blue Natural gift box!
CODE: CARIBBEAN We’re giving away a selection of Caribbean Blue natural products made in St Lucia! The gift box will include a volcanic sulphur mud cleanser, mud scrub, mud masque and mud soap. To win, answer the question following:
THE VOICE | 47
INTO WINTER For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: What was the name of TLC’s first album? A. Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip B. Fanmail C. CrazySexyCool
Q: What is the capital of St Lucia? A. Soufriere B. Castries C. Babonneau
A Kato Enterprise hamper!
A book hamper from The Voice!
CODE: BOOKS We’re giving away a carefully curated hamper filled with books for one lucky reader! The hamper will include the critically acclaimed ‘black girl bible’ Slay In Your Lane, plus many more. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: Which author won the 2019 Booker Prize alongside Margaret Atwood? A. Bernardine Evaristo B. Zadie Smith C. Candice Carty-Williams
A pair of tickets to see Peter Pan!
CODE: PAN Following the success of last year’s musical comedy The Snow Queen, Under The Bridge will once again transform into the ultimate
Christmas destination with the adaptation of J.M. Moore’s children’s classic, Peter Pan – and we’re giving a reader a chance to win a pair of tickets! The poignant, funny and original 60-minute production is the perfect way to get the family geared up for the festive season. To win, answer the question below: Q: What year was the Disney animated version of Peter Pan released? A. 1929 B. 1953 C. 2002
A pair of tickets to see TLC live!
CODE: TLC TLC have announced their return to London with a performance at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Monday, June 29 2020. As they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their culture-shifting and seminal album CrazySexyCool, we’re giving one of our readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the iconic group!
CODE: KATO Kato Enterprise import the finest beers and non-alcoholic malt drinks, to bring you a taste of home – and we’re giving away a hamper filled with beverages! For a chance to win, answer the question below: Q: Where is Guinness Foreign Extra Stout imported and brewed? A. Jamaica B. Romania C. Nigeria
A pair of Hoka trainers!
CODE: HOKA HOKA ONE ONE are giving away a pair of Clifton 6 trainers to one lucky reader! The Clifton 6 features a new softer engineered upper to provide support and flexibility where you need it most, and a full-length EVA midsole with even more softness to create a better experience. Q: What type of terrain inspired the founders of HOKA ONE ONE to create the brand? A. Trail B. Track C. Road
A Sleek gift set!
CODE: SLEEK Expand your make-up collection with Sleek MakeUP Experi-menter Kit! The kit contains everything you need to create endless looks from am to pm. Be fierce, mix and layer loose pigment shades for a total transformation. For a smokey eye look that smoulders, combine their i-Divine Palette in All Night Long with the Black Utopia Mascara, and Fierce Felt Liner in Zodiac Black. For extra slaying power, add the exclusive Highlighting Palette in Lightspeed and Lifeproof Metallic Liner in Uncontrollable. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: What year was SleekMakeUP founded? A. 1962 B. 1995 C. 2008
A St Moriz gift set!
CODE: MORIZ Get that perfect golden tan with St Moriz extensive range, as we give away one gift set to a lucky reader! Only the highest quality ingredients are used with St Moriz and all the products are tried and tested by the team of ‘St Morizstas’, ensuring tanning perfection every time. The set includes: St Moriz medium tanning mousse, tan mitt, St Moriz professional body bronzer and highlighter and lip gloss. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Q: Which product does St Moriz not sell? A. Tanning lotion B. Exfoliating skin primer C. Washing up liquid
A Beverly Hills Formula gift bag!
CODE: HILLS Get a smile everyone will envy using Beverly Hills Formula’s whitening range! All specially formulated to effectively, yet gently, remove stains, each product offers premium quality, whitening oral care incorporating scientific advancements and the finest, low abrasion ingredients, whitening teeth without harming the enamel. To win a gift bag of Beverly Hills Formula products, answer the following question: Q: Where was the brand established? A. Germany B. Ireland C. Antarctica
An Oust descaler kit!
CODE: OUST Keep your home in tiptop shape with an Oust descaler kit! We’re offering two kits for two lucky readers. To win, answer the question below: Q: What does Oust descaler help get rid of? A. Limescale B. Mould C. Dust
HOW TO ENTER
ONLINE: Visit voice-online.co.uk/ competitions and fill out the entry form for each competition (Terms and Conditions available online) POST: Send your entries, with the code relevant to the answer, to Christmas Competition, The Voice, Unit 1 Bricklayers Arms, Mandela Way, London, SE1 5SR. DEADLINE: Competitions close January 3, 2020.
48 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
CITY CELEBRATES MANDELA
Legend’s relatives will visit Liverpool for week-long series of memorial activities BY RODNEY HINDS
ANDELA WEEK 2020 will comprise of a special visit by the Mandela family to Liverpool to celebrate a week of activities to mark what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 101st birthday. The visit will coincide with the official opening of the Mandela8 Nelson Mandela Memorial in Prince’s Park, Liverpool 8, and the celebration of Mandela Day, which charitable organisation Mandela8 will celebrate as part of a week-long series of events and celebrations. Mandela8’s initial vision is to see a permanent memorial that functions as a unique performance, conversation and contemplation space established in Prince’s Park to celebrate, commemorate and pursue the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievements for humanity. The memorial will also be a
focal point and catalyst for community development and cohesion through a series of creative commissions and collaborations with widespread community and educational engagement and participation. Dr Makaziwe (Maki) Mandela and Tukwini Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter, took part in an official three-day visit to Liverpool in February this year to commemorate the 29-year anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison at a reception hosted by the city, and to officially mark the start the works on site for the memorial.
The idea of Mandela Day is that everyone has the ability to make an impact and do something in their own way to change the world and the world of those around them. July 18 is Nelson Mandela International Day, now more widely known as Mandela Day, and was officially declared by the United Nations in November
IMPORTANT DELEGATION: Tukwini Mandela and Dr Makaziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter and daughter, were welcomed to Liverpool earlier this year and saw the site of the memorial being constructed in Prince’s Park, Liverpool 8, inset below left 2009, to acknowledge his values and dedication to the service of humanity and struggle for international democracy and peace throughout the world. The day remembers Mandela’s achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation. ‘Madiba’, as Nelson Mandela was fondly known, was one of South Africa’s greatest heroes. Not only is he loved and respected as one of the greatest leaders in South Africa, he is also admired and respected around the world.
Liverpool has its own special relationship and connection with Nelson Mandela.
“What good deed are you going to do to make a life better?” When Liverpool became aware of apartheid and Mandela’s incarceration, community activists, unions and the
city came together to support the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign, and took a solid stance against apartheid. Liverpool is built on strong political and social values and has experienced oppression, but not on the scale of South Africa.
So when awareness of the brutality of apartheid in South Africa became known in Liverpool, the city united to support Mandela, the ANC and South African people. Mandela was gifted the freedom of the city in 1994 and a
civic reception was held there in his honour 20 years later. Mandela’s fight for justice began in 1942, and for 67 tireless years, he continued to fight for social justice and human rights. The Mandela Week programme is designed to enable individuals and groups to give 67 minutes of their day – one minute for every year – to help someone else, ideally on Mandela Day or in that week. Dr Maki Mandela said: “What good deed are you going to do today for someone that will make their life better?”
Renowned artist McQueen’s Year 3 places snapshots of childhood centre-stage TURNER PRIZE-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, together with Tate Britain, Artangel and A New Direction, unveiled one of the most ambitious visual portraits of citizenship ever undertaken in one of the world’s largest cities. Using the medium of the traditional school class photograph, this epic installation brings together images of tens of thousands of Year 3 pupils from across London. It offers us a glimpse of the city’s future – a hopeful portrait of a generation to come. Year 3 places 76,146 children at the heart of Tate Britain. Over the past year, 1,504 of London’s primary schools with Year 3 pupils – including state, independent, faith and special schools, pupil referral units and home-educated children – agreed to have their classes specially photographed by a bespoke team of Tate photographers. Every one of the resulting 3,128 class photographs, depicting two-thirds of the city’s entire population of seven- to eight-year-olds, are brought together in a large-scale installation, lining
the walls of Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries and free for all to visit. Talking to The Voice, McQueen said: “I often think, as an artist, you can be a vessel for something, and in this case we’re giving something over to London, but at the same time London is giving so much back to you, it’s a two-way thing.”
“It’s not about me or the project, it’s about us. “A few words have been thrown around, like diversity, which makes me want to vomit. It’s us.” “If I look at the poster and someone else looks at the poster, we’ll see different things, but it’s about us,” said McQueen, pictured right. “For me, this project is about our responsibility. This exhibition offers a visualisation of the future. “One can imagine it, but here, you can actually see it. It’s about us, and our responsibility to us.” Mapping a picture of the present, McQueen’s remarkable artwork captures a milestone year in a child’s personal development – the moment
when they become more conscious of the world beyond their immediate family. It is a critical time for them to develop confidence in all areas of life, to understand more about their place in a changing world and to think about the future. Depicting rows of children sitting or standing alongside their teachers and teaching assistants, Year 3 reflects this moment of excitement, anticipation and hope. As a record of the journey from childhood through adolescence to adulthood, it is also a poignant but provocative reminder of how lives are shaped and formed. In addition to the vast installation at Tate Britain, millions of people will also catch sight of Year 3 classes in a city-wide outdoor exhibition organised by Artangel, who are renowned for producing extraordinary art in unexpected places. Year 3 is exhibited at Tate Britain until May 3, 2020. For more details, see page 63
THE VOICE | 49
BECOMING HARRIET: A HERO WITH HEART Actress Cynthia Erivo talks about taking on the mighty role in a new movie BY ALANNAH FRANCIS
ORE THAN 100 years after her death, the story of Harriet Tubman’s life has reached the big screen. A figure lauded in African American history for her remarkable feat of freeing herself and hundreds of others from slavery in the US, Harriet, the film about the abolitionist, is bringing the tale of a real-life superhero to audiences around the world. Taking on the challenge of breathing life into this monumental character is British-Nigerian actress, singer and songwriter Cynthia Erivo. While the direct impact of Tubman’s actions were felt in the US, her story is one that transcends borders. For Erivo, who spent time researching Tubman to gain a deeper understanding of the woman she was tasked with embodying, their physical likeness was one of her initial entry points into becoming Tubman. “I had learned that she and I shared the same sort of physique. We’re both physically petite but strong and she sang like I do... and I think those things sort of gave me a way in to how she would move, how she would be,” Erivo told Lifestyle.
Tubman’s capacity to love but also the heartache she endured was also an opening for Erivo to connect with her phenomenal character. “Knowing that she had lost love, had love, was probably my favourite way into her because I don’t think we know about how much of a human being she is. “We know the broad strokes, we know the work that she’s done, we know that she’s freed people, we know that she freed herself – but I don’t think we know that she was a wife and she was very much in love and she came back for him and he left her. “And I just think that particular detail in her life just made me sort of open up my eyes. “She wasn’t just a hero any more, she was a woman who was grounded and had experiences that I understood and knew.” While Tubman is widely known for her freedom-fighting escapades, less light has been shone on her personal life. In Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, audiences are introduced to Tubman while she is still enslaved but also wholly committed to her husband John Tubman, a free
KEY PLAYERS: Director Kasi Lemmons, Zackary Momoh, Cynthia Erivo and Vanessa Bell Calloway
man. The film follows Tubman’s journey to freedom, her return to rescue her family, friends and countless others and her rise through free society as a respected and skilled member of the Underground Railroad. The 32-year-old actress, who describes herself as fiery, strong and determined, also related to Tubman’s vulnerability. Lemmons and Erivo present Tubman as a complex, multifaceted being, not simply an epic figure from the history books. Not solely angry, she’s also driven by love, susceptible to heartbreak, fearless and a woman of strong faith. “She was a woman who cared deeply about people, about the welfare, the way in which people were treated. I just connected to that on a human level. I think that was the special thing about her, that made her more of a superhero than anything, the fact that she was so grounded, so human, so real and then on top of which spun things around that feel impossible to change the world,” Erivo said. While many retellings of slavery era stories can leave black viewers extremely uncomfortable with the trauma of witnessing the large scale, graphic brutality inflicted on black people, Harriet’s inspirational tone is at the surface. Viewers don’t have to wade through gratuitous violence to find the message that celebrates black women as both soft and strong, and recognises black people’s long history of demonstrating incredible resilience. The approach focused on keeping the dignity of those portrayed intact, says Erivo. “Kasi, and I think all of us, we knew that we didn’t want to use that [physical violence] as much because I think we’ve all been traumatised enough. I think
STORY TO TELL: Cynthia Erivo takes the lead role in the film Harriet; inset left, Harriet Tubman black people have seen black bodies traumatised enough in these films and we wanted to see something else, we wanted to show something else that didn’t traumatise but made people think about the humanity,” said Erivo.
