tokenism need to develop a new sense of direction in today's reality? When considering the ghetto mentality, what seems to persist in higher levels of corporate and media circles is a certain view of ethnicity.  

The last time a black actor won a major award in Hollywood was Sidney Poitier in 1963, the year after Martin Luther King's truly historical 'I have a dream' speech. His words still ring true today as people of ethnic diversity have tried time and time again to participate within mainstream British society, only to be subjected to the humiliating glass ceiling syndrome that has replaced old colonial controls.

I feel qualified to speak first hand about this problem, considering the difficulties I personally had to face in setting up and organising the Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards (EMMA) in 1997 with the help of Natwest Bank. This Awards ceremony has grown from strength to strength and become a major multicultural celebration of diversity in Europe with many outstanding media professionals from TV, Film and Music contributing towards this enriched industry through their experience.

One can argue that the backbone of African-American success or society in the US is its' 36 million population but in Britain our legacy as partners in much deeper when considering our historical relationship with the commonwealth. The EMMAs was set up as an independent initiative without any hidden political or commercial agendas or direct influence from any active pressure group. We have been careful to maintain a healthy working relationship with all political and commercial organisations to encourage social inclusiveness and have worked alongside their independence after seven successful years working with major corporations who appreciate multicultural values.

The EMMAs outline the positive contribution made by individuals and organisations to the most powerful industry in the world. Yet we have never received any real recognition from the press or coverage in any volume. Let's not be deterred by this. I am very proud we have honoured legends like Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Lord Richard Attenborough and Ray Charles and we will continue the honour our legends in the future.

Bobby Syed



 

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