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Farewell 2013

GREAT YEAR: Idris Elba and Jasmine

THE LAST 12 months have flown by. Did you achieve all you desired? A great friend once shared her family tradition with me and now I do this with my nearest and dearest.

We all gather at Christmas dinner with a list with our five desires for the next year. We share them with each other before putting them into a box and then one of us seals it. When we gather again a year later, we open the box to see what’s been achieved.

This process makes us not only put our desires out into the universe, but also means we have shared our ambitions with others – meaning we’re now under pressure to actually take steps to make them happen!

Last year, my desires included making the final months of my father’s life as comfortable as possible and sharing conversations with him that I’ll never get the chance to have again.

It also included a wish to concentrate solely on my mother after he passed, so she could really make the most of her life and enjoy her elder years. Last week, I took her on her first trip to New York and she had a once in a lifetime experience. It made us both so happy.

The only thing I could’ve improved on is making more time to exercise and finally do that ballroom dancing course I’ve always wanted to… so that will be going on my list of desires for 2014, along with other things.

Will you make a list too? Let me know what’s on it. I’d love to hear what your ambitions are.

Here are a few other people who achieved well this year in my humble opinion.

Once again, UK urban music acts continued to do well, scoring success in the charts, both nationally and internationally.

Honourable mentions go to Rita Ora, NaughtyBoy, Tinie Tempah, Wretch32, Rihanna, Jay Z, and Emeli Sandé.

But my ‘Ballers of the Year’ (yes, I just made up the title) crowns go to Bruno Mars for an exceptionally strong body of work; Pharrell Williams for having the global charts on lock with his happy two-step grooves all year; Laura Mvula who came with her realer than real self and velvet vocals; and finally ‘Queen B’ Beyoncé who flew onto my list at the last minute by releasing a whole new album and videos with no promo!

TALENT: Pharrell Williams and Jas

In the film and TV worlds, actors and directors that get a nod include Noel Clarke who quietly and humbly continues to make diverse films and bring in more and more young stars like Femi Oyeniran, and also Ashley Walters for his consistent appearance in mainstream TV and film.

However, ‘Movie Maestro of the Year’ (yep, another of my titles) is Idris Elba, who wowed audiences with his roles in Luther and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

In 2013, more black and minority ethnic students are taking media studies as degree subjects than ever. We are making strides in having our faces seen and voices heard in the mainstream media.

Young talents are working daily to generate new platforms for media digestion. Special nods in my ‘Media Mavens And Majors’ go to Huffington Post editor Carla Buzasi; Radio 1 newsreader Tina Daheley; Kiss FM’s Rickie & Melvin; Capital Xtra’s multi-talented Kojo, BBC 1Xtra’s Sarah Jane Crawford; and former London 360 reporter Maleena Pone, who’s due to star on mainstream TV in 2014.

This year, my screenwriting champion is Samuel Benta for having his online TV series All About The McKenzie’s commissioned by new London TV channel London Live which launches in March. And I also must salute as ITV newsreader Charlene White who is on our screens daily, delivering London’s news with style and panache and being strong enough to withstand social media abuse.

SUCCESS: Laura Mvula

In the world of spoken word, female poet Hollie Mcnish has sold out venues and performed at the iconic Abbey Road Studios. MC Akala continues to move mountains with his Hip-Hop Shakespeare movement; and young, black, gay poet Dean Atta continues to be topical with his content.

However, my ‘Wordsmith Wiz’ award of 2013 goes to a young man breaking boundaries in music charts and performing live at sold out venues with politically, thought-provoking content George the Poet; inspiring a whole new generation of articulate fans.

None of these stars would be stars without the insiders working for their advancement daily. The press, marketing and PR departments at brands are the secret make or break teams that influence what you see, hear and watch daily.

People that deserve a shout out in 2013 are industry players like Twin B – both brothers, but in particular Alec ‘Twin B’ Boateng, who was appointed Artist & Repertoire (A&R) director of Atlantic Records UK. Music manager Zeon Richards has also worked hard to have his artists become household names. His multi-talented roster, which includes George The Poet, Jacob Banks, Wizzy Wow, Knox Brown and artist Funny Tummy is led by Wretch 32. Music manager Kwame Kwaten who manages this year’s success story Laura Mvula, who also deserves a shout out.

Other nods go to Sonia Meggie who runs the Inspirational You sessions, connecting people and opening minds; the hip-hop world’s photographer to the stars Paul Hampartsoumian; Princess Nyah has empowered young ladies with her sessions; and Yvonne Thompson, a very successful businesswoman who has been campaigning to get more female and BME folks on the Queen’s Honours List.

However, the Industry Insider Ingenuity Award must go to Darcus Beese, Island Records’ President. This year marks 20 years in his job – that’s a milestone right there for any man, let alone a black man in a very white world!

People to look out for in 2014, include Noel Clarke’s new music signing, a young man called TZY; singer Delilah who may have lost her UK record deal but was swiftly picked up by none other than the music legend Prince; and British singer-songwriter Sam Smith who’s already had a number one after featuring on Naughty Boy’s La La La; and 23-year-old Kwabs who reflects a mixture of his African roots with R&B and gospel influences, set against a backdrop of electro-synthesized soul.

Happy holidays readers! Love and laughter to you all.

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