After a few years at Saatchi and Saatchi and realising as a Muslim, that positive role models are desperately needed to help Britain grow and flourish in an environment where institutional racism has always existed. With a Star Trek like belief that humanity can conquer the universe whilst fighting any prejudice.

The indifference regarding British minority contributions towards our society has further alienated this group, when one considers the importance of their contribution in fashion, music and western cultural development.   My own experience as a British Muslim clearly symbolises this problem, not only have I been subjected to racism and bullying as a child at school and throughout my subsequent education, but also professionally regardless of how hard I try and work towards a common goal and objective without becoming tribal. 

Many talented minorities already feel that their dedication towards hard work would never be rewarded, as they are only tolerated and not truly accepted, otherwise their contribution is based upon a definition of the first generation migrating culture and not as a British born.  In view of this, I come from a proud Muslim heritage where my mother who is ‘Qureshi’ and is a member of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) tribe and my father is a ‘Syed’ who is a direct descendent of the prophet, so a peaceful pro-active Islam is largely in my blood.

With present realities, my fear that EMMAs aims and objective will be harder to attain through a growing alienation and patronising view about our contribution as minorities.  I view events highlighting this fact; Mr Ron Atkinson’s crime was not to be a racist in a production room but to allow his view to come in the open on-air.

The world and I witnessed the human-rights abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American and British soldiers, that were allowed to be circulated across the Arab world, and Mr Kilroy-Silk’s view regarding the Arab race was so generalised that I am sure the far right had a field day.

The EMMA Awards success is not the only reason that we have helped to raise professional appreciation of a diverse multicultural talent within the media industry, at a time when this was largely overlooked during 1997.

As EMMA has grown, we have been extremely privileged to honour such names as Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Lord Attenborough, Maya Angelou, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder for EMMA Lifetime Achievement as well as subsequently honouring the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King with both their respective families attending.  This year we intend to honour a true home grown talent Sir Bill Morris for Lifetime Achievement and the Legacy Award goes to Bruce Lee for his peaceful martial arts philosophy. The award will be collected on his behalf by his daughter Ms Shannon Lee

Bobby Syed

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