Introducing the BLAC Awards VIP Presenters
A massive thank you to everyone who’s submitted a nomination or cast a vote…or both!
We’ve been totally blown away by the exceptionally high standard of entries and lucky for us we have, equally, our exceptionally high standard of amazing VIP Presenters who each bring an incredible depth of experience, knowledge, and expertise surrounding the ethos of The BLAC Awards; serious youth violence, mental health, and grassroots role models! These are the VIP’s who will be announcing the winners and presenting the magnificent awards on the night.
Note: Subject to ongoing Parliamentary changes, all listed MP’s have kindly agreed to attend this ceremony.
Former Chelsea Footballer
During a spell in Borstal Youth Prison, Paul Canoville was encouraged to go for trials at Chelsea. So on his release, Paul signed for Hillingdon Borough, and went for trials at Southampton, Wimbledon, West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea. At the age of 21, John Neal offered him a professional contract and he became the first black player to play for Chelsea. Unfortunately, what should have become a dream come true soon turned into an appalling nightmare when he was subjected to vicious racial abuse from his own fans on his debut away at Crystal Palace. Today, Paul has been recognised for his work in the community with ‘Kick It Out’ which is English football’s equalities and inclusions organisation for positive change and he will soon be launching the ‘Paul Canoville Foundation’.
Jordan is a youth worker and a volunteer on mental health projects at Raw Material, in South London, supporting young people with mental health needs to progress their music. His lyrics focus on inner-city life, sharing a positive vision to counterbalance the media’s often negative view. Jordan is passionate about youth work and sharing his experiences to help young people develop.
Founder and CEO of Gangsline
Sheldon Thomas is the Founder and Chief Executive of Gangsline. An inspirational and pioneering individual, Sheldon has an unprecedented insight into gangs through his own experience as a leading gang member in the 1970s. He now dedicates his life to engaging directly with gang leaders and members and using a ‘no holds barred’, yet spiritual, approach to changing young people’s lives and has been an advisor to the Home Office, New Scotland Yard and the Mayors Office on gang culture and violence.
Evening Standard Journalist
David Cohen is the Investigations and Campaigns Editor at the London Evening Standard. He has led some of the paper’s most memorable campaigns including a week long feature called ‘The Estate We’re In’ about life on a notorious estate in Brixton South London. David has also won the Paul Foot award in 2013 for ‘Frontline London’ which helped former gang members start social enterprises and even helped a few of them exit “the roads” via social enterprises supported by small grants from the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund.
Actress, Writer and Radio Presenter
Judith Jacob is a British actress spanning over 30 years with her first job at the age of 13 for the BBC Play For Today called ‘Jumping Bean Bag’, and has since worked on TV, Theatre and Radio. Judith is best known for her role as the health visitor Carmel Roberts in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a role she played from 1986 to 1989 and has also had great jobs playing lead parts in ‘Angels’, ‘No Problem’, ‘Real McCoy’, ‘The Queens Nose’ and many theatre productions. Recently Judith has done her own own live chat shows at 3 different venues which has been very successful and as a radio presenter, Judith gives a platform to talk about real issues affecting the community such as the knife crime problem amongst the youths.
Norman Lamb MP
Liberal Democrats MP for Norfolk
David Lammy MP
Labour MP for Tottenham
David was born in Tottenham as one of five children raised by a single-parent mother and is one of Parliament’s most prominent and successful campaigners for social justice and led the campaign for Windrush British citizens to be granted British citizenship and paid compensation by the government, forcing the Home Secretary to guarantee the citizenship of Commonwealth nationals, set up a specialist Commonwealth Taskforce and establish a compensation scheme. Since the Grenfell Tower fire, David has been at the forefront of the fight for justice for the families and is the author of ‘Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots’, an analysis of the long-standing causes of the 2011 riots.
His Honour R. Marks QC
Old Bailey Judge
The Queen appointed His Honour Judge Richard Leon Marks QC to be the Common Serjeant of London on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable Chris Grayling MP and has been based at the Central Criminal Court, The Old Bailey since 9 March 2015. The Common Serjeant of London is the second most senior permanent judge of the Central Criminal Court after the Recorder of London, acting as Deputy to that office, and sitting as a judge in the trial of criminal offences. The Common Serjeant is also one of the Law Officers of the City of London Corporation, and performs certain functions at the election of city officers. His Honour Judge Richard Leon Marks QC has presided over a very many of the most high-profile cases in the United Kingdom.
