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EMMA awards honours media personalities in glitzy ceremony
25th May, 2004

Parminder Nagra, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Lisa Aziz were among the leading Asian women honoured at the EMMA awards yesterday at Grosvenor House hotel in London. Inder Manocha and Art Malik were also awarded prizes for the Best Comedian and Best TV actor respectively.

In a glitzy ceremony that honoured media personalities not just from ethnic minorities, some of the top prizes were awarded to Greg Dyke, David Beckham and Vanessa Feltz. Internationally, awards were won by Tom Cruise, the group Black Eyes Peas and Maia Morgenstern (from the Last Passion of Christ).

The awards were kicked off by a performance by Jamelia and were presented reporter by Rageh Omar who won an award at the EMMAs last year.

Greg Dyke famously said previously that the BBC was 'hideously white' and brought in employment targets for the recruitment of ethnic minorities. Acclaimed BBC documentary 'The Secret Policeman' also won the Best TV documentary award.

The Secret Policeman's Executive Producer Simon Ford said: "It's fantastic to be recognised by the Emmas, particularly since it was chosen by public vote. It shows that viewers understood how significant this programme was."

The organisers for the awards defended some of the winners of the night. Best Film Production was won by The Passion of Christ, which they said promoted greater understanding: "The Passion of the Christ features Judaism and Christian values. The Emmas believe that the film has created debate and greater understanding of each other's cultures and religions, which in turn will develop a greater understanding of modern day British culture."

In addition they said David Beckham was quite rightly voted joint winner with Thierry Henry as Best Sporting Personality. "David Beckham represents everything the Emmas stand for. He's a sportsman who crosses all multi-cultural boundaries and represents a positive message, that all cultures on this island influence our daily lives."

That decision was criticised by Piara Powar, director of the Kick it Out campaign, which aims to stamp racism out of football. He told the Guardian: "It's an insult to those of us who are from an ethnic minority or who are black. The way he defines himself, as a young, urban, hip lad, does not make him an ethnic minority. I can see how it gives the awards publicity, but I don't see how it helps encourage youngsters from ethnic minorities. I don't think he'll understand why he's got it."

Director Gurinder Chadha also questioned why none of the film categories contained British offerings. While presenting the award she said: "I'm sorry but where are all the brothers Bobby (the founder)? Where is the [British] black and Asian talent?"

Despite the criticisms the awards went off without a hitch and were applauded by many for promoting the ideal of a more multi-cultural and inclusive Britain.

Winners for the categories were chosen by the public through a website and phone voting system

Highlights of the EMMAs hosted by Rageh Omaar will be shown on BBC2 on Sunday 30 May at 11.15pm.

Best British Music Act/Production Lemar
Best International Music Act/Production The Black Eyed Peas
Best World Music Act/Production Natacha Atlas
Best Film Production The Passion of The Christ
Best Film Actor Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai)
Best Film Actress Maia Morgenstern (The Passion of The Christ)
Best TV Entertainment Production Teachers
Best TV Actor Art Malik (Holby City)
Best TV Actress Parminder Nagra (Second Generation)
Best Play/Theatre Production Henry V
Best Book/Novel The Bookseller of Kabul
Best Comedy/Comedian Inder Manocha
Best Print Journalism Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Best Radio News Journalist Vanessa Feltz
Best News Journalist Lisa Aziz
Best TV Documentary The Secret Policeman
Public Figure for the Year Jocelyn and Sophie Hurndall
Media Personality for the year Greg Dyke
Sporting Personality for the Year David Beckham and Thierry Henry
Legend Award Bruce Lee
Life Time Achievement Sir Bill Morris

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