APPLY Royal Exchange Theatre Programme Leader: Schools PT Role. Manchester Deadline 8th July 2016

Job title: Programme Leader: Schools Responsible to: Head of Department: Participation & Learning Responsible for: The management, facilitation and delivery of a vibrant and relevant participation and learning programme for schools and colleges, delivered in partnership with formal education networks across Greater Manchester. Duration: Permanent Hours: 3 days a week (normal office working hours ...

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ShakaRa Speaks On It: Muhammad Ali, Lessons from the Greatest

On Saturday 4th June the world awoke to the news that the legend that is Muhammad Ali had passed away. Naturally, millions of tributes in various forms began to flood through every conceivable avenue and whatever their angle, a universal truth was apparent; this was a man that was far ...

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Black Apron Entertainment 
D M. Bailey (Producer), 
Heather Basten (Producer), 
Gino Ricardo Green (Director/Writer)

New Production Company Black Apron Entertainment Speak to TBB About New Film Project 'A Silent Night'

TBB’s Nellie Tandoh speaks to Gino Green about new film Production Company collective  'Black Apron Entertainment', on their new trailer ‘A Silent Night’, their influences and how they joined forces to bring Black and Ethnic Minority stories to life. How did Black Apron Entertainment come about and who does it comprise of? Black Apron ...

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Sychelle Yanda

TBB Speaks to 17yr old Sychelle Yanda Whose Short Film ’Between Lovers’ Will Screen @ BFI This Summer…

Sychelle Yanda is a 17 year old creative with a Congolese background. Hailing from Watford, Hertfordshire Yanda discovered writing after her parents divorce, and subsequent father's passing found her needing an outlet for her emotions. After writing numerous short stories,  Yanda went on to release her first self-published book which she recently ...

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Vicky Sola

TBB's Marianne Speaks to Singer Vicky Sola About Music & Overcoming a Troubled Upbringing

Victoria Ekundayo is a professional dancer with a bachelors degree in the subject and performances at Sadler’s Wells, Royal Festival Hall, Brixton Academy and O2 indigo under her belt. She started singing at the age of in church and in her school choir began to pursue her music career vigorously ...

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#TBBmustRead We Spoke to Comedian turned Channel CEO Kojo Anim About His Latest Venture 'The Colour Network'

I met Kojo many years ago growing up in a tiny part of Hackney, London. There were many characters, lots of talent and a few shining stars but Kojo stood out like a light sabre. He always had infectious optimism, so it was no surprise to any of us that ...

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Paulette Randall, MBE

Photograph by Felix Clay

TBB Exclusive! Acclaimed Theatre Director Paulette Randall, MBE Talks TV Directing Debut with Holby City and... Circus!

Paulette Randall, MBE accredits a pre-teen job helping out on a stall in Brixton Market with giving her an understanding of theatre. Well, thank goodness it did, because she is one of those people who have been quietly, but indelibly, making her mark on British theatre and television for decades! ...

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John Giwa-Amu

Screen's 2015 Future Leader & Producer of 'The Call Up', John Giwa-Amu Talks Exciting Projects, Sci Fi & Cannes

One of the things TBB does so well is bring you TBB Treasures - black British talent who have been building a legacy in their industry area, but who rarely make the news. 38 year old multi-talented John Giwa-Amu is someone who qualifies. Starting out studying at Newport Film School ...

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Parker Sawyers in 'The Call Up' (2016)

TBB Speaks to Parker Sawyers About Playing Obama, Starring in Brit Sci-Fi The Call Up...and Being a Brit...

Parker Sawyers is fast becoming a much repeated name in the acting world. No less because of his portrayal of President Barack Obama in the new film ‘Southside With Me’ a tale which focuses on Michelle (Tika Sumpter) and Barack Obama’s relationship pre-presidency, pre-children, pre-financial stability! With the excitement around ...

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Daniel Kaluuya (Christopher) in rehearsal for Blue Orange. © Johan Persson.jpg

Honest Daniel Kaluuya Sets The Record Straight & Talks About Taking On Award-Winning Stage Role 'Chris' in 'Blue/Orange'

Daniel Kaluuya is a hard man to pin down. His star is firmly rising and he keeps his multiple talents busy, year round.  But, knowing that he was to appear as Chris in the award-winning Blue/Orange, we persisted, and were rewarded two-fold. Not only did we catch him during what ...

