By Bobby Syed

The Stage – Thursday 4th April 2002

I for once fully welcome this new mood among the film Academy members in awarding Halle Berry and the outstanding Denzel Washington, which in my view, has been well overdue. The question facing us all is whether this mood has really taken hold in Britain or does institutional tokenism need to develop a new sense of direction in today’s reality?

The last time a black actor won a major award in Hollywood was Sidney Poitier in 1964, 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 to participate within mainstream British society, only to be subjected to the glass ceiling syndrome time after time.

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. This awards ceremony has grown to become a major multicultural celebration of diversity, with many outstanding media professionals contributing towards this enriched industry through their experience.

One can argue that the backbone of African-American society is its population of 36 million in the U.S., but in Britain our legacy as partners is much deeper when considering our historical relationship through the Commonwealth.

The EMMAs were set up as an independent initiative without any hidden commercial agendas or direct influence with any active pressure group. We have been careful to maintain a healthy working relationship with all political and commercial organisations to encourage inclusiveness, and have worked alongside their distinct interests within this unique multicultural community. The awards have maintained their independence ever since, after four successful years working with major corporations.

Presently regarded as prestigious awards supported by many, 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 other than that with Mel B and William Hague when he appeared to look at her breasts during our May 2000 ceremony.

  EMMA Advertising Campaigns
blood camp chienese compaign emma united
About Awards Nelson Mandela
" EMMA is a great initiative to bring together and acknowledge publicly the professionalism, expertise and contribution of the recipients...and will continue to make a great contribution to the ethnic and mainstream media in Britain. "
 Award Winners Clips
  EMMA Legends 
Icon Profiles Icon Profiles Icon Profiles
Members Area