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Reflecting on her media storm

INSIGHTFUL CHAT: Baroness Doreen Lawrence in conversation with BBC reporter Mark Daly

THE JOINT Royal Television Society (RTS) and BBC event ‘In Conversation With Baroness Doreen Lawrence: In The Eye Of a Media Storm’ was certainly an in depth discussion.

Held at the Radio Theatre at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House, the event saw Mrs Lawrence exploring what lessons TV and the media should learn from her family’s story.

The discussion was part of a series of events across the BBC called ‘Reflect and Represent’; exploring how diversity can be a powerful creative driver. The room was scattered with influential power players like Pat Younge (former BBC chief creative officer), Marcus Ryder (BBC Scotland), Ade Rawcliffe (Channel 4), Michelle Matherson (ITV) and new RTS chief executive Theresa Wise.

From the start, the chat, led by BBC reporter Mark Daly was enthralling, with Doreen discussing a host of issues relating to the death of her son Stephen, who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993.

Reflecting on the early inconsistencies of the police following Stephen’s murder, Doreen said: “If that original police officer hadn't lied, I wouldn't have been so angry to pursue justice and there may have never been an enquiry into my son's death.”

On the same day of this event, the BBC launched a new scheme with the Stephen Lawrence Trust to give 20 young black and minority ethnic (BAME) apprentices an opportunity into the media. Doreen had her reservations.

"It’s great but should've happened years ago,” she said. “My own question is, would there be any real progression routes for these 20 apprentices or would they be flung back out a few months down the line?’ I guess time will tell.”

There was one moment where I wanted to stand up and applaud as Doreen emphasised that all the diversity quota initiatives weren’t working, particularly when she glanced around the theatre at the camera crews and stated: “Look around us here today...your cameramen here at the BBC today are all white. This doesn't reflect our society make up fairly!”

Still, Doreen did say that whilst the media get bashed a lot that they still “played an important role in keeping the enquiry and our story alive. The corruption was deep in the Met [Metropolitan Police] at the time. I hate the attention and media as I'm a very private person but I do publicly what I do as I know I need to do it.”

Pat Younge asked whether she felt the world now was a safer place for her grandchildren.

"I question whether the world is a safer place for my grandchildren,” she said. “My granddaughter told another child that she wasn't pleased with: ‘It’s one of you who killed my uncle Stephen.’ That shocked me as we don't want our children growing up with an unjust, incorrect sense of the world around them. I had to sit her down explain that this was not how life was.”

After over two decades of campaigning, Doreen admitted: "I am tired but if there's a chance of seeing the rest of those men convicted [for my son’s death] I'd like to see it through. And as long as I still have breath, I will keep on fighting.”

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BLAZING A TRAIL


HOT STUFF: Blaze

FOUR YEARS ago I went to see a theatre show that incorporated hip-hop dance and music with amazing stage sets, graphics and lighting.

Blaze recently returned to the Peacock Theatre in London so I had to go and see it again, as I knew they would have updated the music and cast.

Using dancers from all across the globe who bring their own unique style and personality to the solo and unison choreography sets, it was a great night and I can’t recommend it more. If you get a chance to catch it across the UK on tour, make sure you do!

The dance sections are serious with scattered humour and the standard is high. I’m sure you’ll watch in awe and gasp in delight like the rest of the families and dance lovers who were there.

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ANIMATED CLASSICS GET THEATRE MAKEOVER


ANIMATION ON STAGE: Pixar In Concert

I RECENTLY attended the UK premiere of Pixar in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The exciting show brings together ground-breaking animated films by children and adults alike, with the music that’s in them – and it’s all performed live.

From Toy Story to Brave, animation powerhouse Pixar has redefined the cinematic landscape over the past 19 years, creating gob-smacking movies. But amidst the visual wizardry, one aspect of the films that sometimes get overlooked is the music that punctuates all the animated action. No longer. The show brought those timeless scores to life, in an event that combined stunning footage from all Pixar films, which have all been written by just four composers.

With live accompaniment from not just any band, but the nearly 100 strong Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the show celebrated the music from films like Cars, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and Up. Excellent show.

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WHO’S LOVING MARY JANE?


POWER WOMAN: Gabrielle Union stars as Mary Jane

Have any of you caught the new BET series Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union? I was hooked from the start!

Centering on the life of talk show host Mary Jane, the protagonist’s life is a parallel of so many of ours. But a few shows in I wasn't sure if I liked her choices, although I empathise with her situation.

Still, it’s a great series that has me totally hooked and is definitely for the new generation of media-world loving, sassy ladies!

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