In the UK, period dramas are often devoid of black characters, meaning it’s rare to see black women in historical western dress such as corsets and petticoats. The costumes in this epic tale, which range from Tubman’s plain and dirty plantation rags through to her elaborate full skirts, chart the different stages of her journey and character development. For Erivo, they were a vital ingredient in her process of inhabiting the role. “I think putting on those clothes helped to inform me of where I was in the story,” Erivo said. “It just helps me to embody the story and tell it through what I’m wearing so I don’t have to speak almost, you just have to look and you know where I am.” The visuals are striking, as is the significance of a lead role for albeit accomplished but up and coming actress – something made even more profound, given that Erivo has the responsibil-
ity of bringing to life a character whose story has not been told in this way before and showcasing a black woman as they are seldom seen on screen. Many, especially younger cinemagoers, will struggle to remember a black woman in the lead role of an action film, but things are changing. Last month, Naomie Harris took up her first-ever lead role as a police officer fighting corruption in the action packed Black And Blue, and last year Taraji P Henson played the lead role of an assassin in Proud Mary. Erivo is acutely aware of the wider significance. “It means a huge deal, not just because of who she is, but because rarely do we see adventure stories where the centre is a black woman,” said Erivo. “We rarely see that the protagonist who is swashbuckling and fighting has an emotional heart, an emotional centre, rarely is that a black woman. “I think it’s really significant, because it shows that it can be done and I’m hoping it serves as an example so that more of these come along.” Tubman is highly regarded and fiercely protected, so it is no surprise that a debate has erupted around Erivo’s casting, especially considering the ongoing resistance to black British
actors being selected for competitive roles in Hollywood. The revelation that the British actress would take on the title role has been met with backlash from a section of vocal African Americans, some of whom have encouraged a boycott of the film. Erivo says the negative reactions hurt. “It can be painful, for sure, because it almost calls into question my blackness, like whether my blackness is valid enough to tell other black stories,” said Erivo. The winner of a Tony for her performance as Celie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple, Erivo’s acting prowess proves her capability to take on this mighty role. She hopes critics will move beyond seeking to draw lines about what actors can and can’t do. “I think that the conversation now has to come from all of us about what we each understand about where we all come from, what is the understanding of blackness when it comes to us in the UK and what do we understand when it comes to them in the US. Is there a way in which we can find a sameness in all our experiences, because I can say for sure of some of the people I have spoken to that my story of my life is really similar to their story,” she said.
50 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
GATHERING: Women at the summit in Riga; right, JamieLee Abtar in the Latvian city
The travel industry’s top female talent met in Riga to discuss strategies to boost business BY JOEL CAMPBELL
HE WOMEN IN Travel Summit (WITS) is one of the premier events for travel influencers, creators, and industry. Now in its sixth year, WITS brings together some of travel’s top talent to discuss future innovations, build dynamic collaborations and change the travel industry worldwide, while supporting and empowering a diverse community. Jamie-Lee Abtar attended last month’s event in Riga, Latvia, where the travel marketing consultant and business development strategist networked with other women travellers from all over the world. Lifestyle: What was on the agenda at this year’s Women in Travel Summit that you felt was the most interesting? Jamie-Lee Abtar: This year’s agenda was packed with some exciting and thought-provoking sessions, from how to pitch to major brands, legal issues that could impact your business and, of course, our session on building travel campaigns that reflect the diversity of the world we live in. The keynote speech, by awardwinning author and photographer Lola
Akinmade Åkerstrom, was a brilliant end to the show, filled with so many gems and inspiration. L: Women’s travel is experiencing explosive growth: women make 80 per cent of travel decisions, two out of three travellers are women, the number of women-only travel companies has increased 230 per cent in the past six years? Talk about those trends and what they represent. JLA: Women represent just over half the world’s population and women are earning more, spending more and influencing all levels of the travel industry. Women today have more means and fewer obligations than in past generations. Logistically, travel is just more doable. But it’s not just increased access and time that have prompted women to travel – it’s the perception that travel is self-care. Taking a vacation is a shortcut to wellness and self-actualisation, two things in which women are investing lots of time and money, particularly as the desire to better yourself through self-reflection is something women are psychologically more prone to do. Interest in personal growth is something the travel industry has also picked up on, and the global travel economy is shifting from a focus on “esteem” to “self-actualisation”. Travellers are buying services that they perceive as be-
ing able to induce quick and complete change. L: In the 18-34 age range, blogs are the number one decision-making factor influencing purchases, according to Research Now. Is this something you’ve witnessed become more frequent yourself and why is it happening? JLA: Digital word-of-mouth communications is the most preferred, and research has shown that consumers tend to trust in online word of mouth more than traditional media. Travel blogs have become really important for travel brands, because written content provides consumers with the opportunity to share travel experiences that encourage others to consider visiting the destination or using a particular brand. Travellers can share posts with family and friends, which allows interaction and build an engagement that can turn into new visitors. Travel blogs have become such a powerful vehicle that travel brands can tell their stories and build good relationships with potential visitors. L: Influencer marketing is 11 times more powerful than traditional advertising, according to TapInfluence. Will this trend continue, and why are travellers shunning traditional media? JLA: With the rise of the digital era,
consumers spend most of their time behind screens. While in the past, they used to be enticed by TV and radio ads and big billboards on highways, they now follow influencers that affect their purchasing power. The shift to digital comes from a few factors that have proven successful. Influencer marketing is seen as very efficient for brands to reach out to their target audience. Rooted in authentic, authoritative recommendations, influencer marketing is a powerful way to acquire and retain new customers. As the traveller’s reliance on these traditional media decreases, they’re turning to recommendations from their network. This includes the social media accounts they follow. There will be more influencers used in every company’s basic marketing strategy, as more and more people are learning the power that influencers have. I believe that it will be rare for any brand to launch a campaign that doesn’t involve at least one social media influencer. L: What topics need to be considered more at events like WITS? JLA: I would like to see more focus on hard skills and how the many small- to medium-sized travel brands can really make an impact and grow, develop and make more money in the travel space.
L: Is the industry addressing the need to encompass a more inclusive feel when embarking on advertising campaigns? JLA: Travel is an exciting business sector that brings people together from across the globe, introducing different cultures, fostering new understandings and sparking new relationships. Travel should be the most diverse industry, but it is not! Boosting diversity and inclusion is an opportunity to truly connect with customers by creating campaigns that reflect the people they serve in all their diversity. It is great that the conversation has started, but “nothing changes if nothing changes”, and that’s why we have to start being more vocal. L: How was Riga? Did you do anything noteworthy? JLA: Riga definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s a lovely city, filled with culture, and is home to many museums and concert halls. The city is also known for its wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval Old Town. The pedestrian-only Old Town has many shops and restaurants and is home to busy Livu Square, with bars and nightclubs. I always seek out black history in every destination I go to, and The Black Heads house located in the very heart of Old Riga is a must-see if you want to learn more about history.
THE VOICE | 51
Have the time of your life travelling solo More people are choosing to holiday alone. Tempted? Here are some fantastic options BY JOEL CAMPBELL
ELF-PARTNERS” are taking more package holidays, according to analysis by online travel agent Holiday Hypermarket. The term, coined by actress Emma Watson, refers to people who are happy being single. The research shows that more self-partners than ever are applying the concept to their holidays. A review of bookings from all of the UK’s leading tour operators over the past five years found that the popularity of individual trips is on the rise, with seven per cent more singleperson package holidays taken in 2019 compared to 2018, and over 60 per cent more when compared with 2015. In that five-year period, the favourite destinations for selfpartnered holidays are Spain,
Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, with Tunisia completing the top five choices in 2019.
Ian Crawford, of Holiday Hypermarket, says: “With one great phrase, Ms Watson has summed up the trend of people who are happy being single and refuse to be held back. It’s wonderful to see more and more individuals are having the confidence to enjoy a package holiday on their own. “All-inclusive breaks are perfect for self-partnered holidaymakers, as they can choose to enjoy the food and entertainment that’s laid on, soaking up as much or as little of the atmosphere as they want.” Tempted? Holiday Hypermarket has picked out five ideas for self-partnered winter sun breaks: Spain: 4* Port Benidorm is just 100m from the sea. Seven nights all-inclusive from £581, departing Southend on January 4, holidayhypermarket.co.uk/ details/41815/port-benidorm
Greece: Seven nights allinclusive at 3* Rodos Star on the island of Rhodes start from £660, departing Gatwick on April 1, holidayhypermarket. co.uk/details/14923/rodos-star Turkey: Blue Bay Platinum, a 4* hotel on Turkey’s Dalmatian Coast, has seven-night allinclusive holidays from £637, departing Manchester on April 6, holidayhypermarket.co.uk/ details/42542/blue-bay-platinum-hotel Cyprus: Kick off 2020 with a warm-weather break at 4* Louis Phaethon Beach Club Hotel in Paphos, with seven nights all-inclusive from £397, departing Gatwick on January 1, holidayhypermarket.co.uk/ details/21826/louis-phaethonbeach-club-hotel Tunisia: Arabic-styled 4* Marco Polo Hotel is next to the beach at Yasmine Hammamet. Seven nights all-inclusive costs from £359, departing Gatwick on January 3, holidayhyper market.co.uk/details/34105/ marco-polo-hotel
52 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
CHRISTMAS FACE BEAT W
ITH THE party season upon us it’s time to go big, bold and bright to celebrate the glitz and glam that is Christmas. The party season has officially started, and it’s the time of year where you can add a little extra sparkle to your look! If you’ve not had the confidence to go bold and wouldn’t normally dare to try and recreate these looks yourself, here’s your chance to up the glamour stakes this season. Go bold with statement red lips and luscious false lashes for that uber glam look. Recreate this season’s party looks!
It’s easy to get it wrong when it comes to eyeshadow, which is why many avoid using strong colours as they simply don’t know how to apply them. The key is to make sure you blend, blend, blend. Smudged lines will take away the harshness and help you to wear colour well. Anastasia Beverley Hills Norvina Pro Palette Vol. 1, 2 or 3 are highly pigmented with lots of bold, bright colours to choose from. A definite must! £68, see #1
This Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear foundation comes in a number of shades and covers all skin tones. The matte foundation offers full coverage without feeling heavy and lasts throughout the day and night. £33.50
With all the partying you’ll be doing a good concealer is a must. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer will magic away dark circles and perfect any blemishes. Apply to the darker areas of the skin, e.g. under the eyes, around the mouth and along the nose bridge. £19.50, see #3
The final step would be powder to set the face. Using a powder brush, apply the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder in medium deep all over. A small amount is sufficient to finish the look and prevent any excess shine. £29
To add an extra bit of sparkle to your look, apply the shimmer to the nose or just under the brow bone to highlight the skin and give it an all over glow. Try the luxurious Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in ‘Seduction’. It will give your skin a healthy looking glow, perfect for this winter season. £32, see #5
There’s no better way to inject a bit of colour into your skin than a pop of colour on your cheeks. Darker skin tones hold colour well so instead of your safe neutral tones why not go for a deep orange or bright pink? NARS blush in TAOS is perfect way to add colour to finish off the look. £25, see #6
Lipstick is probably the easiest way to make a statement using bright colours. The classic red
lip is the obvious choice – but why not try a striking blue or orange or even an on-trend metallic lip? Topshop have a wide range of fun colours to choose from. £10, see below and #7
Traditionally mascara has often been either black or brown. In years gone by, however the crazy trend of coloured mascara formed and it is safe to say it has returned – not as big but there is definitely room for a bit of colour on the old lashes. Blue lashes are making a comeback, so I would recommend YSL Vinyl Couture 5 Blue. £26, see #8
These can be tricky to apply so get some practice in. For a bit of extra glam, try Ardell lashes, which come in a variety of different styles, depending on whether you want a natural or more dramatic look. I would recommend the Demi Wispie’s. £4.49, see #9
Now to take it all off! I’m sure most will be far too tired to remove their make-up after a Christmas night out, which is why this Elemis ProCollagen Cleansing Balm is ideal. Quick and effective, leaving skin cleansed, soft and supple. £44, see #10
7 Follow Chantelle on Instagram: @Chantelle_Kimberley, on Twitter: @Chantelle_k1m, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE VOICE | 53
Couple create their own African-inspired Christmas cards for the black and ethnic communities BY JOEL CAMPBELL
OBIN AND Emma-Jane Richards were so fed up with the all to familiar Christmas imagery often slanted towards a Caucasian sentiment that they decided to do something about it, creating their own set of Africaninspired Christmas cards for the black and ethnic communities. The greeting cards mix traditional African patterns with Christmas icons to create fresh, modern festive cards. Speaking on their contribution
“The world is diverse. There is nothing on the market like this at the moment” to a more diverse festive period, the married couple said: “With black people and (their) culture underrepresented we wanted to challenge that, and so created this set of cards depicting common festive imagery with black characters.
