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Fury and recriminations over pirate radio station’s antisemitic broadcast

An unlicensed radio station has become the focus of a social media storm after inadvertently airing a “grotesque” spoof tape by US white supremacists.

Omega FM Radio in Harlesden has apologised, sacked a presenter and gone temporarily off air after national campaigners intervened.

At the same time, regular listeners have complained to Ofcom and the regulator has suggested the content of the illegal broadcast could be a police matter.

On Sunday, February 17, a presenter under the pseudonym ‘King Lion’ used part of his afternoon slot to address racism towards “melanated [dark-skinned] peoples”.

He went on to play a recorded interview between a supposed American pastor and someone claiming to be “Rabbi Abe Finkelstein”, a Zionist ostensibly hailing from the East Coast of the US.

In the tape, the person purporting to be a rabbi alleges or confirms a string of outrageous antisemitic tropes.

These include undermining the number of people who died in the Holocaust, claiming that “Jewish banking families” control America and engineered 9/11 and the Iraq war “to make some shekels”.

He also suggests Jews are engaged in a “brown-out” of America and “trying to eliminate the white race”, and that “our god is Lucifer”.

The Times has since learned that the fake tape was created by James P Wickstrom, a Christian minister and infamous white supremacist who died in 2018.

In the broadcast, King Lion appears to present the tape as genuine, telling audiences: “It’s quite interesting to hear the admission of this.”

But this newspaper has also discovered he was aired the same material on a different London radio station more than six years ago, and should have been fully aware it was fake.

The broadcast sparked a volley of complaints and the intervention of online campaign group the Israel Advocacy Movement, with Omega issuing a public apology on Facebook.

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “This is as blatant a case of antisemitism as we have every heard. Just about every trope is covered.

“Omega FM still needs to answer questions about how it selects its presenters and how this kind of disgraceful racist material was able to be broadcast.”

A local listener, who asked not to be named, said: “Bizarrely, this recent offensive material is produced by white supremacists in America, yet has been aired on a black community station.

“It’s bad enough knowing that the society we live in is institutionally racist, but when minorities are looking for scapegoats it’s very dangerous.”

A spokesperson for Ofcom, the UK government broadcasting regulator, told the Times: “This organisation does not hold a licence and so was broadcasting illegally.

“We investigate all reports of illegal broadcasting and, while it appears that the station is no longer on-air, we will be monitoring the situation closely.”

They added that because Omega does not hold a licence, any material likely to incite crime or disorder is subject to general criminal law, making this a police matter.

Omega, which stands for Organising Mothers to Eradicate Gun-knife Atrocity, was set up in 2008 with the stated mission of combating youth crime in inner London.

The management told the Times they have plans to apply for a licence in the future and said in a public statement the presenter’s actions had been “totally unacceptable”.

They added: “We would like all to know we did not plan and did not know that the presenter in question would play such propaganda foolishness on his show.

“Such actions cannot be accepted or tolerated. We have dismissed him and he is no longer or part or [sic] has any representation on our behalf.”

The “Abe Finkelstein” tape is thought to be at least a decade and a half old, with the earliest internet records going back to 2006.

The creator, James P Wickstrom, was an American talk show host and avowed racist and anti-semite who was reported to have died last March.

About six years ago ‘King Lion’ was able to surreptitiously play the same tape on another London-based community radio station, Genesis.

Baruch Solomon, a Jewish writer and researcher in south London, said he had phoned in to correct the presenter at the time.

He said: “I asked if he was aware the tape was made by a white supremacist. He was unfazed and replied to the effect that such people can sometimes have valuable insights.

“When I pointed out that Rabbi Finklestein was obviously not real he suggested that he trace Rabbi Finklestein and get him on the programme so I could debate him.

“He told me to stay on the line. Then the line went dead.”

Genesis did not respond to our requests for comment.

What next for Omega?

Omega has been operating in Harlesden since 2008 and the website domain name, omegafmradio.co.uk, was registered in 2011.

The station has about 25 presenters on its books, many of whom are local to Brent, and in the past it has hosted public speakers and academics.

