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(Image above) Actor , Producer, Director NOEL CLARKE PRESENTS AN AWARD TO GAL-DEM.
All images – Richard Pascoe/Sonia Yasmin Ali Photography / Digital iS Media Awards 2016.

The Hip Hop community has always had to make lemonade from lemons. Whether in the seventies when struggling impoverished communities in the South Bronx were empowered by a music force and culture that became a global future phenomenon, or today on the cusp of 2017, when inner city kids across the globe have a new thing.

Actually they’ve had this thing for years, it’s just that now the mainstream spotlight is beginning to realize that there is wave of digital media self-starters that are taking over the world and they’re starting to take note.

The Internet has persuaded them away from the TV genre that had Generation X glued to a screen. A genre that was programmed and appoint-to-view content. However, the powerful mental aphrodisiac that is the Internet means you literally have the world in your hand and are the master of your own watching habits.


Globally YouTube has helped create new digital superstars who mainstream brands are courting in new ways.

In the UK this week a ceremony called the #DigitaliSMediaAwards took place in central London. Celebrating the British Black Internet stars that are making an impact.

The ceremony saw ten of the best digital brands over the past year crowned and acknowledged for their strides and successes in new media..

Awards show hosts; Joivan Wade , Percelle ‘Percy’ Ascott and Dee Kaate.

The ceremony was hosted by a comedy trio brand who also individually have solo success as actors and more. Joivan Wade (Doctor Who, E4 Youngers and Wall of Comedy), Percelle ‘Percy’ Ascott (Silent Witness, Wizards v Aliens, and Wall of Comedy) alongside Dee Kaate (Wall of Comedy) – who were previously collectively known as comedy collective Man Dem On The Wall.

Presenters of the night included BAFTA Award winner, Film producer and Star Trek actor Noel Clarke, who presented Gal Dem with Favourite Arts & Entertainment/Lifestyle Site/Mag.

Grammy Nominee, global producer and hit maker Naughty Boy presented the Favourite Web Series Actress to Ola Adaeze, star of Boxx.

Duane Jones picks up Favourite Online Talk Show on behalf of his NFTR team, from music star Jodie Abacus.

Breaking the mold in radio broadcast were winners Not For The Radio ( like a UK version of Power 105.1’s Breakfast Club) who picked up Favourite Online Talk Show. With their basic panel set-up of four presenters interviewing one solo music star for over an hour, they have de-bunked everything that media content makers are told about creating short, snappy, highlights. NFTR viewers are tuning in and staying logged into these long informal chats for up to two hours at a time!

The NFTR award was presented by Jodie Abacus – the hot new soul sensation, who performed at The Roots Picnic in Brooklyn earlier this year , and whom Elton John has named as ‘one to watch’ for 2017.

The coveted Favourite Web Series Ensemble Award went to A Lesson Learnt, presented by actor Kofi Abrefa, best known for treading the boards at The National (A Taste of Honey) and staring in Channel 4’s futuristic robot saturated world – Humans.

Gal Dem winners!

Hood Documentary were the big winners on the night taking home two awards for Favourite Web Series and Best Web Series Actor, which went to Kayode Ewumi. The spoof documentary follows wannabe Grime MC Roll Safe as he guides viewers around the ‘hood’. Kayode’s online series has been so  successful it has now been commission by (ironically, now, an online platform) BBC Three.

A Dot Comedian, is known for his theatre shows, MTV and ITV credits, and won Favourite Online Comedian.

Google’s Social Media Manager Mercedes Benson presented an award on the night.

Charles Thompson MBE,is the man and founder of the Screen Nation Awards (over twenty years ago) and more recently the Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards (in 2014). Charles is at the vanguard of celebrating and giving a voice to a ‘hidden community’.

Aaron Roach-Bridgman Presented The Honorary Awards.

When Charles launched the Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards three years ago to recognize and reward excellence, from this ‘hidden community’; literally millions of online Black British talent, YouTube superstars and business entrepreneurs had already saturated the digital landscape. Even major brands like Huffington Post have a Black Voices brand – they understand this is a rapidly growing, very economically-strong demographic with a commercial mind-set.

This hidden community with it’s DIY ethos, is made up of millennials who are creating vlogs, blogs, news platforms, apps, games, comedy and web series which are being viewed by millions of other millenials globally, yet are practically ignored by the UK mainstream media.

KSI for example, is a black Londoner who is one of the biggest web stars on the planet. Do you think he’s a household name? No. Yet when I attended his recent film premiere at the O2, hundreds of young people were hysterically screaming for him and his peers. The adults? No clue.


The #DigitaliSMediaAwards has been the only awards show to recognize these talented young stars and give them validation and it’s growing annually.

For example, nominated for the Digital Achievement Award was Fanbytes, which reaches millions of millennials and is the UK’s largest social video platform. Forbes described Tim Armoo and Ambrose Cooke, the duo behind Fanbytes as ‘the millennials redefining how brands market to other millenials’. These innovators count huge brands like Disney, adidas, New Look, Go Pro and Nickelodeon as their clients.


