Colors: Red Color

Rap music had its most successful year ever in the UK in 2020, according to new figures.

Data from the BPI - the UK's association of independent and major labels - shows over a fifth of songs streamed were rap and hip hop.

When BPI started recording data like this in the 1990s, rap music only counted for 3.6% of the singles market. In 2020, it was 22%.

Headie One, Dave and AJ Tracey got up to 50 million plays in the UK each. The genre's growth in the album market has gone from 2.7% in 2014 to 12.2% in 2020.

KSI's Dissimulation album was the biggest-selling debut album of the year and reached number two in the charts in May. Rapper Nines got his first number one in September with Crabs in a Bucket.

"To know how much Black British music has impacted the music industry at large is something I couldn't be more proud of," says Joseph 'JP' Patterson, founder of TRENCH Magazine. "From the days when Grime and Rap was an afterthought in mainstream spaces, to now being a driving force in the UK's musical landscape."

Aitch, Tion Wayne and DigDat all made Top 10 in the charts and overall, British artists make up a third (33.6%) of all the Rap and Hip hop singles streamed in 2020. Not to forget international rappers like Pop Smoke whose album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon got to number one in the UK last year.

He was the first solo artist to achieve this with a posthumous album. The BPI also names new female artists making an impact in the UK rap scene, like Bree Runway who recently made top 10 on the BBC's Sound of 2021 list, as helping drive streaming figures for UK rap.

A pair of shoes designed and worn by musician Kanye West that are going up for auction are the most valuable to appear on the market, the auction house selling them says. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes have an estimate of $1 million (£726,000).

West first wore the shoes while performing at the Grammys in 2008.

They are now being sold by shoe collector Ryan Chang, through Sotheby's auction house, and will be on display in Hong Kong. In recent years, sneakers have gained the same collectable status as wine or jewellery. Sotheby's, a global auction house, held its first ever sale dedicated entirely to sneakers in 2019.

Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby's, said in a statement that the shoes were critical to the development of the Yeezy franchise, which became one of the most important sneaker and lifestyle brands in history. The sneakers are a US size 12, or a UK 11 - West's shoe size.

The seven-figure estimate for the Yeezys beats the previous record sale price for sneakers - a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s, which were sold by Christie's last year for $615,000 (£446,000). However, there are no records for shoes that have been bought privately.

It is believed that the most expensive sneakers ever created were designed by Bicion and Mache Custom Kicks in 2016.

The shoes, which are embellished with diamonds and sapphires, were estimated at $4 million. The Yeezys are being sold as part of a private sale, which means neither the buyer nor the final sale price will be publicised unless the buyer themselves comes forward.

The sneaker range was developed with Nike between 2007 and 2009. This was the first time Nike had collaborated with someone who wasn't an athlete. West wore the Prototypes during an emotional performance of Stronger and Hey Mama at the Grammys in 2008, just a few months after the death of his mother.

The Air Yeezy 1 was then launched in a limited series in 2009, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012. But in 2013 West ended his partnership with Nike, saying that his share of the revenue from the shoes was insufficient.

The following year, he began working with Adidas.

Partnering with Adidas proved to be a lucrative decision. The collaboration generated almost $1.7 billion in 2020, Forbes and Bloomberg report.

Rising artist carolesdaughter returns with her new single, ‘Trailer Trash’ arriving today via Arista Records /Robots & Humans/Columbia Records UK.

The track is paired with a striking music video shot in a deserted area in California and directed by Neta Ben Ezra. It brings to life an abandoned trailer park with Ozark meets The Walking Deadinfluences. carolesdaughter’s eye-catching look for the video was made possible by makeup artist Jessie Edelstein, with styling by carolesdaughter herself. “Trailer Trash” marks the up-and-comer’s first official release of 2021.

carolesdaughter says: "I wrote trailer trash 2 years ago when I was in rehab. The song is about accepting the unique and sometimes trashy parts of you. The video was inspired by Bombay beach and the art there, I wanted to create my own world where I could do anything I wanted."

carolesdaughter aka Thea Taylor has already struck a chord. After buzzing with previous releases, “cold bathroom floor” and “my mother wants me dead,” carolesdaughter wrote viral success “violent” over a somber beat laden with 808s and creaky acoustic guitar. She uploaded it to Soundcloud, and it quickly racked up two million streams. Now, the track has over 230 million streams across all platforms. It picked up plays at Radio 1 from Annie Mac, Mollie King’s ‘Best New Pop’ and Jack Saunders’ ‘Tune of the Week’. Plus further praise came from Sunday Times Culture, The Line of Best Fit, Wonderland, Spindle and an array of streaming highlights including the cover and #1 position in the notorious Misfits 2.0 playlist on Spotify.

