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Top Model of Colour Review – Is it True or Not?

It is so hard doing a review of your own show and I am sure some of you are thinking that’s ok, let’s see what he has to say and whether he will say it as it is or not especially after he has sometimes come down hard on other peoples shows.  This may be a bit long but I want to ensure that I cover everything so you don't come back and say that I was hiding things.

I will start by congratulating Nana Afua (female winner)  & Jason Best (male winner) the winners of TMC UK 2010.

When I get things wrong and things don't go according to plan it is only right for me to say it and I must start by apologising at the fact that we started 6 minutes late (I thought it was 4 minutes but I was informed that it was 6 minutes), and even within that time I heard that some people were already questioning that when were we going to start, I do accept the criticism and fully understand that even though 98% of these type of shows that I go to and I am sure that some of you attend notice that they tend to start an or more late. This however does not mean that I should be bigging up Mahogany or feel that we are good when we only started 6 minutes late, late is late (I do have a good excuse though but it might look that I am being defensive – well done to Homdiggy for starting our intro music exactly on time at 8pm).
L to R  Ibukun (TMC 2008), Vicky (TMC 2008), Paula TMC 2009 & Emmanuel (TMC 2009)

I am trying to deal with the things that did not work first and get them out of the way and later on hopefully I can say what did work – I don't want any of you to think that I am dealing with the good things first and then will sneak in the bad things at the end.

We had a MAJOR  problem with the food for the VIPs, a lot of people were either not served on time or at all and for those that did get food in some cases it was cold and there were also some issue with people getting there drinks on time – (I heard there were no problems at all with people that purchased food). Unfortunately as much as I see myself as a fixer as this was not in my direct control there was absolutely nothing that could be done to resolve this but I would like to thank my staff that did their utmost to resolve things especially Redz & Claudia and sincerely apologise to EVERYONE that was affected.

The final thing which I felt was an issue and this is from me wanting to be a perfectionist, is that for the film crew and the photographers we got the lighting wrong and this does upset me as we spent an enormous amount of money on this aspect of the show. The great thing about this is that the audience all felt it looked great and were extremely expressed, so this was more of an issue for the film crew and the photographers – sorry guys.

Nathifa Douet designed the set and created the ambiance of the venue and I think she did a great job and she was fully supported by Tama Ra Event Designers who has worked with us on ALL of our shows for over 10 years, did all the table settings and chair covers – just making the whole effect beautiful. I personally think Nathifa and Tama Ra worked well together as a team and this was proven by what they produced.

When it comes to artist I don't normally like to criticise them but after giving a specific brief to the person that booked one of the comediennes for us, I must say he was a disaster and a number of the audience were highly offended by his jokes so at some point I had no choice but to end it by playing music. A valuable lesson I learnt here was I must do much more research on the acts I book. However the comedienne Glenda Jaxson was hot but I had to cut her time as we were slightly over schedule and I wanted to finish on time – these are the hard decisions I have to make when I am event managing a show. K’son the singer wowed the models during the swimwear with his sultry voice and I am reliably informed that the women loved him

Neecie our female host was amazing and pulled the whole show together, she looked fantastic in the 2 dresses designed specifically for her by one of the UK’s hottest up and coming designers – Shi Dolor. Seriously people if you need a hot outfit for that great event you need to talk to her to do one for you. David our male host was good and he did look good. I am aware that some of these fashion designer names were hard to pronounce but my advice to all presenters is you must learn how to pronounce any given name at a show. But between them they kept the show going and they worked extremely hard and had to put up with me talking in there ear throughout the show whilst they were presenting and I think that bearing that for most shows, they do not wear ear pieces whilst working and have directors continuously giving them instructions they did a remarkable job.

We had judges come from a wide array of the fashion industry and from as far away as the Netherlands. Normally I am able to look at the finalist and say I expect this person to win and these ones to make it through the top 11 etc. But this year I and my team had no idea as to whom would win and we thought that for both the male and female models it was one of the most open competitions ever. Mary Bello (was the head judge for the men) and along with Joseph Sinclair and last minute stand in judge Jade Fletcher (model agent and events organiser), by the way thank you for stepping at such short notice, they had the hard decision of naming Ashton Leon as second runner up, Jerone Goode as 1st runner up and the eventual winner Jason Best. It must have been extremely difficult for them as any one of the 7 male contestants could potentially have been in the top 3.

