MIDLANDS MUSIC legends Beverley Knight and Jamelia have been honoured at a gala awards and dinner event at Villa Park, Birmingham.
Knight was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Honorary Award at the Midlands Business & Community Charity Awards (MBBCA) 2019 in recognition of her 25 years in the music industry. The critically acclaimed singer has sold over 1 million albums in the UK.
On receiving the award, Wolverhampton-born Knight said: “I had to take a big old machete to cut a path through the music industry however if cutting that path means that (young artists) can sprint down that path, then every second of pain and every hurdle I have had to overcome was worth it.
“It’s been a wonderful, beautiful, edifying, illuminating night for me so thank you, all of you for making this truly one of the greatest days of my life.”
The star then surprised attendees with typically soulful impromptu performances of Chaka Khan’s hit singles, Ain’t Nobody and I’m Every Woman, backed by rising homegrown hopefuls from the Aston Performing Arts Academy.
The crowning took place at the fourth annual MBCCA event, which attracted more than 550 guests to the popular Birmingham venue, where last year, legendary comedian and activist Lenny Henry received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Seventeen community activists/ organisations, including the Acorns Children’s Hospice (Charity of the Year) and psychologist Craig Pinckney (Most Inspirational Person), were also honoured on the night, including singer/songwriter Jamelia, who received the Inspirational Honorary Award.
The Superstar singer – who was born and raised a few minutes’ walk from the venue – expressed her surprise at being honoured at all, much less alongside Knight and dedicated her award to her daughters and her parents, whom she attributed her work ethic and success to.
MBCCA event director, Tru Powell said: “I am really pleased we were able honour Beverley Knight and Jamelia. This year we have received a record number of nominations and delighted we were able to recognise some of the region’s unsung heroes.”
The MBCCA aims to showcase talent in business and community work that exhibits selflessness, consideration and a willingness to go the extra mile. It was set up as a non-profit organisation by businesswoman Zoe Bennett, following the intervention of Gavin Williamson MP who went beyond the call of duty to help keep Zoe safe after she received death threats following the murder of her father in Jamaica eight days before Christmas in 2011.
Zoe said: “MBCCA is a platform where people can gain recognition for the work they put in and everyone involved with it has given either their time and services free of charge. For me, the important thing isn’t about getting but about giving. It’s not about being noticed but allowing others to be seen and recognised.”
The glitzy ceremony was hosted by acclaimed TV and weather presenter Alex Beresford (Good Morning Britain) and BBC radio and TV presenter Trish Adudu. Other VIPs in attendance included West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson and his deputy Ashley Bertie.