carolesdaughter transmutes turbulence into strangely soothing alternative pop anthems awash in lo-fi glitch, bedroom acoustics, and gutter goth elegance. Like a fairy tale heroine with facial piercings and D.I.Y. spikes affixed to her shoes, she immediately captivates without fear or filter. An outsider since birth, she grew up as one of 10 kids in a strict Mormon household. After seeing a tattoo of the iconic logo, she researched Black Flag online and unlocked the worlds of punk, hardcore, and goth.

Bouncing between five different high schools, she started doing drugs, falling down a rabbit hole and taking multiple trips to rehab. On the last trip, she made a promise to pursue music upon returning home and ended up making major waves with the single “violent.” Amassing millions of streams independently and landing a deal with Arista Records, carolesdaughter makes an immediate connection on a series of singles and her forthcoming 2021 debut. She chose the name carolesdaughter in honour of her mom Carole.

Pack up your wigs, heels and all the glitter you can find, because Priscilla is back, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert drives into Birmingham from Mon 30 Aug – Sat 4 Sep. Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla is the hilarious and heart-warming adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Two worlds collide on this fabulous journey of self-discovery and friendship, and along the way our trio discover the true power of love, acceptance, and sass.

With more glitz and glamour than ever before, this show-stopping musical features spectacular dance routines, a dazzling array of eye-popping costumes, and a scintillating, sing-a-long soundtrack full of your favourite dance-floor classics. Including, Hot Stuff, It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Girls Just Wana Have Fun, Finally and many more.

Seating for this production will be based on a socially-distanced model at this moment in time, subject to change depending on Government guidance closer to the performance date.

One of the country’s most beloved musicals, Blood Brothers will also return to Birmingham from Tue 2 – Sat 13 Nov 2021. Written by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences.

Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers. Bill Kenwright’s production surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone. Looking forward to 2022, Chichester Festival Theatre’s Olivier Award-nominated production of Singin’ in the Rain will bring 14,000 litres of water to the stage at every performance from Mon 6 – Sat 11 June 2022.

Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production transports audiences back to the glamour of Hollywood during the roaring 20’s. Silent movie star Don Lockwood has it all, a string of hit films and a studio-engineered romance with the most beautiful actress in town. What Don doesn’t know is that the silver screen is about to find its voice, and a chance meeting with a talented young chorus girl set to steal his heart promises to change both Don, and Hollywood, forever.

Andrew Wright’s high-energy choreography and Simon Higlett’s sumptuous set design combine with the charm, romance and wit of one of the world’s best- loved films. Singin’ in the Rain features the glorious MGM score including Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and the legendary Singin’ in the Rain.

More exciting productions and events for 2021 will be announced soon – to be amongst the first to find out and benefit from priority booking become a Birmingham Hippodrome Friend today at birminghamhippodrome.com/friends.

Rolling Stones legend Sir Mick Jagger has teamed up with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl for a lockdown-themed song written by the Stones’ front-man.

Easy Sleazy features the performer on vocals and lead guitar, backed by Grohl on drums, bass and backing guitar with a video showing them both performing remotely in separate studios.

Sir Mick teamed up with Grohl for the singer after he said he believed his adaptability has helped him "roll with the punches" through the uncertainty. And that optimism had extended to his music, including the surprise - remote - lockdown collaboration with the Foo Fighters' star.

Easy Sleazy, which features the performer on vocals and lead guitar, backed by Grohl on drums, bass and backing guitar with a video released alongside the song showing both stars performing the track remotely in what looks to be separate studios.

The track references Zoom calls, "football's fake applause" and "stupid" TikTok dances, as well as dealing with anti-vaxxers.

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Jagger, 77, said: "It's a reflection on the last year - the physical and mental strains put on society.

"The whole year, we've been doing this and going through different emotions through it and having false starts and stops and openings and closings. The deep psychological ramifications of it on people and children not going to school and not socialising.

“We don't know what they're really going to be." On the track he hits out at anti-vaxxers, saying; "They don't get it."

