Chief Development and Marketing Officer
EMMA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000
Member of Parliamen
Executive Chairman, Premier League
Member of Parliament
MP for Sheffield
Director General, Friends of Cancer Patients
Corporate Partnership Manager
Member of Parliament
Geneva – Switzerland
HRH The Duke of Cambridge
Member of Parliament
WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases
Mr. Bobby A. Syed founded EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy) in 1997. Bobby realized that although Britain is a multicultural nation, this diversity is not reflected in the media industry. The EMMA Awards were created to recognise and honour humanitarian media excellence – a legacy that continues today.
Bobby envisaged that EMMA could aid humanity’s progression by breaking down the silos of institutional racism and cultural ignorance. He set about enlisting visionaries within the media industry, inviting them to join the EMMA communityand way of life. Individuals with strength of spirit and character were highlighted; in particular those whose achievements withstood the test of time such as Mahatma Ghandi, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.
EMMA has been involved in many campaigns in the past, but with Colleagues from Ogilvy and Mather, we had undertaken the most important Ad campaign that literally revolved around life or death. The fact, that suicides are connected to many forms, of Mental Health. Has meant that we tried to tackle these consequences of any person, who thinks taking their life is an easy option, without considering the people who will live with this act forever. As a Human Race, we are a community, and need to work together as such during the good times or bad, to help overcome, any health issues. The Suicide statistics for 2017, speak for themselves in the UK & Republic of Ireland, with 6,213; amounting to 5,821 suicides in the UK and 392 suicides in Republican of Ireland. In the UK men remain three times as likely to take their lives, than women as per the Republican of Ireland; they were four times as likely. The highest UK suicide rate is amongst men, between the age of 45 to 49, who do feel powerless on Mental Health issues. The fact, men were told never to discuss this illness, adds to isolation. Mind had stated that Mental Health comes in many forms, and extremely hard, for a person to detect. This can be through the following symptoms as: Anger; Anxiety and Panic Attacks; Bipolar Disorder; Body Dysmorphic Disorder; Borderline Personality Disorder; Depression; Dissociative Disorders; Drugs – recreational drug and alcohol; Eating Problems; Hearing Voices; Hypomania and Mania; Mental Health Problems – introduction; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Panic Attack; Paranoia to name a few. In reality, we had all come across persons who have displayed those symptoms, as we have seen within ourselves at times. The previous attitude was to either suppress this or laugh it off, and if friends are aware of any usual behaviour, they will definitely laugh it off. Maybe, the issue around Mental Health is seen as a taboo subject, by all. This is why our hard hitting Ad campaign, was hard hitting to create a positive shock, to at least make a person think about their so-called ‘easy option’. The fact that three members of the Royal Family had started, the “Heads Together” campaign, to dispel the stigma around Mental Health has really helped to engage with this illness directly for the victims. The high profile involvement, of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside the Duke of Sussex, has created a ‘Human Face’ that all can relate to with a notion it could happen to anyone at any time – no different than a biological illness. However, it has been argued by some that ‘Mental Health’ is a sever issue amongst the Afro-Caribbean community, and certain quarters of the South Asian communities when looking at statistics. For example, African Caribbean people are more likely to enter the Mental Health services via the Courts or the Police, maybe due to racism? South Asian women, especially the young are seen to be very vulnerable to Mental Health issues, whether it’s based on a Western cultural approach, or racist’s stereo-types, ignoring cultural sensitivities around one’s religion and any spiritual wellbeing The growing alienation experienced by individuals, with communities breaking down, has only increased the need to tackle this problem, at its core. This is why EMMA, is committed to good ‘Social Cohesion’, because regardless of race, or one’s economic background, too many people are committing suicide due to society’s ills. The Welsh Football Manager, Gary Speed had committed Suicide, leaving a devastated family.