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Sareeta Domingo

TBB Speaks to Novelist Sareeta Domingo About New Title ‘The Nearness of You’

South London romance novelist Sareeta Domingo channels her passion for writing into a career as a senior editor at a creative book packager. Squeezing writing into every bit of Sareeta’s spare time, it’s a wonder she found the time to talk to me. She’s just published her first full length ...

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TBB's Be Manzini Speaks to Playwright May Sumbwanyambe On Writing, Identity & Cultural Politics

Papatango Theatre Company’s debut of ‘After Independence’ is inspired by a decolonised Zimbabwe and the effects of land redistribution from white farmers to Black freedom fighters. The play's synopsis reads:  After Independence is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession and justice in the postcolonial world. It is inspired by real events in Zimbabwe in ...

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Historic Memorial Statue Immortalising Mary Seacole Unveiled in London TODAY!

mary_seacoleAfter a 12-year campaign, which raised £500,000, the UK’s first memorial statue of a named black woman, Mrs. Mary Seacole, was unveiled in the grounds of St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, today.

Honouring her fearless determination to care for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War in the 19th Century, campaigners can now breathe a huge, satisfied sigh. Britain has finally recognised the contribution made by black and ethnic minority people throughout British history in the bronze tribute to Mrs. Seacole, which was unveiled by actress and broadcaster Baroness Floella Benjamin.

It stands in a place of prominence opposite the Houses of Parliament in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital. Created by sculptor Martin Jennings, the bronze also features a memorial disc, inscribed with words written in 1857 by The Times’ Crimean War correspondent, Sir William Howard Russell:

“I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.”

Lord Clive Soley, Chair of the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal said, “We are very grateful to everyone who has supported the statue. We look forward to finally granting Mary Seacole the acknowledgement she deserves for her selfless support of British soldiers. The statue will be a fantastic new landmark on the South Bank providing much needed recognition of the contribution black and ethnic minorities have made throughout British history and a celebration of the UK’s diversity.”

Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805 to a Scottish soldier and a Jamaican mother, who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers, and from whom she learnt her nursing skills.
She married Edwin Seacole in 1836, who died 8 years later, prompting her to travel widely and live briefly at 14 Soho Square in the 1850s. Whilst there, she offered her services to the War Office to be sent to Crimea as an army nurse. She was refused, but made her way to the Front anyway. Once there, she set up the “British Hotel” to help sick and convalescent officers. She soon became known as Mother Seacole, as she also nursed the wounded on the battlefield, sometimes under the hail of gunfire, and earned a reputation which rivalled that of Florence Nightingale. She eventually died in 1881.

plateIn the lead up to today’s historic event, a small group of Florence Nightingale experts and fans protested Seacole’s tribute being placed in the grounds of the hospital where Nightingale established her nursing school, fearing that it deflected attention from its rightful place – on The Lady of The Lamp. They also protested her reputation, claiming that she doesn’t deserve to be called a nurse or a British icon at all. The claims were given credence by The Daily Mail. It is true that Seacole never worked at the hospital. But, Nightingale has a statue at the Crimean War memorial near Buckingham Palace.

Ex-Education Minister and the man who thinks he should be PRIME Minister, Michael Gove, attempted to remove Seacole from the national curriculum in 2013, but was forced to back down. This possibly led to George Osbourne pledging £240,000 from the Treasury raised from Libor banking fines to help pay for the installation, last November.

Sculptor Jennings is immensely proud of his work, and said, “Her expression is determined and energetic. She was a strong person and I wanted to express that in her statue… I’d encourage people to come and see it at dusk, when it is illuminated and the circle of the bronze disc behind her echoes the circle of the clock on Big Ben.”

You heard the man! We can can all make sure it becomes a tourist attraction one of these days.

Congratulations to all involved.