Their track which is out now attempts to provide a sardonic and humorous take on coming out of lockdown, at least in the UK, as Jagger reflects on a year of "crazy" Covid lifestyle changes, big and small - including the fight against misinformation.

A filmed adaptation of The Winter’s Tale will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 25 April 2021 at 7pm, celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday weekend and marking the first time in RSC history that a production will have a televised World Premiere.

The production will subsequently be available on BBC iPlayer, and the RSC will also stream the production to Subscribers, Members and Patrons based outside the UK following the BBC broadcast. This filmed adaptation, with plans for cinema and DVD release, will be the only opportunity to experience the production, as there are currently no plans for a future staged run.

The Winter’s Tale film adaptation forms part of BBC Lights Up, an unprecedented season of plays for BBC TV and radio, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK and continuing BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative.

Directed by Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, and featuring the entire cast due to appear in the postponed 2020 production, The Winter’s Tale has been re-rehearsed adhering to strict safety measures. It has been adapted for the television broadcast by the original creative team, including; Set Design by Tom Piper, Costume Design by Madeleine Girling, Lighting by Prema Mehta, Music by Isobel Waller-Bridge, Movement by Anna Morrissey, and Fights by Kate Waters. The production features Screen Direction by Bridget Caldwell. The cast includes Ben Caplan as Camillo, Andrew French as Polixenes, Amanda Hadingue as Paulina, Kemi-Bo Jacobs as Hermione and Joseph Kloska as Leontes.

Amazon Studios have announced that it has signed a first-look TV deal with 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, Serena Williams. Serena will work with Amazon Studios to create scripted and unscripted television projects that will launch exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, beginning with an untitled docuseries that follows her in both her professional and personal life. The untitled docuseries production from Plum Pictures, Goalhanger Films and Amazon Studios is executive produced by Serena Williams, Patrick Mouratoglou, Stuart Cabb and Tony Pastor.

“I’m very excited to be partnering with Amazon Studios – they are developing some of the most inspiring and important content for a global audience. I have a lot of stories I’m eager to tell, including a continuation of my own, and I look forward to sharing those with the world,” said Serena.

“Serena has transformed her sport and become one of the most inspiring athletes, entrepreneurs and women of her generation, admired not only for her unmatched prowess on the court but for her dedication to advocacy as well,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We’re incredibly excited to share her journey in this new series, and to work with her to create new original content for our Prime Video customers worldwide.”

The greatest athlete and tennis player of the Open Era and most prized WTA player of all time, Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to win a title in all four grand slam tournaments, 73 singles and 23 doubles championships, and gold-medals at the 2000 (doubles), 2008 (doubles), and 2012 (singles and doubles) Olympics.

Off the court, Serena has become well-recognised in the business, entertainment and fashion space, adding S by Serena clothing line and Serena Ventures to her brand. Serena is also deeply committed to philanthropic causes, supporting organisations such as the Yetunde Price Resource Center, launching in 2018 in Compton, CA, honouring the life and memory of her oldest sister, by ensuring those affected by trauma have the necessary resources to persevere. Her greatness on and off the court solidifies her as one of the most iconic names and faces in the world.

After much anticipation, Rag‘n’Bone Man has released his incredible new collaboration with US superstar P!nk on their stunning new single ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ on April 9th, taken from his new album ‘Life By Misadventure’ – to be released on May 7.

Directed by Joe Connor (The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Sam Smith), the video is set in The Duke Of York’s Theatre in the heart of London’s West End, overtaken by nature, and sees both Rag’n’Bone Man and P!nk deliver powerhouse performances set against their wilderness backdrops.

Written by Rag’n’Bone Man, his album collaborator Ben Jackson-Cook, as well as Simon Aldred, Dan Priddy and Mark Crew, the song is about being uncomfortable in your surroundings. “When the lights go up/ I don’t think I told you… That I feel out of place,” he sings. Pull me underground/ Don’t know if you notice/ Sometimes I close my eyes and dream of somewhere else.”

Of the track, Rag’n’Bone Man says; “This song is an honest reflection of wanting to disappear from uncomfortable situations - about the vulnerabilities that we all face. It’s an honour to have P!nk on this record and I’m so glad she is able to be a part of it”

P!nk says: “I first encountered Rag’n’Bone Man in Europe in 2017 not long after hearing his song ‘Human.’ By then I had already fallen in love with his voice, and when we met in person I quickly learned he has a beautiful soul, too. Since then, I knew I wanted to work with him one day. ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ couldn’t be a better song for us to sing together. I’m so honoured to be a part of this collaboration.”