Maritime Radio Presenter
Dr. Duncan Bew
Clinical Dir. Trauma & Acute Surgery
Duncan Bew is a Clinical Director for Trauma and Acute Surgery at King’s College Hospital and is also an Honorary Trauma Consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and developed and co-founded the charity ‘Growing Against Violence’ over the last decade. The charity now delivers a violence and prevention and safeguarding curriculum in over 600 primary and secondary schools, as well as working with other charities, the Home Office, Public Health England, the Mayors’ Office, and the major trauma networks. On 8 September 2017 Duncan received a personal letter from the Prime Minister thanking him for his contributions to the voluntary sector with the Points of Light Award.
His Exc. Seth G Ramocan
Jamaican High Commissioner
His Excellency High Commissioner Seth George Ramacon, as head of the Mission, is responsible both to the Government of Jamaica and to the United Kingdom. He participates in the formation of Mission policy and its execution. The High Commissioner’s primary aim is to foster, maintain and improve co-operation between Jamaica and these countries, as well as to develop trade, economic and tourism links. The High Commissioner also maintains contact with Jamaican nationals living in the UK through regular visits to communities, meetings, and functions.
Dr. Martin Griffiths
Cons. Vascular & Trauma Surgeon
Martin Griffiths is a Consultant Vascular and Trauma Surgeon at St. Barts Health where he is lead for trauma surgery at the major trauma centre at the Royal London Hospital. Martin set up the countries first integrated ward-based violence reduction service at Barts Health supporting the victims of knife and gun injury which has had spectacular success in reducing retaliation and violent reoffending in this group of vulnerable young people. We work with victims to unravel the complex social reasons behind knife crime, offering holistic support to help prevent further harm.
Patrick Vernon OBE
Windrush Campaigner and Activist
Patrick Vernon OBE, is a former Hackney councillor who is now a figurehead in the fight for justice for Windrush families and was recently honoured at the National Campaigner Awards 2019 which was in recognition of his 20-year fight for race equality and social justice on issues as diverse as deaths in police custody, mental health, and teaching black history in schools. The social commentator dedicated his win to victims of the Windrush scandal. Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work in combating health inequalities for ethnic minorities in the UK and is founder of Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons.
Chief Supt Ade Adelekan
Head of Violent Crime Task Force
Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan is from the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Taskforce and has stated the Taskforce was formed to disrupt criminality caused by those intent on creating violence, carrying knives and putting London at risk. The Taskforce operate across the city, targeting hotspot locations where violence and knife crime is a real issue.
Emma Dent Coad MP
Kensington & Chelsea Labour MP
Emma Dent Coad was elected MP for Kensington in 2017, just days before the Grenfell Tower fire. She has campaigned actively for stronger fire safety measures and for support for survivors and bereaved families. Before entering Parliament, she was an academic and author, and served as a councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Emma has led the opposition Labour group on the council. In June 2017, Emma blamed the Kensington and Chelsea council for failings which led to the Grenfell Tower fire and said the fire was an “entirely preventable” tragedy. Emma is campaigning for permanent decent new homes in the area for victims of the tragedy
Imagination Lead Singer and Actor
Celebrating over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Leee John has been an all round artist, singer, writer, record producer, actor and recently a film producer. Leee came to the world’s attention with his group Imagination which he founded in the early 80’s. Imagination featuring Leee John now presents ‘Police and Thieves’ created for the 2018 Do it Right Now campaign which is a version of Junior Murvin’s 1977 hit tune ‘Police and Thieves’ inspired by Leee’s observations of the challenges facing young people today. His aim with this song is designed to assist in helping and supporting young people globally to make the right life choices and achieve their full potential in becoming positive contributors to their communities and society as a whole.
Founder of Black History Walks
Paul Anderson MBE
CEO of Voyage Youth Charity
Paul Anderson MBE is an experienced CEO, consultant and director of the Notting Hill Carnival representing the Sound System community and has been the CEO of Voyage since 2014 and is passionate about young people and Carnival inspired by his involvement in the arts via traditional african drumming and Dance. Voyage which is based in Hackney stands for Voice of Youth and Genuine Empowerment and work with young people aged 13 to 18 from several disadvantaged boroughs across North East London and offer a unique array of programmes including structured workshops focused on empowerment, know your rights and stop & search. Paul is currently engaged in two EU projects in Lithuania and France exploring how young people with criminal justice backgrounds can be integrated into mainstream provision and another exploring ways to improve relationships between young people and the Police and is not afraid to have difficult conversations when it comes to challenging mainstream thinking and practice.
Arts Practitioner and Activist
Tony Cealy is a drama facilitator, theatre practitioner, arts activist and creative producer who makes projects and programmes designed to engage the public in issues that are important for social and behavioral change, he uses drama and theatre to encourage self-awareness and to assist individuals in exploring the idea of change and the impact that it may have on their lives, personal behaviour, choice, responsibility and broader social, economic and political factors. This is achieved by, looking at the causes and consequences of the actions that have led them to act or offend. Tony works across London delivering training to young people in the use of role play and interactive theatre techniques for creative ‘round table‘ workshops with officers and staff from Metropolitan police.
