It's been a strange week for stories in the press dominated by race issues.
Firstly the debate about whether Jamaicans are owed both an apology and reparations for slavery by the UK, then the protest about allegedly racist nightclub DSTRKT, in London's west end, where four black women weren't let in, as apparently they were too fat and too dark.
Being Persian and therefore neither black nor white, I tend to hear comments from all races as they see me as some kind of weird 'neutral in betweener''. Many say 'oh God aren't they over slavery, it happened nearly 200 years ago, surely we can all just move on?'', not realizing that the legacy of slavery in this country has kept high society, stately-home owning families rich, and allowed their grandchildren a privileged lifestyle, whilst simultaneously leaving a legacy of destructed black families, broken homes full of poverty, issues of male emasculation and more, as seen by this weeks Evening Standard coverage of life on the Angell Town Estate in South London.
It's really important to change the perception of the black community in the UK. They're not all rappers, reality stars, gang members or footballers. Just as many have careers in medicine, law, fashion, journalism and more but aren't ever given any profile in public.
However, I'm not here to dwell on that. I like to think of positive actions to problems. I believe that if you can teach a classroom new ideas, they in turn can change a whole communities thinking, and eventually these small seeds can change the world. Make me sound like an eternal happy-hippie optimist? Maybe so.
Someone making small moves to change perceptions of the black community and all it has to offer is Kanya King with her MOBO brand. Thus far, for twenty years it's mostly been associated with British black music. But this month Kanya unveiled the MOBO 'Rise With Us' Season at two launch events on London's South Bank and legendary Soho music venue Ronnie Scott's which highlights black talent in the wider creative arts areas.
The MOBO season (28th September - 4th November) see's a month-long run of wide ranging cultural and educational events that are taking place in the lead-up to this years MOBO Awards in Leeds on November 4th.
Every act that has ever been nominated or won a MOBO Award has a story to tell. Now, it's time to tell more inspirational stories beyond the realm of music and pave the way for the next generation. As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, the next chapter of MOBO will look to celebrate and support those driven individuals, whatever their chosen path in the creative arts may be.
MOBO 'Rise With Us' Season is jam-packed with an incredible range of events all hand-picked by MOBO from across the creative industries of film, theatre, fashion and art. From a 'Late at Tate' event, to the homegrown critically acclaimed cast of 'The Etienne Sisters' at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and the exploration of the golden era of sound systems at the exhibition 'Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day', at the new Art Exchange in Nottingham, the MOBO team has curated a programme of the highest quality.
Kanya King, founder of the MOBO Organisation told me; "We are delighted to be launching this exciting season of initiatives and proud to have the support of so many great organisations such as the CIF, ITV, BFI, Warehouse, The National Theatre, CCSkills, the London College of Fashion and the British Library among many others. The Creative Industries Federation report highlighted how much can be done to address the lack of diversity across the industry and the exciting season and the amazing opportunities created by the fellowships are evidence that the industry is ready to join hands and make positive contributions".
A cornerstone of the MOBO 'Rise With Us' Season is a series of curated films within the London Film Festival, including a renovated version of the celebrated Senegalese cinema of 'Black Girl' (1966), Hany Abu-Assad's Palestinian drama film 'The Idol' will also be featured as part of 'MOBO Film' along with this year's topical story of desperate refugees 'Mediterranea'.
Also celebrated will be timely Brit documentary 'The Hard Stop', which explores the life and death of Mark Duggan and the riots that followed, as well as 'Fresh Dressed', a fascinating chronicle of hip-hop and urban fashion, featuring the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. The selection of these diverse films showcases the fresh talent and established names that should be supported and celebrated within the entertainment and artistic genre.
In addition to the abundance of artistic offerings, there are also a number of educational events, including the PRS For Music Panel session for budding music entrepreneurs who can follow in the footsteps of people like internationally acclaimed songwriter to the stars Wayne Hector, as well as The Labels Fashion show highlighting the next generation of designers and stylists like international stylist to the stars Richard Shoyemi, and 'Rise With Us' talks held at the British Library featuring successful entrepreneurs sharing their inspirational stories I the same vein as Colourblind Cards founder Jessica Huie.
Incredibly successful black people in a variety of fields do exist - you just have to know where to find them!
The MOBO Season calendar runs from 28th September until 4th November. For further information about the MOBO Season and the events, go to www.mobo.com/season