Many of the non-musical broadcasts focus on issues of interest to the Afro-Caribbean community as well as themes of injustice and oppression.

One of the current managers, who asked not to be named, said all sensitive material should have been “filtered” through a producer.

He said: “It’s extremely concerning. Having experienced racism in this country I don’t condone any hate against any group.

“For us it’s extremely difficult when we’re trying to raise the mindset of people who have had difficulties for so long… This is frustrating because it’s actually set us back as an entity.”

In the past listeners have complained about other broadcasts, including some that appear to promote conspiracy theories and incite tensions between groups.

The manager conceded Omega “always” gets complaints but claimed there had only been one very serious one in the past.

For the time being, he said, the station was off air as a mark of solidarity.

He added: “There’s going to have to be an appropriate discussion. We have to put everything on hold and explain to everyone the ramifications of this.”

A regular presenter, Asia, also posted a public apology on YouTube, telling viewers: “You can tell that this was not a rabbi or a pastor but a couple of racist dogs.

“I was deeply offended and I pray this doesn’t destroy the good work that the station have done within the community.”

Who is King Lion?

The presenter known as King Lion was first offered a slot on Omega two to three years ago, on the understanding he was a health practitioner.

His website, cancerbush.org.uk, promotes unlicensed herbal remedies for the treatment of life-threatening diseases including cancer.

It also includes a page entitled “Chemtrail Alert”, referring to a common conspiracy theory that aircraft are purposefully spraying biological agents over the populace.

Elsewhere it warns parents against giving their children Tamiflu, the antiviral medicine used to treat swine flu in the UK.

In the months leading up to the broadcast, King Lion used his Omega slot to promote other controversial theories.

In one segment on February 15 a guest claimed her “suppressed” home-made condiments were a more powerful antibiotic than antibiotics.

Elsewhere, King Lion suggested Donald Trump was the reincarnation of Cyrus the Great: a Persian king named in the Hebrew Bible as deliverer of the Jewish people.

In a cult-themed broadcast on February 10 this year he stated: “The church has become the synagogue of Satan.”

The Omega manager said he had not listened to every broadcast, but conceded: “Perhaps the rhetoric changed and I hadn’t noticed. He’s an idiot who had taken it upon himself to ignore all instructions.”

King Lion did not respond to a request for comment.

 

https://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/ofcom-intervenes-over-harlesden-radio-broadcast-1-5917713

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News Online Shows UK

The Sylbourne Show – Angie LeMar – Taking you Back to Full Circle – PART 1& 2

 


 

 

 

Angie Le Mar is a child of the Windrush Generation. She grew up in a church going Jamaican family, left church at 15 to pursue her dream to become a comedienne and along the way also worked as a radio presenter, TV host, playwright, producer and director. Earlier this year, Angie published her debut book Full Circle, an autobiography of her life.

“THE SYLBOURNE SHOW” is a thought-provoking, motivational based talk show where highly-successful individuals are asked challenging and insightful questions on their road to success in their areas of expertise. The aim is to inspire, motivate, educate and to entertain our viewers – When will YOU have the success you have always dreamed of? When will YOU fulfil your lifelong dreams? When will YOU build up the courage to not only help yourself, but to nurture and grow others?

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News UK

Radio Academy Chair: Radio must Diversify or Die

Dr. Yvonne Thompson, CBE, recently appointed Chair of The Radio Academy, is warning the radio industry must ‘diversify or die.’

She also set out her agenda for future of The Radio Academy, which included re-establishing the Academy’s profile as the leading learning and promotions body for the radio industry, establishing a physical home for The Radio Academy to become radio’s equivalent of the Brit School and exploring the benefits of the Academy becoming the Chartered Institute of Radio Broadcasting.

Yvonne is also adding “reunification of the radio industry” to her mission – a task to bring the radio industry back together after Global, owner of half the commercial radio industry, quit the Academy a few years ago.

A 100 Women in Radio list is also on her agenda.

Yvonne’s message for the industry, warning that it needed to ‘diversify or die’ means that the industry’s future could only be secured by becoming more diverse, reflecting modern society and attracting a wider range of talent, both on and off air.