Previous single, the sublime ‘All You Ever Wanted’, made its mark with Radio 1 & Radio 2 playlist spots, as well as racing to #1 in both the Airplay and iTunes Chart. Rag‘n’Bone Man recently turned in all-star performances on Comic Relief, Later...with Jools Holland and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and will perform three special sold out shows at London’s Jazz Cafe on June 27th, 28th & 29th.

His 2017 landmark debut ‘Human’ was a phenomenal success; a 4x platinum album which shot to #1 week of release in the UK, became the fastest-selling album by a male artist for the entire decade and earned him BRIT and Ivor Novello Awards.

If that’s a hard act to follow, Rag‘n’Bone Man tore up the rule book and went to Nashville to write and record what would become ‘Life By Misadventure’, returning to the UK as the first lockdown set in. While a dose of heavy blues and soul lives within some of these new tunes, the majority of this new album finds Rag‘n’Bone Man taking a huge step forward as an artist, a songwriter, and a singer capable of showcasing tremendous warmth and real emotion with every breath.

‘Life By Misadventure’ is the perfect tonic for these times and an incredible collection of emotional songs to touch us when we need it most. It’s an album of depth and soul, about growing up and moving forward.

US rapper and actor DMX has died, five days after suffering a heart attack. The performer – real name Earl Simmons - had been placed on life support and died with his family by his side.

In a statement, his family said; “He was a warrior who fought till the very end. Earl's music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever."

DMX, aka Dark Man X, was a leading hip-hop performer who collaborated with such artists as JAY-Z, Ja Rule and LL Cool J. He took his moniker from the name of a drum machine used in rap tracks.

The chart-topper's songs included Party Up (Up in Here) and X Gon' Give It To Ya. He also acted on screen, appearing in such films as Cradle 2 the Grave, Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds.

Born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1970, DMX publicly battled substance abuse for years and spent several periods in rehab. According to his family, DMX died at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

"He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him," their statement continued. "We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX."

His manager Steve Rifkind also paid his respects, writing on Instagram: "The team is going to finish what we started and your legacy will never go away.

"That's my word. Rest Easy X". Tributes were paid throughout Friday, with a host of stars expressing their admiration for the musician and offering sympathies to his family.

"His gift meant so much to so many," tweeted actress Halle Berry. Rappers Ice Cube, Soulja Boy and Chance the Rapper also tweeted their condolences.

"RIP DMX. I pray for the comfort of your children and loved ones," the Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis wrote on Twitter.

"You TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC", the American rapper and singer Missy Elliott said.

Other musicians, including Burna Boy, Chance the Rapper and Charlie Puth, also shared tributes to the artist, along with basketball stars LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who represents the rapper's hometown in Washington, tweeted that he was "sending love, strength, and healing to DMX's family".

DMX was 50.

The movie Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won two prizes at the Bafta Film Awards, which are being split over two days for the first time. Both halves of the ceremony were presented by Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary from the Royal Albert Hall – with winners appearing virtually.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom stars Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman as members of a 1920s blues band. Other winners included Rocks, a low-budget British film starring a group of teenage girls, many of whom had not acted before; Christopher Nolan's time-bending thriller Tenet; and Mank, in which Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz.

Dedicating his special award to "my young Black boys and girls out there that never believed it could happen to them", Kidulthood, Bulletproof and Doctor Who actor/creator Noel Clarke was also presented with the outstanding British contribution to cinema award. Riz Ahmed, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Kirby and Daniel Kaluuya were among the stars also up for acting awards.

Nomadland, a drama about a woman who lives in a van in the American West after the financial crash, took top honours, scooping four prizes including best film, best actress for its star Frances McDormand and best director. It made Chloe Zhao only the second woman to win best director in 53 years of Bafta history.

Daniel Kaluuya was named best supporting actor for playing Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. The supporting actress trophy went to South Korea's Yuh-Jung Youn for playing a grandmother in Korean-American drama Minari. "Every award is meaningful, but this one especially recognised by British people, known as very snobbish people, and they approved me as a good actor so I'm very, very privileged," she said.