Words by @DescantDeb

Idris Elba, Amma Asante and John Boyega Offered Membership To The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

Idris Elba, Amma Asante, John Boyega

Idris Elba, Amma Asante, John Boyega

‎IdrisElba, Amma Asante, John Boyega, Carmen Ejogo and ‎Freida Pinto joined 683 invitees announced yesterday by Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of a new diverse class of 2016: 283 new international members from 59 countries who will gain voting rights as members.

Boone Isaacs’ statement said, “(We) know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership,”

The new class, of unprecedented size is more than double last year’s 322 invitations – and almost four times the size of the 2011 intake of 178.

It is 46% female and 41% people of color and also includes Adepero Oduye, Nate Parker, Chadwick Boseman, Anika Noni Rose, Enrique Castillo, Morris Chestnut, Michael B. Jordan, Ryan Coogler, Vivica A. Fox, Regina King, Oscar Isaac, Dennis Haysbert, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez, Gabrielle Union, Loretta Devine, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Asif Kapadia, Marlon Wayans Jr, Melvin Van Peebles, Luis Guzman, Eva Mendes, America Ferrera and Cary Joji Fukunaga.

This goes some way to fulfill the promise made by Boone Isaacs and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson to double the number of women and minority members by 2020.

Boone Isaacs went on, “This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today… We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider, and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

oscarsShould they all accept, the Academy’s percentage of female members will be raised from 25% to 27% and members of colour from 8% to 11%. The 2016 class includes 283 new international members from 59 countries.

This year’s ceremony, in February, was marred by protests over the lack of nominations for any black actor or actress in the main categories for the second year running, despite there being viable candidates, such as Elba for Beasts of No Nation.

Boone Isaacs promised at that time, “The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up… There are qualified people out there… We’re going to do everything in our power to meet our goals, because we know that this is the right thing to do. We’re going to make it happen.”

Well, they have certainly made a start. Let’s see if it makes a difference!

See the full list here:


Words by @DescantDeb

#TBBwatch BET’s ‘The New Edition Story’ Latest Trailer

The Cast of New Edition Story  Bryshere Y. Gray as Michael Bivins, Elijah Kelley as Ricky Bell,  Luke James as Johnny Gill, Algee Smith as Ralph Tresvant,  Keith Powers as Ronnie DeVoe and Woody McClain as Bobby Brown

The Cast of New Edition Story
Bryshere Y. Gray as Michael Bivins, Elijah Kelley as Ricky Bell,
Luke James as Johnny Gill, Algee Smith as Ralph Tresvant,
Keith Powers as Ronnie DeVoe and Woody McClain as Bobby Brown

If you’re a child of the 70’s & 80’s specifically, and you loved R&B then there was one boy band who got your heart a flutter. New Edition.

Credited for laying the foundation for which boy bands such as Hi-Five, Boyz II Men, Soul 4 Real, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, Jodeci and more were built upon, New Edition soundtracked our teenage into adult years.

They grew up with us as children known for classic tracks Candy Girl, Mr Telephone Man, Cool it Now then as young men Can You Stand The Rain, If it Isn’t Love, and THEN as grown men Hit Me Off and more… and finally, after much talk, their epic rise to superstardom will be captured on screen in a new movie / series about their lives.

Brought to us by BET, the movie which is actually a three-part series will visualise the group New Edition made up of Ronnie Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Mike (Michael) Bivins, Ralph Tresvant and later Johnny Gill’s beginnings as young boys from Boston to world domination. Shedding light on how they were brought together, and how hormones, ego, love, mis-management and fame changed them forever. It goes without saying there will also be focus on the biggest controversy surrounding the band, their tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown and the heart breaking decision to replace him with Johnny Gill.

Starring Wood Harris (The Wire, Creed), Duane Martin (Real Husbands of Hollywood) and La La Anthony (Think Like A Man) the cast is mostly made up of fresh new talent. The cast who all made their debut public appearance at the 2016 BET awards recently are as follows:

Empire star, Bryshere Y. Gray (Hakeem Lyon) will play Michael Bivins as an adult and Dante Hoagland will play Michael as a child. Elijah Kelley will play Ricky Bell as an adult and Caleb McLaughlin will play Ricky as a child. Luke James will play Johnny Gill. Algee Smith will play Ralph Tresvant as an adult and Jahi Winston will play Ralph as a child. Keith Powers will play Ronnie DeVoe as an adult and Myles Truitt will play Ronnie as a child. Woody McClain will play Bobby Brown as an adult and Tyler Williams will play Bobby as a child.