“None of this means anything unless we future-proof our industry by ensuring the talent pipeline both in front of and behind the mic, to enable us to not just survive but also to thrive. We have to widen participation in the industry through diversification.

“We will ensure more visibility of gender, race and intersectionality of the other strands of diversity. Let’s celebrate LGBTQ, abilities, faith and other strands of diversity that allow radio workers to shine by bringing their true selves to work.”

The self-made millionaire also pointed to the recent Ofcom report on diversity in the broadcasting industries and said that the figures should be a cause for concern.

“Ethnic minority employees make up 6% of the radio workforce; but nationally are 14% of the UK’s population. Only 5% of radio roles go to people who consider themselves disabled; women occupy only 37% of senior management roles in radio, but we are 50 if not 51% of the population, and then it does not specify the intersectionality of race with gender.”

Yvonne said that the radio industry had a responsibility to reflect the society it represents, “With the changing demographic landscape of the UK, radio has to be more considerate about who they are talking to, consider the make-up of their audience, consider who the influencers are, who the trend setters are, who has the disposable incomes that will keep the industry alive and for independent stations, who makes the decisions on the household spend that advertisers want to reach? For instance, London will soon be 30% minorities. Some boroughs are already majority minorities.”

Re-establishing The Radio Academy’s position as champions for diversity, Yvonne also announced the launch of a Top 100 Women in Broadcast initiative, with more details to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

“I would like to announce that The Radio Academy’s closing event for 2018 will tip our caps to the 100th year of women’s rights to vote amongst many other things. To celebrate women in radio, The Radio Academy will be recognising the Top 100 Women In Radio, as voted for by our members.”

Dr. Thompson was previously a director and founding member of the UK’s only legal black-owned radio station, Choice FM, now Capital Extra following its sale to Global Radio in 2004.

Formerly music editor for the UK’s first black monthly glossy magazine, Root, she also wrote for publications including Music Week, as well as working at record labels Warner Brothers and CBS. She is currently managing director of marketing and PR company, ASAP Communications, president of the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners and a board member at Punch Records.

https://radiotoday.co.uk/2018/10/radio-academy-chair-radio-must-diversify-or-die/
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News UK

#BlackGirlMagic Celebrated In London

THE SECOND instalment of the Black Magic Awards was a star studded affair at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End this week.

Kicking off Black History Month with a melanin inspired evening of celebration, the ceremony honoured 16 inspirational women of colour, hailing their remarkable contributions to entertainment, business, sport, fashion, community, music and more.

Founded in 2017 by comedian, actor and producer Kojo Amin and editor and entrepreneur Annika Allen, The Black Magic Awards saw a host of famous faces turn out to enjoy a night of ultimate night of #blackgirlmagic!

Guests enjoyed performances by the likes of violinist Just Kemi, singer Tanika Bailey as well as stand-up comedy from YouTube sensation Judi Love.

Kicking off the night of honourees, broadcaster and journalist Brenda Emmanus and Eastenders actor Ricky Norwood awarded presenter and 2017 Celebrity Masterchef winner Angellica Bell with the TV Personality Honour.

In an emotional acceptance speech, Bell thanked all those who had supported her throughout her career in TV and acknowledged she was a role model for young women trying to establish a career in media.

Presented by musician Shakka and 2018 Love Island finalist Kaz Crossely, Emeli Sandé received the Icon Honour, which recognised her singing and songwriting accomplishments as well as her global success as an award-winning artist. Sandé gave a powerful speech about her struggles finding her identity growing up in Scotland and how music had brought her closer to her roots – she also said of the awards: “It was glorious evening, a room full of love, empowerment and unity. From the bottom of my heart thank you so much for this honour. Can’t wait for next year.”

Rapper and long-time So Solid Crew member Lisa Maffia was presented with the Music Honour by former Blue lead singer, Simon Webbe and reality TV star Jack Fowler, while comedian and founder of the awards Kojo Amin, presented the Comedy Honour to Gina Yashere.

After finding success in the UK as one of the top female comedians, Yashere moved to the US eight years ago and has since fronted her own Netflix Comedy Special. Reflecting on the evening, she said: “A night of fantastic performances, love, power and heartfelt speeches – I don’t regret flying to London early for this event.”