Similarly, Emerging YouTube stars such as King Cas, (who can count BAFTA winning actor John Boyega (STAR WARS) as a fan) had over 2 million views on Facebook for his first show, yet you would struggle to find him featured in any mainstream media.

Additionally take Annika Allen, the Co-Founder of The Colour Network which is an online TV platform commissioning its own content from new digital stars of the future.


Annika Allen, Co-Founder The Colour Network.

Or Dionne Grant, a former editor at The Voice news paper who has now left the old school print press brand, to set up her own news platform titled The Young Empire.

Clearly a vast array of talent is being ignored by the old school media gate-keepers, yet this talent is clearly an enormous force to be reckoned with, commanding both trendsetting power and as well as tremendous influence.


These awards were established to celebrate innovative Black talent in new media: web show creators and content makers, who write, cast, shoot and edit live on location on their mobile devices, bluetooth the content back to a live gallery for airing on mainstream broadcast networks as well as their own YouTube channels. A double win.

These superhero digital creators then market their content via social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and more to generate voluminous fan bases all across the globe.

All too often mainstream media question whether we need the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, Hip Hop Honours, MOBO awards, Asian Awards, BUFF Film Festival, Screen Nation Awards, British Black List, Screen Nation Digital iS Media Awards? Yes we do, for without these, all of this great talent would continue to go unrecognized and more importantly un-championed the way ‘the rest’ are.

So the next time you’re sitting comfortably watching your favourite weekly soap on a mainstream channel, think about the digital monster that has its tentacles spread across young peoples eyes, ears and hearts.

The place where a Hip Hop mindset meets the new age digital world is a very fruitful and exciting one.

There’s a movement that’s going on right now.

Are you a part of recognizing it’s power and journey and jumping on board? Or will you be crushed under it’s momentum and force as it sweeps past you?


#DigitaliSMediaAwards /#DigitaliSMediaAwards2016


Favourite Web Series Actor
Ishmael Majid – Levelz
Kayode Ewumi – Hood Documentary – WINNER
Khaleb Brooks – Boxx
King Cas – New Skool Life
Kingsley Amadi – Spin (Season Finale)
Michael Gyekye – How Did We Get Here
Stephen Boyce – How Did We Get Here
Sylvester Akinrolabu – A Lesson Learnt

Favourite Web Series Actress
Joanne Sandi – A Lesson Learnt, TV Footballers
Kamara Bacchus – How Did We Get Here
Linda Adey – Dear Jesus
Natalie Gumede – Sally the Life Coach
Olu Adaeze – Boxx – WINNER
Scarlett Carter – A Lesson Learnt
Vanessa Donovan – Shrink

Favourite Web Series Ensemble
A Lesson Learnt S1 – Wondervision Films – WINNER

Boxx S1 – Joi Productions in Assn with Plot Lost Prods
Concealed S1 – Sandra Koree/Clever Lens Media Production
Dear Jesus S4 – Wonderlondon
Levelz S1 – Paul Opara, Shawn John, Malik Marli/Ezeo Media
New Skool Life S1 – Street Seven Films
Spin S2 (Season Finale) – Spin Drama TV

Favourite Web Series
A Lesson Learnt S1 – Priscilla Owusu, Danny Wonders/Wondervision Films
Boxx S1 – Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Yrsa Daley-Ward/Joi Productions in Assn with Plot Lost Prods
Dear Jesus S4 – Danielle A Scott-Haughton/Wonderlondon
Hood Documentary S1 – Tryrell Williams/TkCreatives – WINNER
Hot Pepper S1 – Destiny Ekaragha/2far Films
How Did We Get Here S2 – Cardy Films/Bwng
Shrink S1 – Katrina Smith Jackson, Trish M. Chanda/Auteur Vision Media
TV Footballers S1 – Matthew Allick, Chris Alozie/Allick Productions

Favourite Short Film
Deep It – Dir. Teddy Nygh / Prod Nick Bedu -WINNER
Fabric of The Royals – Dir./Wri. Verona Rose
New Beginnings – Dir Nicole Volavka
The Works – Dir./Wri. Elliot Barnes-Worrell
Wild in the Wind – Dir./Wri. Ejiro Okorodudu
Wilton – Dir./Wri. Cecile Emeke

Favourite Online Comedian
A Dot Comedian WINNER

Arnold Jorge
Ds Rants’n’Bants
Tommy Moutchi
Uncle Rafool

Favourite Podcast
3 Shots Of Tequila – WINNER

Artistic State Of Mind –
Half Cast/Chuckie Online –
Melanin Millennials –
Mostly Lit –
Tea And Biscuits –

Not For The Radio


GRM Daily


Kayode Ewumi

Olu Adaeze

A Lesson Learnt


Deep It

A Dot Comedian

3 Shots Of Tequila

Not For The Radio


GRM Daily

Digital Achievement (honorary)
Steven Bartlett
Timothy Armoo & Ambrose Cooke