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Screen Nation Awards cancelled

WINNER: Actress Naomie Harris at the event in 2008

AN ANNUAL celebration of African and Caribbean actors and directors has been cancelled two days before the event.

The 8th Screen Nation Film and Television Awards, dubbed the Black Baftas, was due to be held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, in central London, on Sunday.

But it was called off today [November 9] to "protect the Screen Nation brand", organisers said in a statement.

It blamed delays in payment, partners pulling out at late notice and a "major health and safety issue".

Chief executive Charles Thompson said: "On the same day the Guardian publishes an article I'm quoted in, posing the question 'Do black actors still need the Screen Nations Awards?', I regretfully announce this sudden setback.

"However, I give my assurance to you that the extraordinary talent that resides in the UK will be celebrated within a few months."

Apologies were offered to professionals working within the film and television sectors for any embarrassment caused.

Screen Nation was due to honour classic Jamaican film, The Harder They Come, which stars Reggae icon Jimmy Cliff.

Nominees included film and TV stars like Chizzy Akudolu, Natalie Gurnede, Ashley Walters, David Harewood, Jimmy Akingbola and Alesha Dixon.

Thandie Newton and latest Bond girl Naomie Harris were also nominated for awards.

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