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This Is What We’re Fighting For
September 8, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm£10
Lemar, Shaun Wallace, Shazia Mirza and Fernando Montaño join forces with NAZ Project London, the charity delivering culturally specific sexual health interventions to minority communities and launch, a soulful celebration to remember minority cultural icons lost to HIV – Sunday 8 September O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.
The concert entitled This Is What We’re Fighting For celebrates the genius of Alvin Alley, Gil Scott Heron, Mary Boman, NAZir, Freddie Mercury and others. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic swept through our communities, it took with it a generation’s worth of talent – the lives of dancers, musicians, and activists were cut short. This concert is primarily about remembering the lasting legacy these icons left us and encouraging those living with HIV to live life to the fullest.
Lemar has too many triumphs in a career that began way back in his teens; he’s sung alongside enough of his idols to know the drill. His success is down to his sumptuous soulful voice with a vintage vibe, on which his distinctive, honeyed vocals are at their most versatile. Now 37 and a father of two, he began performing aged 17, long before the public fell in love with him on Fame Academy. With an astonishing career, Lemar has a trio of multi-platinum selling albums and half a dozen Top 10 singles followed, winning him multiple Brit and MOBO awards and we’re thrilled to have him perform at This Is What We’re Fighting For, a soulful celebration to remember cultural icons lost to HIV.
Shaun Wallace, the “Chaser” on the ITV quiz show is an English barrister, lecturer and television personality. In 2004, he won Mastermind and was ranked 286th in the World Quizzing Championships in 2012. Other shows that he has been a contestant on include Fifteen to One and The Weakest Link, plus the British adaptation of Greed. Recently, he appeared on the celebrity version of Catchphrase. He also appeared as a guest in Dictionary Corner on the Channel 4 gameshow Countdown.
Shazia Mirza is an award-winning British stand up comedian and writer with TV appearances from: Top Gear, Loose Women, The Late Late Show, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, The One Show and many more. Her previous stand-up show, the critically acclaimed; ‘‘The Kardashians Made Me Do It’‘, played for 103 nights internationally across the UK, US, Sweden, Ireland and France and completed four sell out runs at London’s Soho Theatre; “A powerful show from a powerful woman… fearless, brutal and beautiful”.
So much success, and yet still her parents just want her to get married.
Colombian dancer Fernando Montaño is a Soloist of The Royal Ballet. His performance work includes Cinderella, The Two Pigeons, The Sleeping Beauty, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Romeo & Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake and many more spectacular shows. Montaño has twice won Personality of the Year award at the LUKAS Awards, celebrating prominent Latin figures in the UK. His other awards include prizes at the International Ballet Contest, Havana, a Citation of Honor (New York) and an honour from the President of Colombia.
Powerhouse vocalist Vula Malinga is probably best known for her work as lead vocalist with Basement Jaxx, including the hit single ‘Oh My Gosh’. Vula is also one third of vocal trio LaSharVu with whom she has opened the main stage at Love Supreme Festival, supported Average White Band at the Festival Hall and performed sold out shows at Festivals and venues all over the UK.
Vula has wowed huge audiences at the Royal Albert Hall, featuring as a lead vocalist with The Heritage Orchestra, as a featured vocalist for the Quincy Jones Prom. She has an impressive singing career, as one of the premier backing vocalists both in the UK and in the States, performing with Sam Smith, Clean Bandit, Lalah Hathaway, Sam Sparro and other major artists.
Born and raised in London before spending some years in the US, Paul Johnson started his singing career in his local church which led to him being a part of the UK gospel band Paradise, LCGC and then signing to CBS Records in the late 80s as a solo artist and – also being influenced by soul, jazz, funk and gospel music – working with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Frankie Knuckles, Shaun Escoffery, Juliet Roberts and M People along the way.
BAKITA:KK is a poet, writer and researcher. She has performed her poetry and delivered talks internationally. Through her poetry, Bakita explores the tensions between stereotypes and identities, as well as self-empowerment. She uses her creativity as a tool for HIV advocacy.
To read/listen to her work, visit www.bakitakk.com
Ash Kotak was born in North London and trained at the London International Film School. He has written, produced and/or directed both drama and documentary including ‘Macheath, Divided by Rape’ for Channel 4 and ‘When Shura Cherkassky met Hobie’ for BBC Radio 3. He has won a number of awards for his talent in film production and direction.
Rietta is regularly seen on TV and has performed at the “Strictly Come Dancing” live arena events. She is a regular on ‘Strictly Confidential’ and has performed with Queen at the 2015 Artists and Managers awards.
She has had global success with her single ‘All Night Long’ featuring alongside artists such as Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Maxwell, Dionne Warwick and Earth Wind And Fire. Rietta has performed with Dame Shirley Bassey at Glastonbury as well as Jocelyn Brown and Jo Cocker.