Other Bafta winners included Bukky Bakray. The 18-year-old was named rising star following her first ever acting role in Rocks, in which she played a teenage schoolgirl abandoned by her mother. The prize for best British film went to Promising Young Woman, a revenge thriller about a woman, played by Carey Mulligan, who pretends to be blind drunk when men pick her up in bars and clubs.

The Duke of Cambridge had been due to appear in a pre-recorded segment, but pulled out following the death of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh. Host Clara Amfo paid tribute to Prince Philip, who was Bafta's first president from 1959-66.

Other major prizes including best film, director, screenplay and animated feature, as well as the acting awards, with shortlists including a diverse line-up of talent - following an outcry last year when voters only nominated white actors. 16 of the 24 acting contenders this year come from ethnic backgrounds.

Midlands based Caitroina McCusker has been appointed as the national leader for education to the government leadership team at PwC UK, and brings experience of leading some of the largest digital transformation programmes in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK and globally.

With over 20 years’ experience as a business transformation consultant, Cat is at the forefront of PwC’s transformation projects within government and health industries working with major organisations across education, local government, central government, and the police.  Working at a global and local level she helps HEIs to reimagine their student and staff experience.

From aligning costs, to running and delivering large scale technology transformation programmes, Cat works with HEIs to identify and implement the right technology, people strategy and experience. In the last year Cat has been supporting universities across the UK to navigate the challenges of the pandemic - from prioritising mental health and wellbeing services for staff and students, to supporting them in reimagining a new online student experience, their people agenda and realigning costs to deal with huge changes to revenue and cash flow. 

One university providing additional mental health support to students and staff as a result of the effects of the pandemic is Aston University. The university is working with PwC to deliver mental health training to staff and students to help normalise the access to mental health support among peer groups.

Alec Cameron, vice-chancellor of Aston University, said: “We place a great deal of importance on the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff at Aston. This past year in particular has been an exceptionally challenging time, but our Welfare Team has been working incredibly hard to meet the needs of our students.  Working with PwC has enabled us to extend our offering, giving our academic and professional staff skills to support our students and each other in this increasingly significant aspect of university life.”

Education leader at PwC, Cat McCusker, said: “Increasing concerns are quite rightly being raised around the mental wellbeing of students enrolled in Higher Education as a result of the pandemic. We have seen the focus by universities on the mental wellbeing of students growing for a number of years, however social isolation and reduced access to mental health support during the pandemic has exacerbated the issues facing students.

“Universities have had to react quickly and adapt the support mechanisms on offer to ensure these can be accessed by students on and off campus. PwC has been delivering mental health group training and e-learn sessions to our staff based across the UK. As a firm we recognise the importance of mental health advocacy, so we are building on our long term association with The Samaritans to produce a team activity for Aston University to roll-out with their staff and students.”

Quentin Cole, government & health industries leader at PwC, said: “I am delighted to welcome Cat to the government and health industries leadership team as our education leader. As we move forward from the pandemic, education will play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK as well as enabling the innovation and skills that will allow us to build back better for future generations. Cat brings a wealth of experience to support clients navigating the challenges the pandemic has brought to education, and at a time of rapid transformation for the sector.” 

Cat added: “The opportunities and challenges for HEIs are huge and the sector is at a tipping point. I am excited to be taking on the role as Education Leader at such a crucial time.  The return to education over the coming months will bring challenges for education providers, including the catch-up on missed education and addressing the inequalities the pandemic has exacerbated, such as digital poverty.  Tackling these will require a focus from the sector, business and government to minimise the impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health and their future career prospects.

“I am pleased to be bringing new thinking to the higher education sector as organisations look to navigate the disruption that COVID-19 has brought and embrace new ways of working.”

Former Big Brother star Nikki Grahame has died. The TV personality had checked into a private hospital last month as she fought an eating disorder, and friends started a fund-raising page to pay for her treatment.

Grahame's manager confirmed she had died on Friday morning. "Please respect the privacy of Nikki's friends and family at this tragic and difficult time," he added.

The TV personality had checked into a private hospital last month as she fought an eating disorder. In a statement her manager confirmed that Grahame died on Friday morning. "Please respect the privacy of Nikki's friends and family at this tragic and difficult time," he added.

Former Big Brother presenter Davina McCall led the tributes, tweeting: "I am so desperately sad to hear about Nikki Grahame. My thoughts are with her friends and family xx she really was the funniest, most bubbly sweetest girl." Grahame, originally from Northwood in north-west London, took part in the seventh series of Big Brother in 2006. She became known for her tantrums, particularly in the Diary Room.