Leading the female judges was Afua Adom, with able assistance from Monica Van Halder (CEO of TMC Holland) and whom came over specifically to judge TMC UK from the Netherlands and of course Mr Gorgeous whom on the night was known as MR Nasty for giving the models good honest, constructive feedback (and even though some of you may not agree with his comments 95% of what he said to the models were the things that I and my team had been saying to the finalist during rehearsals. I do believe that they had a very very hard job and they were able (I don't know how) come up with a fantastic top 5, which included Cherry Gallow (5th), Siobhan Lewis (4th), Maggie Umo (3rd), Ujunwa Nwobodoh (2nd) and the winner Nana Afua.

TOP 5 - Siobhan, Uju, Nana, Maggie, Cherry

Top 3 - Jerone, Jason, Ashton

I have do a few shout outs to the makeup team Spikes makeup, hair was done superbly by Adeline Adebayo (sorry that you were outside in the cold for so long), Dorothy Tenkorang as head stylist did a great job pulling it all together and along with her fashion label - House of Abeytu did a great job dressing the models.

Every contestant put their heart and soul into the competition and I hope and pray that they will go on and do some fantastic things in their modelling careers, they had to put up with me for long periods and that in itself deserves an award and I do hope that after the majority get over the disappoint of not winning that they will realise that EVERYTHING we did was with an honest and open heart and was aimed at ensuring that after TMC they will leave will the knowledge and full understanding of the modelling industry and will be great ambassadors for all models of colour.


There is a saying that No Man is an Island and that is so true, as TMC would have been impossible without all of our sponsors (way too many to mention), all of the volunteers, including the entire back and front of house teams that made sure that the show ran as smoothly as possible as without them we would have had no show. But I must give special mention to a team of ladies (and and one guy) that have been with me and have worked on TMC for a number of years such as Redz who was our artist manager, Eva (who also was very bold as she agreed to be body painted and worked the red carpet like a superstar) and Gregory that our hospitality manager, Claudia who was our overall events manager and kept and eye on ensuring everything came together, Homdiggy international DJ and music producer who produced the opening fashion show music and as always did a great job with the music throughout the night.

For the first year ever TMC worked with a PR company, Sassi PR who did a tremendous job handling the 100’s of press enquiries we had from across the world, putting together the press evening and so much more.  We had press who specifically came over from as far afield as Nigeria and the Netherlands,

I kept to the end the last two, Tope (backstage Manager) and Amina (floor manager & judges liaison), yes I do have a lot of managers but that is what makes a show work. Anyway back to saying a special thank you to Tope and Amina who were both former contestants of TMC (so was Redz & Dorothy) and now for the past 3 years have worked not only within different aspects of the show but each year they have worked with me on producing the choreography  for the opening fashions shows and I am proud to say that each year we have always been able to produce something completely different and people can’t say that you know our style of you have seen that before. They both work tirelessly behind the scenes throughout the year pulling the whole show together, I love them dearly.

I have a couple of people that I know love to remain anonymous so I am not going to embarrass them by naming them but they know who they are and without their unwavering support TMC may not have gone ahead, true and good and special people are hard to find. My heart is touched.

Normally when I give a review I always end it by giving my thoughts on the show but as it is my show I am unable to do so and ask that you give your own reviews GOOD OR BAD, trust me I am man enough to take the bad along with the good.

Thank you to everyone that attended, my friends who supported me, my loves ones for being there for me and my sponsors for believing in us and of course to the MAIN MAN himself the Lord almighty – THANK YOU (sorry if this sounds like an OSCARS acceptance speech).

Moan and Groan

I have so been wanting to do this moan and groan for a while but as TMC had not yet happened I was FORCED to hold my tongue but now that it is over, some people better put on their bullet proof vests, riot police helmets and if you have the ability you better become immortal because I am about to fire some scud missiles.

As I was planning my show and as it drew closer I was inundated with 100’s of calls and emails and I am not exaggerating. from people that were asking for free tickets to the show. I do believe in the philosophy that if you don't ask you don't get BUT  when I try to explain to people that due to the enormous amount of people that I know that it is impossible to accommodate everyone, they then give me attitude about it and say such things “I am an events organisers and should be invited” or “I attend all events and am always invited for free” AND SO XXXXX WHAT.

This is not about being stingy or being hard but for me this is my business, my livelihood, I do this full time and I easily could have filled up the entire venue with freebies but how would I have paid for everything. I am in entertainment and get a lot people say when are you going to invite me to your event, you are so hard, you are so stingy – if that is how you feel fine but I can’t remember the last time those same people invited me to their staff meeting at work. I have no problem inviting people to my event if 1) they have assisted, supported or contributed to  Mahogany or 2) they give me work or 3) I want to potentially get work from them so I invite them to my shows so they can see what I do. But if you are just a person that does not contribute to me or Mahogany in anyway don't be calling me up to ask for a free ticket.

