ShakaRa Speaks On It: Why ‘No Vote – No Voice’ Is a Lie!

I don’t vote! Never have! And as the fanfare around the General Election 2015 dies down and a disgruntled Black community wraps its head around the coming prospects of a Conservative government, there is a particular theme that became prevalent among the Black community, widely shared via social media and ...

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GUBA 2015 Launched! Nominations Deadline 28th June 2015

Thursday the 30th April, 2015. London. The Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards, launched its 5th year and celebrations at the Luxurious Sunborn London, Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, ExCeL London E16 1XL. GUBA, an organisation that has acknowledged and celebrated outstanding individuals within the British Ghanaian community over the last ...

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Chiwetel Ejiofor (Everman) in Everyman adapted by Carol Ann Duffy @ Olivier, National Theatre.

©Tristram Kenton

Chiwetel Ejiofor Comes Home to British Theatre Once Again. TBB Reviews 'Everyman'

Last seen portraying Patrice Lumumba in the Young Vic's A Season in the Congo for which he received a nomination for the 2013 Evening Standard Best Actor Award, Ejiofor has been rather busy in moving pictures. But, the theatre is where he honed his craft and gained the critical recognition ...

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RipTheRunwayUK Model Castings - 2nd, 3rd, 4th May 2015

RipTheRunwayUK 2015 RipTheRunwayUK Model Castings - 2nd, 3rd, 4th May Rip The Runway UK a biennial event that fuses fashion, beauty, music and artistic talent together is back again for another 2015 extravaganza. Evolving from a local talent and fashion show established in 2009, Rip the Runway has now grown to be ...

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KID'S CASTING OPPORTUNITY Young Actors Needed for West End Production of 'Kinky Boots'

KINKY BOOTS Adelphi Theatre - West End Production 2015 CHILDREN’S CASTING Dates: Rehearsals in London: on or about 20th July 2015 1st Preview: on or about 21st August 2015 Press night: 15th September 2015 Length of contract: 26 weeks from first preview performance KINKY BOOTS is the unforgettable Broadway sensation with music by Tony® and Grammy®-winning pop ...

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Creator of Kouture Afrika TV Show, Lekia Lée

TBB's Kunga Dred Talks to Lekia Lée, Creator of new VOX TV Fashion show, Kouture Afrika

Lekia Lée is a woman who is truly putting her money and motherly nurturing skills where her mouth is as she fine tweaks the image of the 21st century black female on her new TV show Kouture Afrika.  Lée has been described as an 'Image activist', skilfully linking her background in broadcast ...

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TBB's Nora Denis Gets Some Real Talk @ The Deal Real 'Grind and Shine' Session...

Getting into the music industry is easy… if for some unlikely stroke of fortune you have Sway, Mikill Pane, Princess Nyah, Ben Scarr, Simeon Dixon and Alex Boateng as your entourage and advisors. Unfortunately, the key word here is unlikely but don’t despair, the Deal Real Legacy pop up shop ...

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Juwon Ogungbe composer of score for 'Siliva The Zulu' screening at Wilton's Music Hall

Composer Juwon Ogungbe Discusses Live Film Scoring, & The Art of Merging Classical & African Sounds

Juwon Ogungbe is an inspiring and well respected musician, singer, composer and band leader from London, of Nigerian heritage. Placing African music at the heart of his work, Juwon also incorporates pop, jazz and classical music into his expressive range. Juwon’s concert and music theatre compositions consistently attract interest from theatre and dance practitioners, commissions ...

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#TBBSUNDAYREAD Power of The Black Vote in 2015

Ground-breaking research undertaken by Operation Black Vote – The Power of the Black Vote in 2015 - shows the BME electorate could decide over 160 Westminster seats in the 2015 General Election. Using the recent 2011 census, researchers looked at the BME electorate in all England and Wales seats and found ...

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Tinie Tempah, Glyn Aikins. (far right) Naughty Boy manager Riki Bleu

PART 2 Virgin EMI A&R Director Glyn Aikins Talks So Solid, Bobby Shmurda & Emeli Sande...