Grahame would often complain to Big Brother about the conditions in the house or fellow contestants, famously shouting "It's so cold," and, on another occasion, asking "Who is she?" after a new housemate joined the show. She was hugely popular with viewers, and was voted back into the house four weeks after she was first evicted. She subsequently finished in fifth place.

She recently said: "I hold fond memories of Big Brother, even though there were times where it looked like I was having a meltdown.

"Those meltdowns really were me, though. What you see has always been what you get - I can't be any other way." After her appearance on Big Brother, she won a National Television Award for most popular TV contender.

Grahame returned to the house in 2010 to take part in Ultimate Big Brother, the final series of the show to be broadcast on Channel 4. The show saw several popular Big Brother contestants from over the years return to take part in one final series, before it moved to Channel 5. Grahame finished in second place.

By this time, she had developed her career as a popular TV personality, and starred in her own reality TV series called Princess Nikki. She also guest-starred on programmes such as the Friday Night Project and as a contestant on celebrity editions of shows such as Pointless and The Weakest Link.

Prior to finding fame on Big Brother, Grahame was an aspiring actress. She appeared as an extra in the BBC's EastEnders and played a footballer's wife in Sky One's Dream Team.

Grahame also appeared as a contestant on ITV's Blind Date and competed in the 2004 Miss Hertfordshire pageant. She continued her relationship with Big Brother, returning for 2015's ‘Time Warp’ twist on Channel 5, and made a cameo in the final series of Big Brother in 2018.

She also appeared as a "wildcard" housemate in the 2016 series of Big Brother Canada.

Grahame's battle with anorexia was well documented, and she released a book about her eating disorder in 2009. Last month, a fundraising page was set up, asking fans to donate towards her recovery. It eventually raised more than £65,000.

The page said the 38-year-old was in "a very bad way" and needed treatment in a rehabilitation centre. Several Big Brother figures including former winner Rylan Clark-Neal retweeted the appeal for donations. The page was updated to announce the news of Grahame's death.

"It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age," it said. "Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely."

Paying tribute to Grahame on Twitter, Clark-Neal wrote: "Thinking of [Grahame's mother] Susan and Nikki's close friends and family. A Big Brother Icon." TV presenter Paddy McGuinness added: "Definitely one of the stars from the glory years of reality TV. I met her a long time ago and she was a lovely girl. RIP young lady."

Channel 4 tweeted: We are desperately saddened by the tragic news about Nikki Grahame and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Nikki's family and friends." Big Brother Canada added: "Our hearts break for the loss of Nikki Grahame. Nikki will forever be a beloved part of the Big Brother family. Rest in peace."

She was 38.

Following his massive breakthrough debut single last year, Wes Nelson returns with another monster hit; the hugely anticipated follow up, ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ featuring rap star, Yxng Bane.
 
With its moody blend of Afrobeats, smooth R&B production and Wes’ infectious melodies, ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ feels like an instant classic; confident, effortless and ridiculously catchy. Written by Wes and produced once again by rising beatmaker, Ayo Beatz (Fredo, Young M.A, KSI), the track delivers on Wes’s promise both as a talented songwriter and vocalist. Featuring Yxng Bane, the East London star had written and recorded his parts within a day of hearing the track.
 
Wes says: "I wanted people to sing Nice To Meet Ya and just feel good about themselves, like 3 minutes of escapism! Especially with lockdowns we're all feeling a bit trapped and people are down, I just want people to get up and feel good."
 
One of 2020’s biggest singles, ‘See Nobody’ was written and produced during lockdown from Wes’ makeshift bedroom studio.  A Gold-certified hit in the UK and double Platinum in Ireland, the top 3 debut single has accumulated over 70 million streams globally, with over 38 million streams on Spotify and over 13 million video views. It also became an instant favourite amongst cultural commentators, musicians and attracted notable fans such as the likes of Anthony Joshua, Idris Elba, Stevo The Madman, Chip, Krept & Konan, Jay1, S1mba, Jae5, SL and many more.
 