“The world is diverse and Christmas should represent that. There is nothing on the market like this at the moment we could find, and if you don’t see it around you, make it happen.” Of the options available at the moment, the couple say their favourite card is the one featuring an angel (pictured top right). Driven by the need to make a difference rather than some spare cash, they told Lifestyle: “We just want to celebrate, in this small way, a more diverse Christmas this year.” For more info and to buy the cards, visit bemmie.co.uk
MODERN: The cards mix traditional African patterns with Christmas icons
54 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Seven staple pieces to see you through the winter chill You don’t need a whole new wardrobe now the weather is getting colder - if you mix and match, you just need some key pieces to give your wardrobe that new-season revamp BY AALIYAH HARRY
S THE air is getting colder and another change of season is upon us – a wardrobe update is essential. But don't fall into the trap of spending all your cash before the pricey festive period. The
art of ‘mix and match’ is still very much alive, and with layering now firmly in season, you must have the essential winter warmers on hand. I’ve put together seven staple items you can wear multiple times to take you through winter in style – without breaking the bank. Here’s a rundown of all the items you need in your wardrobe this winter...
4) Knit jumpers – Keep it cosy with an array of styles and colours. Directional ribbed jumper, Topshop, £32 5) Faux leather trousers – Faux leather is in this season. Pair this key item with anything and everything, from a T-shirt, jumper or sweater to a faux fur jacket. Faux leather slim cigarette trousers, Very, £24 (Photo: La Redoute Collections)
2) Roll/turtle necks – Tie an outfit together while keeping the cold out! It’s time to bring back the classic turtle neck – it’s comfortable, sophisticated and versatile. What more could you want? Oversized polo neck jumper, H&M, £24.99
6) Sturdy but stylish boots – To finish off any look and brave the winter cold, a sturdy but chic boot is your go-to. Suedette high ankle boots in black, Pimkie, £24.99
1) Trench coat – The trench coat is the perfect, effortless finish to any outfit. A staple camel-coloured trench coat is a returner every year. However, this autumn has seen an influx of this ’90s essential – the leather trench coat. Stinga trench coat, New Look, £59.99
3) Neutral blazer – For a blazer you can wear again and again, featuring unique textures and patterns, H&M is where you need to go. To add texture to your wardrobe choose a soft corduroy
blazer. Corduroy jacket, H&M, £25.00 For a smart and sophisticated look, throw on a patterned blazer to break up your standard block colours. Long jacket, H&M, £24.99
7) Baker boy hat – An accessory always ties the look together. Frame your outfit with a warm baker boy hat. Black Teddy baker boy hat, New Look, £7.00
THE VOICE | 55
Kids look fresh
Fresh Ego Kid clothing founder Marvin Morgan launches range for youngsters after celebrating the success of his collaboration with iconic tech brand Xbox BY JOEL CAMPBELL
HE LAST time Lifestyle caught up with founder of Fresh Ego Kid Marvin Morgan, he spoke excitedly about their upcoming partnership with Xbox. The exclusive collaboration produced a must-have ‘Night Ops Camo Controller’ for Xbox One and new all-over print hoodie in a black, grey and gold, available as a limited edition item. Speaking to Lifestyle, Morgan said the connection with Microsoft’s iconic brand was just another step in the direction he wants to be heading. “It’s a great moment in my journey from an ex-professional footballer to building a clothing brand – streetwear is a hard industry,” he said. “A collaboration like this with a tech powerhouse like Xbox just
DYNAMIC: Will Stormzy win even more Mobo awards at next year’s event?
shows if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.” Expanding on the Fresh Ego Kid brand, Morgan’s company recently revealed their kids’ caps and tracksuits, just in time for Christmas.
“A collaboration like this with a powerhouse like Xbox shows if you believe in yourself, anything is possible” Morgan said that it was important the younger ones stayed just as “fresh” as the adults. “I’m fortunate to be able to get the people I do to model the
STYLE: Marvin Morgan, pictured right, has revealed Fresh Ego Kid’s streetwear for children, in the wake of his Xbox collaboration clothes for Fresh Ego Kid, and I’m conscious that kids want to look good, too, so it’s nice to be able to include them in what I do,” he said. The growth being experienced with Fresh Ego Kid at the moment is nothing Morgan didn’t envisage. Earlier this year, he told Lifestyle that his decision to invite a business partner on-board has
enabled him to fulfil a few of the things he wanted to come to fruition. “I’ve come from starting off just a normal clothing line, turning into a clothing brand, doing a collaboration with Starter, going into Footasylum, then doing a collaboration with New Era, then going into JD and Footlocker. “We did a recent collaboration with Xbox which was like, wow.”
Mobo Awards ‘entering new era’ IF YOU’RE one of those who have been missing the Mobo Awards following their brief hiatus from the scene, have no fear: the next instalment will be with you next year. Tickets went on sale last month for the 2020 Mobo Awards, which will be held in Brent’s Wembley Arena on November 12. It is an exciting new era for the iconic awards show, which has established itself as a commanding staple within the music industry over the past two decades,
remaining the premier platform for championing the very best in black music and black culture globally. Led by dynamic and inspirational founder and CEO Kanya King, Mobo is returning for what is an exciting new era in its evolution. King said: “We felt empowered
to bring Mobo back to Brent to coincide with the borough’s Year of Culture, because this is where our fight to challenge the status quo to create a level playing field started. “We are returning with even more determination and energy to support and boost our culture wherever we can. “2020 will see many positive changes that will impact more and more talented young people – very proud to be back and to help ensure that the younger generation will also dare to dream.”
56 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
PIERCE HAS THE PASSION From playing a curmudgeonly detective in The Wire to a powerful attorney and Meghan Markle’s dad in Suits, Wendell Pierce is now ready to embark on one of his most demanding acting challenges BY LEAH SINCLAIR
WENDELL PIERCE is just getting started. While the 55-year-old is undoubtedly a veteran in the industry, his continuous interest and passion for each production he stars in and script he reads is almost akin to an actor who is just starting to excitedly uncover their craft – and as he continues to juggle theatre, film and TV, there is still much more to come from the esteemed actor. “Acting is a vocation, a thing that you’re called to do and love to do. Then you try to make it your occupation,” he says.
Pierce’s passion for acting first began back in the Deep South. The born-and-raised Louisiana native attended a theatre camp as child where he got his first taste of the stage. “Around the age of 10 or 11, I told my mother I didn’t want to go to summer camp anymore, and she said, ‘well you’ve got to get out of the house’. So, I went to a theatre camp and I really enjoyed it,” he recalls. “As I got older, I also got into American football and I was playing in my middle school years. “Then I got to high school and they were recruiting for the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts.
I went there, I stopped playing football and it was real serious study. They really prepared me to take acting seriously.” While the decision to leave behind football and go full throttle with acting was challenging, Pierce persevered and was accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School’s Drama Division, where he graduated as a member of Group 14 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. What would soon follow for the young southern gentleman living in 1980s New York was a long and prosperous career,
“I came to London 40 years ago as a teenager and always dreamed that one day I’d be coming back” starring in over 30 films including Malcolm X to The Twilight Saga, nearly 50 television shows ranging from The Wire to Suits and dozens of stage productions, including his current run as Willy Loman in Death of A Salesman. Pierce stars in the West End production of the Arthur Miller
STARRING ROLE: Wendell Pierce is playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman
classic and has made history as the first African American actor to assume the role of Willy Loman – a role he takes on with great responsibility. “I came to London 40 years ago as a teenager and always dreamed that one day I would be coming back,” admits Pierce. “To be here in this historic production as the first African American man to play Willy Loman is a great honour. And to make my London debut in anything is a dream come true.” For an actor as established as Pierce, the significance of this play and what it means to take on the role isn’t lost on him. The 1949 stage play is often considered an American classic, winning a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the story told on stages for 70 years.
“I studied Death of a Salesman long ago – it’s part of the cannon you’re responsible for, if you’re going to be serious about your craft,” says Pierce. “It is the equivalent of Hamlet or King Lear. It’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, American drama of the 20th century. So, when the role presented itself, I jumped at the chance because this is one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had as an actor.” Death of a Salesman addresses many themes of identity, loss, change and the many challeng-
es Loman faces within himself and society as his memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments make up the last 24 hours of his life. “This character is under one of the most complex and heavy psychological burdens, not only the size of the role, but the intellectual stress and psychologi-
Legal student Sydonie is new Caribbean Queen BY JOEL CAMPBELL EARLIER THIS month, Sydonie Barrett was crowned the new Miss Caribbean UK Queen, representing the Cayman Islands. Barrett, 24, pictured right, is an International Law student on a full scholarship and will commence her legal practice course following her pageant success. Her passions include fitness, community service and politics, and she has developed immense self-confidence from
exposure in leadership roles held within many organisations, while she also possesses the same confidence and pride in her culture and background.
Clarice Stewart. Miss Personality was won by Rene Thompson, while the People’s Choice award was scooped by Barrett.
Organisers told The Voice that Barrett had proven her integrity through positions such as Leader of the Opposition in the CPA Youth Parliament of the Cayman Islands and her involvement in community services. Runners-up on the night included Deearnie Felix and Dale Joseph. The award for Best Evening Dress went to
cal impact – the level that you have to rise to,” reveals Pierce. “That’s why I call it the American Hamlet, it’s the same sort of challenge. “You have to have the technical proficiency to deal with the text, but at the same time, you have to have a deep well of emotional and psychological accessibility for the role.”
If anyone is able to tackle the role, Pierce is certainly the man to do it. As he glides between theatre, film and TV, the actor is constantly adding new skills to his arsenal making him a joy to watch in any capacity – a result of his evolving love for his craft which he says will remain regardless of his employment status. “I accept the fact that one day
it [acting] may not be my occupation,” he added. “I may have to earn a living some other way. I could be working at some factory, getting home in the evening, taking a shower and still head to a local community theatre and do a play. This will always be my vocation.” Death of A Salesman runs at Piccadilly Theatre until January 4 2020.
