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Black power: UK style

MEN IN BLACK: Kojo (left) and Neil Kenlock

ONE OF the highlights of my week was attending The British Black Panthers exhibition at Photofusion Gallery in Brixton, south London.

The pro-black movement was famous in the US, but what many people don't know is that London had branches too. And for Black History Month, this exhibition pays tribute to their legacy.

After gaining access to the Brixton-based Panthers, Organised Youth – a group of local young people aged 13-25 – photographed each Panther member inside their home and recorded a series of oral history interviews.

They have produced a documentary film and a limited edition book about the project called The British Black Panthers and Black Power Movement.

A private view for the exhibition was attended by former British Black Panthers and members of the British Black Power movement like Choice FM founder Neil Kenlock, as well as acclaimed hip-hop artist Akala, Capital XTRA presenter Kojo, comedy trio Mandem on the Wall and many more.

On exhibit were a documentary film, a living room instillation, interpretation protest banners, and limited edition exhibition books. It runs until October 26 – do check it out if you can.

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CREATIVITY NEEDS DIVERSITY


DISCUSSING DIVERSITY: (l-r) Jasmine, Jo Welch, Marcus Ryder and panel chair Axel Threlfall

NEXT, I was a part of a panel at Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf. The debate was titled Diversity In The Media Industry: What Happened?

Our esteemed Panel Chair was Reuters news anchor Axel Threlfall and my fellow panel members were Marcus Ryder, Executive Producer, at the BBC and Jo Welch from Creative SkillSet.

A recent Skillset Employment census reported that over 2,000 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees have left creative industries (television, radio, animation, etc) between 2009 and 2012 – a decrease of 1.3 per cent, against the backdrop of an increase in industry employment of 2 per cent. These stats are all the more disappointing, considering 18 per cent of media students are from BAME backgrounds. The turnout at the event was very heartening with an impressive group of young people keen to get into the industry with great minds and great ideas. They’re sure to change the media staffing landscape within years.

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ESTELLE: WHAT A GEM


WEST LONDON GEMS: Estelle and Jas

FINALLY, be sure to look out for west London songstress Estelle who is the voice of a brand new cartoon character!
Steven Universe is about the misadventures of a boy named Steven, the ultimate ‘little brother’ to a team of magical guardians of humanity, called the Crystal Gems.

Steven (voiced by Zach Callison) is an energetic, lovable, half-Gem of a boy who is still trying to figure out his powers to become the true hero he is destined to be.

The Crystal Gems are as much a family as they are a team and Garnet –voiced by Estelle – is the mysterious and powerful leader of the group. Featured voices also include US comedian Sinbad, along with special guest star Nicki Minaj.

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