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Author: Descant Deb

The British Blacklist Attends the 2015 Jameson Empire Movie Awards

Empire is the biggest movie magazine in the world… Probably. We gave you a little history when we discussed the awards fortunes of black British talent last year in our Caste As Black series [1]. This year, we thought we’d write from a slightly different angle, starting with a little more history. After its launch in 1989, Empire gained a reputation for advanced, in-depth movie news and exclusives as well as consistent and generally considered reviews of film, DVDs and games. In 1996, the seven year-old magazine took film appreciation to another level with the help of sponsor Sony Ericsson and subsequently, Jameson Irish Whiskey, in 2009. The Empire movie awards was born, based purely on the motivation of the magazine’s readership to vote for their favourite movie-related categories. It proved a risk well-taken, since it turns out that the Empire readership is a highly motivated demographic. Whilst reflecting the mainstream award favourites in some respects, the expression of the (mainly) UK movie magazine-buying public’s actual preferences makes this a unique and completely open competition. From the wide initial vote, a shortlist of nominees is compiled, then the public is asked to vote again from that shortlist and a winner is created. For example, in 2013, Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins earned him the ‘Best Actor’ Empy over Daniel Day-Lewis who took home both the Academy Award and the BAFTA...

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85% #OutOf100 – The Royale @ Bush Theatre…

I thought carefully about how I would tell you all about this one. Every night until April 18th, Nicholas Pinnock is starring in The Royale – a remarkable and completely unique piece of theatre, in which we are possibly gaining a glimpse of a transition from career to super-stardom. We caught up with him a few days before we attended Press Night, during which he confessed to playing the main protagonist as neutrally as possible to allow us, the audience, to take what we would from the theatre. So, this is what I got. Jay Jackson is a successful boxer, making money...

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Winston Ellis Talks Beverley, Fatherhood and Gives TBB a Media Exclusive!

Having enjoyed the short film Beverley, we at TBB were delighted to be given the chance to interview two of the cast members. If you’ve read the film review, you’ll know that as well as Laya Lewis, we were keen to talk with Winston Ellis who plays Travis Thompson, Beverley’s father. We thought it would be tricky because of his work commitments, but, he made it happen… Thank you so much for giving us a bit of your time. I know you’ve got a super-busy schedule… It’s a real pleasure. I’ve been looking forward to it. Anything I can do...

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DescantDeb Speaks to Laya Lewis, Lead Actress in Cass Pennant Produced Short ‘Beverley’

Having enjoyed the short film Beverley after being invited to a screening which took place after the film’s premiere in January, we at TBB were delighted to be given the chance to interview two of the cast members. A brief overview – Short Film Beverley is written by Alexander Thomas, highlighting the identity problems young people of mixed nationality in urban areas face on a day-to-day basis in Britain before multi-culturalism. Set against the backdrop of Britain’s 2-Tone music era of 1980. Laya Lewis plays the title role and is already something of a household name, despite being at the...

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TBB’s @DescantDeb Reviews Cass Pennants’ Latest Film ‘Beverley’

Laya Lewis as ‘Beverley Thompson’ in, Beverley (2015) Beverley Thompson has a pretty good idea of who she is… now. She is a writer. When Thompson first met producer Cass Pennant and writer-director Alexander Thomas a few years ago, she identified herself as a ‘Rude Girl’, because former football hooligan Pennant had her wrongly pegged as a ‘Casual’ – a sub-culture of the football hooligan movement, who wore designer labels and no club colours to infiltrate the football grounds and avoid easy detection by security forces. This inspired Pennant to make, Beverley, a short film of only 25 minutes...

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87% #OutOf100 – Vivian’s Couch by Michael Obiora

I can be bit of a Fan Girl. If I like an actor, I will watch whatever TV, theatre or big screen production they are in. Period. Yes, I liked Hudson Hawk (Bruce Willis, 1991), and I’ve seen it more than once. Yeah, I said it! Dilemma sets in when an actor I like writes. A talent for literary expression does not necessarily translate from a talent for the physical expression of emotional or comedic drama. So when I discovered one of our very own young, talented black British actors, with proven chops in both drama and comedy, tweeting...

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Delroy Atkinson Stars in Racially Provocative Play, Albion, at Bush Theatre

I have been very lucky with my interviewees; I get to speak to some of black Britain’s hardworking, dedicated talent who deserve recognition for their work. Actor, Delroy Atkinson is the latest addition.  I caught Atkinson in his new play, Albion, at the Bush Theatre, then caught up with him formally a few days later. The professional that he is, he spared me some light-hearted time, despite having woken up quite hoarse with a cold. With his wife away working, he was having to make his own honey and lemon tea. Bless! I had to start with congratulating him again on Albion,...

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82% #OutOf100 – Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle

Seeing Other People is the thirteenth book from the mind of Mike Gayle, and it’s a little bit of a paradox.
 Like all but one of the previous 12 in the Gayle back-catalogue, this is a work of fiction, set in a specific period of a man’s life as he negotiates the nuances and red flags of a pivotal event. Unlike the previous 12, this has a supernatural element on which much of the drama hinges. But more on that later. Gayle’s debut, My Legendary Girlfriend (1998), has sold in excess of 250,000 copies and set the trend of his best-selling status....

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