Even when I headed up MTV Base, Idris would come and see me and send me any music he was working on. So it was a huge, wonderful surprise to me few years back, when I heard that my old mate was now a Hollywood star.
That due to a lack of opportunity in their home countries, black British actors and other creative talent are finding success - and meatier roles in the states is not new news. Whilst we have numerous organisations trying to redress the balance like MOBO, Screen Nation Awards and the Asian Awards, things are slow to change.
Acknowledged by the industry as 'the' media event for diverse talent and which has come to be known as the 'black Bafta's', Screen Nation Awards celebrates, rewards and promotes products and professionals of African heritage working in the UK and global film, TV and digital media industries.
Would a black Bond fail to convince because he would cut across the preconceptions of the audience? Of course, we are used to that sort of thing at the theatre...
Before my dad passed away, I had the chance to show him the film and explain that he was the biggest influence in the moulding of the older Mandela. I moulded how Mandela moved on my old man, they have very similar traits. Tree is the most personal song on this album for me. After spending three weeks in the studio, I knew it was time to write a song that addressed his passing. The perspective is like, "He's gone, man. I wish I could say this to him." And that's how the first lyric came; it was really sort of a love letter to him.
I'm well aware of the stigma that comes when an actor works on music. I hate that preconception, but the only way to fight it is to be completely honest about it: this is who I am, this is what inspired me, this is what the album is about. I'm not hiding behind any gimmicks. It's been a really long journey to release this album - I spent almost a year playing Mandela - and I'm really excited that people will finally be able to hear it.
If I'm honest, the idea of making this album was an afterthought. I spent eight months working on Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Mandela was really into his music and part of my research was to understand what he liked. What I probably didn't realise at the time was just how much there was to discover. In the course of that journey, I felt like I discovered the roots of South African music. And there was so much to discover! South Africa has over 60 different tribes, and each has its own style of musical expression and its own unique style.
Taking place at Wembey Arena on October 22nd this is the MOBO 19th year anniversary, and to celebrate the brand has spread its musical tentacles, and expanded to new areas. It's moving its focus beyond just music and encouraging the next generation of creative talent, regardless of field.
The Asian Awards were born out of a simple vision; to create an event, which would honour only the very highest levels of achievement from within the worldwide Asian community; to create one of the most important events of its kind ever to be staged.
I thought that we lived in an era that looked back on the horrors of Rwanda and Yugoslavia and said 'never again' and meant it. Sadly I think the crisis in Syria proves all of us wrong and we are all collectively guilty for allowing the country to collapse as it has. Three years on and we see both a biblical level exodus combined with a levels of violence that few of us could have imagined in our wildest dreams. Over nine million people, nearly half of the country, forced from their homes and on the move exposed to a new life of uncertainty, poverty and too often despair.
A concerned awareness of the proportional lack of ethnic minority representation in UK media is not something new, but the surprise is that in these supposedly meritocratic times, it seems to be getting worse and not better.
In the epoch of the twitterati - when culture is more and more served to us in palatable, postmodern, bite-sized fragments, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is pure old-school - providing the grand narrative of a life very much in the style of the epic film of yore - think Ghandi or Ben-Hur, for instance.
Many say January is the most depressing month of the year but I love it. It's a time for new beginnings, a fresh start, refocusing and looking ahead to the next 12 months. January is also awards season, meaning that red carpets all over the world are, for a brief few weeks, the focus of the world's media.
She's made millions by whipping her hair back and fourth more times than Will Smith's daughter. Now the world's watching to see what Beyonce's barnet will do next. While her hubby Jay-Z was in the States watching Blue Ivy, it was left to Beyonce to come over and single-handedly rule Britannia with her killer set at the V Festival.
So the third series of Luther is done and dusted, and what a finale. By now you've either seen it, about to watch on catch up, or have wandered onto this section by accident. Safe to say there are mild spoilers ahead.
I don't think we've seen a drama on what it's like to be the only black person in a predominately white community, or multiple stories where the black characters are the heroes, or a drama about a middle-class, two parent, black family. When you see a programme advertised with more than one main black character, you kind of know what to expect.