BBC BAME Expert Voices Talent Day, Birmingham

BBC Academy hosted an action-packed Expert Voices: BAME Talent Day on the 27th November 2014 for specialist speakers from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities across the UK. The event took place at The Mailbox, the new BBC Academy headquarters in Birmingham.

Twenty-four outstanding and talented candidates were selected from hundreds of applications to take part in the scheme, created to encourage inclusion and participation from ‘undiscovered’ and untapped BAME experts, to possibly take part in forthcoming BBC programming and news broadcasts.

Leane Leandre, BBC Expert Voices project coordinator stated: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for candidates to gain great broadcasting experience and to meet professionals from the BBC”.

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Blue Heritage Plaque Honour at Residence of George Africanus

A historic first for Nottingham will take place on Thursday, 9th October 2014 with the unveiling of the first ever blue heritage plaque to a person of colour in the city. The recipient is George Africanus (c1763 -1834), the black entrepreneur who created one of the first ever employment agencies in Britain.

The George Africanus Blue Plaque, hosted through Nubian Jak Community Trust, sponsored by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham News Centre CIC, is a tribute to the life and work of George Africanus in the City of Nottingham. It will mark his place of residence and business as well as a site for visitors to find out more about him. The plaque will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Ian Malcolm on Thursday 9th October 2014 at 3.00pm in the presence of community representatives, city councillors, school pupils, volunteers, historians and George Africanus enthusiasts.

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Darcus Howe launches new book in Nottingham

Darcus Howe, political activist, writer and broadcaster launched his new book in Nottingham on Friday 15th May 2015 at the Five Leaves Bookshop. Howe spent time with his audience discussing his new biography, Darcus Howe: A Political Biography by Robin Bunce and Paul Field.

His book details a vivid history of black power in Britain and his personal experiences entangled within some of Britain’s most definitive moments of racial injustice and racial uprising in Britain.

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George Africanus Tram unveiled in Nottingham

The George Africanus tram was unveiled at a special ceremony in Nottingham on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

The new tram, owned by Nottingham Express Transit (NET) is now part of the city’s tram network and was unveiled at 11.30am by Norma Gregory, historian and Nottingham-based entrepreneur, before the start of Tuntum Housing Association’s annual Nottingham Caribbean Carnival on the Forest Recreation Ground, Hyson Green, Nottingham.

George Africanus is the latest in an honourable line of Nottingham notables, and the first person of African heritage to have a tram named after him. More significant Notts characters and local heroes such as Robin Hood, boxing champion Carl Froch, Nottingham Forest football coach Brian Clough, Olympic ice dancers Torvill and Dean, Sir Jessie Boot, founder of global Boots Pharmacy and Salvation Army leader, William Booth also have NET trams named in their honour.

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It’s My Story! Big Lottery Fund community media project hailed a triumph

It’s My Story! community media event, funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) was held at Antenna Media Centre, Nottingham, on Thursday 5th February 2015 and a triumph thanks to the valuable contributions and reflections from our media experts: Kevin Brown, ‘Talk Back Show’ radio presenter Kemet FM, Geeta Pendse, BBC East Midlands Today and Alexander Britton, Political Editor, Nottingham Post.

The multitude of fascinating and informed questions from the audience and media trainees participating in the It’s My Story! community media project, hosted by Norma Gregory Director of the Nottingham News Centre CIC and project coordinator, led to well informed responses and reflections from the panellists.

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Jamaicans in Nottingham: Narratives and Reflections launch 2015

Jamaicans in Nottingham: Narratives and Reflections by Hansib Publications (2015) and Nottingham News Centre is a unique collection of personal and reflective interviews and articles that presents narratives of ‘life in Nottingham’, from individuals of Jamaican heritage, who have contributed to the spirit and life of the city and its surrounding areas from the 1940’s to the present day.

Norma Gregory, historian and author, strives to capture through diligent interviews, research and images, the ‘voices’ and narratives of many Jamaicans moving from their ‘island in the sun’ to live and work in Nottingham, after the devastation caused by Word War I & II. The book also includes interviews from first generation, British born Jamaicans, who continue to strive for the highest levels in professional and social standing, thus continuing to pass the baton of resilience and motivation created by many Jamaicans interviewed in this book, to the younger generations.