THE VOICE | 57
‘THE SONGS I’VE MADE WOULD MAKE 5-YEAR-OLD ME PROUD’
Shakka talks about his new track, working with Mr Eazi and how he ended up with his name BY JOEL CAMPBELL
ROUD OF his latest contribution to the UK musical landscape, Shakka says Too Bad Bad, featuring rising Afrobeats star Mr Eazi, is some of his best work to date. With an album coming soon, the British artist sat down with Lifestyle to talk about his name, his journey so far and the ease of working with Mr Eazi. The Island Records artist has been making his mark on music over the past few years with multiple Mobo wins under his belt and an army of loyal fans. Following the success of his now-platinum 2018 hit with AlunaGeorge, Man Down (which is currently on more than 90m streams across platforms), Too Bad Bad is Shakka’s first offering in 2019, whetting the appetite of a fanbase which has been starved for too long. Shakka says of the new track: “Banx & Ranx sent me a bunch of beats, and this beat stood out – it was raw and sexy without being try-hard. It felt like I had to come with sauce, a song that is just a vibe from front to back. “When we sent it to Eazi, he jumped straight into the studio, whilst he was on tour, and knocked it out of the park. He delivered a no-holds-barred, serious Nigerian/RnB vocal. Our finest collaboration to date.” Shakka’s unquestionable vocal ability and individual style is showcased perfectly on the new single and is a taste of what has attracted an array of artists from around the globe to work with him, including Wretch32, JME, AlunaGeorge, Young Thug, Mr Vegas and more. Lifestyle: Your name, it’s a real powerful name – who gave it to you, mum or dad, or was it a joint effort? Shakka: My dad wanted to instil Afrocentricity into me and he thought the wisest thing to do was give me a name associated withy strength, that was associated with leadership and that was associated with the African heritage that was bestowed onto him, so the name was apt. So, to distinguish between myself and Chaka Demus and Pliers, Jah Shaka the sound
system, Shaka Zulu and Chaka Khan, he said let’s give him a ‘Shakka’, that will last the test of time, and so two Ks were put on. L: What’s your journey been like, what has brought Shakka to this point in his career? S: The journey has been fun. I’ve gone from recording songs that had a heavy influence of indie rock and reggae to RnB and hiphop, to now taking more advantage of my voice and romance and soul and electronica. The songs that I have made so far are ones my five-yearold self would be proud of. It’s been a mixture of being at music schools, being at youth clubs, working with different people I met back in the day. Making independent mixtapes, Wretch 32 heard the mixtape and then we did Blackout together. Then deciding OK cool, I’m making enough money to do this. People know me for different things, there are those who know me for barring, writing, producing, but melody has always been my thing. L: Too Bad Bad features Mr Eazi, was it an easy collab to pull together? S: Eazi is a wonderful soul. I hadn’t heard him sing and I’ll tell anyone that it is probably one of the best collaborations I have done to date. He has such a presence on planet Earth now, it’s inspiring to see what he is doing with emPawa, with Coca-Cola... Kids are looking on his Instagram and are like “I wanna be like that guy”, and they are believing that it is possible to do so. Aside from his being a great role model he is a great artist and it’s very evident with this collaboration that we did. Coming down to do the video, the sauce and the swagger was just welcoming and he was just very professional and expedient in terms of working well with the experts and geniuses that we had as members of the team. L: You sounded great on the track as well! S: Thank you. I’ve been working with Banx & Ranx for years and the connection that I have with them, when it comes to making beats, there is no question, it just happens. I had been working with this beat pack that they sent me for
SUCCESS: Too Bad Bad, inset, is Shakka’s first track this year a good couple of months and I wrote this a year and a bit before we put it out and the song in general was about personifying this women who is the perfect shoulder to cry on, the perfect rock, the perfect queen to take you out of a dark place when you do go to a dark place but I didn’t want to make it dreary. It sounds like a light at the end of the tunnel and that irrespective of what you are going through in life, you can still dance, your legs work, your
lungs work, your hands work and you can literally find a way out of it. I studied a lot of music to find the rhythmic and melodic pockets for this because I hear a lot of songs that it’s very evident that they are just singing over an Afrobeats song and thinking that’s how it’s meant to be and it’s not. I’m proud of the song. Watch the full interview at voice-online.co.uk.
58 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
BRIDGING THE GAP Chadwick Boseman talks about how playing a police oﬃcer in 21 Bridges has altered his perspective on the cops
BY LEAH SINCLAIR
HE FIRST time I saw Chadwick Boseman in person was at the Black Panther London premiere in 2018. Packed into a tight media line on a rainy evening at Hammersmith Apollo, I was excited at the chance to speak with the cast of the highly anticipated film and, most importantly, the star at the centre of it all. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to speak with him at that premiere and ask my burning questions surrounding his ascent to film stardom, as the lead actor in what later became one of Marvel’s most successful blockbusters of all time. But, never one to fear, I felt that the opportunity would arise once again. A year-and-a-half later and here we are, sitting opposite one another in the swanky Corinthia Hotel discussing his latest movie 21 Bridges. The flick, directed by Brian Kirk (Luther, Game of Thrones) and produced by Avengers directing duo Anthony and Joseph Russo, follows the story of NYPD detective Andre Davis [Chadwick Boseman] who
leads a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers and undergoes an intense search which leads to the closure of 21 bridges into and out of Manhattan to prevent any entry or exit from the island. The one-hour-43-minute film makes for a gripping watch, combining explosive actionpacked moments, twists and thrills, richly detailed characters and a layered social commentary – elements that Boseman could see when he was first approached about the film.
“The first thing that drew me to the film was the Russo Brothers, who I worked with on Avengers,” says Boseman. “They came to me at the premiere of Infinity War and said they have this script that they felt I was perfect for. “At the time, the story wasn’t perfect and the character wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be, but that was an opportunity to change it. “I met Brian [Kirk], we talked about how we could collaborate, and I basically signed up before the rewrite of the script was done, just because I saw the opportunities there.” And Boseman took the opportunity to make a significant
input on the character as he served both as lead actor and producer. “My initial thought of the character was that I felt he was too controlled by the politics of the city,” says the 41-year-old actor. “So it changed into what we see in the movie – this guy who has an amazing skillset and has a sense of balancing vengeance and justice because of what he’s gone through with
“The character wasn’t where I wanted it, but that was an opportunity to change it” losing his father at a young age. “He’s the person that’s going to get closer to the evil or to the person who inflicts pain. That’s why he’s misunderstood, and all of that stuff we found in the writing and character development.” To tackle the new and improved Andre Davis, Boseman undertook training with NYPD officers, going on rides across
CENTRAL ROLE: Chadwick Boseman is both the lead actor and a producer in the new movie 21 Bridges
the city and learning how to look and feel like a cop – an experience which he said slightly altered his perspective on the police. “That experience adjusted my perspective, but it didn’t completely change it,” added Boseman. “I have my social and political beliefs about how cops interact with people of colour and that hasn’t necessarily changed, but I feel like I understand what a police officer goes through on a day-to-day basis.” The South Carolina native revealed one particular instance that altered his point of view. “We watched a police shootout and, while I can’t say I sympathise or I understand their perspective, I do understand they’re looking through the focus of a gun,” details Boseman. “If something happens over there, I don’t look away from the focus of the gun, I turn the focus of the gun to something that’s happening over there and I may make a mistake when I do that. “They’re [the police] trained to look through that focus and not to look away from the focus. So I understand how mistakes are made and I understand how sometimes their lives are saved because they do that as well.
“It means to me that a lot of thought and personal development has to happen before you put that gun up.” Taking on the role of US law enforcement must come with moral complexities as a black man living in America today. Those difficulties don’t seem lost on Boseman given the current socio-political climate and how it’s incorporated into the film as Davis debates siding with his boys in blue who want vengeance while sticking to the code and uncovering the truth. “It’s funny, because in the film we’re restricted by time and space and have a deadline to catch these killers,” recalls Boseman. “And so because of that restricted time a lot of stuff is missed, questions that should be asked don’t get asked and lead us down this dangerous path.”
21 Bridges makes for an easy and enjoyable watch and part of its appeal is the ability to see a black man lead a role that isn’t centred solely on his race but is merely a good ol’ New York crime story with a black male lead. During our tete-a-tete, I asked Boseman about the significance of a previous interview he did
in 2015 while promoting Gods of Egypt – a 2016 fantasy film which was criticised for whitewashing Egyptian history while Boseman took on the only black role of Throth, the God of Wisdom. In the interview, Boseman said “people don’t make $140m movies with black and brown people” – a statement which is now pretty ironic after the LA resident starred in arguably the biggest black-led film with a multi-million dollar budget. I asked whether he’s hopeful for the future of black-led cinema being made on such a massive scale, to which he replied that he is hopeful for black stories to be told to the masses at “any scale”. “I love the fact that it’s been done so it can be done again, but sometimes you don’t need all that to have success. “It’s all promising, and I’m not saying that we are where we need to be in terms of the industry changing, but I see great opportunities for a lot of my colleagues,” concludes Boseman. “I’m enjoying watching what’s happening and being a part of it.” 21 Bridges is in cinemas now.
This is Brukout!
THE VOICE | 59
by Seani B
The Afrobeat treat This style of music is here to stay, and we shouldn’t pit black genres against each other. On top of that, it’s helped to unveil some truly amazing talent
HE DISCUSSION had been hot online and the headlines have read “Afrobeats is taking the dancehall playlist spots in the UK!” I was receiving phone calls and WhatsApp messages asking if it was true. There seemed to have been several stories that had emerged in the Jamaican press that seemed to point to the discussion being had all over social media. It started with a conversation with PR specialist and Grammywinning producer Cristy Barber which was misunderstood. She had just been in the UK promoting the new Spragga Benz album Chiliagon, which she was working on. During an interview with the Jamaican Gleaner, she spoke about playlist spots, but was actually referring to the US radio stations. What was seemingly a simple misunderstanding had led to the internet taking over. Personally, I don’t see it as ‘versus’ or a takeover. I see it as another black music genre growing in the mainstream that should be given its space respectfully. Why should we be pitted against each other in this manner? However, as Cristy outlined to me: “Some of this Afrobeats stuff is better than the hip-hop tracks, but unfortunately reggae gets to take the backseat because some of these radio programmers are not educated enough to know these are different music genres.” The popularity and growth of
Afrobeats over the last few years cannot be questioned. The scene has grown many stars worldwide like WizKid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage and Davido. This feeling of Africa having stars like this is not a new phenomenon to me. I first visited Kenya around 13 years ago when reggae and dancehall was still an underground movement. I remember having to go down the commercial Sean Paul route for my DJ set. What I did notice was the support for local acts – they were huge, with superstar status rightfully on their own soil.
TOP PERFORMERS: Afrobeat star Tiwa Savage and, inset, dancehall star Koffee have been allowed to fulfil their amazing potential in the genres
What I was told on the way back to the hotel was that bootlegging was stopping the artist from truly seeing their full potential in record sales. This was a global problem at the time, but magnified in a region like this, as no-one bought CDs legally. Fast forward to 2019 where we live in an age of digital streaming. Numbers, stats and analytics mean everything. As long as someone hits the play button you score a point. This is when you have to look at demographics and reach. I recently hosted a Q&A for the launch of Walshy Fire’s Abeng album. During this discussion he made a very valid point about the numbers game and Africa. The estimated population of Nigeria is 200 million, and with numbers like that it’s not going to be hard to build a following from local support, and with those numbers comes attention
and traction. It all sounds very simple, when you think about it logically, but there are some things that we do have control of in the reggae market. The discussion of playlists at radio stations got me think-
told of only one that did have a playlist and, guess what, it was mainly RnB, pop and hip-hop tracks. Would I be wrong in thinking, well you can’t expect others to support the music in a particular
“It’s another black music genre in the mainstream that should be respected” ing. Do Jamaican radio stations operate a playlisted schedule where you hear the most popular songs or ‘important songs’ on rotation? I asked a few of my broadcasting colleagues on various stations on the island, all of whom answered “no”. I was
way if you are not doing it yourself, or is this just too simple? Is it these simple things that the reggae/dancehall circle need to look at to fix the problems that we are seemingly facing? No-one can question the influence of the music on a global
stage, but is the core of the Jamaican music scene invited to this wider party? I actually don’t worry about this, as I’ve seen many new music movements come and make an impact. Drum n bass, garage, dubstep, reggaeton, EDM. When this happens, the foundation of RnB, hip-hop and reggae seem to get pushed to the back of the room for the new kid in class to come and shine for a moment. Unlike some of the other genres I’ve seen have their time, I do believe Afrobeats is here to stay, as it’s built on a culture that has deep history. I also see a sense of pride in the young African generation to fly their flag and tell their story, just like how I did as a young dancehall fan whose mother
was Jamaican. I represented with pride! I like the fact that a discussion about our industry or lack of an industry is now a priority. The ball is definitely in our court in terms of making things better for us all. While there is a global demand for our music, we have to get the infrastructure of our business together. The longerterm vision, goals and aspirations as an industry have to be more aligned – we are way too fractured as a series of businesses and that helps the few, not the majority. While radio stations and outlets have a role to play, so do artists, managers, agents and promoters. It’s time for us to get back to work. “Playtime is over, shottas are back!”