With a career stretching back over 15 years, Virgin EMI’s A&R Director Glyn Aikins made his name signing acts such as So Solid Crew, Artful Dodger and Craig David. Now responsible for A&R at one of the UK’s leading labels, he has played a key part in discovering and breaking ...

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(l-r) Ella Eyre, Glyn Aikins, Emeli Sandé, Naughty Boy

Virgin EMI's A&R Director Glynn Aikins Gives TBB Insight into The World of Artist & Repertoire...

With a career stretching back over 15 years, Virgin EMI’s A&R Director Glyn Aikins made his name signing acts such as So Solid Crew, Artful Dodger and Craig David. Now responsible for A&R at one of the UK’s leading labels, he has played a key part in discovering and breaking ...

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Up in the Sky - TBB Talks to 'Venus Vs. Mars' Writer-Producer, Baby Isako

Baby (pronounced “Babi”) Isako is a critically acclaimed playwright (Love is a Losing Game) and producer the UK should watch very closely. Her passion is infectious, her vision refreshingly simple and her articulation of that vision has been eloquent for a few years now. In short, Isako wants more scope given ...

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TBB’s @DescantDeb Reviews Musical ‘The Melody of Deception’

melody_of_deceptionThe Melody of Deception is a joyous production from Canadian writer and director Dr Elaine Spencer. It is not, strictly speaking, a musical – musical numbers are not used to tell the story or substitute for conversation. But, music does feature heavily, since the setting is a gospel church – Pockets With Holes Church – and involves the agenda of the new musical director Minister Jessie (Matt Rapley), newly married to one of the Church’s own Humble Helen (Cheryl Morgan).

This is a third instalment of Dr. Spencer’s Private Pain In Public Pews series, and the format is one of my favourites – focussing on two groups of people with slightly different perspectives of the same chain of events. Small-time hustlers Johnnie (Alex Koski), Mitzy (Gilanda Boreland) and the delightful Prudence (Lorraine Edwards), owe a lot of people a lot of money from one of Johnnie’s doomed get-rich-quick schemes – a collapsed Pyramid. In desperation, they take on a cleaning contract at PWH Church, after giving it the hard sell to Prudence – a deliberate ‘backslider’ with the intention of blocking out her unwanted, frightening gift of receiving Divine messages.

The PWH Church community seem close-knit with their blissful Minister Terry (Aadin Church), their old and curmudgeonly Bishop (Gregory Green), his wife (Londa Larmond), the apparent church rock Sister Sarah (Diahann Walcott) and the returning, eternally single Humble Helen. They are on the brink of completing their mortgage payment and all seems well.

The story unfolds at a steady pace, made all the more enjoyable by the gospel numbers – even more so as the audience join in with many of the more well known hymns, swelling the choir to raise the theatre rafters.
The first half is long – over 90 minutes, and as the intermission approaches, you do begin to wonder where exactly the story is going, enjoyable as it is. It is with some surprise, then, that in the almost equally long second half, new intense storylines suddenly appear – some which seem like a natural follow-on of what has gone before, and some which feel a little shoe-horned in, because they happen to be relevant to black urban communities.

Melody of Deception, Catford Broadway, UK (c) Jason Joseph.

Melody of Deception, Catford Broadway, UK (c) Jason Joseph.

One character, thoroughly unlikeable in the first half, suddenly develops multiple dimensions in the second, almost too late for the audience to effectively adjust and empathise. Due to its length, the play itself feels baggy and in need of editing. It is at the end that you realise there were elements it could simply have done without. One woman behind me was left fretting about time enough to go home and season up her meat for Sunday. This wasn’t helped by Dr. Spencer holding a small revival after the show! Still, despite its length, some of the lesser storylines felt under-developed and rushed.

