November 10 2014
In speech to high-flyers, PM mentions science, business, retail and sport success and cites Naughty Boy and Mishal Husain as role models, while culture secretary recognises disparity in arts funding…
THERE were a host of celebrities at the GG2 Leadership Awards on Wednesday – but they were all trumped by prime minister David Cameron.
He declared that he wanted to see an Asian prime minster – except not just yet – in what was his first ever appearance at an awards ceremony hosted by the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG), which publishes “GG2” and “Eastern Eye“.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, was also there and helped to launch the “GG2 Power 101”, a publication profiling the 101 most influential Asians in Britain today.
Among the stars at the glittering awards ceremony and gala dinner was chart-topping ‘RnB’ singer Jay Sean.
He was over from America where he has made a string of hits, including topping the American Billboard 100 with “Down” in 2009 and becoming not only the first South Asian artist to do so, but also the first British urban act. It sold some 10 million records and made him among the most successful British artists ever to have broken through in the US.
Nihal Arthanayake was awarded the GG2 Media and Creative Arts Award. It has been a hugely successful year for the BBC Asian Network presenter – his morning topical discussion shows on the station have notched up record listening figures; he was also one of the faces of coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the summer and has hosted a new TV show, “City Swagger” on London Live.
Cameron picked up on British Asian success stories, saying he wished there were more – and called for barriers (sometimes in people’s own heads) to come down to make it possible.
He said he wasn’t interested ticking boxes or fulfilling quotas and saluted British Asian talent.
“I think of Sir Jim Virdee – one of the founders of the Large Hadron Collider, at the forefront of scientific discovery; Anshu Jain – at the helm of one of the biggest investment banks, Deutsche Bank; Ivan Menezes – the man behind the world’s largest spirits maker, Diageo.
“Then there’s Nazir Afzal – our chief crown prosecutor in the North West or Moeen Ali – helping our national cricket team to victory and Ameet Gill – setting the strategy at 10 Downing Street.”
He said he was proud of this British Asian success – but it wasn’t enough.
“Today, there are still too few ethnic minorities in top positions. The absence is glaring – in the boardrooms of the FTSE 250, in the chambers of the Houses of Parliament, or on football manager’s benches, on high court judges benches and in our fighter jets, our naval ships and armed battalions around the world. I am clear: this has to change, ” Cameron challenged.
He didn’t mention film or drama specifically, but said he wanted more to follow in the footsteps of musician Naughty Boy – aka Shahid Khan, responsible for a string of international hits, for his debut album “Hotel Cabana“, which also includes work with the likes of top-selling artists, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande.
He also cited broadcaster Mishal Husain as a role model – she is one of a handful of (women) presenters on the flagship Radio 4 news programme, “Today“; he also said young people reading “Eastern Eye” or “GG2” should be inspired by the example of Ramniklal Solanki, the founder of AMG, who came to Britain with very little and built a publishing legacy.
“I want the young Muslim girl to see Mishal Husain on TV and think she too can become a top broadcaster, the Pakistani teenager to hear Naughty Boy on the radio and consider a career in music, the budding journalist to read ‘GG2’ and ‘Eastern Eye’ and want to follow in the incredible footsteps of Ramniklal Solanki,” declared Cameron.
Meanwhile, Javid recognised there was some way to go in providing equal opportunities for people working in the arts and looking for government support.
He tells the “GG2 Power101” that, “while some 14 per cent of the UK’s population is non-white, (and contributing as taxpayers) BME (black minority ethnic) applicants got just 5.5 per cent of the grants for arts award last year.”
He also expressed sympathy with black actor and one-time comedian Lenny Henry’s campaign, Act for Change, dedicated to increasing diversity in British film and drama.
“Henry and others have been working with my colleague Ed Vaizey to look at ways we can get more diversity in British television,” Javid told the “GG2 Power101”.
Among the other celebrities attending on the evening were actors Preeya Kalidas, Bhasker Patel (“Emmerdale“), and BBC sports presenter Manish Bhasin.