The series is being co-produced by all the original New Edition members – including Bobby Brown, their former manager Brooke Payne and exec-produced by BET and Jesse Collins Entertainment (Real Husbands of Hollywood). It will be directed by Chris Robinson of ATL fame and is written by Abdul Williams (Lottery Ticket).

Originally slated for a 2017  release, with no announced air date, the trailer is all we have to go on that it may be this year instead.

Whenever it’s released, UK fans have one request that we get it at the same time!!!!


‎Idris Elba & Freida Pinto to Star in Oscar Winner ‎John Ridley’s TV Drama Guerilla!

Idris Elba, Frieda Pinto, John Ridley

Idris Elba, Frieda Pinto, John Ridley

Idris Elba is to star in a new TV Drama Guerilla, in an as yet unidentified role, which is set to begin production in London late this summer! Freida Pinto has also been announced as the female lead, ‘Jas’.

In 1970s London, Jas is in a passionate relationship with Marcus (yet to be cast). They become involved in political activism and liberate a political prisoner, then form a radical underground cell, which leads them down the path to radical militancy. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk – a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism in one of the most explosive political times in U.K. history.

Guerrilla will feel very UK-specific, portraying the Black Power movement with a broader scope and a global feel. It also included people from the Indian subcontinent and references other 1970s militant groups such as the Red Army Faction (Germany), the Japanese Red Army and the IRA.

“Those were people who were led by passion, who thought that the establishment was out of control, and if they did not stand up, the oppression would continue,” said Ridley.

Sky said, “At its heart ‘Guerrilla’ is about a relationship under pressure, and the reality that for any couple there comes a point when the choices they make have real and lasting consequences.”

Showtime president and CEO David Nevins said, “We’re excited to partner with our friends at Sky to bring a fascinating and unexplored story spearheaded by John and Idris, two major creative talents at the top of their game… Guerilla will surely keep our audience at their edge of their seats.”

Ridley said, “I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’s passion toward bringing this story to life… I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the productorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.” He is excited to be realising a long-time passion project, “I’m a child of the 70s and witnessed things in the US like the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground,” He became aware of similar goings-on in Britain, “The reality was that there was black consciousness, a Black Power movement that was different but informed by the American Black Panther movement.”

Having spoken with Elba about his father’s activism, Ridley affirmed, “He has a personal perspective having lived the difficulties and glory of being Black in the UK.”

This is an important project for them both. “These events are starting to no longer be current but a distant history, we don’t want those stories and perspective to fade into the past,” Ridley said.

Ridley, the writer-producer of 12 Years A Slave (2013) – for which he won an Oscar for best Best Adapted Screenplay – and director of acclaimed TV series American Crime (2015-16) will co-write, direct episodes 1 and 2, and executive produce the 6-part drama for Showtime-Sky. Elba also executive produces through his Green Door Pictures. It will be co-produced by Fifty Fathoms and ABC Signature. Sam Miller (Luther) will direct the remaining 4 episodes, and Misan Sagay (Belle) is also on board as a writer on the project.

Elba said, “It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and story-telling… TV is in for a treat.” His upcoming films include “Star trek: Beyond” and “The Dark Tower.”

Guerilla will be broadcast in the U.S. on Showtime and in the U.K. on Sky Atlantic.



Words by @DescantDeb

#TBB’s Nellie Tandoh Speaks to Landi Oshinowo Ahead of West End Run of ‘I’m Getting my Act Together & Taking it on the Road’

Landi Oshinowo

Landi Oshinowo

With the opening night of highly acclaimed ‘controversial sensation’ West End musical ‘I’m Getting my Act Together and Taking it on the Road’ beginning its run from the 6th of July, I speak with Landi Oshinowo on being a part of this ground-breaking production about to return to London after 35 years; and her future within the industry…

Could you tell our TBB readers a little about yourself and your background?

