An evening to celebrate great achievement and honour those who have contributed a great deal to Black Entertainment. As I entered The O2 floods of people dressed in their Sunday best were spilling out the entrance and as the red carpet was flourished with stars, it seemed the skies were empty that night and all the stars had landed amongst us fans and invited guests. The stars of Anovahood Adam Deacon, Slave Nonso Anozie, Top Boy Kano and Demons Never Die star Ashley Walters wooed the red carpet with style.
After exiting the long queue for registration you were directed to your seats unfortunately the hostess lacked communication and had no sense of direction and having been asked myself by a few celebrities to direct them to their seats as they weren't told was an embarrassment. Some sort of confusion with table numbers which weren't apparent on the night. Although I helped in directing them to the appropriate person I felt that it could have been avoided if they were organised.
Whilst mingling and waiting on a hostess to delegate the press team I managed to scope the floor of the O2 Indigo. A quick word from rapper turned actor, Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas whom expressed that it was a great night to celebrate our Black actors in Black Entertainment graced the red carpet in a black suit and light pink shirt by designer J. Freders. Bashy hoped that a few years from now Black Films and Entertainment would have gone a few steps further than where we are now.
Further inside the O2 Indigo the room looked well designed and tasteful to the eye. The audience seemed chilled and ready to go. But one thing on the table was missing, 'NO FOOD'. Overhearing a well known actor who was also a nominee that night expressed their feelings towards the lack of or rather 'NO FOOD' explaining and that they should have been informed about it prior to the event. Maybe the budget got cut short.
The show opened with comedian Kevin J who looked dapper in a black suit, when asked who he was wearing he jokingly said it was a Primark design. As he proceeded on a joke about looting it appeared some members of the audience didn't appreciate it and caused him not to finish his set. He later apologised for not being able to finish his set and was applauded at the way he handled the situation.
The evening was hosted by the beautiful pregnant couple Michael Underwood and Angellica Bell who wore a gorgeous white dress looking like a Greek Goddess. They were able to manage the crowd and have a bit of a banter with the audience despite all the technical difficulties.
The delectable Eddie Nestor presented the award for Factual - whilst reading the envelope he was handed he noticed that it didn't correspond with what he had been emailed and so pulled out a copy he had printed earlier saying "Kevin J will learn to come prepared like he did" which was encouraging. He also made a few jokes and commentary here and there about how "interest" the evening was going which seemed to have eased the stiff audience slightly.
As the evening continued it appeared that there were no physical awards available on the night so none were given out. The presenters throughout the night made light of it in regards to organisation and no physical awards. This became the momentum of the evening.
Finally getting a chance to sit down with the rest of the Press attendees after having to trek around the whole of the venue due to the lack of communication and direction from the Screen Nation Team. The PR and coordinator of the evening Sade at one point shouted at myself and two other hostess when a question about what was happening with the Press Team was posed to her as nothing had been translated, this was in front of the lead singer of the Noisettes. As Fashions Finest was one of the main media sponsors of the event, I was shocked and appalled at her behaviour.
Sitting in half empty Kings Row of the O2 Indigo the evening took form of missing presenters and honourably guests including the acclaimed Trevor McDonald who sent a video message accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award. This seemmed to be the pattern of the night. The Real McCoy were also presented with a Honorary Achievement award which was received by Judith Jacobs & Eddie Nestor.
OHTV took home Best BME channel, Arinze Kene won Best Male, Anuvahood won Best Urban Film but the winners of the night were the makers of Mirror Boy. The Director Obi Emelonye received the award for Best Independent Spirit Film Production and Favourite West African Movie.
The highlight of the night excluding Performances from Nate James who was hardly recognisable without his fro and Ayanna who sang 'Truthfully' from her latest EP wowed the audience with soul and grace was Clarke Peters. Who was being honoured and presented with the Outstanding Contribution Award. Credits including the critically acclaimed TV series The Wire and Treme. The presentation began with a video tribute by Idris Elba after which he gave a speech of his journey through theatre and film. Stating that "There are no boundaries in the arts" Clark Peters embodied true inspiration coupled with his enduring voice, he captured the audience and filled the room with belief and strength. He walked away an appreciated man, a mentor and motivation.
As it drew to a close the event director Josie D'Arcy came across quite over the top at intervals and had people asking what was really going on with her. Charles Thompson, founder of Screen Nation gave a short speech in which he said "It's been an interesting evening" which I agreed with him on. The idea and creation of something so vital and expressive, an evening that had been annual for 7years still lacked in executing the simple things to run a show and have it be effective.
After 7years I expected a much better evening than what was provided. An evaluation is definitely needed after some reflective time. The lack of coordination and no rehearsals caused the presenters coming from front of house instead of backstage etc.
However Omar closing the show with 'There's Nothing Like This' was a boost and prepared the audience for the after party which went down a treat. Some would say much better than the award show itself.
Celebrities in attendance included Levi Roots, founders of ACLT Beverley De Gale and Orin Lewis, Edith from this years Apprentice, Alexander Amous lead singer of the Noisettes Shingia Shoniwa and Tameka Epson who won Favourite TV Female Star.
Screen Nation Red carpet photos