AWARD WINNERS:

Icon Honour – Emeli Sandé (Singer/Songwriter)

Inspiration Honour – Yolanda Brown (Saxophonist)

Comedy honour – Gina Yashere (Comedian)

Media Mogul Honour – Vannessa Amadi (PR)

Sporting Honour – Eni Eluko (England-Juventus Footballer)

Acting Honour – Ellen Thomas (Actress)

TV Personality Honour – Angellica Bella (Presenter)

Brand Honour – Carla-Marie Williams (Beyonce Singer/Songwriter & owner of Girls I Rate)

Music Honour – Lisa Maffia (Rapper/Songwriter)

Radio Honour – Angie Greaves (Radio presenter)

Community Champions – Joanna Abeyie (Diversity & Inclusion) Vanessa La Rose (Bookshop Owner) Patricia Ann Hewitt (young women’s charity owner)

Beauty & Fashion Honour – Jourdan Dunn (Model)

Influence Honour – Taponeswa Maguva (PR)

The Impact Honour – Munroe Bergdorf (Activist)

International Honour – Tiffany Haddish (Actress/Comedian)

Find The Black Magic Network, the team behind the awards on social: Facebook @theblackmagicnetwork, Twitter @theblackmagicnw and Instagram @theblackmagicnetwork

 

 

Book HERE

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News UK

Pioneer Radio DJ Tony Williams Passes Away

PIONEER RADIO DJ Tony Williams, who once had his own reggae show on BBC Radio London between 1977-1987 and was also the creator of the British Reggae Industry Awards which highlighted the talent of many UK reggae artists, has passed away in London on Monday, April 30 after he had been ailing for some time.

Tony Williams took over the Reggae Time show on BBC London from Steve Barnard in 1977 and after renaming it ‘Reggae Rockers’, he made it one of the most popular reggae shows on the airwaves in London on a Sunday afternoon with a special emphasis on British talent.

He later went on to recognise the work of these artists by establishing the British Reggae Industry Awards which catapulted many UK artists to international success, with some still referring to the industry awards as their most coveted. Among the iconic places the award shows were held are The Royal Albert Hall, Café Royal and the Indigo O2 in Greenwich.

Tony Williams was always pushing for reggae music to be played on the radio airwaves and he did this by running his own stations including Rockers FM and Rhythm 365 – they did not have commercial licences but nonetheless served community-based listeners and supporters.

Among those paying tribute to him was close friend and fellow DJ Garth Vassell also known as Master G. Garth said: “Tony was always driving for reggae music to be played on the national airwaves, he tried so many things to bring reggae to the forefront and allowing artists to get the recognition they deserved. He was all about bringing the music, whether it was on the radio or in the clubs.”

Also paying her tributes was radio personality Elayne Smith popularly as DJ Elayne who worked with Tony on Rockers FM. She said: “Tony and Spencer Williams were mentors of mine. From the time I met them in my 20s, they encouraged me and even gave me an award. We became great friends and colleagues. May their work and memory live on.”

Tony’s older brother Spencer Williams who was a popular nightclub entrepreneur as well as beauty and talent show impresario of the 1970s and 80s, only passed away two years ago in October 2016.

Tony Williams is survived by his wife Sharon and children.

 

http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/pioneer-radio-dj-tony-williams-passes-away

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I was so badly affected by post-natal depression that I couldn’t even touch my own child

DJ Simone Riley, who has her own show on Legacy FM, Manchester’s African Caribbean community station, decided to share her story

When radio DJ Simone Riley discovered she was pregnant, she could not wait for her baby to arrive.

But for her, pregnancy was far from easy – she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, carpal tunnel, pre-eclampsia, and discovered she was a sickle cell carrier.

Almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, but the worst was yet to come.

After the birth of her daughter Baye, now five, Simone found herself so badly affected by post-natal depression that she could not even touch her own child.

Every time Simone went on Facebook, she was overwhelmed by photos of other women enjoying motherhood; she started to wonder if things would be better if she wasn’t around.

One in 10 mothers suffer from post-natal depression, yet it is an issue rarely spoken about.