The ‘2011 Riots’ that had started from London after the Police shot dead a local man on 4 August. There was an immediate uproar within many communities, and this was never properly addressed at the time, that led to riots starting from Tottenham on the 6 August. This quickly spread throughout the Country, and went on till 11 August, but various copy-cat incidents still occurred. This was a clear reflection of a disconnect in society, after the 2008 economic crash to billions being spent on the Olympic Games that never trickled down economically to businesses, even if they were locally based. The immediate affect were 3,000 arrests, with more than 1,000 issued with a criminal charge, for various riot related offences. London suffered the most, with 3,443 crimes across the regions, with 5 subsequent deaths and 16 injured. The estimated damage was around £200 million, to property and businesses, due to class and racial tension This wasn’t a great back-drop for the London 2012 Olympic Games, one of the great sporting events in the world, especially branded as “Multicultural”. The £9 billion from public funds, alongside £2 billion private funds, that amount to an overall cost of £11 billion (estimated). The fact that 70,000 tickets have already been sold, and Britain is committed to rebranding itself from a “Middle England” image to “Multicultural Britain” was also extremely significant. Was the riot, a true reflection of the reality, towards a contradiction from this political spin by the Elite living up to a Cosmopolitan lifestyle? EMMA had worked hard to dispel the “Ghettoised” image that was directed at all the subsequent Minorities, who did the work the native British, didn’t want to. With poor wages, job opportunities, and continual discrimination that re-enforced not only this race divide but a class divide as British subjects. It was this persistence, of doing the EMMA Awards, in the heart of the ‘White’ establishment, re-enforcing that “Creative Industry” is a connected Industry from different cultural backgrounds that finally got a Middle Class media personal, known as the ‘Luvvies’ to finally sit up and take note to this reality. Not only did EMMA help to define the term ‘Creative Industry’ but also the term ‘Multiculturalism’, as an inclusive community, not one that is based on tolerance and more on acceptance. It was this old mentality that created the Ghetto’s, forming a divide, towards us and them. It sadly persists even now through Far Right politics. The need to undertake a ‘Social Cohesion Conference’, after the Riots became more obvious, because any further economic down fall would lead to increased racism. As EMMA had a distinct standing for Multiculturalism, I had manged to, in a short period of time, to hold a conference in University of London. The distinguished speakers list I managed to attract was as follows: late Tony Benn (Ex-Minister); late Darcus Howe Channel 4 Presenter; Alan Yentob, BBC Creative Director; Keith Vaz MP, Chairman Home Affairs Select Committee; Wayne Garvie, ex-BBC Head of Worldwide; Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of Liberal Party; Professor Paul Rogers, Environmental Conflict (University of Bradford); Lord Hastings, KPMG Citizenship & Diversity; Jeff Mirza, Broadcaster; Henry Bonsu, Broadcaster; to be chaired by Regah Omaar (ITN) and Bobby A Syed (EMMA Founder) – full day session with Ambassadors attendee. The Four sessions have been recorded, and can be viewed, with The Prime Minister David Cameron endorsement below. He recognised EMMA success and conference
We have lobbied UK Parliamentarians publically & privately, for nearly 30 years over many issues, around politics, economics, cultural identity and education to name just a few. However, we’re pioneers around the recognised Science of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion that led to far better productivity, helping GDP growth of any nation, by avoiding the economics of bust and boom; which has plagued all Western economic development since the 20th century – because all economic growth is based on trade Sadly, our warning wasn’t entirely in turn embraced by the political class from time to time. This has allowed a culture of institutional racism to flourish, leading to the death of Steven Lawrence on 22 April 1993, as the perpetrators had never ever recognised their own sins. The Macpherson Report, conducted by the Labour Government at the time, had finally recognised that “Institutional Racism” existed in many organisations in 1999. This was the same year that Doreen Lawrence had received her first Award (EMMA), on National TV for campaigning for justice, over the years, against the odds that led in 2018 to Prime Minister Theresa May, announcing a Steven Lawrence Day The fact that British Ethnic Minorities could state experiences, around Racism due to Colonialism from a previous imperial legacy, had meant that the National Front, as a Far Right political movement wasn’t too far away. The fact they had rebranded their image as The BNP (British National Party), and even went beyond winning just local council seats in 2009, by gaining 2 seats in the European Parliament was a shock to everyone at the time. This is where EMMA, with the assistance of colleagues, at The Ad agency “Saatchi & Saatchi”; undertook an extensive lobbying campaign through print Ads & TV Ads to counter the rise of the Far Right. This was taken lightly by the political establishment, who assumed it was a blimp, not realising its potential growth EMMA was proven right then and now, regardless of our previous successes in the past, to limit the Far Right growth in Britain. They had transformed themselves, with the ultimate defeat of the BNP, into the English Defence League (EDL). The strategy wasn’t to attack all Minorities, but to create a divide and rule policy similar to the Far Right in Nazi Germany, against the Jews. The target in Britain, and eventually, with the Far Right political growth was all Muslims. This didn’t mean they hated Jews any less, but were happy to park that bus for now, so they could contend with this larger Minority group who were at times misplaced due to continual wars in the Middle East The fact that many Far Right groups have openly sprung out, like The “Football Lads Alliance”, using the love of Football as a spring board to recruit even more followers is a dangerous precedent. Already, the Far Right have grown in power politically, in France, Germany, Italy, Hungry, Poland, Sweden, Holland, Greece and Austria with few countries embracing them within the Government. The fuel for the rise is blamed on Globalisation that has led to a rise in unemployment, but extremist politics based on Nationalism, is only a stepping stone for power against the present establishment. If parties don’t take on board the need to promote, better ‘Social Cohesion’ to avoid creating ‘Ghetto’s’ regardless of those Ethnic groups involved then resentment will in turn increase, leading to Racism, Extremism and Terrorism. The policy of divide and rule will only create, further economic instability, with Geo-politics taking an ugly turn.