The director has tried to make the play relevant to a global black audience, having already played in Canada and Jamaica, and she has succeeded in spades. The cast speak in American/Canadian and convincing Jamaican accents, but some of the acting was uneven. The delight of the production is Gregory Green’s Bishop, who was note-perfect, judging by the audience’s reaction to his every word and gesture – just brilliant! Lorraine Edwards displayed a little of the Whoopi Goldberg magic as Prudence (with Patois!). Gilanda Boreland’s Mitzy also conveyed how intertwined music is with a black person’s sense of joy and good luck – fantastic! The music is uplifting and inspirational due, in no small part, to the incredible vocals of Londa Lormond, Aadin Church and Matt Rapley – both accompanied and a cappella.

Spending one night in the Aberdeen St Church of God of Prophecy in Birmingham on May 15th, and then just two in the Broadway Theatre Catford, the play moves on its way, continuing to spread the joyful Word and “support artistic gifts that glorify Jesus”.

Other Cast Members: Shanique Lodge (Grace), Marissa Blagrove (Sis Linda), Marc Yves Destra (Pastro Muster)

Catch this instalment along with Part 1: Private Pain In Public Pews and Part 2: Prayer Still Works – all available on DVD from the website by Kaleo Productions – a faith-based company.

Twitter @drElanieSpencer

To audition for Dr. Spencer’s stage plays, send your headshot and resume to:

This is a joint Afridiziak & The British Blacklist review by @DescantDeb; For more theatre news and reviews go to:

review for the british blacklist & afridiziak by  @DescantDeb

NFTS Graduate Victoria Thomas Launches ‘Cues’ New Film Discovery App at Cannes

vitoria_thomas_cue_moviesVictoria Thomas and Jonathan Forbes, two recent graduates of the NFTS’ Creative Business for Entrepreneurs and Executives (CBEE) course have unveiled a new film discovery app, Cues, at the Cannes Film Festival, which is available in beta on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Cues provides consumers with intelligent film recommendations, via trailers which remain the most influential factor in persuading audiences to see a film, and a simple way to purchase cinema tickets, trigger on demand screenings or purchase VOD / physical copies through familiar providers like iTunes and Amazon. It also aims to improve dwindling cinema occupancy internationally and aide distributors in forming data driven strategy.

Cues was developed by Victoria Thomas during her time as a Resident Entrepreneur, a University of Edinburgh School of Design Informatics programme, and gained support to develop it from Creative Scotland’s Digital Innovation fund and the Scottish Enterprise High Growth pipeline prior to her time at the NFTS.

“These are incredibly exciting times for storytellers thanks to the way digital technology has removed the barriers to entry in cinema. But it is also a double edged sword as the volume of content makes it harder for our stories to reach our intended audience,” says Thomas.

Thomas and Forbes met on the school’s CBEE course and set up The Thomas Forbes agency to deliver a slate of projects… Read More



BET Awards 2015 Announces ‘Best International Act: UK’ Nominees

bet_awards_2015The BET Awards 2015 has announced six of the hottest UK artists who will go head-to-head this summer to be crowned Best International Act: UK.

Celebrating its iconic 15th Anniversary, the annual BET Awards 2015 honours the very best international artists, entertainers, and athletes across 20 categories. One of this year’s most anticipated awards, the Best International Act: UK, recognises the finest British talent currently giving their American counterparts a run for their money.

The BET Awards panel, reading like a who’s who in the world of entertainment, which comprises of industry experts from the worlds of television, film, music, social media, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, creative arts and not forgetting, the fans, have sifted through the most popular artists of the moment to handpick the final UK shortlist.

BET Awards 2015 Announces ‘Best International Act: UK’ NomineesThe BET Awards 2015 Best International Act: UK nominees are:

FKA Twigs, Fuse ODG, Little Simz, Lethal Bizzle, Stormzy and MNEK

The winning British artist will collect their award at the star-studded BET Awards 2015, to be held on 28 June at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles. The UK premiere will air on Tuesday 30 June at 9pm on BET (SKY 187 / VIRGIN 184 / FREESAT 140).

Lethal Bizzle says, “Feeling very proud to represent the UK for such a coveted award, just to be nominated is an honour.”
MNEK says, “Really wasn’t expecting to be nominated for a BET award! This is awesome and I’m very humbled!”
Stormzy says, “I’m excited and humbled to be nominated for the ‘Best International Act: UK’ BET Award! It’s truly an honour.”
Little Simz says, “It’s an honour to be nominated for this award. Myself and my team have (and tirelessly continue to) put in the work on a daily basis and on a global level to show my generation it is possible to achieve success as an independent entity, so the recognition is truly appreciated.”

