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Happy birthday to…The Voice!

TOP TRIO: (l-r) First editor Flip Fraser, founder Val McCalla and deputy editor Sharon Ali

AS WE usher in another Carnival weekend, The Voice team also celebrates their 33rd birthday!

Founded by the late Jamaican-born entrepreneur Val McCalla, The Voice was launched at the famed Notting Hill street party on August 30, 1982.

Edited by the late Flip Fraser, the first issue of the publication was branded the ‘1982 Souvenir Carnival Edition’.

The front page story highlighted the plight of an east London family who were being targeted by a racist gang – ushering in the start of the paper’s reputation for campaigning on the behalf of black Britain.


POWERUL: The first edition of The Voice

The Voice has, of course, gone on to enjoy over three decades in the publishing industry, covering countless black-interest stories from the worlds of news, entertainment, sports and more.

Author Lee Pinkerton joined The Voice as an arts writer in 1997 and went on to become arts editor. Reflecting on his time with the company, he said: “Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, The Voice provided the best days of my working life so far.

“Back in the 90s, it felt like we were doing important work and being based on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton, it was like we were right in the centre of Britain’s black community.”

Former news editor Lester Holloway also remembers his time at The Voice with fondness.


VISIONARY: Val McCalla

"I have many happy memories and some hilarious ones,” says Holloway, who joined the paper as a reporter in 2002, before becoming a senior reporter and then news editor. “The paper has always been full of characters who teach you what to do, and occasionally what not to do.

"There has always been an amazing commitment to serving the black community and the spirit of 1985 when the late Val McCalla and others set it up, still lives on.

Holloway, who still writes for The Voice on occasion, added: "Some brilliant journalists have passed through the company's doors, and where they have gone into the mainstream, I believe they've taken with them a stronger commitment to reflecting our communities positively.”

Today, The Voice continues to be ‘the voice’ of black Britain, celebrating our triumphs while still addressing the challenges faced within our community.


WHERE WE ARE TODAY: The current issue of The Voice

Covering news, entertainment and much more, the paper reflects the diverse interests of black Britain, while giving light to stories that may not receive exposure in mainstream media.

In the current issue of the newspaper, we celebrate the academic success of 16-year-old Caija Addai, who scored 10 A* grades at GCSE; we salute Birmingham hero Hector Pinkey, a karate expert who fought off thugs who tried to steal his car; and we profile cultural events organisation Open The Gate, which showcases the best in African culture.

There is also an abundance of entertainment news in the publication’s arts and ents section Life & Style, including an exclusive interview with reggae veteran Judy; Mowatt; an exploration of sound system culture; and a celebration of Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the islands’ 53rd anniversary of independence tomorrow (August 31).


DIVERSE: Arts and entertainment section Life & Style

While the print edition of The Voice continues to hit newsstands every Thursday, the rise of the digital age provided the launch pad for The Voice website, which has gone from strength to strength, introducing the publication to a new generation of readers.

Dionne Grant, online editor said: “It has been a humbling experience watching our online presence grow. We have a dedicated team who ensure the website is packed full of stories from the world of politics, music, film and most importantly, news from the community we serve.

“I joined the company on work experience and I’m grateful to have earned the opportunity to build my journalism career and work with a host of great people over the years. Happy birthday to us!”

Reflecting on the company’s history, managing director George Ruddock said: “As The Voice newspaper marks another anniversary milestone in its illustrious history, it gives us great pride that we are able to deliver a first class publication each week to the many readers who have remained loyal throughout the last 33 years.

“Since its inception, The Voice newspaper has set out to be the voice of the black community in Britain and today we remain true to that promise.

“Not only do we continue to make the newspaper newsworthy and a ‘must buy’ each week, but The Voice online, with its daily news updates, is also growing in popularity among readers in the UK and overseas. We thank our readers for their continued support.”

The Voice would like to thank all of our readers for your continued support. We wouldn’t be here without you.

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