I am on a roll now, now the cheek of some people – they call me up to ask for a free ticket and they have not yet secured a comp ticket and they have the audacity to say I don't do standard it has to be a VIP ticket – see your mouth and VIP...

I have friends that I grew up with and have known for over 30 years and people that have worked with me on shows and when they called they did not ask for free tickets, they said I want to buy tickets and booked tables etc and booked at the level they felt they could afford and these are people that if they asked me for tickets I would find it hard to say no cos I know what they have done for me in my life but they recognise that this is my living.

Now I am sure some you event organisers can relate to the above and know where I am coming from and if you are thinking of doing your own events in the future please bear this in mind, if you are not tough, these type of people will make you bankrupt and when you make a loss not one of them will come forward to assist you and to make matters worse it is these same people that come their for free whom will be the ones to criticise you the most.

I get invited to many events but I never call people and say can I get a free invite as I know what it is like. So if you ain’t doing anything for me or with me in the future, don't be calling me for a free ticket and before some of you get on my case about being this way, people can tell you that for most of our shows we give out 100’s of comp tickets from the bridal show to the TMC regional heats, but I like you have a mortgage to pay.

Finally to my esteem members of the press unfortunately we are not one of those companies that you can just show up and get into our event just cos you are press or carrying a camera, as always we asked all press to apply for press accreditation and with receiving 100’s of request we could not accommodate you all. I am sure that people that attended the show can attest to the amount of film crews and photographers that were at the show and this is aside from the editors from top magazines and newspapers that were at the show. So in future when you get an email from us to apply for press accreditation reply and reply on time and if you didn’t, don't just show up and hope to get in or that because you know me you will get it, it won’t happen.

We have to change how we work and always be professional in everything that we do.

Nigeria is Building a New Positive Image...

Sorry before I get into my blog, you really do not want to be told that you missed a great show, so get your tickets now for Top Model of Colour taking place on the 27th November at Porchester Hall, not that many tickets left - either buy online or call 07971 388687, 

Fela Lives Again...

Don't panic Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Nigeria's legendary musician has not risen from the dead, but via a fantastic play he has been brought back to life. After 4 successful years on Broadway Fela the play has found its way to the National Theatre in London.

It is a great achievement for ANY play to make it to the National Theatre and an even bigger achievement for a Black African play to feature and credit must be given to Bill T Jones and co- producers Jay Z (and I hear Will Smith) for having the courage and tenacity to push for it to come to the UK, in fact to even do the play at all.

After we all got to watch this great play on press night, there 
was a great celebration and after event and it was good to 
catch up with the cast including Sahr Ngaujah, who has played Fela for the past 4 years, Paulette Ivory & Melanie Marshall.

The highlight of the evening besides the play was catching up with old friends that I had not seen for many years like Atiti & Dele Sosimi of Afrobeat (he use to play for Fela as a youngster), Yeni & Seun Kuti as well as Femi Kuti who has taken over his fathers mantle and will soon start his UK tour for his new album Africa For Africa from the 27th November.

I was fortunate that as a youngster I was able to go to Shrine (this is the legendary place where Fela use to play in Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria) and as I was good friends with his late youngest daughter Sola (pronounced as written not like my name which is pronounced Sholla) I got to spend a lot of time both at Shrine and at his house and it was an experience I would never forget.

I do hope that the legal battle will be resolved sooner rather than later as the producers of Fela the musical are being sued by Carlos Moore an author who claims that they used his biogapghy Fela Fela, Cette Putain de Vie as the concept for the musical and not paying him the appropiate royalties. He is suing for £5m. That aside I am hoping that it will find its way to Nigeria and it is rumoured that discussions are taking place with the Nigerian singer D'banz to play the role of Fela should it come to Nigeria.

This is a play that I very highly recommend that you go and see, I am aware that everyone is saying times are hard but it is worth the expenditure, so call the National Theatre and tell them that you wish to buy a ticket on Layaway!

An Audience with Nollywood Stars...

In my bid not to live in my house ever again I was once again out on the streets of London attending an audience with some of Nigeria's Nollywood stars. As usual I prepared myself to be bored out of my mind listening to celebrities that believed they were demi Gods but to my pleasant surprise they were definitely not arrogant, pompous superstars, in fact the two actors that were in attendance were very down to earth and I and others that were in attendance had a very enjoyable evening (would not say the same about the food though).