Michael Armstrong – EVP & GM of International Brand Development at VIACOM says, “The international relevance and demand for the BET Awards is increasing every year, and once again we’re thrilled to bring the best UK and African artists to the attention of audiences the world over. The BET Awards is a show like no other, and this year’s event promises to be nothing short of spectacular.”

To see the full BET Awards 2015 nominations list go to:

BOOK TICKETS to ‘I’m a Storyteller’ by YOUYOU Mentoring With Nicholas Pinnock & Georgina Campbell…

Nicholas Pinnock (credit photo Georgio Murru) Georgina Campbell (Credit Bafta)

Nicholas Pinnock (credit photo Georgio Murru)
Georgina Campbell (Credit Bafta)

BAFTA Actors Georgina Campbell & Nicholas Pinnock Help Young Literary Shine at the ‘I’m a Storyteller’ event hosted by YOUYOU Mentoring @ Keats House, Tuesday 9th June 2015.

Taking place at Keats House, the Georgian villa and home of the poet John Keats in Hampstead. British stage and screen actors Georgina Campbell and Nicholas Pinnock will be amongst the actors performing I’m A StoryTeller a special one-off charity event to showcase young literary talent.

The event will feature the actors talking about their favourite books, poetry and inspirations and entertaining guests with poetry readings and extracts from I’m A StoryTeller a series of short stories penned by aspiring young novelist Nyasha Duri, Olivia Maxwell and Louella Ward mentored under the YOUYOU Mentoring scheme.

Nicholas famed for his starring role as Frank Sutter in Sky Atlantic’s hit drama Fortitude and The Royale at the Bush Theatre is a passionate writer and poet. He will be reading a poem from his debut collection of poems and a poem by John Keats.

On the night , Nicholas will be joined by award-winning BAFTA Best Leading actress Georgina Campbell (BBC3 Murdered by My Boyfriend and ITV Ice Cream Girls), Leanne Best well-known for her award-winning role as Jane Cobden in the BBC1 series Ripper Street, Educating Rita at the Playhouse and Laura Pradelska star in .Games Of Thrones.

I’m A StoryTeller production is curated by London-based non-profit scheme, YOUYOU Mentoring to help find and develop young literary talent. The evening has been supported by Arts Co and Keats House.

More special guests will be announced.

Doors open at 6:30pm for the event start at 7:00pm. For more info visit
Address: Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR.
Tickets £10 and can be booked at


APPLY for Oxford Playhouse Playmaker Taster Session. Deadline Friday 3rd July 2015

oxford_playhouseAutumn 2015 sees the start of Playhouse Playmaker, the new OP Writers’ Attachment Programme designed to support and mentor new and emerging playwrights. After a sell-out taster session in May, they are offering this extra workshop for anyone considering applying for Playhouse Playmaker.

Over the course of this full day taster session, award-winning playwrights and expert tutors John Retallack and Renata Allen will help your develop your ideas, providing the skills and confidence to help people prepare submissions to the Playmaker programme.

More information on Playhouse Playmaker

Oxford Playhouse invites all new and emerging playwrights to submit their work to be considered for a place on the new Oxford Playhouse Writers on Attachment Programme – Playhouse Playmaker. Beginning in October, selected writers commit to attending 6 day-long workshops over the next year covering everything from developing an idea to getting it staged. The course also includes regular individual mentoring and dramaturgy support from John Retallack.

Submission guidelines:

  • Submissions should be submitted as .word, .pdf or .odt attachments and should include a name and email address in the header.
  • Scripts can be of any length or theatrical style, from a single scene to a full-length play (but should be intended to be performed on stage). Anything that showcases your style and abilities is perfect!
  • Playmaker is open to anyone aged 21 and over, based anywhere in the UK (but bear in mind workshops will take place in Oxford).

For more information / to apply go to:

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