I attended the Black Magic Awards at the Criterion Theatre on Monday 10th June. This was the inaugural men’s edition of the awards ceremony – which will now take place annually – so it was an honour to be invited.
The Black Magic Awards were founded in 2017 by producer, actor and comedian Kojo Anim and editor and entrepreneur Annika Allen. The Awards were created as a platform to celebrate role models and inspiring figures within the black community, and for the past two years, the ceremony has been dedicated to recognising women’s excellence, with the likes of Emeli Sande, Angellica Bell, Munroe Bergdorf and Gina Yashere receiving awards.
This year, the ceremony was opened out to men, in an aim to promote black male excellence and work against damaging narratives in the media. Notably, the anti-knife crime activist Amani Simpson received honours, having dedicated his life to helping young people in London. Simpson has spoken in the media about the time he spent ‘soul searching’ about his position in the world, following being stabbed multiple times after intervening in a robbery in Enfield. His solution was to focus on protecting young people and working against knife crime. It was truly fantastic to see him being awarded the honour.
Rapper Akala received the Influence Honour for his impactful work on speaking the truth on cultural issues and using his platform to raise awareness about issues negatively affecting the black community.
Stormzy received the Inspiration Honour for his work with young people, notably with the Stormzy Cambridge Scholarship and #Merky Books.
So Solid Crew star Megaman won the Legend Honour for his work in pioneering the grime collective in the early 2000s.
Honours also went to DJ and presenter Trevor Nelson MBE, actor and director Noel Clarke, actor Aml Ameen, actor Richard Blackwood, singer Omar, TV Presenter Ortis, footballer Paul Ince and fashion label Trapstar London.
The whole event was a hugely inspirational evening and it was wonderful to see so many hard-working members of the black community be recognised for their talent. Equality means everything to us at Black Heart Label, and so we love seeing awards such as this feature in the mainstream, promoting racial equality and black excellence. We have huge admiration for Kojo and Annika for setting up these awards and the work these awards do in reducing discrimination by promoting black talent.
I can’t wait to see who will be honoured at the women’s awards in October, and how the awards will develop and grow in the years to come.