60 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Gregory Isaacs Foundation goes global African nations and the German city of Essen are at the heart of future plans BY JEROME CONWAY
FOUNDATION IN honour of Gregory Isaacs, one of Jamaica’s greatest reggae singers, has gone global with the launch of GI Foundation Ltd in different countries throughout Africa, as well as a big event planned in Germany. The creators of the foundation are following up the last wish of ‘cool ruler’ Gregory Isaacs – “Remember me for my music”. The aims and objectives set out by the Gregory Isaacs Foundation are focused on:
l Setting up a Music Academy for children and adolescents from low-income families, l Organising events for talents, as well as established artists, l Generating income that makes the foundation independent of sponsors, by starting to offer Gregory Isaacs’ Music Catalogue via CSP Service, based on local distribution circumstances individually by each country, l Expansion and establishment of the music market, based and tailored to local circumstances, which serve for the expanded distribution of music. (Not all regions have internet
access to download portals, so other resources are used.) Next year, there will be a celebration of what would have been Gregory Isaacs’ 70th birthday, together with ‘Original Jamaican Jerk Fest©2018’ in different European and African countries.
The kick-off is ‘Essen’s Original Jamaican Jerk Fest’ to be hosted in the Germany city. In 2010, Essen was named the cultural capital of the RhineRuhr and Ruhr region, and is now gearing up to celebrate 10 years of cultural capital status. Jamaica and its culture is
BUSY TIME: The Visit Essen marketing team are working on big plans for 2020 also a very welcome boost to the Lord Mayor of Essen, to demonstrate cosmopolitanism and intercultural exchange.
And in February, the founder of ‘Original Jamaican Jerk Fest’, Kirsten Uhl, and director of Gregory Isaacs Foundation
Ltd, Linda Diane Isaacs, met the director of Visit Essen, Mr Groppe, with the plans having been drawn up since then.
THE VOICE | 61
‘I WROTE THIS BOOK SO IT COULD BE A CLAIM TO MY CHILDHOOD’
Lemn Sissay has used the power of words to relive the positives and negatives of his upbringing BY YINKA SUNMONU
HIS IS the memory of me,” says acclaimed poet Lemn Sissay about his memoir My Name Is Why. It is a heart-rending story of growing up in the care system and a damning critique of practices. Sissay has written about his experiences of care since the 1990s and the discovery that his name was not Norman Greenwood, as he was led to believe. The difference in this book is that it examines and comments on official documents held on him by Wigan Social Services. They were contained in a series of four files that took some 30 years to acquire. At one stage, he was told they were lost. The findings resulted in a legal case that was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
The files form the backbone of his memoir through documents and letters from birth until leaving the care system. Sissay was born in Lancashire in 1967 to Yemarshet Sissay, an unwed student from Ethiopia. She was placed in St Margaret’s Home for Unmarried Mothers, where she was expected to sign adoption papers. She refused. So social worker Norman Goldthorpe placed Lemn in long-term foster care with Catherine and David Greenwood, a Baptist family of strong faith. Life was good initially, and the
Greenwoods went on to have three children of their own. However, things started to change, often in subtle ways, and Sissay recalls “an underlining unkindness”, like the time he was asked to remove his trousers and give them to his brother just as they were about to leave for a wedding. When he took biscuits from a tin, he was accused of stealing. During a family meeting, he was told he would be leaving. He was 12. Sissay moved to Woodfields children’s home, the first of four different homes. It was the start of uprootedness, lack of care, attention, love.
Aged 14, he carved a homemade tattoo with the initials NG – Norman Greenwood – on to his wrist. He would learn years later that it was not his name. “I wanted to tell the truth as best as I could, the negatives and positives and the personal things that should be known,” says Sissay. In the book. we learn about his experiences of being bullied, trying to adapt to his circumstances, becoming self-sufficient and learning to be a black child in a white world. “Nobody told me that I was the same colour as Muhammad Ali,” he writes in an excerpt. Indeed, he learns some aspects of blackness through music and Rastafarianism. We also learn about his reluctance to move to another foster family and of his transfer to the Wood End Assessment Centre in 1984. That centre would be closed following allegations of abuse in a scandal that drew national attention. With searing honesty, Sissay recounts how his experiences led to a breakdown. Yet underpinning much of this is Sissay’s quest to know about his birth mother There were good people in this ‘his-story’. His social worker, Mr Mills, tried to help find his mother and offer support. He says as a child of the state, Margaret Thatcher became his mother. The bottom line is, he had access to a childhood recalled in files, not through people. “There is nobody to dispute
the memory of me,” he says. “This book is my claim to my childhood.” He does not have memories of birthdays or childhood recollections of family. He cannot sit around a table and reminisce about a particular time or event. He has no photographs. Staff did not take them. The cover image of the book, a young Lemn standing with two other children, was sent by somebody who recognised him after he became famous. Given his findings, did he find the writing therapeutic? “I don’t think it was. It is about the negatives and the positives in the UK care system, the known but, most importantly, the unknown.”
“We need people to write their stories so they can be seen as statements in the court of popular culture”. He learns that his mother did not abandon him. She was called home soon after his birth as her father was ill. Yermashet Sissay wrote to the authorities in 1968 asking them to send Lemn (whose name means Why in Amharic) home to her in Ethiopia.
“It is easy to write about the obvious stuff, but it becomes more apparent what is not written,” he added. “I am the writer. I wanted to do the best I could do.” This includes writing what he calls unpalatable truths. During the early stages of his development, he is referred to as “the boy”. By its nature, My Name Is Why reveals some of the practices of the time. It is testament to many children who cannot corroborate their stories. “With memoir, you need to be true to your story. “A writer should be able to
SO PERSONAL: Lemn Sissay has used My Name Is Why, inset, to tell the story of his early years stand behind their writings,” he says. He mentions the “vulnerability” in the writings of Maya Angelou, and how Linton Kwesi Johnson documented the harsh realities of London life. “My story is particularly of an Ethiopian stolen by a country. We need people to write their
stories so that they can be seen as witness statements in the court of popular culture,” he adds. Sissay is an advocate and influential voice on foster care where it is documented that, in many cases, the odds of successful outcomes for a child can diminish overtime.
He is testament to the fact that one can survive and thrive, even when the system may position one to fail. He must be thanked for telling this story. My Name Is Why reached number one on The Sunday Times bestseller list. It is published by Canongate, priced £16.99
62 THEVOICE VOICE DECEMBER DECEMBER 2019 62||THE
What’s on & where DAYS OUT A Christmas Carol Scrooge’s Parlour, Immersive Olivier Award-winning producers Hartshorn Hook Productions team up with Flavourology, the innovative team who made their name creating immersive dining experiences with Gingerline, to create a heart-warming, footstomping immersive production and veritable Christmas feast. Created by writer Alexander Wright and director Tom Bellerby and starring Alexander Barclay as Scrooge and Jack Witham as Marley, this will be the ninth year this festive classic will be presented. Until January 5 Tuesday – Saturday, 7.15pm, 1pm matinees on Saturdays; 6pm performance on Sundays Immersive LDN, 56 Davies St, Mayfair, London W1K 5HR 020 7836 8463 £65.50-£71.50 (including two course meal) The Winter Carnival from John Lewis & Partners Experience the wonder of John Lewis & Partners’ rooftop, one of London’s largest roof gardens, as it’s transformed into a Winter Carnival this festive season. Tucked away high above the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, guests will be enchanted by the Americana makeover, set with the perfect Insta-
moments, from fairground horses to waltzer panels and bumper cars to pose in, to brightly coloured smart lights powered by Philips Hue. Until January 5 Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm (last orders at 8pm) John Lewis & Partners, 300 Oxford St, London W1C 1DX johnlewis.com/ourservices/roof-garden Free Natural History Museum Ice Rink Returning for 2019, it’s the perfect festive day out in a simply stunning setting. The Natural History Museum Ice Rink welcomes visitors of all ages and abilities, with more than 200,000 people from around the world putting on their skates and getting on the ice last year alone. This year the sparkling rink, located along South Kensington’s twinkling tree-lined streets, will be topped off with a 30ft Christmas tree. Until January 12 Check the website for daily session times Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD 0844 847 1576 nhmskating.com From £8.80 for children, £12.65 for adults, £36.90 for family (handling fees may apply)
Thurs and Sat 3pm Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3JP 020 7870 6876 parktheatre.co.uk From £18.50
WINTER WONDERLAND: John Lewis & Partners transformed their rooftop garden Arena – Liverpool; Apollo – Manchester; First Direct Arena – Leeds; SEC Armadillo – Glasgow; P&J Arena – Aberdeen; Bord Gais Theatre – Dublin; Arena – Birmingham; Bournemouth International Centre – Bournemouth; Motorpoint Arena – Cardiff; Brighton Centre – Brighton; Royal Concert Hall – Nottingham; Hammersmith Apollo – London ticketline.co.uk From £45 - £65, up to £70 in London
The Baltic Triangle, Liverpool £16.75 to £44.25 (under-12s go free)
THEATRE Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal Cirque du Soleil is gliding into the UK with its coolest arena show yet – Crystal. This one-of-a-kind arena show blends circus arts and the world of ice skating in a stunning new production that will take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground where stunning skating combined with jaw dropping acrobatic feats defy the imagination. March 6-8, 2020 TBC FlyDSA Arena, Broughton Ln, Sheffield, S9 2DF cirquedusoleil.com/ crystal £33 to £156
Positive Vibration – Festival of Reggae 2020 After a year-long hiatus, the UK’s award-winning MUSIC celebration of reggae An Evening with Whitney music and Jamaican culture returns to the Baltic BASE Hologram, the leading live event producer Triangle, Liverpool. Since its inception in of cutting edge holographic 2016, Positive Vibration live entertainment tours and attractions worldwide, has established itself as one of the country’s has announced – in partnership with the estate most exciting and eclectic reggae festivals, playing of renowned songstress host to internationally and legendary performer renowned bands, Whitney Houston, left, legendary sound systems – the UK dates of the and selectors, and some of upcoming hologram the brightest new talent. touring production. This Next year’s festival is is the only production no exception, with some authorised by the Whitney absolute heavyweights Houston estate, and features the chance to hear already confirmed, including: Hollie Cook + her renditions of classic General Roots, General hits I Will Always Love Levy + Joe Ariwa, Neville You, I Wanna Dance With Staple Band, Mungo’s Hi Fi Somebody (Who Loves ft. Charlie P, African Head Me) and Higher Love. Charge, Mad Professor, February 27, 2020 to Tippa Irie and more… March 10, 2020 June 12-13 M&S Bank Arena 2
Gypsy – A Royal Exchange Theatre production Broadway is back in Manchester with this wild production of the magnificent Gypsy. Directed by Jo Davies, and with a songbook bursting with classics (Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Some People, Rose’s Turn), Gypsy is theatre’s ultimate celebration of the grime, graft and glamour of show
business – and the power of the mother-daughter bond. Book by Arthur Laurents. Music by Jule Styne. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Suggested by memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. Original production by David Merrick and Leland Hayward. Entire production originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. November 30 – January 25, 2020 Old Bank St, Manchester, M2 7PE 0161 833 9833 royalexchange.co.uk Standard tickets from £19
Back to the Future – The Musical Producer Colin Ingram (Ghost – The Musical) and the creators of the film Back To The Future, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, are delighted to announce Tony Award winner Roger Bart, as Dr Emmett Brown in the world premiere of Back to the Future – The Musical, which will open at the Manchester Opera House for a strictly limited 12week season, prior to transferring to the West End. February 20 – May 17, 2020 6pm – 7pm Opera House Manchester, 3 Quay Street, Manchester M3 3HP 0844 871 3018 From £19.55
Cinderella: The Pantomime Worthing Theatres and Paul Holman Associates have announced their fantastic annual family pantomime Cinderella, playing at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing. Poor downtrodden Cinderella lives a life of misery, bullied and bossed around by her divaliscious step-sisters. But with her best friend Buttons by her side and the magical help Rags – The Musical of her Fairy Godmother, Following the critically will Cinderella make it to acclaimed season at the ball and back again the Hope Mill Theatre, before midnight? Manchester earlier this Starring Ian Waite from year, Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment and Joseph Strictly Come Dancing, CBBC presenter Naomi Houston and William Wilkinson and Mark Read Whelton for Hope Mill from the boyband A1. Theatre are delighted to November 29 – January announce the transfer of their production of Stephen 5, 2020 10,15am, 2pm, Schwartz’s Rags – The 6.30pm Musical to Park Theatre, Pavilion Theatre, London, for a limited Marine Parade, season. Worthing With a ravishing score BN11 3PX by the songwriters of 020 7870 6876 Wicked and Annie and worthingtheatres.co.uk the bookwriter of Fiddler From £12 On The Roof, this is a sweeping saga of America’s immigrant past. ‘Master Harold’… And January 9 to February 8, The Boys Tony Award-winning 2020 playwright Athol Fugard’s Mon – Sat 7.30pm;