A former undefeated champion Muay Thai kickboxer, semi-professional footballer and Nuclear System Design Engineer, music has always been Wes’ first love and his greatest ambition. After being gifted with a red plastic karaoke machine aged 3, he would perform to his family every Friday night and sing along to the Top Of The Pops’ hits of the day. As he grew into his teen years, he lacked the confidence to be open about his passion for music and instead focused on other interests. Last year, quarantine became an opportunity for Wes to return to his artistic craving: while others baked banana bread and binge-watched Selling Sunset, he took the discipline he learnt from Muay Thai and applied it to music. 
 
With his focus now fully on music who knows where the next chapter could lead. He has the desire – and potential to be one of the UK’s most successful R&B/Pop artists. Wes not only has the talent, but the focus, drive and discipline that such ambition takes,
 
“I know its not going to happen overnight, but consistency is key. The best artists are the ones who stay true to themselves; authenticity is everything to me and thats what will take me all the way.”

The acclaimed, award-winning Sonia Sabri Company, one of the leading contemporary South Asian dance and music companies in the UK based in Birmingham, has officially announced The Butterfly Project, a community dance partnership with Birmingham based Sähëlï Hub, a Social Enterprise charity dedicated to improving women’s health and wellbeing. It is widely known that dance is one of the best activities for keeping fit and plays a pivotal role in delivering positive health benefits including improved moods and cognitive skills, increased strength and agility.

Sähëlï Hub operates in three wards with the poorest health outcomes in the city with female populations who are the least likely to take up physical activity, or sport. The Butterfly Project will provide women, who would not normally have access to dance, a chance to step away from their daily lives, interact with other women from their community, build confidence, make friends, and help improve their physical and mental health.

Sonia Sabri Company, an Associate Company at Birmingham Hippodrome, has an international reputation for presenting Kathak dance in a contemporary context, without diluting its integrity. The company perform professionally across the UK and run regular workshops in dance and music, currently presented online due to COVID-19.

Kathak is one of the major classical dances of India. Kathak, meaning ‘story telling’ originated from Northern India through a group of Nomadic Bards and is performed through mime and dance. A professional dancer will train between 10-15 years full time - Similar to someone training in Ballet.

Kathak is a classical dance form which requires years of dedicated training, time and lifestyle adjustments in order to become a Kathak Artist.

Wolverhampton born - Award-winning Artistic Director Sonia Sabri, one of the world’s leading Kathak dancers, recently appointed Resident Creative at CURVE theatre Leicester said: “We are really excited to officially announce the partnership ahead of International Dance Day on 29 April which aims to encourage participation and education in dance.  This year alone we have worked on project-based workshops reaching out to over 600 participants, many of whom feel vulnerable and isolated.

 

“At a time when women’s wellbeing and safety is much in the news, the announcement today platforms the company’s commitment to connect with more women, empower and support them through the arts and help them improve their lives, confidence and wellbeing.”

Shebina Gill, Sähëlï Hub Manager (Holistic Interventions Team) added: “We are delighted to be making this joint announcement during our 21st anniversary year.  We have developed a thriving community empowerment model which enables people from seldom heard and isolated communities in inner-city Birmingham to address long-term health disparities and social disadvantage. We provide innovative and culturally sensitive activities that focus on improving women’s holistic wellbeing.”

Sähëlï Hub have been successful at engaging local women through GP referral schemes and word of mouth. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they have delivered a 'Befriending calls service’ and surveyed local women, adapting services to meet their needs.

Birmingham-based GP Dr. Prasad Gosavi added: “As a GP I have noticed a deterioration in people's mental health over the last year. In this situation dance can keep one physically, as well as mentally occupied. Being part of a dance class, even though it might be online, does give a feeling of belonging and helps social interaction with others. Dance is an excellent physical activity and with the current restrictions on our movements it can be an excellent way to keep physically fit and enhance our mental well-being.”

 

Following consultation with female participants during lifting of restrictions, Sähëlï Hub created over 240 bubbles of outdoor physical activity groups in green spaces, offering COVID-19 secure activity that maintained safe social distancing. During the third lockdown the Sähëlï Hub offers weekly morning, afternoon and evening calls including the Sähëlï team zoom with women sharing the tools learnt from The Butterfly Project. 

Feedback from women has been that they feel safe to re-engage socially and become active again. Hospital Healthcare Assistant, age 69 said: “I finish my shift at the hospital and connect via zoom with Sähëlï Hub nearly every session, I need the company and I love the topics, it makes me feel young, participating with all ages and keeps me mobile.”