The top award winner on the evening was Amol Rajan, editor of “The Independent“, becoming the first ever non-white editor of a national daily newspaper in Britain.
He was presented with the GG2 Hammer Award – which recognises an individual who has done the most to smash through the traditional ‘glass ceiling’.
He was made editor of the paper last year at the age of 29, becoming also the youngest to be an editor of a broadsheet daily.
Over the year, Rajan has continued to write his column in the “Evening Standard“, his restaurant reviews in “The Independent on Sunday” and hosts an interview show on London Live, the capital’s local TV station. He radically changed the front page design of the newspaper, moving the masthead to the side, rather than at the top and the paper is compact in size.
In an interview in the “GG2 Power 101”, he talks of how proud he is of his parents uprooting and coming to Britain, “we are standing on the shoulders of giants” he says, how he made it to Cambridge and into journalism after his ambition to play cricket for England withered following an injury. He has written a book, “The Twirleymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spinners” which reflects his ongoing passion for the game.
Earlier in the evening, Kalpesh Solanki, AMG group managing editor welcomed the changes Cameron had made to make the Conservative Party more inlcusive.
He added: “The issue of diversity in its simplest sense is about understanding and respecting the differences between us. It’s not just about tolerance. It has to be much deeper and has to be part of our DNA.
“So real change comes when people of power and influence are not only inclusive but must be seen to be inclusive and embrace individuals from all walks of life.”
The GG2 Leadership Awards recognise diverse individuals or organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to British society over the last year in distinct fields.
“GG2” is a bilingual news magazine, first published in only Gujarati in Britain more than 40 years ago and was founded by Ramniklal Solanki CBE, editor-in-chief of AMG. Today the publication is bilingual, comprising English and Gujarati sections and has a global readership.
The GG2 Leadership Award judges: Lord Ian Blair (former Metropolitan Police Commissioner); Michael Fuller (Her Majesty’s chief inspector, Crown Prosecution Service); Barry Gardiner Labour MP Brent North; Patricia Hewitt (chair UK-India Business Council); Yasmin Jetha (chief information officer, Bupa); Terry Mansfield CBE (Hearst Corporation); Ramniklal Solanki CBE (editor-in-chif AMG); Shailesh Solanki (executive editor AMG)
Main picture: David Cameron, prime minister addresses the audience at the GG2 Leadership Awards on Wednesday last week (November 5); top inset: Rajesh Mirchandani (BBC TV newscaster/journalist); Nihal, winner of the GG2 Media and Creative Arts; Ramniklal Solanki CBE (editor-in-chief AMG); Terry Mansfield CBE (The Hearst Corporation); bottom inset: Ramniklal Solanki, Baron Feldman of Elstree (Conservative Party co-chairman); Amol Rajan – winner Hammer Award and Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner India
All pictures (except Sajid Javid and Jay Sean and wife Thara Natalie Prashad) courtesy of AMG
Full list of GG2 Leadership Award winners 2014
Full list of winners.
GG2 Hammer Award – Amol Rajan, editor of The Independent
GG2 Man of the Year – Raminder Singh Ranger, founder and chairman Sun Mark.
GG2 Woman of the Year – Dame Asha Khemka
GG2 Pride of Britain Award – (posthumously) Intelligence Officer, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, Royal Air Force
GG2 Inspire Award – Parmi Dheensa, executive director charity Include me TOO
GG2 Entrepreneur of the Year – Mahmud Kamani, co-founder and joint CEO boohoo.com
GG2 Media and Creative Arts Award – Nihal Arthanayake
GG2 Professional Award – Bhik Kotecha, Consultant Otorhinolaryngologist
GG2 Achievement Through Adversity – Ashish Goyal, portfolio manager Blue Crest Capital (Goyal lost his sight when young)
GG2 Young Journalist of the Year – Pesala Bandara, reporter and partner, News Dog Media.
GG2 World Food Award – Tony Singh, chef, Oloroso Ltd.
GG2 Spirit in the Community – Aneeta Prem, human rights campaigner and founder/president Freedom charity.
- More pictures from the evening at asianculturevulture.com facebook GG2 Power101