Well, first of all I’d like to extend a warm hello to the TBB readers! I’m a British actress / singer of Nigerian heritage, living in London I’ve been in the business professionally for about 14 years. I always knew I wanted to sing and have done from the age of 7. Before I got into musical theatre, I was in a girl group for about 4 years. When that came to an end, I had some small roles in a couple of films and just naturally progressed into musicals. I’ve appeared in shows such as Sister Act, Shrek, Barnum, The Light Princess, Dancing In The Streets and Tommy.

You must be excited to be part of bringing back such a highly acclaimed production back to London – has it been overwhelming knowing the reviews it has received in the past?

I am really excited to be a part of the production. It was ground-breaking when it had it’s first opening off Broadway at The New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre in 1978. Apparently the critics didn’t take to it but the public loved it, a guaranteed success! It is now our job to carry on that success, so yes I guess you can say it’s pretty overwhelming.

The title of this production sounds like a major statement being made to the audience about to embark on a musical journey with these characters – what does it mean to you?

For me, it’s a statement I can truly identify with. Having worked thus far in the industry it is inevitable that you will come to a career crossroad due to age, available roles, career path or just simply what you’re willing to put up with….or not. You realise that your career or your ‘act’ is in your hands. You can choose to do nothing or you can use the courage and self-belief, with which you embarked on your career in the first place, to take a leap of faith and do something different. Or simply put – ‘Screw this, I’m doing my own thing!’

‘I’m Getting my Act Together…’ is a very well know musical – were you familiar with it before landing the role?

I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t familiar with the show or how pivotal and relevant a lot of the content was and still is.

What has been the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

The lines! Oooh mama’s gotta lotta lines to learn! When I saw my script I thought – ‘I bes’ git on my knees and pray to Jesus!’

When you first read the script, what about it stood out to you and why?

The lines! No really, I think the first thing that stood out for me was Heather’s determination to do something different. No matter the advice and objections from her manager, even though it could mean the end of a successful career, she still wanted to break out and let the world see just who she really is. The more you read the script the more layers you discover. I know it’s a cliché but word onion comes to mind! It really is thought-provoking.

getting_act_togetherWhat do you love or have found challenging about this character?

Heather Jones is a successful singer/actress and a divorced, 39-year-old, mother of two living in America in the late’70s. She’s living in a time where she’s earning her own money and making her own rules about love, life and her identity. It’s the need to establish this identity that I love the most about the character.

Without giving anything away, what is your favourite line of dialogue from the show?

I could give you a whole page of favourite lines but this one’s really poignant: “If you can’t give me room to grow, you’ve gotta get out of my life.”

As this is a major return of this production to the West End after 35 years, why do you think it works with modern day audiences and has anything new been brought to the story?

The show works with today’s audiences because a lot of the content is still very relevant today. The relationships between men and women, the subject of age and how the rules differ between men and women, marriage and divorce, establishing one’s own identity in a conformist arena and the ultimate pursuit of love.

What motivates you to act and have you matured as an actress since starting out in the industry?

I think what motivates me the most is that I can act and that I still have so much that’s untapped in me with regards to roles. I didn’t train like some of my peers, so my growth as an actress has come for work and life experience. Working with amazing directors and actors has also contributed to how much I’ve matured as an actress. One fond memory is of me playing opposite Sheila Hancock in Sister Act. She gave me acting advice, which I absolutely loved her for because it brought out the best in me. And when Sheila Hancock gives you advice, you take it!

What is the last thing you do before you step out on stage? Do you have any particular traditions?

I have to say a prayer before I go on stage. Quite a few people know me for that and even join me or ask me to, whether they believe or not

Are there any future roles you would love to get an opportunity to perform?

Effie White in Dreamgirls, Celie in The Color Purple; Racheal Merron in Bodyguard; Ursula in A Little Mermaid; Tina Turner in a musical about her life! I’d also love to play Donkey in Shrek!

I’m Getting my Act Together and Taking it on the Road runs at the Jermyn Street Theatre from Wed, 6th – Sat, 23rd July 2016. For further information / to book tickets go to:

To keep up to date with Landi follow her on Twitter: @fabulands


Interview with Landi Oshinowo for The British Blacklist by Nellie Tandoh / @Nellie_Ville

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