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T O CH P
Kara Walker: Fons Americanus
Best known for her provocative and candid investigations of race, sexuality and violence through the history of slavery, Kara Walker has now created one of the most ambitious Hyundai Commissions to date. Fons Americanus presents an origin story of the African diaspora and poses timely questions about what is remembered and what is forgotten in public monuments. It is a 13-metre tall working fountain that is inspired by the Victoria Fountain in front of Buckingham Palace. But rather than a celebration of the British Empire, Walker’s fountain explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe. She uses water as a key theme, referring to the transatlantic slave trade and the ambitions, fates and tragedies of people from these three continents. Until 5 April 2020 10am – 6pm, and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG 020 7887 8888 Free
semi-autobiographical and blistering masterwork explores the nature of friendship, and the ways people are capable of hurting even those they love. Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night) directs Lucian Msamati (Amadeus) and Hammed Animashaun (Barber Shop Chronicles) as Sam and Willie. Until December 17 Various The National Theatre, Upper Ground, Lambeth, London, SE1 9PX nationaltheatre.org.uk Various I Think We Are Alone A production by Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth, coproduced with Curve, I Think We Are Alone is a bittersweet and funny take on our ache to connect with those voices we need to hear again, those arms we need to feel around us and those faces we need to see again. It is about letting go and holding on to what we love the most. The production features Chizzy Akudolu, whose
credits include Edmond De Bergerac (Birmingham Rep), The Rec Room (Triforce), and The Vagina Monologues (UK Tour), and is designed by Morgan Large with lighting by Paul Keogan, sound by Ella Wahlstrom and casting by Will Burton. February 3 – 8 Contact venue Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 2TR 01752 267222 Trafalgar Studios 2, Check venue 14 Whitehall, London King’s Head Theatre’s SW1A 2DY revival of Kevin Elyot’s 0844 871 7632 Coming Clean Monday – Thursday and Following a criticallySaturday matinees: £25 acclaimed sell-out run, – £30 the King’s Head Theatre, Friday and Saturday Making Productions and evenings: £30 – £40 RGM Productions are delighted to announce the The Little Prince smash-hit play, Coming Following Omnibus Clean. Theatre’s award-winning Adam Spreadburysuccess of crafting Maher, artistic director of beautiful winter shows the King’s Head Theatre, for all ages comes this will direct the production, brilliant blend of enchanting which will run for a strictly storytelling, delightful limited four-week season puppetry, live music with a as it returns to Trafalgar dash of festive magic. Studios 2. Joyously adapted for January 8 – Feb 1 the stage by critically contact venue acclaimed writer Sally
Pomme Clayton (“who can bring the wonder of the most powerful stories to life for audiences of any age” – The Guardian) and directed by Omnibus Theatre’s artistic director Marie McCarthy. Inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s childhood classic, left, which has sold more than 150m copies worldwide. December 4 – 30 10.30am and 1.30pm weekdays 11am and 2pm weekends 020 7498 4699 1 Clapham Common North Side, Clapham, London SW4 0QW From £8 Jack And The Beanstalk Theatre Peckham’s Christmas show is a good old panto but with an inner-city Peckham vibe. This version of the classic fairytale, right, is inspired by the electric 80s and teen movie era. Theatre stalwart Michael Bertenshaw stars as the ‘dame’. In the estate where Jack lives there have been a series of break-ins. Even
aspiring young detective Lucy is finding it hard to follow the clues. All is lost for Jack and his Mum until a mystical rapper Shot the Poet sets the adventure in motion with a bag of magical beans… December 4-22 10.15am, 2pm, 6.30pm 221 Havil St, Camberwell, London SE5 7SD 020 7708 5401 Adult £15/Child £12/ Family £40
survey of the work of Berlin collective HoneySuckle Company, bringing together key moments of the group’s 25-year history. Founded in 1994, Honey-Suckle Company identify themselves as a movement, built around a series of fluctuating and ephemeral interventions within the fields of fashion, music and art. Until January 12
Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
ICA – The Mall, St. James’s, London, Honey-Suckle Company: SW1Y 5AH ica.art Omnibus £5 Omnibus is the first
Steve McQueen – Year 3 Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen unveils his epic portrait of London’s Year 3 pupils. Running until May 3, 2020 10am – 6pm Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG 020 7887 8888 tate.org.uk/britain Free
64 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
SHELF IMPROVEMENT Reading is fundamental, so it’s time to get your mitts on some of the Lifestyle picks of the month. There’s something for everyone amid our top selections... agenda. With pupils competing for the most glamorous destinations, the stakes are high.
A Black Eyed Kid Comes To Stay: Zarok and The Dogs of Hell Written by K M Akehurst Gavin and Drew Mason can’t believe it when an alien clambers in through their bedroom window on bonfire night. Heartlessly abandoned on a joyride, Zarok, a ‘Black Eyed Kid’ needs somewhere to stay – in secret! Zarok is initiated into Gavin and Reubin’s club, ‘The Dogs of Hell’, but the boys’ antics don’t escape the notice of Higglesdon Wick town. Church bells ring out at night, things go missing or are mysteriously replaced as Zarok’s presence is felt, especially when he tries attending secondary school. However, when the explorer patron Chester Cass leaves his fortune to the school, trips to America are firmly on the
Black Like Me Written by John Howard Griffin In October 1959, before the Civil Rights movement would spread across the United States, John Howard Griffin underwent medical treatment to disguise himself as a black man. He then travelled through the segregated Deep South of America, exchanging the privileged life of a white man for the disenfranchisement of the black man, and experienced the racism that was endured by millions on a daily basis. From the threat of violence to the simple indignities of being unable to use a drinking fountain or buy food from a particular shop, Griffin documented the experience of rac-
ism and opened the eyes of white America to the abuses going on in their country. How To Keep Your Eyes On The Prize Written by Karl Wilson and Delroy Constantine-Simms How To Keep Your Eyes on the Prize offers more than 100 practical tips that will empower you to set your own goals effectively and achieve them, and stresses the importance of setting performance goals that are achievable and feasible. This guide book also reminds users that performance goals are goals that can only be achieved by sheer determination and action, while outcome goals are usually situations that are sometimes out of our control.
Happy To Be Me: A Collection of 50 Poems Reflecting Love Hope and Faith Written by Maureen Drackett-Fuller
Happy To Be Me is the first book in the Think Doctor Publications Poetry For The Soul series. Happy To Be Me is a collection of more than 50 poems which reflect a number of life experiences that most readers should be able to recognise. Happy To Be Me is not about conveying deep-rooted insight or encouraging philosophical discourse. Happy To Be Me is simply about inspiring and motivating others to minimalise negative thoughts, feelings and emotions in their lives by way of creating a positive, poetic platform. Rest assured, Happy To Be Me will touch your heart, mind and even soul beyond measure. Enjoy this poetic journey and, most of all, be happy to be yourself.
Navigating the Entrepreneurial Journey Written by Dr Ricky A Gallaway In this book, you will learn the path to entrepreneurship and how to effectively chart and navigate your course. And, more importantly, you will learn that most face similar challenges and obstacles. Each of us is born with an entrepreneurial spirit. We can all identify a problem, solve it, and market the solution for profit, but only a select few do it. This book helps you identify and navigate the path to complete your entrepreneurial journey.
to, and when we need to let go. Two girls, two different worlds, one unexpected friendship. Belinda is everything a good Ghanaian housegirl should be. Diligent and uncomplaining, she knows exactly how to follow the rules. Amma has never been a great one for rule-keeping. And when her parents meet Belinda on a visit from England, they suspect she might be just the shining example their wayward teenager daughter needs. So Belinda must leave behind her old life and travel to London to befriend a girl who shows no desire for her company. But in this bewildering city, surprises are waiting down every bus route, and when the cracks in Amma’s defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding on to are brought into the light.
Hold Written by Michael Donkor Moving between Ghana and London, Hold is an intimate coming-of-age novel. It’s a story of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness; of learning what we should cling
Mum publishes diverse children’s book about self-esteem as gift to daughter BY JOEL CAMPBELL
SPECIAL GIFT: Vese and daughter Philly
A MUM has written a children’s book about self love and self-esteem as a gift to her two-year-old daughter after she struggled to find black literary characters that she could relate to. The book, Who do I see in the mirror?, chronicles the adventures of Philly, a black girl with curly hair as she explores her body and realises what makes her special. Vese Aghoghovbia ‘Wolu, 31, from Buckhurst Hill, wrote the book when her daughter, whose nickname is Philly, was 12 months old. “I was struggling to find characters who looked like Philly in books and I wanted my daughter to grow up reading books that featured people who
looked like her,” she said.“I wanted her to see herself in books as she deserved to be appreciated for who she is.” Vese read a lot as a child growing up in Nigeria and can’t recall characters that looked like her. “I didn’t want my daughter to have that experience. That’s how the idea came to create a book with a diverse children’s character that she, and kids everywhere, can love and identify with. “One who is strong, confident and happy, goes on adventures, as curious as George, laughs from within and loves wholeheartedly with tight hugs and lots of kisses.” Vese’s book, which is sold via Amazon and other retailers, has a very important message for black and minority ethnic children – ‘love the skin
you’re in. It’s what you are on the inside that matters most’. Who do I see in the Mirror? is available to buy online from Philly & Friends, at phillyandfriends. com.
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DEBATING ISSUES THAT MATTER Blakademik TV founder Jordan Jarrett-Bryan on the show’s popularity BY JOEL CAMPBELL
HE VOICE has teamed up with Blakademik TV, an online show giving ‘intelligent and engaging’ black individuals a space to debate current affairs. If you’ve been under a rock or have shunned social media in favour of the more traditional forms of yesteryear, then shame on you, you’ve been missing out. However, do not despair, because via our social networking platform on Facebook we’re giving you the chance to catch up on all of the episodes in one place. With three seasons to grab you’re attention with, Blakademik TV will quickly become your favourite go-to show. Lifestyle caught up with the founder Jordan JarrettBryan to find out why he felt compelled to get this show on the road. When you started Blakademik TV what was the vision? The vision was to produce the biggest YouTube show that gave black people a voice to speak about the issues that are important to them. The mainstream refuses to have authentic, honest and informed discussions about important issues, with individuals of diverse experiences
and thought. The impact of the show is just as important as the popularity. Helping black people feel empowered, heard, respected and inspired to live their best life both professionally and personally. What have been some of the best shows in your opinion and why? We’ve had up to 40 shows across three seasons and done some fantastic shows. The stand-out shows for me were the ones on money management, masculinity, sending kids to private school and black women dying in childbirth. The reaction to those shows was amazing, because I think the viewers got something from it, whether it was advice or an understanding of a problem they knew nothing about. Our aim is always to not just have a chat but have a challenging debate to be progressive and move a topic or issue forward. What would you like to tackle moving forward? We have a long list of issues to cover from black tech to climate change to Christianity, to racism in sport to youth violence and more. My goal is to not just talk but make an impact in the community. We’re starting up a mentorship programme where we invite young people to learn
LET’S DEBATE: Blakademik gives black people a voice to speak about issues that matter to them; below, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan vocational skills in media production. The Voice and Blakademik TV linking up gives a wider audience the chance to consume the content – how else do you see the platform growing in the future, are there other partnerships you would like to embark on? The platform will grow in various ways. The podcast initially will massively boost the Blakademik platform as the podcast market is growing and this gives us an opportu-
nity to grow our audience to those who don’t spend much time on YouTube but prefer to consume their content while in the car, on the tube, in the gym or whilst cooking. The quality of the guests, topics, production and promotion will all step up for the forthcoming season. I’m speaking to other media organisations about joining as partners, but nothing confirmed. Check out season one of Blakademik TV on the Voice Facebook channel from December 2.
