THE VOICE newspaper’s longstanding sports editor, Rodney Hinds has been honoured with the prestigious lifetime achiever award at the National Diversity Awards.
Hinds, who is also an author, speaker and co-founder of the Football Black List and has worked at Britain’s black newspaper for 19 years and spent many more years supporting the BAME community, was presented with the award on Friday September 20 at a televised ceremony held at Liverpool’s grand Cathedral.
Hinds’ list of tremendous achievements were recognised by judges, who selected him from six other finalists for the evening’s headline honour at the eight annual National Diversity Awards which was hosted by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips.
Accepting the award, which he said would be displayed in Barbados where his parents reside, Hinds dedicated it to his daughter, journalist Chantelle.
He said: “If I have played my part in the progress of the black sports journalist I’m happy and proud. I know when I started even today there were hurdles a plenty but in the words of the legendary Sam Cook a change is gonna come and it is coming, however slowly. Doors have been closed in my face but I was determined to kick them open and succeed. I always felt I belonged in the industry and my confidence never diminished. My parents had to fight just for recognition when they lived in this country back in the 60s and 70s. I saw them battle against the odds so I had to do the same thing. As I made my way I began to understand my role and it was simply to provide opportunity for others. I have done that and I will continue to do so. I have been as delighted developing careers as I have been interviewing the likes of Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Thierry Henry.”
Hinds went on to highlight the work of BCOMS, The Black Collective of Media in Sport, which he heralded as the future.
“Rather than people question whether black journalists can do the job they certainly can, give them as much opportunity as everybody else,” Hinds said.
He added: “Even in 2019 as we approach 2020, sports press boxes still do not represent society and I will continue to help change that landscape.”
Paul Sesay, the founder of the National Diversity Awards, said: “There is no diversity in journalism, absolutely none. It’s still very white male [orientated], you’d be hard-pressed to find a female. So I know first-hand the fight that this guy has on. [Rodney has] been key to the careers of hundreds of journalists and he’s now a regular voice on TV and on radio, having an astonishing impact on the lives of many.”
The ceremony, which was aired on ITV News and live streamed through ITV News’ YouTube channel, has been described as the “golden globes of the diversity world” among attendees.
In addition to real life diversity heroes, a number of special guests including Levi Roots, Jennifer Ellison and Chris Kamara made an appearance at the UK’s largest diversity awards to show their support for the incredible nominees who have changed the lives of many.
Taking home one of the other big gongs of the night, Sir Lenny Henry CBE was the recipient of the Celebrity of the Year Award for his ongoing commitment to increasing diverse representation across the media industry.
He said: “Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination” Said Henry. “It means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. This is about everybody being on the bus and nobody being left behind. And that’s what diversity and inclusion is about – nobody being left behind.”
Rachel Corp, acting editor, ITV News, said; “We were delighted to work with the National Diversity Awards to showcase some of the important and inspiring stories of the nominees across our news platforms. We recognise and support the devotion of those involved in highlighting equality, diversity and inclusion.”
A record 28,543 people nominated this year alone with an astonishing 126 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide. Among those being commended were Darryl Laycock, a reformed gangster educating children on the perils of crime; CliniQ, the first ever holistic wellbeing and sexual health service for trans and non-binary people and C-Lash founder and breast cancer survivor Codilia Gapare, who created the first ever false lashes range for chemotherapy patients.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Lifetime Achiever: Rodney Hinds
Celebrity of the Year: Sir Lenny Henry OBE
Positive Role Model for Age: Emily White
Positive Role Model for Disability: Myles Sketchley
Positive Role Model for Gender: Joss Cambridge-Simmons
Positive Role Model for LGBT: Patrick Ettenes
Positive Role Model for Race, Faith & Religion: Darryl Laycock
Community Organisation Award for Age: The Hive Youth Zone
Community Organisation Award for Disability: The Josephine & Jack Project
Community Organisation Award for Gender: Andys Man Club
Community Organisation Award for LGBT: CliniQ
Community Organisation Award for Race, Faith & Religion: Musicians in Exile – The Glasgow Barons
Community Organisation Award for Multi-strand: L6 Community Association
Entrepreneur of Excellence: Codilia Gapare
Diverse Company: Specsavers