Now Simone, who has her own show on Legacy FM, Manchester’s African Caribbean community station, decided to share her story.

To mark International Women’s Day last month, the mum-of-one – known as Miss Diva to her listeners – opened up about her experience in a hope of stamping out the stigma surrounding the topic.

Speaking to her listeners, Simone said: “I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to touch my baby, I didn’t know how to cope. I was crying, I wasn’t eating.

“I had all these thoughts and feelings, it was like I wasn’t in control of my thoughts.

“I thought if I wasn’t here, would everything be better off?”

Overcome with emotion, she said it was an experience she had never discussed publicly before.

“People will think, you’ve got everything – you’ve got a child, a house over your head, food in the fridge – why are you upset? Why are you feeling down?

“I didn’t know why I was feeling the way I was.”

Simone hopes by telling her story it will encourage other women suffering from post-natal depression to seek help.

She told the M.E.N: “The way I coped was by going to speak to someone, that was the first big milestone and that person helped change my life because they got me back to me.

“It took three years to get me back to my normal self.

“Baye was born in 2012, at the time I had quite a lot of stuff going on with me, I was running a business, my radio show was making progress.

“I’m a very bubbly character, and well known in the community for the stuff that I do. At the time I was also working with children that had been kicked out of mainstream schools.

“But after I had Baye I noticed something wasn’t right. It wasn’t immediately, but after a few weeks I was really struggling.

“I couldn’t connect with her, I’d see friends on Facebook with their babies all lovey dovey and wonder why I didn’t have that.

“I didn’t know if it was because I was tired – babies don’t come with an instruction manual – but it came to the point where I couldn’t even get myself out of bed.

“I was having really dark thoughts, I thought about ending my life, thinking it would be easier if I wasn’t around.

“It was those thoughts that made me realise something wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to burden my family, I didn’t want them to worry or think I wasn’t coping.

“I went to the doctor and told them everything, they said to me they didn’t know how I’d coped for as long as I had alone.

“They wanted to put me on anti-depressants, but that’s another taboo in the black community, I didn’t want that so I had to think of another way to overcome the depression.

“I started having counselling and it was the best thing I ever could have done. My counsellor just listened to me, they didn’t judge, they were completely neutral and understanding.”

Simone, who presents the Miss Diva Breakfast Show on Legacy FM twice a week, said she used to put up a front to the outside world.

“I remember bottling everything up when I was doing my shows, and then as soon as I got home I’d get upset,” she added.

“My appetite changed as well, and that was a big thing as I love my food.

“I am quite a glam person, I like to dress well, but after Baye was born I just couldn’t be bothered and would stay in my dressing gown.”

Simone made the decision to come off social media, saying that seeing other mums with their children only made things harder.

“I was off it for three years. I’d sit there looking through Facebook at other people with their babies, and kept comparing myself to them, asking ‘why can’t I do that?’

“Sometimes social media can cause detriment to a mother and the way they bond with their child.

“Instead I started to focus on me and getting myself better, I realised that I couldn’t look after my daughter if I couldn’t look after myself.

“It took three years to get me to where I am now, and looking back I can’t believe I was in that place.

“I’m back to my bubbly self, which is largely down to the incredible support I had from my family once I opened up to them about my post-natal depression.

“My relationship with Baye, now five, now incredible. We are inseparable, always together, always having fun.

“I’m really happy in myself and that’s why I decided it was time for me to share my experience and talk about what I’ve been through.

“The main thing I want to do is to send a message to other mothers going through this that they are not alone. Help and support is out there and they should never be ashamed to ask for it.”

The Miss Diva Breakfast Show features a regular slot known as ‘The Health Hour’, which is co-hosted by Greater Manchester GP, Dr Aisha Malik.

It was during this that Simone chose to speak about post-natal depression.

Dr Malik explained that post-natal depression can affect as many as one in 10 women.

“The symptoms include feelings of guilt, not being good enough, low mood, lack of enjoyment, lack of interest in the baby, irritability, poor concentration and feeling unable to cope with anything”, she added.

“Thoughts of harming the baby can occur and in severe cases the mother may even feel like harming herself.

