Home Behind the News...with Afua Behind the News…. with Afua Hagan

Behind the News…. with Afua Hagan

As a self-confessed fan of Glitz Africa, it’s such an honour for me to be given a little slice of the Glitz Africa pie to bring you my column every couple of weeks. This is my chance to reflect on some of the news stories I’ve covered over the past couple of weeks here in the UK, as well as what I’m reading, listening to and watching – when I get a chance! So, what’s been happening? Let me fill you in…



I have worked backstage at the Music BRIT Awards for years and it truly is a celebration of British music. This year, however, was the second year that the BRIT Awards have had a gender-neutral Artist of the Year category – meaning no Male Artist of the Year or Female Artist of the Year, as there have been in previous years, after the BRITs scrapped the female and male categories to make the awards as inclusive as possible.

But it seems that something that was supposed to take us two steps forward has taken us a giant step back instead, as no women were nominated in the category. The nominees were Harry Styles, George Ezra, Central Cee, Fred Again and Stormzy with Harry Styles taking the top prize. This is despite artists like Becky Hill, Little Simz and Cat Burns having a really incredible year in music. Harry Styles acknowledged that the BRITs may have got it wrong saying in his acceptance speech, “I’m really really grateful for this and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight so this award is for Rina, Charli, Florence, Mabel and Becky”, shouting out artists Rina Sawayama, Charli XCX, Florence Welch, Mabel and Becky Hill.

Let’s hope that next year British women in music can get the recognition they deserve in this category. Meanwhile at the ceremony, Stormzy showed out with another gorgeous BRIT Awards performance showcasing the tracks ‘Hide & Seek’ and ‘I Got My Smile Back’ from his current album ‘This Is What I Mean’. Performing in front of a background coloured in shades of oranges and browns, he was joined by a backing band, strings players and choir for the turn. It was a truly beautiful performance from our proud Son of Ghana.


From music to film now – and it was amazing to be on the red carpet at the BAFTA Film Awards speaking to the crème de la crème of Black talent who came to London to celebrate. Nominees included Viola Davis for ‘Woman King’, Angela Bassett for ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, Danielle Deadwyler for ‘Till’ and Sheila Atim was nominated for the ‘EE Rising Star Award’ to name but a few. The conversations on the red carpet were around everyone’s favourite films this year – ‘Woman King’, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’ were mentioned the most and the importance of representation of every race, culture and ethnicity in cinema.

It was amazing to see so many Black actors and directors on the red carpet and nominated but it was equally disappointing that they didn’t pick up the awards that they deserved. The hashtag #Baftasowhite was trending on Twitter after the awards, reminiscent of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that started trending in 2015 after the Academy Awards. As a member of the diaspora, it can be hugely disappointing to be continually under-represented and talent ignored, especially when critics and audiences alike have deemed their performances award-worthy. But we remain supremely grateful for the talent that we do have and the fact that they continually give us these beautiful performances.

Ten years of The Compozers


It’s hard to believe that the British-Ghanaian ‘people’s band’ The Compozers have been around for ten years (already!) and it was amazing to celebrate this with them at the Red Bull studios in London. Having worked with pretty much everyone in the game from Lauryn Hill to Sarkodie to Davido, they have achieved some incredible feats – but there is much more to come.

With a gala, an exhibition, new music, charity work and a world tour in the pipeline, the next ten years are going to be even more ground-breaking for the foursome. Meanwhile, with of Ghanaian Independence just around the corner, I cannot wait for The Compozers next show with the Landlord himself Sarkodie during two nights of celebrations at the Outernet venue in London.


What I’m reading…


I absolutely love reading and so does my daughter and we’ve really been enjoying these gorgeous books by young author Sarah Kittoe – a British Ghanaian-South African living in London. At only 10 years old Sarah has already published three books, including ‘The Friendship Club & Other Stories’ which is a favourite in our house. Sarah says she wrote the books, “to encourage young people to never stop believing in themselves no matter their background, challenges or whatever they may be going through.” Now, that’s a message we can all get onboard with! You can find out more about Sarah and her books at sarahkittoe.co.uk

What I’m listening to…

I always have music on at home, especially when I’m working (apparently it helps me concentrate!) so this week I’ve had on rotation the brand-new single from Bien – one of the Kenyan foursome Sauti Sol. He’s teamed up with Nigeria’s Ayra Starr for the single ‘My Baby’, a soulful ditty on love and loyalty, with Bien’s signature harmonies and Ayra’s rich vocals that will be doing the rounds in your head all day long.

What I’m watching…

I’ve really enjoyed reviewing some stellar TV and film lately, and my pick for this week is ‘The Strays’. This upcoming mystery film focuses on the life of a light-skinned Black woman living in a quaint suburban town. She has crafted for herself a life of privilege very meticulously. However, her life begins to crumble and the secrets unravel after two strangers move into the town. The film stars Bukky Bakray, Michael Warburton, Ashley Madekwe, Justin Salinger and Caroline Martin and is streaming on Netflix now. I also have it on good authority that ‘Woman King’ starring Viola Davis, Sheila Atim and Lashana Lynch is also streaming on Netflix – it’s still one of my favourite films of 2022 and well worth a watch.

By: Afua Hagan

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Josephine Amoako
Load More In Behind the News...with Afua
Comments are closed.

Check Also

How to Snack Right

What is a snack? A snack is a small portion of food, drink or a light meal, usually one ea…