Ambitious Tiny Boost on the road to success with his Street Dreams TINY BOOST has released his highly anticipated album Street Dreams along with the title track/video released on Link Up TV. Peckham’s and SN1’s most coveted and respected lyricists showcases his Street Dreams throughout this album with a smoother delivery than you’ve seen from him before while still packing the same heat. It maps out what it means coming from the street to having dreams that will take you away from the roads. Tiny Boost displays his different styles, how he can command any
beat and how he has perfected his craft. The Intro, a hard, street-laced track, talks about survival and fighting for his music and introduces us into his world “I’m from the Narm may I remind you, Real shit in every line that I write you, I’m coming for the title”. While Street Dreams has a much smoother production laced with deep thoughts, ambitions and confidence, Ain’t Been Got’ featuring Giggs is a straight up road rap anthem, while Chrome Pipes featuring another rap favourite, Snap Capone. Peckham Krazy takes it to a drill anthem with
Zone 2’s PS & Kwengface joining the wordsmith to add an extra layer to his exceptional talent and level of rap. This year has seen Peckham’s prince of rap feature on Rapman’s Blue Story soundtrack along with joining the Landlord Giggs on his UK leg on his tour from November 25, finishing on December 6 at the SSE Arena Wembley. Launching his music career in the mid 2000’s in PYG, he caught the attention of his mentor Giggs where they recorded a collaborative mixtape Who Said Dat, and he also featured on
his debut album Walk In Da Park. The buzz around him grew dramatically, but an eight-year prison stint interfered with his plans. More driven after his return, Boost came back with his first mixtape Strictly For The Streets. Street Dreams is a summary of someone living the street life of what they go through to get to life of luxury, some of it good, some of it bad, some of it ugly.” Watch the full Tiny Boost interview on our website: www.voice-online. co.uk
66 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Tel: 020 7510 0340
ASSISTANT CURATOR OF INTERNATIONAL SLAVERY MUSEUM
CURATOR OF CONTEMPORARY FORMS OF SLAVERY
Responsible To: Curator of Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies Salary: £21,534 Hours: Full-time Term: Established
Responsible To: Head, International Slavery Museum Salary: £25,034 Hours: Full Time 37 Hours Term: Established WANT TO JOIN A CREATIVE, ETHICAL, AND INCLUSIVE MUSEUM TEAM PROMOTING SOCIAL JUSTICE?
WANT TO BE PART OF A CREATIVE, ETHICAL, AND INCLUSIVE MUSEUM TEAM PROMOTING SOCIAL JUSTICE?
Curator of Contemporary Forms of Slavery
The International Slavery Museum ISM in Liverpool opened in 2007 and has seen over 4.5 million visitors. We are embarking on the next phase of our journey, a transformational project which will redevelop the current display galleries and open the iconic Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. building on the Royal Albert Dock as the Museum’s front door.
The International Slavery Museum ISM in Liverpool opened in 2007 and has seen over 4.5 million visitors. As part of our ongoing commitment to raising awareness of contemporary forms of slavery and enslavement we are seeking an exceptional person to join us on our journey; a Curator of Contemporary Forms of Slavery, working with the Head of the International Slavery Museum and Curator of Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies.
The post holder will support both the Curator of Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies and Curator of Contemporary Forms of Slavery on both the capital project, and core work, developing diverse audiences and new ways of programming and collecting with our community stakeholders.
We are embarking on the next phase of our journey, a transformational project which will redevelop the current display galleries and open the iconic Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. building on the Royal Albert Dock as the Museum’s front door.
You will also work with colleagues from across the organization, external partners, academics, and communities to develop and deliver a range of exhibitions, displays, research projects and public programmes which attract and engage audiences. For further information about the role and for details of how to apply, please visit. https://www.cloudonlinerecruitment.co.uk/NML/VacancyDetails. aspx?VacancyID=1635
Working closely with NGO’s, government, law enforcement, academics and communities the post holder will be responsible for researching, and developing content for the display galleries, exhibitions and public programming on contemporary forms of slavery including (but not limited to) forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual slavery and human trafficking. It will be a unique, rewarding and challenging role which allow a great degree of creative thinking, independence and innovation. For further information about the role and for details of how to apply, please visit. https://www.cloudonlinerecruitment.co.uk/NML/VacancyDetails. aspx?VacancyID=1636
Closing date: 19th December 2019
Closing date: 19th December 2019
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Director of Children’s Commissioning & Community Safety Up to £122,000 This new permanent Director role leads on the design and delivery of Lambeth’s innovative and wide-ranging strategy to address serious youth violence in the borough. This is a top priority for the Council and residents. Much is being done but we know there is more work to do to address the wider determinants of violence and deliver our public health approach. Working with Lambeth’s diverse and resourceful communities is integral to all we are doing. The director of children’s commissioning and community safety is a joint post with the CCG and includes a broad portfolio that includes commissioning of local authority and health children’s services, youth offending, community safety and children’s improvement. Working as part of the children’s services leadership team, with the NHS, Police and community organisations, this role has great scope for leadership and inﬂuence. Based in Brixton, this exciting yet challenging role will require creativity, ambition and determination to make a tangible difference to the lives of children, families and communities. For further information visit www.lambethleadership.com or contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson: Rachel Cox on 0113 205 6068 or Greg Hayes on 0203 854 2209. Closing date: 20th December 2019.
THE VOICE | 67
KHADIJAH RIDING HIGH First British Muslim woman to win UK horse race celebrated in documentary film By Rodney Hinds
OUNG JOCKEY Khadijah Mellah says that she hopes her success inspires others to pursue their ambitions. During the summer, the riding talent became the first British Muslim woman to ride in a horse race in the UK. Subsequently, she became subject of the documentary film Riding A Dream. Khadijah, who is now studying mechanical engineering at Brighton University following her A-levels this summer, said: “Learning to ride, being given the opportunity to ride in a race, winning the race – and having a documentary made all about all of it has just been the most incredible experience from start to finish. “If I can inspire just one other person to follow their dreams, even if the odds are stacked against them, that would be amazing.” The Duchess of Cornwall, who is president of Ebony Horse Club was among a number of high-profile guests who attended the premiere of the documentary, which took place at The Ritzy Picturehouse in
Brixton, south London. The documentary tells Khadijah’s inspirational story. Riding A Dream was produced by brothers Oli and Philip Bell and directed by Mattia Reiniger and Tommy Bolwell. It followed the remarkable story of the teenager from Peckham, south London, who made history and global headlines by becoming the first British Muslim woman to win a horse race – an achievement that came at one of British horse racing’s most prestigious festivals, Glorious Goodwood, barely four months after she had sat on a racehorse for the first time.
With just four months to prepare herself for the race of her life, Khadijah had to juggle studying for her A-levels and fasting for Ramadan with a gruelling training and assessment regime in order to make it to the start line. However, all her determination, discipline and passion paid off when, against all the odds, she won the race, resulting in one of the biggest sporting success stories of 2019 and securing her a spot in British sporting history.
BIG NIGHT: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Khadijah Mellah at the premiere
Expats’ new football team flying flag for Kenya in Qatar By Anthony Harwood A KENYAN university worker has started his country’s own football team in Qatar with the help of the next World Cup hosts. Goalkeeper John Ngurugwe spent 10 years building up a squad of 60 part-time players from Friday night kickabouts in the park after work in Doha, where the 2022 tournament will be held. FC Kenya now has founder member status in the tiny Gulf state’s amateur league and, its organisers hope, will one day be competing against professional Qatari teams. “I am a person who likes to reach out to other people,” said Ngurugwe, a health and safety workers at UCL Qatar. “When I first came to Qatar, I thought football was the very best way to reach out to other Kenyans in the country. “What I want is for this football team to carry on and grow into something even bigger.” Team captain Eric Otwal said it was Ngurugwe’s arrival in
2009 that gave the small group of players the chance to grow. “About six of us used to play every week,” he said. ‘It was a way to enjoy our day off and we’d discuss family and work issues. “We used to play friendlies until John came. When he joined the team, he came up with new ideas. “At first, nobody knew much about Kenyans here, but now this club has a fan base.” Ngurugwe added: “We started growing and getting more people involved. We started to realise we had a very good environment for football and looked at moving things forward.” Their breakthrough came in 2014 when they took part in the Qatar Foundation Semi-Pro Football Cup and made it to the quarter-finals. “That made us think: ‘Yes, we can go far’. It was amazing when we realised we can win.” They went on to compete in the African Nations Cup in Qatar, the Em-
TEAM TALK: FC Kenya now plays in the amateur league
they couldn’t get better pay or join the national team – so they ended up coming to Qatar for work.” Former professional player Davis Ayala said it is not always possible for everyone to get a game.
bassy Cup and the Qatar Community Football League, which is sponsored by the World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). Following this, in 2015 FC Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SC with the aim of getting the whole Kenyan community involved in the run-up to the World Cup. “We have had the opportunity to nominate people from our community to take part in workshops
related to media, events and engineering,” Ngurugwe said. “Being involved in the SC has also given me a voice – I have been able to sit around a table with decision makers and voice my opinions.” Every week he organises a core of 30 players to train on pitches where he works at UCL Qatar. “We have so many young kids in the team with great potential,” he added. “We even have players who play in the leagues in Kenya but
“We have people from the hotel industry, the service industry, construction. Sometimes we might gather them all at once, but sometimes they have to sacrifice playing,” he said. “We don’t have ample time to train but we have great management and one of the best units in terms of discipline.” He believes their involvement with the 2022 World Cup gives people at home a way of feeling involved. “When people back in Kenya see stories about the team and our involvement with the World Cup and the legacy it is creating, the see the impact (of the tournament). “Thanks to us, people in Kenya feel they are part of this.” Anthony Harwood is a former foreign editor of the Daily Mail
68 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
LADIES TAKING THE LEAD East London Ladies FC is giving girls and women the chance to develop key life skills and raise self-esteem
HE RISE and rise of women’s football has made its way down to one of the most passionate hotbeds of the capital. East London Ladies FC is an all-female football club, which is run by females for the females. The club was established by Vivienne Jeffers and Pallavi Patel in 2014, driven by their passion for the sport and desire to give back to the community and engage girls and women into grassroots football. Vivienne was born and bred in Hackney. She works full time as an IT clinical systems trainer for the NHS. She is also an FA qualified football coach, who has coached in various areas of London, including in some of the more challenging boroughs. Vivienne has coached both boys and girls from all walks of life and ages. She is continually seeking to increase her professional development as a coach and is currently waiting to get on to the UEFA B coaching programme. Pallavi, from Leyton, is a sports development teacher, who works full time in an independent school for girls with behavioural and special educational needs.
She specialises in working with vulnerable girls in the hope of giving them a positive outlook of the future by raising their aspirations and confidence. Pallavi told the Voice of Sport: “We set up the club as we realised the value and step up that sport can offer girls and women, and believed that sport serves not only to develop girls and women as individuals, but also helps them to develop their sense of comradeship and their ability to communicate with others, thus enriching every aspect of their future lives.
“In addition to this, we noticed the lack of football opportunities for girls and women within east London and wanted to create a club where girls and women could play football and take part in physical activity in a fun and safe environment. “The club gives girls and women the opportunity to interact and socialise within a group that encourages diversity and cooperation. “In addition, to help develop key life skills, such as discipline and team work, and in turn help to raise aspirations, confidence and self-esteem, encouraging
CREATING CHANCES: East London Ladies FC is run on a voluntary basis by founders Pallavi Patel and Vivienne Jeffers, below girls and women from all backgrounds to take part in the sport to keep healthy and active.” Vivienne added: “Our strong passion and desire to promote and develop girls and women in football has led us to creating football opportunities for girls and women, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, ability and sexuality, etc.” The club currently have over 120 girls and women engaging in football on a weekly basis, aged two to 35-plus, with
a senior ladies team playing in the Greater London Womens’ League, who were recently promoted to Division Two North of the Greater London Women’s Football League. They also have an under 14s team playing in the Camden and Islington League. Both Vivienne and Pallavi run the club on a voluntary basis while maintaining and fulfilling full-time jobs, five days/evenings a week, in order to provide these opportunities.
“There is a lack of female BAME coaches in England, and we are hoping that young BAME girls and women will see us as positive role models within the sport and see that anything is possible if you work at it,” added Vivienne “Our long-term vision and goal is to reach out to more girls and women in the community and beyond and create more opportunities to promote grassroots football and develop individuals.”