It is the aim of Sonia Sabri Company to deliver The Butterfly Project on a yearly basis reaching communities far and wide. Currently, with many community buildings unable to reopen, and no face-to face workshops allowed, Sonia Sabri Company has spent time providing basic Kathak dance training for session leaders from Sähëlï Hub in order to continue to help them engage with participants during lock down.

Sähëlï Hub trainees use these skills to develop sessions to lead movement workshops online individually with women from other groups and the local area. 

 

Following further easing of lockdown restrictions in England and Wales, learners are being encouraged to practise driving with a professional instructor when driving lessons restart in both countries on April 12.

Car driving tests will restart on 22 April to give learners the chance to practise with a professional instructor and make sure their skills are up to standard before attempting a test.

Private practice with an accompanying driver from within a learner’s household has been allowed on non-essential journeys since 27 March in Wales and 29 March in England.

DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryder said: “I know the suspension of tests and lessons has been incredibly hard for learners and many are keen to take their test now, but it is important that candidates are properly prepared and don’t rush to take it.

“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests , learners should only take their test only when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.

“We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible and I know that it will be frustrating for some time. We are sorry for any inconvenience but please bear with us as we start getting our services back to normal.”

DVSA is using a phased approach to safely restart testing:

  

·         29 March - riding lessons and Compulsory Basic Training restarted 

·         29 March - bus lessons and tests restarted

·         12 April – theory tests restart for all candidates – including Approved Driving Instructor part 1 tests

·         12 April – motorcycle tests restart

·         12 April – car driving lessons restart

·         12 April – lorry lessons and tests restart

·         12 April – minibus lessons and tests restart

·         22 April – car driving tests restart

·         22 April – driving instructor testing and standards checks

To help increase the number of tests available for learners, DVSA is:

·         Offering more tests outside of normal working hours, including weekend and bank holidays.

·         Ensuring all dvsa staff who are qualified to perform driving tests are doing so, such as senior managers and policy staff.

·         Recruiting new driving examiners in england, scotland and wales

Safety measures have been put in place to protect learners and examiners from COVID-19 and DVSA has published information on gov.uk so candidates know what to expect. The safety of customers and examiners is DVSA’s top priority and the agency will continue to follow government advice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

To help reduce the amount of time the candidate and examiner spend in the vehicle when the candidate has failed their test, examiners will continue to end car driving tests early if a candidate commits either a serious or dangerous fault, or a total of 16 driver faults. The suspension of testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to exceptionally high demand for driving tests. There are currently over 420,000 candidates with tests booked.

Measures to protect DVSA’s customers and staff from COVID-19 have limited the number of available tests and as a result of the pandemic and the suspension of testing there will be high demand for tests for some time. Learners who are properly prepared to take a driving test should be able to take and pass a test at any driving test centre, so should look for alternative test sites if their local centre is fully booked.

The Scottish Government has announced that driving lessons can potentially restart on April 26, if coronavirus restrictions are lifted in Scotland as proposed. Theory tests will also restart from this date. Motorcycle and car tests will restart 10 days later on 6 May, if restrictions are lifted on April 26.

Guns N’ Roses’ 2021 U.K. summer tour dates have now been rescheduled to 2022. Performances on Friday 18 June and Saturday 19 June will now take place on Friday 1 June and Saturday 2 June 2022 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

All tickets remain valid and will be honoured for new the dates. The band says “We continue to be thankful for your understanding and support during these unprecedented times. Light is at the end of the tunnel and we are looking forward to getting back on stage...” Tickets for Friday 18 June 2021 will be honoured for Friday 1 June 2022 and tickets for Saturday 19 June 2021 will be honoured for Saturday 2 June 2022. Limited tickets are still available for fans to purchase for Guns N’ Roses at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for Friday 1 June and Saturday 2 June 2022 at LiveNation.co.uk now!
 
A Guns N’ Roses’ statement read: "Hey Gunners, unfortunately we need to ask for your patience one more time. Our summer European tour dates will be rescheduled to 2022, but with the added bonus of new shows and special guest Gary Clark Jr.

 

“The tour kicks off in Lisbon, Portugal on June 4th, 2022, with new dates in Norway, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherlands, and Italy. Tickets remain valid for all rescheduled dates, so please do hold onto them. We continue to be thankful for your understanding and support during these unprecedented times. Light is at the end of the tunnel and we are looking forward to getting back on stage later this year in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and next year in Europe and more!”