(L-R: Leah Charles-King, Tru Powell, Zoe Bennet, Kanya King CBE, Alex Beresford)

The Multicultural Business & Community Champion (MBCC) Awards took place this weekend, paying tribute to unsung heroes from the region and beyond in a star-studded ceremony. With a record-number of guests, 20 honourees, and live performances from industry legends like Lemar and Lurine Cato MBE, the MBCC Awards event was a winner for all.

Bringing over 700 guests together – the largest number in the event’s five-year history – the MBCC Awards honoured figures who have gone over and above for the corporate and community sectors over the past year.

Amongst the winners were Kanya King CBE, the CEO and Founder of the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards, who was recognised with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Honorary’ award; couple Ashley Cain and Safiyya Vorajee, who were presented with the ‘Inspirational Honorary’ award for founding the Azaylia Foundation charity in memory of their daughter; and Hon. Stuart Lawrence who received the ‘Special Recognition’ Award, for his dedication to anti-racism work following the murder of his brother, Stephen Lawrence.

What’s more, having postponed the awards in 2020 due to lockdown, this year’s MBCC Awards featured three brand-new categories to commemorate the exceptional times. Claire Goodwin-Fee was chosen as ‘Lockdown Hero of the Year’, after she founded Frontline19 – a free and confidential support and counselling service for NHS and frontline workers struggling throughout the pandemic – with DJ Silk being highly commended in the category for providing weekly live-streamed DJ sets via Instagram during lockdown, uniting people at a time of isolation.

The awards also saw NHS Nursing Associate in Intensive Care, Neelam Dhansey, named as ‘Frontline Worker of the Year’ for her dedication to supporting critically-ill COVID-19 patients and their families; and award-winning actress, director, public speaker, podcast host, and business-owner, Kelechi Okafor, take home the accolade of ‘Social Activist of the Year’, for her dedication to fighting for social justice.

Speaking about the winners, Tru Powell, the organiser of this year’s MBCC Awards, comments:

“The stories of our winners are incredibly humbling and their tireless work to improving the world we all live in is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It is truly an honour to be able to pay tribute to their commitment and achievements through the MBCC Awards, and give these heroes the recognition they so truly deserve. Every single one is an inspiration to us all and I know I speak on behalf of all of the MBCC Awards judging panel, ambassadors, and guests when I say a huge “well done” to them all.”

As well as the award-winners, the event, hosted by famous faces Alex Beresford and Leah Charles-King, also saw performers take to the stage. From singers Lemar and Lurine Cato MBE; to Aston Performing Arts Academy: guests were treated to jaw-dropping acts throughout the night.

In the spirit of the event, the MBCC Awards also collaborated with two charity partners: the Equality Council UK and First Class Foundation. Chosen for their tireless commitment to the community and their shared mission of helping people to succeed together, both are passionate about increasing opportunities for marginalised groups, in particular people of colour. With this year’s event theme of ‘Anti-Racism’, the MBCC Awards was proud to raise vital funds and awareness for the causes, shining a light on how much more needs to be done.

“It was a dream come true to bring back the MBCC Awards for 2021 and I cannot thank everyone who was part of it – from our hosts, judges, and ambassadors; through to our winners and guests – enough for making it the success it was. To have over 700 people in one place, celebrating these sensational people together, was incredible and I already cannot wait for the next one!” concluded Tru.

The full list of categories and winners was:

  • Charity of the Year – Digbeth Dining Club
  • Community Unsung Hero of the Year – CJ Lloyd Webley
  • Community Unsung She-ro of the Year – Liz Pemberton
  • Entrepreneur of the Year – Oyinkansola Adebayo, Niya Enterprise
  • Frontline Worker of the Year – Neelam Dhansey
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Maureen Lewis
  • Lockdown Hero of the Year – Claire Goodwin-Fee (Highly Commended: DJ Silk)
  • Mentor of the Year – Beth Mabey
  • Most Influential Business Person of the Year – Rosie Ginday, Miss Macaroon
  • Most Inspirational Person of the Year – Kieran Quinlan
  • Networker of the Year – Michelle Raymond
  • Outstanding Business of the Year – Free Train
  • Role Model of the Year – Casey Bailey (Highly Commended: Alexandra Wilson)
  • Social Activist of the Year – Kelechi Okafor
  • Inspirational Honorary Award – Ashley Cain and Safiyya Vorajee
  • Lifetime Achievement Honorary – Kanya King CBE
  • Special Recognition Award – Hon. Stuart Lawrence