“Simone’s story shows that help is available and that you can recover.

“It’s important to get help and not worry about what people will think of you if you are feeling this way. Speaking to your health visitor or GP is the next step to getting help.

“Don’t bottle up your feelings, you do not have to suffer alone.”

The Miss Diva Breakfast Show is on Legacy 90.1FM every Monday and Tuesday from 7-10am, with The Health Hour on Tuesdays between 9-10am.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/badly-affected-post-natal-depression-14530056

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News Online Shows UK

Zimbabwe: Online UK Reality Show Premieres

A new online reality show titled “Zimbabweans with Attitude, Glam & Style” premiered last week in London and it reflects on the glamorous life of UK-based Zimbabwean women and their love interests.

Starring stylist and aspiring model Precious “Cookies” Matare and fashion designer Gladys Smith, the show was created by UK-based Zimbabwean producer Kenny Gasa. Speaking in an interview, Gasa said the show documents the lives of ambitious and glamorous Zimbabweans living in London, as well as their friends and love interests.

“The idea came from the word SWAG which was popular a few years back and we just put our own twist to it. The show itself focuses on a number of characters, mainly Zimbabweans living in London. We follow their day to day life showing all angles, where they hang out, their lifestyle, their dating life and also their business ambitions,” he said.

Smith who is a single mother said she joined the crew to show single parents that they can do it all.

“I wanted to participate in the reality tv show to show people that I am a single mother, I run my own business, I design and make clothes, and at the same time I am a good parent to my child. I wanted the single parents to see that you can do it, you can be a great mum and a good business person and at the same time, have a great social life with your friends and enjoy your life,” said Gladys.

Gasa said he decided no work with the ladies after noticing their influence and bubbly personalities on social media.

“I noticed that the two of them had a following online as well as interesting characters so I suggested a reality TV show for them. They were interested and we took it from there. This is a pilot show, meaning that we want to raise enough funds to go into full production of the series,” said Gasa

He said they will be adding more cast members including people from other African countries such as Dimeji from Nigeria who appears in the first episode.

“Our main ambition was to make entertainment for Zimbabweans by Zimbabweans. We wanted Shona in there because we need to make sure we keep our language alive in media as well as in our everyday life. We speak to each other in Shona quite a lot and it is natural to us, so we felt it was important to include it. We however aim to include other local languages like Ndebele and from other African countries as well,” said Gasa.

Gasa said they have been getting amazing feedback from viewers about the show.

“We are having great responses about ZWAGS so far. We are trying to spread the word and are hoping to reach more Zimbabweans, both in Zim and in diaspora, as well as get into other African markets. People can watch the show online on Vimeo,” said Gasa.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201804240024.html

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News UK

YANGA TV channel brand built from scratch

A new TV channel targeting the African diaspora has been designed by DADA and draws influence from traditional and contemporary African culture.

A new TV entertainment channel YANGA has been designed from scratch and is targeting the African Diaspora.

It has launched on Sky and is designed by Darren Agnew of DADA (Darren Agnew Design and Animation) who has looked to develop a brand that “appeals to a British African audience” he says.

“Bold, provocative irreverent”

MediaWorks managing director Lindsay Oliver is behind the channel and tasked Agnew with creating a brand that was “peacocking but not arrogant, aspirational but not elitist, cutting edge yet inclusive.” Other signposts included “bold, provocative, irreverent”.

While Agnew looked across the whole African continent for inspiration there was a particular focus on West-African symbolism. Textiles and jewellery were studied, while colour and composition were referenced in a range of assets made for on-air and off-air branding.

Four shows also branded

“YANGA” is West-African slang for self-pride and showing off, used as a positive phrase for self-expression. Although the identity references traditional patterns its typography gives a contemporary feel, says Agnew, who has brought in colours that are evocative of West Africa, such as the green of Nigeria and the red, yellow and green of Ghana.

As well as the YANGA identity, four originally commissioned programmes have been branded – Noni, Fizzi, Number 6 and Turn Up.

All of the other icons radiate outwards from a central point, which acts as a visual cue so that they are recognisable as part of the same brand, says Agnew.

