We were honoured with the BEFFTA awards best magazine of the year 2014 and lots of our International readers are asking what BEFFTA is. To answer their questions and to help other people understand what BEFFTA is, I’ve compiled this detailed information on the most prestigious Black community award in the UK.
BEFFTA is : Black Entertainment, Films, Fashion and Television award. The annual award ceremony honours the best showbiz and entertainment within the Black communities in the UK, US, Canada, Caribbean and globally. For the past 6 years, the award celebrates an all round accomplishments of a hardworking community within entertainment, especially unknown talents that need exposure. The watch word here is – Black unknown talents, and not Hollywood already made global mega superstars. It is this exceptional aim of this award that makes it what it is, and in the last 6 years has continued to deliver on these basis. One thing about this award, you do not have to know or be known by people to merit the award. It is the opportunity for great talents to be discovered without fear or favour.
Beffta was founded by a formidable woman Pauline Long who was inspired to create BEFFTA after organising Mr & Miss East Africa UK for many years and realising there are so much more within the industry to be recognised. The philanthropist singularly funds both BEFFTA and Mrs & Miss East Africa which is a community project that is a voice for East African street children. During this time, Pauline Long worked with so many talented people in the entertainment, film, fashion , TV and arts who are not being celebrated despite their contributions to their respective industries. With that in mind, BEFFTA was established to encourage these individuals to carry on despite challenges.
The award has so many categories to accommodate all areas of the entertainment and arts industry. They include : Music, Dance, Comedy, Radio, Television, Films, Models, DJs, Events, Photography, Fashion designers, Magazine and newspapers , Hair stylists, make up and the artists.
How far has BEFFTA come?
BEFFTA remains the largest and most prestigious industry award recognition award for the Black community in the UK and beyond. The ever growing award ceremony has seen both mainstream and major global personalities attend and recognised at the award ceremonies as well as the newest comers and those without any connections or attachment to the organisers and well known personalities. BEFFTA does not discriminate status and has stick to the original purpose of the event which is to accommodate both the big and the small, most of all creating a platform where young achievers easily come face to face to their idols and icons. Which in turn continues to inspire a generation of great achievers within the Black community.
Like any other venture, BEFFTA has its own challenges and in the past few years has been criticised for certain aspects which so many people either do not understand or do not agree with. Those include, lack of crowd control, lack of organisation, too many categories, awarding new acts and the idea of making it a 2 day event.
BEFFTA is solely funded by Pauline Long who is one of the most influential African women in the UK. Over the years, she has continued to give back to the community in so many ways. She has also through her East End studio , helped to launch great Black talents on the mainstream music scenes. Among the challenges as with other ventures comes down to limited resources.
BEFFTA has remained the most prestigious, most recognised and largest Black entertainment award in the UK for Black people. There is no denying that there are issues that can be made better for them to remain in that position. On that note, if I was in the advising committee, I would suggest
1. Funding : Open up avenues for funding and sponsorship from other interested corporations as long as East End would still maintain the purpose of the award ceremony.
2. Crowd control: There should be introduction of ticketing. There could be VIP ticketing for those who would like to feed their ego and feel special and a free general entry section. This would be able to reduce nuisance who make noise and cause distractions to the award. There should be code of conduct at the event for which if not followed, suggest should be excused from the venue. As a philanthropist, the revenue realised from ticket sales and or sponsorships could be attached to awards to add more value to them and help the awardees to build their career more effectively.
3. Award selection process: The nomination process should still be in the hands of the public after which, there will be a vetting and shortlisting process for finalists before public voting commences. This will help the organisers to get down to the most relevant acts and be able to control the quality of the recipients.
4. Category/2day split.
Entertainment, Film, fashion and TV is a very huge sector to cover and so has the most required categories to recognise. This should not change. However, BEFFTA has grown to have a larger venue to accommodate the huge response it receives. A venue such as WEMBLY, O2 and the likes would safely accommodate as many as can attend the ceremony. With these done, the award ceremony would be set to be competing with the likes of MTV music award, and BRITS award.