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Interview with Felix Cross, Theatre Director, Nitro Black Musical Theatre

Norma Gregory, went to meet Felix Cross, Artistic Director of NITRO Black Musical Theatre, to get an insight into preparations for his latest theatre production depicting the Nottingham Carnival shown at the Playhouse Nottingham, Saturday 1st June 2013.Trinidadian born, Felix Cross is a writer with spirit, passion and armed with a creative mission in Nottingham. His job was to produce Nottingham’s first Carnival Queen Show ahead of this year’s Nottingham Carnival on the 17 and 18thth August 2013.

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Interview with Joseph Hall, Academic of Dance Excellence

Name: Joseph Martin Hall
Talent: Professional dancer, businessman, instructor, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist (2013)
Age: 38
Place of birth: St Ann’s and grew up in Mapperley Park, Nottingham
Education: Gedling and Elliot Durham Comprehensive schools, Nottingham
Previous jobs: Worked in schools as a mentor to support disaffected kids
Entrepreneur spirit: Owner of QMX Dance Academy, Nottingham
Reason for starting his own business: To help kids achieve their potential through dance

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Interview with Pitman Browne: Inklings of a Genius

Recognising inklings of a genius is a rare and exciting occurrence. Pitman Browne is just that.

I have sought to interview Pitman, over some months, and thankfully he agreed to meet at Kai Dase Violins on Mansfield Road, Nottingham. The smell of varnished, maple wood and the sight of beautiful, handmade violins surrounding Pitman could only help relax a man nervous on the outside but quietly confidence within.

Buttoned up in his black long coat, suit, and infamous black cap, Pitman is a little anxious but very alert and ready to tell all of his great narrative in producing unique works of literature, music and video broadcasting. As a pioneer of community development in Nottingham through the arts, over the last fifty years, Pitman and the City of Nottingham, have a lot to be proud of.

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An interview with…3 female Journalists

Some say that a woman with a voice, a microphone and a plan can change the world. Others think this could be true even without a mic…

As a working journalist myself, I wanted to know how the roads of three ambitious, inveterate black, female broadcast journalists working in Nottingham, crossed in their unique, media journeys. I spoke to, Reya El-Salahi of BBC Radio Nottingham, Carol Hinds of BBC East Midlands Today and Christine Belle of Kemet FM to explore their experiences and to share their powerful and persuasive stories carved within the once exclusive boundaries of the UK media industry. Yes, as Bob Dylan said, “Times They Are a Changing”…

Reya El-Salahi, former presenter at BBC Radio Nottingham.

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Book Review: 'The Nottingham Connection' by Lee Arbouin

As a synopsis, one might say that The Nottingham Connection is a biographical novel, as it is a compilation of four particular women’s memoirs.
However, it is so much more than that. It is in fact a beautiful tribute to these inspiring women, all of whom have overcome many obstacles in their lives, partly as a result of their Jamaican roots and the deep racism that plagued England during the 1960s.

Jamaican born and Nottingham resident Lee Arbouin, takes us into the lives of these women, Olga, Madge, Eunice and Lee, herself, leading us through all of their individual experiences from childhood to present day. Her style of writing is coherent, informative, but most importantly personable, allowing her readers to develop a deep bond with the woman. Their stories are all full of pain, heart-ache and struggles, but they also covey love (particularly towards their children) and are quite often humorous.

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Music review: 'Back to the Garden' by Mellonie Page – home grown Nottingham singing talent

Nottingham singing talent, Mellonie Page’s debut album brought back memories of youthful nights spent in house parties in 1980’s Nottingham: slow dancing to lovers’ rock, old skool and revival, memories brought back from the garden of youth.

This 15-track album, Back to the Garden, reignites that 1980’s musical spirit by capturing the essence of nature through its sultry and smooth style achieved in a way that you simply have to listen and feel free.

The album’s spiritual and lovers’ rock tone was inspired by Mellonie’s Christian faith and vision. “I was lying on the floor at my sister’s house and all of a sudden, waves were moving up and down my body and when I opened my eyes, I was transported to a garden. Everything was so vivid. The grass was massaging me, the breeze was ministering me and soothing. I felt I was taken to a heavenly garden.”

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