African Voices book launch

L-R Kwaku (BBM/BMC), Feargal Sharkey (UK Music), John Kennedy (IFPI), Billy Grant (2Point9) and Horace Trubridge (MU)
L-R Kwaku (BBM/BMC), Feargal Sharkey (UK Music), John Kennedy (IFPI), Billy Grant (2Point9) and Horace Trubridge (MU)

Article By Kwaku – britishblackmusic.com

A free conference, which for the first time in the UK music industry’s history, drew upon the widest constituency, from key to marginalised stakeholders, plus ministerial representation, took place Tuesday March 23 2010, at the House Of Commons.

The Copyright + Music Industry + Music Industry Education: 2010, Where Are We At? Conference, which is organised by BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress (BBM/BMC) with guest of honour Minister for Intellectual Property & Higher Education the Rt Hon David Lammy MP, and host Brent South MP and Youth Citizens & Youth Engagement minister Dawn Butler, connected the dots by highlighting the latest positions on copyright issues and practices within the music industry, covering copyright terms and exceptions, the live music bill, ‘digital economy’ issues such as persistent illegal downloaders. The minister, also spoke about moves to review moral rights, having arrived directly from a meeting focused on moral rights.

Representation came not just from the usual industry bodies such as UK Music, MU, and PPL, but also stakeholder sectors covering legal; musicians; songwriters; music and media education lecturers and students; rights groups; and consumers, which included Consumer Focus, Open Rights Group, and University Of Hertfordshire.

Dawn Butler MP, Minister for Youth Citizens and Youth Engagement, hosted the launch of African Voices: Quotations by People of African descent, published by BTWSC at the House of Commons on 16th March. Kwame Nkrumah who was voted the African of the Millennium by BBC World service listeners and who is quoted in the book explains that ‘ All people of African descent, whether they live in North or South America, the Caribbean or any part of the world are African and belong to the African nation’.

IP & HE minister David Lammy and Kwaku (BBM/BMC)
IP & HE minister David Lammy and Kwaku (BBM/BMC)

The event was attended by guests from a cross section of backgrounds and some of the persons quoted including Supt. Leroy Logan MBE, Dr. Mark Richards, Dr. Morgan Dalphinis, Marc Wadsworth, Dame Betty Asafu-Adjaye and Cllr. Nana Asante.

Dawn Butler MP who is quoted in the book, gave the background to one of her quotes which is on discrimination, and said that being a black woman might open one to discrimination, but that it was not a double disadvantage to be a black and a woman.

Ahmed Ahmed BTWSC youth leader and Brent resident aged 16, who launched the book and was the youngest person to be quoted in the book said: ‘The book is educational and I am very proud to be in it… I am grateful to Dawn Butler MP for giving me the opportunity to launch African Voices at the House Of Commons.

Tony McNulty MP, who rushed to the launch after a prior engagement said: ‘ I always say to people, never ever forget your roots. You cannot begin to understand who you are or who you potentially can be if you don’t understand where you’ve come from…

To have a book like this celebrating the intellectual might of so many of African heritage must be good not only for those of African heritage, but for everybody because this adds to the rich body of what is humanity and humanity is golden.’

After the launch, in response to a question by Ron Cushnie, Ms Butler said ‘Anything I can do to promote the positive in our community, I will continue to do. There are enough people pushing the negative.

The book can be purchased at New Beacon Books, 76 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3EN, The Willesden Bookshop, 95 High Road, London NW10 4QU, Playfare Resource Centre, 30 Craven Park Road, Harlesden, NW10 4AB.

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