Ariyo Expo organised a two day Culture and Tourism EXPO at the Hilton Olympia in London on 5th & 6th November and it culminated with an interview with some of Nollywood's top stars including Ejike Asiegbu actor and former president of Actors Guild of Nigeria and the first Lady of Nollywood "Omo Sexy" Omotola Jolade Ekeinde

Some of the audience included the likes of Charles Thompson CEO Screen Nation, Brenda Emmanus BBC presenter and Fatima Jabbe, producer and actress, Nigeria's Ambassor to the Court of St James and of course myself amongst many others and it was beautifully hosted by Henry Bonsu, presenter and journalist.

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Omotola a question as to whether she would still do low budget films and she gave an eloquent answer that many Hollywood actors do small budget films and if the film script is right and she felt it was right for her she would do it.

She was also asked about her relationship with Genevieve Nnaji and she politely moved on to the next question without answering, but did give a plausible answer as to why she would not answer and this is because she has asked and answered this question too many times and she is TIRED ALREADY.

It was a great evening and a lot of credit must be given to the organiser Ola Wright on a job well done.

I do hope that Ola would be able to work with me and produce a real audience with some of Nigeria's Nollywood superstars here in the UK with the UK celebrities. 

An Evening Out...

Miss Flavour 2010

My beautiful cousin Mary Bello who is a writer with Flavour Magazine invited me down to come and watch Miss Flavour at the Cafe De Paris that took place on the 3rd November. I can’t believe that it has been going for 4 years and this is the first time I have ever attended Miss Flavour.

It was a full house packed with a lot of young, hip and trendy fashionistas, family and friends who came out to support the 14 beautiful girls that were competing to become Miss Flavour 2010 and take the crown from last year’s winner Melissa Lewars.

The evening was hosted by 1xtra's Ace & Vis who did a great job with the young , what I call Hip Hop crowd and there were 10 celebrity judges including Jasmia Robinson (Britain's Next Top Model), who had a hard time picking out the eventual winner and celebrities like the comedienne Slim and Yolande of La Geneve North were in the house.

The only traumatic thing that took place was when Ace & Vis had an Australia's Next Top Model moment and announced the wrong winner. These things happen but it was a bit sad as one raises the expectations of the person that thought they had won and the next minute they are shot down.

Eventually they got it right and I must say congratulations to Neetu Sahota for winning Miss Flavour 2010 and Léa Gladys Poupelin being the first runner up & Siobhan Copland coming 3rd.

If I am invited again I would look forward to attending again and if you want an informal night out it is definitely worth attending.

Sacred Childhoods Foundation Ethical Fashion Show

What I a week I have been having literally running from one event to another and today was no different as I attended the Sacred Childhoods Foundation Ethical Fashion Show at the exclusive Vanilla Club in the West End on 3rd November 2010. Sacred Childhoods is working to safeguard vulnerable and underprivileged children in Indonesia, South East Asia.

For me this was a show with a difference as its principle aims were to raise funds for the foundation but at the same time promoting sustainable, fairly traded fashion using beautiful models, who often face discrimination by the mainstream fashion industry. So this definitely was an event that pulled on my heart strings.

A number of designers donated pieces for the event and on this occasion I deem it only fair that I name all of them - here goes.

Amethyst Accessories
Beulah London
Charlie Chambers
DIY Couture
Emesha LTD
Eternal Creation
Fee Uhssi Design
Hope Sew
Ivana Basilotta
Lilia Yip
Lily Kamper
Little Grass Clementine
Piece of Mind
Monkee Genes
Natural Cotton Color
OU Pambu
Pants to Poverty
Paper Vine
Peter Spilsbury
People Tree
Pure Design Company
Sampi Couture
Tina Lobondi
Toto Knits
Trashy Bags
From Somewhere
Lost Property of London

I know that it is a long list but it is well worth listing and if you are ever looking for ethical designers this is a great place to start from.

It was surely a show with a difference as the models walked around the room wearing the pieces with the designers on hand to talk through what inspired them and I am amazed at the designs the designers have created out of recycled items.

This was truly a worthwhile and inspirational evening, very enjoyable.  

TMC Grand Finale 27th November 2010...

To get tickets please buy online  or 
0845 388 7249 / 07971 388687

Standard tickets are £30 in advance (or £45 at the door) - Table of 10 £300

VIP tickets are £50 in advance (or £75 on the door) - Table of 10 £500

Please note that all vip guests will be served a 2 course meal and some drinks on their table.                  

Beffta's Special - This is not Sour Grapes...

I am now starting to feel that every time I write a blog I only seem to have negative things to say and that is definitely starting to worry me. But people it is not my fault, honestly. I actually said that regardless of how I felt that I was not going to blog about the BEFFTA's but following NUMEROUS requests to say it as it was I have had no choice but to respond to your requests.