Liberal Democrat Cllr. for Haringey
Tammy has played an active role in her local area and led on the Fair Funding for Education campaign in Tottenham and worked on a number of local initiatives post the 2011 riots. Since becoming a Cllr, Tammy has taken the role of children and families spokesperson, put forward a motion on school streets for all schools in Haringey and has spoken out on violent crime, the environment and many more. Tammy has dedicated her career to tackling social inequality and ensuring that young people from hard to reach communities are given the support and opportunity to start careers in the Not for Profit Sector. Having grown up in foster care, she was routinely told “children like you don’t succeed”. This has spurred her on, and made Tammy determined to challenge and change the inequality in society.
Bridge The Gap Studios
Leroy Logan MBE
Youth Violence Commission
Dr Leroy Logan MBE is a retired Superintendent who served 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service including work on the 2012 Olympic Policing Coordination Team. He was a founder member and former Chair of both the Metropolitan and the National Black Police Association (BPA), which is still working to improve policing for the 21st century. As a member of the Lawrence Steering Group he contributed to diversity in policing recruitment, retention and progression targets.
Owner of Cut Above Barbers
Patrick Phipps, is a twice published novelist and owner of the Cut Above Barber Academy. This Award-winning course director has an impressive track record which spans over two decades of teaching young people who wish to be barbers, many of whom are now successful business owners and stylists. His first published book was Twisted Lanes, an urban, gritty and emotional tale inspired by real life in the streets of East London. Phipps is now on a mission to create a special braille edition of the book for blind and visually impaired BME adults.
Former Mayor Barking & Dagenham
Sanchia was a student governor at her last university and was elected to become the first Black vice president of her student union and is also an active member of the Fabian Society, Co-operative Party and her trade unions, UNISON and GMB. Sanchia was elected as a Labour Councillor in May 2010 in Barking and Dagenham for Alibon ward to become the youngest woman on the council and was re-elected for a second term in May 2014 and at the same time serving the borough as a school governor in a local primary school. Sanchia was one of the Labour Party candidates for the European elections in 2014 and 2019 in the London region and served as Mayor of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham from May 2018 to May 2019.
Yvette Williams MBE
Yvette has lived in North Kensington for over 30 years and previously worked with the Mangrove Community Association, has served as a Trustee for the Tabernacle Community Centre and the Pepper Pot Club and is also a founding member of Operation Black Vote – a national campaign encouraging BME communities to engage in the democratic process and has worked with other campaigns including those for Stephen Lawrence and Frank Critchlow. Yvette has a professional background working in Education and Criminal Justice. Both Yvette and her daughter witnessed the fire at Grenfell Tower; after being alerted by a family friend who was evacuated from one of the walkways.
Moyra is a teacher who has taught at a local primary school at Kensington and Chelsea college. She is a local activist who has lived in North Kensington for the past 30 years. Moyra was born in South Africa and came to London in the dark days of apartheid. Her experience of apartheid has given her a deep rooted understanding of the importance of fighting inequality and injustice. She has been part of local campaigns to defend the local library in Ladbroke Grove, to stop the Silchester Estate from gentrification as well as being a member of Westway23, a community organisation. Moyra is also a key member of the NW London Stand Up to Racism group and has 2 adult children who went to school locally who had school friends that lived in Grenfell Tower.
Founder of Grenfell Trust
He is a University Lecturer and a Transformation Coach. He graduated from Hassan II University-Casablanca with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature Languages and finished his post-graduate studies in the University of Westminster, London. He also has Post Graduate Diploma in Education from Canterbury Christ Church University. He has a pool of skills, and a body of knowledge and extensive experience that has enabled me to spearhead and successfully delivered many projects that benefited many BME communities. He is working with Grenfell Trust to coordinate the activities and mental health support for the people affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire. He has recently published a self- improvement book entitled ‘The Straight Path to Success’ which is full of tips to develop resilience and to reach your full potential. .
As one of the top stand up comedians on the UK comedy circuit, Rudi Lickwood is far more than just a stand-up. Rudi is a comedian with a highly successful career, spanning over 29 years starting out on the circuit as an Eddie Murphy impersonator in 1989. In this time Rudi has performed at a variety of venues and high profile events around the world including Google, Coca Cola, Heinz and numerous other blue chip companies. He is a true professional in bringing laughter to life coupled with a super confident playful infectious charm. Rudi has toured in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia, keeping our troops entertained all over the world. Rudi is loved wherever he performs.