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"Black Britain has lost its place in entertainment history"

MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE BRITISH BLACK LIST: Akua Gyamfi

A NEW database of the UK’s leading arts and entertainment industry professionals has been launched, as a one-stop-shop for entertainment information.

The British Black List is an online portal that provides a vast catalogue of film, television, theatre, literature and musical professionals, as well as up-to-date showbiz news.

Created by Akua Gyamfi - as a way to unite the black members of the entertainment industry – the journalist has spent the last two years compiling the vast internet based codex. Unlike most businesses, which are motivated by financial gain, Gyamfi felt compelled to start The British Black List after attending An Audience With The Real McCoy held at the BBC Radio Theatre last year.

The meeting between the Beeb, cast and crew of The Real McCoy and members of the public was to mark the 21st anniversary of the famed black British sketch show. But what struck Gyamfi after the conference was the fact that such a successful show and defining moment in black television history has been almost completely lost.

“I remember going to a talk and seeing some past cast member of The Real McCoy, and they were saying that they struggled to get a repeat show on TV and I remember thinking this is wrong. The programmes that we grew up on aren’t being re-run on TV; our history in the entertainment world is being forgotten,” said the managing director.

Although a 15 year veteran in the media herself, Gyamfi was unaware of the contributions that black people have made over the decades to the entertainment genre.

“After researching this business I found out so much stuff. We have been on TV in the UK for a very long time, but you wouldn’t think it because the information or acknowledgement has not been there.

“Now the black British industry is growing there is a new surge in talent from all over and there is a new community. We may be behind our American cousins but we are getting there and this need to be represented in some kind of way- and I think that can be done by providing quality information,” explained the editor.

It can be hard to know where to start when looking for information or contacts and that is where the British Black List comes in; by offering a complete service on one site.

“You have to go here, there and everywhere to find information about British black entertainment and I think it’s really hard to know who to ask, especially when you aren’t in the industry and need the correct contacts fast.”

According to Gyamfi being proactive is a key factor of the website and also something that will also help to highlight the contributions of the black community to the industry.

“I’m very much in the school of doing things by us for us, recognising the talents in the community and seeing what we can bring to the table collectively to bring our talents to the main stream. Putting the quality and talent that we have and then presenting it to others, in a way where they can’t say its not good enough or its just a black thing.

“It’s about working­­­ together and having faith and trust in each other and not giving any license for people to tear it down. We’ve been torn down so often that we don’t have trust in our own community. But the evidence is there that we have done brilliant things, on our own. My site is to highlight the great things we are doing.”

For more information on the British black list visit, www.thebritishblacklist.com

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