The BEFFTA's which stands for Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts Awards, that is the original version of what BEFFTA's means but the new version is unprintable and involves a lot of cussing and I have some people that are under 16 that read my blog.

Anyway I have washed my mouth with soap and I can continue, the BEFFTA's took place on Saturday the 30th September at a lovely venue called Westminster Central Hall. Following on from last year I came with an open mind thinking to myself that it could not be any worst than last year - boy was I wrong. 

In a chronological order let me give you an insight into the event.

I arrived at about 7pm (as the show was due to start at 7.30pm) and I queued up with the other guests to give my name and collect my tickets to gain entry. When I got to the young lady that was doing the tickets I was very impressed as they had a laptop and I assumed they would do a quick search on the laptop and I would be given a ticket within seconds, yes you are right they could not find my name, anyway she asked me if I was a nominee? wrong question to ask a black person when we sense weakness we go in for the kill, in this case I was a nominee, so I answered yes and she then asked me if I had any guest with me and I said yes that there were 4 of us in total and without any checks she gave us 4 VIP passes (this also happened to others as well), so as per what I said above if people were intending to pay when they saw the shambles that was going on they quickly would have changed their mind as they would have realised that it was free to get in.

Anyway we then proceeded upstairs and based on lasts years experience I told my guests to go and secure us seats before they all go as I had a feeling that there might be problems and there was. I would will leave this bit with a quote from a highly respected person within the black entertainment industry in the UK I did not even have a table in my name and had to sit in a corner with my guests which was embarrassing as they were very influential people.”

So my guests had secured a table for us to sit after many problems, I must add whilst I was downstairs doing some press interviews and assisting Fashions Finest TV.

The press section was badly organised and only got better when Remel London took it upon herself to help out and organise things. Eventually I went upstairs at about 9pm and they were only just about to start (yes over an hour and a half late).

Westminster Central Hall has a reputation for finishing on time and bearing in mind the organisers have used the venue before they knew exactly what would happen at 11 pm. However in their wisdom a decision was made to entertain us for the next one hour with act after act and we had the unfortunate pleasure of having one of the most boring presenters ever (they said she was meant to be a comedienne, now if she was a comedienne then I am the one that taught Eddie Murphy everything he knows about comedy), to be fair to her they only gave her an hour’s notice that she was going to present but if she is meant to be a professional that is no excuse.

So at about 10.10pm they now decided to start announcing the award winners, you must bear in mind that they had about 500 awards and 1500 nominees , ok I am exaggerating but it is to emphasis the point that there were too many awards and some crazy categories. At 11 pm as expected the venue switched on the house lights and turned off the sound by this time they had not even announced half of the awards which includes one of my categories best modelling agency, up to now I have no idea who won that award.

But it was nice to hear that on the Sunday some people were being phoned to say that they had won awards in categories they did not know had even existed, I guess they felt they needed to get rid of the excess awards that they had.

So we left the awards very dejected but decided let’s make the best of a bad situation and go for the after party which was meant to be taking place at a lovely venue. About 50 of us found our way to the venue to find out there was no such after party and none of the organisers were there or had any intention of showing up. I say no more!

Normally I end my piece by giving my views, however this time round I will end it with quotes from a variety of people that emailed or text me about the show.

“I myself actually checked her facebook page yesterday to see if she had offered an apology on her status...more fool me lmao”

“I have no idea whether she agrees it was a shambles (I doubt it)”

“she seems to be in denial...we were clearly at a different award show to her!”

I know others offered their services and was shoved aside.

“xxx cannot use people who have worked hard to establish their brand and then disrespect their name like this. I am done”.

“she used many of us to bring attention to this shambles”

“She has made the award vulgar. I felt as if I was attending an event in a third world country!!! With all the expertise we have in the UK this is unacceptable”

This is not sour grapes it’s about people stepping up and doing the right thing and using the right people, Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles could have done a better job running the show and without any assistance.

If it goes ahead again I will still support it as I believe we must work with each other for change and potentially this can become a fantastic event within our community, but I would say to anyone doing a show, know what you are good at and then bring in people like me to do the things we are good at which is making your event great!

Remel London's Video Blog on the BEFFTA's

TMC Grand Finale 27th November 2010...

To get tickets please buy online  or 
0845 388 7249 / 07971 388687

Standard tickets are £30 in advance (or £45 at the door) - Table of 10 £300

VIP tickets are £50 in advance (or £75 on the door) - Table of 10 £500

Please note that all vip guests will be served a 2 course meal and some drinks on their table.                  
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