Dubois expects to be the last man standing in 2020
ON THE HUNT: Daniel Dubois is targeting Parker and Povetkin
IN A huge end to the year for heavyweight boxing, the most exciting prospect in the sport – Daniel Dubois – has had his say on who will reign supreme once the New Year rolls around. In an explosive interview ‘Dynamite’ also declared he’d be hunting down big name rivals throughout 2020, targeting fighters such as Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin. Looking at the more immediate picture, he always believed that Deontay Wilder would “knock Luis Ortiz out in devastating fashion” but struggled to predict the finish to Joshua vs Ruiz “Obviously Ruiz got the job done last time out, but let’s see what happens.” He added: “No one should underestimate Anthony Joshua as he’s done a lot for the sport but if he hasn’t improved on last time he could be in trouble.” The young gun went on to question AJ’s appetite for the game: “If he’s still got the hunger he had years ago, he might have a chance.”
Asked to pick between the four fighters currently atop the heavyweight tree, ‘Dynamite’ suggested all roads lead to Fury vs Wilder 2. “Deontay would beat AJ and Ruiz. He has too much power, too much killer instinct. He’d knock them both out”. “Tyson beats both of them, too. Whoever wins in the Wilder and Fury rematch is the man… for now!” Dubois, 13-0 with 12 KO’s, is considered the next big thing in heavyweight boxing and always has one eye on developments in the division. “I’m always watching. Those are the four biggest names in the sport, but also Usyk, Kownacki, Parker, Povetkin. Everyone has an opinion on who I should fight. “Someone told me yesterday that Parker was annoyed that his promoter can’t get him fights. As the busiest heavyweight in boxing, I’d be happy to give him work.” When the topic of fighting one of the socalled big boys came up, Dubois would simply say that “I’m ready for anyone”.
Dubois, under the guidance of promoter Frank Warren, has made it clear that he is planning an assault on the major world titles in the near future. In the short term, though, he is after fights that improve his rankings and acquire coveted silverware. Next up is Japanese heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto, ranked #12 with the WBA, for the WBO International and WBC Silver title. “I’m looking forward to getting out again and continuing my rise to the top. Fujimoto is a serious fighter, we’re preparing well and come December 21 I intend to put on a show-stopping performance. “I don’t look past people, I go through them. Fujimoto is a big step on my route to being the unified world champion.” So while Dubois may be predicting either Fury or Wilder to reign supreme in the short term, he’s clearly backing himself to be the man left standing when the dust settles on the heavyweight division.
THE VOICE | 69
Sport READY FOR ACTION: This year’s leagues for 11 to 13-year-olds are about to get under way
SCHOOL BASKETBALL BOOMING T By Karen Palmer
HE NATIONAL Basketball Association (NBA) and Basketball England have announced the expansion of the Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues from 13 to 16. This coincides with participating schools receiving the draft announcement video for the upcoming Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues, which features two-time NBA champion Kenny Smith. The Jr. NBA Basketball England League has grown from just one league since the pro-
More teams than ever ready to compete in the Jr. NBA England Leagues as the sport reaches a new level
gramme launched in 2014. In 2018, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced plans to increase the number of leagues in the UK to 16 by 2020, an expansion that has now been successfully achieved, with 16 Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues tipping off this month,
when the first round of games get under way. The leagues now span most regions in England, including Co-Ed leagues for years 7 and 8 in the West Midlands, East Midlands, North-West, Yorkshire, London and the East of England. There will also be
Co-Ed leagues for Year 7 in the South West and South East, as well as girls leagues for years 7 and 8 in the North West and London. Laura Doherty, relationship and co-ordinator manager at Basketball England, said: “Basketball England are excited about our continued partnership with the NBA as the Jr. NBA maintains its growth across the country. “We’re thrilled our partnership will now be able to offer 30 schools in the south east of England and 30 schools in the south west of England, as well as an additional league
for Year 8 students in the East Midlands, the opportunity to get involved in the Jr. NBA programme. We’ve had unprecedented levels of interest in our 16 leagues this season and look forward to welcoming all of our schools to the Jr. NBA in 2019-20.”
The Jr. NBA League was created for 11 to 13-year-old (Year 7 and Year 8) boys and girls in secondary schools to participate in basketball. The league is organised and operated by the local operating partner in partnership with the
NBA. The leagues are made up of 30 teams who each represent one of the 30 NBA teams. In the UK, the Jr. NBA Basketball England League now comprises of 16 leagues across the country, where schools are drafted as NBA teams. Schools compete in four regular-season games as part of seven rounds of fixtures, followed by an elimination play-off. Schools who top their groups progress to the semi-finals, with the final four schools in each league playing in the Jr. NBA finals to be crowned the league champions.
Victory for Vanessa in Dubai VANESSA WALLACE scooped a bronze, her first world championship medal, in the F34 Shot Put at the World Para3 Athletics World Championships in Dubai on November 12.
Vanessa, 42, who is currently studying Sports and Exercise Science at the University of East London on a performance athletics scholarship, has experienced a meteoric rise in the sport, having taken it up in late 2014 and then going on to compete at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio just 18 months later. “I’m a little bit shocked. It’s been
a long time coming but it feels so good. I’m really proud of myself,” she said after the victory. “My coach told me to get the other contestants a little bit worried early on. I did my best and it came through.” Vanessa, a former wheelchair racing coach and athletics activator for England Athletics, has been supported by the University of East London for the last three years and is one of the leading athletes on the high performance programme at East London Sport.
She also supports other athletes on the high-performance programme at the university. “I am so grateful for the help and support that I have had from the University of East London throughout my three-year course and my training,” Vanessa added. “Their solid backing has helped me to believe that I can do this and can achieve reaching the top of my game. I feel now that that the Tokyo Paralympics could be my time! “It’s been an interesting year and a really good year. It’s been an ex-
SIGHTS SET: Vanessa Wallace is aiming for shot put gold in Tokyo (picture: Getty Images) perience competing at this level, but it shows, with the right preparation, anything can happen and it can go really well.” Vanessa, who also trains with Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club, was fifth at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and then won gold at the 2018
European Championships. She has a neurological condition called Dystonia as well as a muscularskeletal condition, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects her connective tissues, giving her severe joint issues, chronic fatigue and pain.
70 | THE VOICE DECEMBER 2019
Pioneers honoured at Black List celebration Football community comes together for an inspirational night hailing the game’s heroes
HE FOOTBALL industry and black community came together in their hundreds at the Football Black List celebration, supported by the Premier League, to celebrate the achievements of the late Justin Fashanu, the first openly gay professional player, Benjamin Odeje, the first black player to represent England at any level, and black leaders in the game who feature on the 2019 list. Fashanu and Odeje were honoured with Keith Alexander awards for outstanding contributions to the game and the black community. Attendees on the night included Premier League legend Andrew Cole, and leading coaches, Chris Hughton, Chris Powell, Darren Moore and Michael Johnson. Athletics legend Denise Lewis also joined the event to show her support. The Football Black List, first published in The Voice newspaper in 2008, highlights black industry professionals who are
positive influencers. Founded by sports journalists Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds, the initiative is designed to shine a light on role models for the next generation as a way of helping to diversify the industry. Chelsea women star Anita Asante picked up her award in the Cyrille Regis players category that included Premier League stars Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, Sadio Mane and Juventus women’s star, Eniola Aluko.
The next generation of black excellence was also highlighted through the Ugo Ehiogu Ones to Watch awards, which were presented by Ugo’s brother, Alosie and sister, Ola. Co-founder of the Football Black List, Mann, said: “What Justin and Benjamin did for football is huge. They both made contributions that changed the game
and we are delighted this event can pay tribute to them and also the many other pioneers from the black community. “The celebration represented our most successful event ever. To have more than 500 guests ranging from top administrators to community heroes and legendary players was incredible. “Huge thanks to the Premier League for helping to make this happen and continuing to support the initiative.” Co-founder Hinds added: “What a sensational night! The event and influence of the list continues. “All at The Voice are delighted to be integral to this positive football initiative. To see so many inspirational people in one room had me buzzing myself! “When Leon and myself sat down a decade ago I am not quite sure we could ever have imagined the huge success of the event.”
HONOUR: Justin Fashanu’s niece Amal Fashanu collects an award celebrating his achievements
EVERYONE’S A WINNER: Clockwise from right, winners in the media category; Benjamin Odeje, the first black player to represent England at any level, receives the Keith Alexander award; co-founder Leon Mann gives an interview
THE VOICE | 71
DRIVEN TO SUCCESS
By Joel Campbell
ET’S HAVE it right, no one is really surprised that Lewis Hamilton is the sixtime World Formula One champion because he is the best driver on the circuit in the best car. That, however, doesn’t take away from the feat of ensuring that after 21 races throughout the F1 calendar, you’re the guy who has won the most races, the person who has demonstrated beyond any doubt that he is the best of the bunch, the driver at the top of the pile.
Schumacher record in Hamilton’s sights as he bids to be greatest ever F1 driver And, going out on a limb (not too far), it’ll be the same again next year.
He’s focused, five titles in six years tells you that. The way he has navigated this season is nothing short of masterful. The experience he has over every other driver of note on the circuit allied with his supreme talent leaves him peerless.
In short, he has to beat himself, or be on the end of some pretty miserable mechanical luck, in order for him to lose. The big question for me is; does he have the desire to chase the ultimate goal of recognition, a seventh and then and eighth title? The sportsmen in him must want it. The moniker of ‘best to ever do’ – it must drive him forward, it must. Mere mor-
Teamwork behind title By Joel Campbell
TELL ME another Formula One driver that has shone a spotlight on the ‘rest of the team’ the way Hamilton does? Throughout the whole of this season the 34-year-old has lauded the efforts of the people who enable him to fulfil his potential. The job of winning the constructors title was done some time ago, but it was notable how Hamilton ensured that the world knew how important it
tals might be filled with dread when visualising the prospect of becoming the best version of themselves, they don’t possess the knowledge that everything they desire is on the other side of fear. Hamilton knows this. But does he have it in him to run the whole course? We’ll all have to wait and see but the signs are good. Despite declaring this current round of contract negotia-
was too him that they be recognised for their continued endeavour. There truly is no ‘I’ in team – a sentiment embodied by Hamilton and captured in this Instagram post earlier this year: “Still on a high from this weekend guys. As I’ve always said, I have the most amazing and dedicated team around me, constantly pushing me to be my best. Today is ‘This Is Engineering Day’ and I just wanted to share this photo of us all at work and give the whole Mercedes AMG F1 team the huge shout out that they deserve.” TOGETHER: The photo shared by Lewis Hamilton
tions as being the scariest he’s been a part of, the fact they are happening are a great indicator that both driver and constructor want the same thing, more success. “There is a reason why the [Michael] Schumacher record stands – because it’s very difficult [to achieve],” said Mercedes chief Toto Wolff. “If we’re able to provide the drivers with a good car next year, that is competitive, we continue to work on the gaps we still have, try and minimise the mistakes and he has a good season, there is no reason why he couldn’t go for a seventh title.”
Reserved in his pursuit of ultimate greatness, Hamilton – who has 83 wins, 150 podiums and 87 pole positions from just 249 Grand Prix – said: “I’ve always said that reaching Michael was never a target for me. “I’m not really one that thinks of records and those kind of things. I definitely had thought that getting anywhere near Michael was just so far-fetched. And I remember having my one [title] for a long period of time. “Then getting that second one, and [seven] was so far away. And now it seems so close, yet it is so far away that I still can’t really comprehend.”
Knighthood surely on the way for super Lewis A COUPLE of years ago, following the capturing of his fourth title, The Voice of Sport wrote the following: “Hamilton, who surely cannot be too far away from a visit to Buckingham Palace for his knighthood, won his fourth Formula One drivers’ crown in Mexico on Sunday.” Mo Farah won four Olympic gold medals and six world titles. But in terms of the most successful of all-time in his
field, based on pure pace, he’s only 16th overall in the 10,000m list. Tennis player Andy Murray is a winner of three Grand Slams. But Hamilton is more on the level of Murray’s rivals, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – global superstars who have proved their greatness time and time again. We all know what needs to happen next.
DECEMBER 2019 | THE VOICE
ILLUSTRATION BY TAYO FATUNLA
TOP SPORTS COVERAGE 24/7 VOICE-ONLINE.CO.UK/SPORT
F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton on the road to seventh heaven SEE PROFILE ON PAGE 71