Winners for the second annual Visionary Honours have been announced following a special virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday 6th May. Celebrating a wide range of diverse and under-represented voices, the virtual awards ceremony was hosted by award-winning TV presenter Scarlette Douglas, featuring acceptances from Jesy Nelson, Ross Kemp and George The Poet.
Launched in 2018 by the not-for-profit Visionary Arts Foundation, the awards shine a light on culture, media and entertainment that has inspired social change or debate. As well as rewarding deserving talent, the Visionary Honours aim to highlight the social impact their work has had and the inspiration it will provide for the next generation of creatives.
Winners across the nine categories included bestselling author, screenwriter and Stonewall UK School Role Model, Juno Dawson, who took home the Book of the Year award for curating Proud, an inspiring anthology of short stories by LGBTQ+ writers. Documentary of the Year was won by Little Mix star Jesy Nelson for Odd One Out (BBC Three), an intimate reflection on mental health and cyber bullying, whilst Song of the Year went to South London rapper Dave and producer Fraser T. Smith for Black, a powerful anthem addressing issues of racism and inequality in Britain today.
Musical of the Year was scooped up by female led SIX, an uplifting re-telling of the lives of Henry VIII’s wives and Film of the Year went to Blue Story, a vital British crime drama written, directed, and narrated by Andrew Onwubolu through the medium of rap.
Other awards were given to spoken-word artist George The Poet (Influencer of the Year), broadcaster, campaigner and the BBC’s first Director of Creative Diversity June Sarpong (Most Inspiring Person of the Year), founder of innovate disability-led organisation ThisAbility Sulaiman Khan (Community Person of the Year) and TV personality Ross Kemp (Television Show of the Year), who was awarded for the Living With series, which delves into issues such as homelessness, knife crime and young carers.
FULL LIST OF VISIONARY HONOURS 2020 WINNERS:
BOOK OF THE YEAR
Proud – Juno Dawson
INFLUENCER/JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
George The Poet
SONG OF THE YEAR
Black – Dave/Fraser T. Smith
DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out
MUSICAL/PLAY OF THE YEAR
Six – Arts Theatre
TELEVISION SHOW OF THE YEAR
Ross Kemp Living With…
FILM OF THE YEAR
MOST INSPIRING PERSON OF THE YEAR
COMMUNITY PERSON OF THE YEAR
Sulaiman Khan – ThisAbility
Award nominees and selections were made up of votes from the public and from a panel of industry judges, who themselves were chosen to reflect a wide range of voices. Judges included BAFTA and Olivier nominated writer Tom MacRae, author and diversity activist Nikesh Shukla, Sunday Times Bestselling author Emma Gannon, Poet, filmmaker, spoken word artist and founder of the Caramel Film Club Be Manzini, Arts, Culture & Entertainment Correspondent for BBC London News Brenda Emmanus, arts and culture journalist, editor, TV writer and award-nominated playwright Emily Jupp, Apple Music editor and former BBC6 Music producer Camilla Pia, Entertainment Director of Heat magazine Boyd Hilton and social impact entrepreneur Joanna Abeyie.
Focused on making the arts, media and entertainment industries more inclusive and accessible in the UK, the Visionary Arts Foundation helps to develop and launch the careers of young creatives from BAME, LGBTQ+, disabled and low income groups as well as anyone who feels their story is not being told in the mainstream. Founder of the awards, and Creator of the hit West End musical, ‘Thriller Live’, Adrian Grant commented: “The Visionary Honours are not about awarding egos or fame. They are about recognising culture, media and entertainment that has created awareness of social issues and inspired change or debate. Through the Visionary Arts Foundation it is my goal to empower young creatives to produce work that can influence positive social change.”
The virtual awards ceremony premiered the video for the charity single You Raise Me Up by BRIT award winner and Grammy nominee Denise Pearson, in aid of NHS Charities Together. The song is a tribute to the NHS and Healthcare workers, doctors and nurses who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Sales from the single (available via iTunes, Amazon and other platforms from the 6th May) will be donated to NHS Charities Together or you can donate directly here.
The virtual awards ceremony take place Wednesday 6 May at 8pm, streamed via visionaryhonours.com and Facebook Live.
For more details about the organisation visit www.visionaryarts.org.uk