Channel logos, idents, bumpers and studio sets have all been created. DADA has worked with other partners including web developers Atto Partners, CGI specialists Tomorrowisclosed and animation studio Prawnimation.

 

https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/26-march-1-april-2018/yanga-tv-channel-brand-built-scratch/

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Social Media Has Done For Black British Women In One Decade What TV Couldn’t In Thirty Years

Growing up in the 90s, one might assert that TV was reasonably good for black people living in the UK. Although black and brown faces were few and far between, we were at least treated to strong matriarchs imported from the USA such as Aunt Viv and Claire Huxtable. They were educated, homely women holding their families together with grace, love and discipline. We also had our sense of humour tickled with our own comedies such as Desmond’s and The Real McCoy.

If TV could pass for reasonable back then, it really is a lot to be desired now. Today when I switch on the box, I see almost no black women on our everyday popular TV shows.

It seems that with the turn of the century when one should expect more diversity on the TV, the British black woman is left wanting. I have asked myself many times why the BBC only see fit to roll out the carpet for black women on TV during popular sporting events such as the Olympics. Frankly we need more.

But where mainstream media has failed, social media has stepped in and filled the racial equality gap. I am sure that when YouTube launched back in 2005, little did its founders know that it was doing something unique for the lives and public image of black women. It has given us a much-needed gift, which is a voice. A voice that can reach anyone with an internet connection – uncensored and uninterrupted. In 2015 TV accounted for 76% of all video viewing in the UK, down from 81% the previous year, whilst YouTube viewing had grown to 4% over the decade*. Whilst the difference looks vast now, I truly believe that TV as we know it is becoming an endangered species. And as more people wake up to the fact that YouTube is offering more realistic images of themselves, the decline of television viewing will happen faster than we think.

What social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat have offered are images of black women living content lives, having healthy relationships, chasing degrees, writing books, buying houses and starting businesses. These new images are challenging the status quo.

 Pictures of the frustrated black woman, mouthy and angry, lonely and single-handedly bringing up her children have had their day, and this is all thanks to what we are seeing online.

I first started watching YouTube seriously back in 2014. I was searching for old music videos when a thumbnail of Chanel Boateng (now Chanel Ambrose) appeared on the right hand of my screen. I clicked on it out of curiosity, and immediately fell in love with the bubbly, funny persona I was watching. What’s more, she was a black Londoner like myself, beautiful, and living an ordinary life. I remember binge watching about ten of her videos that night which covered everything from beauty and fashion to lifestyle and motivation. My foray into the online world introduced me to other very popular, and much-loved YouTube personalities such as Patricia Bright and Breeny Lee.

For me, seeing these wonderful women is doing wonders to lift the esteem of back girls because for once, we have the choice of skipping what BBC One and Two have largely offered us for years: white, male and middle class. We are seeing women such as Nissy Tee and Courtney Daniella (who both attended Cambridge!) present us with a life of achievement and optimism. What makes it even more beautiful is that they are relatable. Their videos and pictures have removed the glitz and glam from success. Although it’s always nice to see a made-up face and a laid wig, the truth is that these ladies are not afraid to share themselves bare faced, wigless, on their bad days, on sick days and at moments of absolute frustration! They are teaching us that you don’t need to be Oprah Winfrey, or The Real Housewives of Atlanta to be deemed successful; that doing everyday things such as getting into the university of your dreams or finding a good job can be quantified as success.

What I am most impressed by is the way these women have leveraged their status to make bigger moves. Whilst Patricia Bright is a brand ambassador for L’Oreal, Chanel Ambrose is the CEO of her makeup line, Amby Rose. Courtney Daniella has recently started her line of custom made wigs – CDB Wigs, whilst Nissy Tee has launched BEBB (Be Educated Be Bold), an online media platform.

In ten years, this is what social media has achieved for the average black woman living in the UK. We are being represented. We are being inspired. A simple thing that mainstream media has failed to do.

A version of this post is also available to read on madelinewilsonojo.com

*www.thinkbox.tv

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/black-women-social-media_uk_5a36b3d2e4b0e7f1200cfc1b