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Black community wins big at nOSCARS

BIG WINNERS: Longret Kwardem
Aicha Kallo, Patti Boulaye OBE, Monique Todd, Longret Kwardem, Edem Ntumy, Christabel Kunda, Fungai Murau

CAMPAIGNERS WHO have led efforts to raise awareness of sexual health issues in the black community were honoured a special awards ceremony yesterday (Nov 12).

The nOSCARS, organised by sexual health charity NAZ, is an annual event highlighting the people, programmes and media making a positive difference to the sexual health outcomes to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Speaking about the event, held in London’s Hurlington Club, a spokesperson told The Voice: “A lack of visible role models and voices speaking to the importance of sexual health in black and Caribbean communities means our communities are being left behind in the fight against HIV. Black African and Caribbean communities are disproportionately affected by HIV and poor sexual health.

In order to highlight all those improving sexual health outcomes in BAME communities, seven years ago, NAZ launched their annual awards ceremony, nOSCARS.”

During the event, Swati Mandela, granddaughter of late icon Nelson, gave a moving speech addressing the need of the black community to take the issue seriously.

Among those who won big on the night was Phil Samba, an HIV prevention activist working with organisations like Terrence Higgins Trust and BlackOut UK, won the Black African and Caribbean nOSCAR for his tireless work as a role model encouraging Black gay men to take PrEP and get tested regularly.

Nash Paragon Langley, founder of Let’s Talk: Queer People of Colour, took home the Innovation nOSCAR for his work bringing together queer men of colour to share their stories, poetry and spoken word to help combat isolation.

MNEK, the singer and songwriter who’s written for Beyonce and released his debut album this year, won the LGBTQI nOSCAR for his unapologetic openness and for emboldening and empowering a new generation of queer black folk.

Beatrice Nabulya, for her work uplifting and empowering black African women, was presented the Fellowship nOSCAR by Swati Mandela, which recognises outstanding contributions to improving BAME sexual health.

Inerela, the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Affected by HIV/AIDS, took home the Faith nOSCAR, for their work encouraging faith leaders and communities to take a more proactive approach to eradicating the stigma and shame often associated with living with HIV.

Daniel Thomas and Marc Morrison, directors of NAZ’s Joyful Noise Choir won the Wellbeing nOSCAR for their work as musical directors of NAZ’s Joyful Noise Choir, which is a support group and choir for people living with HIV.

Longret Kwardem took home the Woman of the Year nOSCAR for her work in supporting other women to be meaningfully involved where decisions about their treatment, care, health and wellbeing are made.

The founders of Black Fly Zine, a sexual health magazine for queer people of colour, took home the Media nOSCAR. Black Fly Zine presents “decolonised information via submissions in poetry, short story, illustration, photography, collage and essay” and has been instrumental in creating a space for the discussion of a diverse range of sexual health issues facing their community.

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