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The Voice (British newspaper)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Voice
TypeWeekly newspaper
Founder(s)Val McCalla
FoundedAugust 30, 1982; 38 years ago (1982-08-30)
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Voice, founded in 1982, is the only British national Afro-Caribbean weekly newspaper operating in the United Kingdom. The paper is based in London and is published every Thursday.


The Voice was founded in 1982 by Val McCalla,[1] who, while working on a London local paper called the East End News in 1981, led a group of businessmen and journalists in a new and uncertain endeavour – the creation of a weekly newspaper to cater for the interests of British-born Afro-Caribbean people. Until then the Afro-Caribbean press in Britain had always addressed a generation of immigrants, relaying news from their countries of origin in the Caribbean and Africa. Publications were named accordingly, with titles such as the West Indian Gazette, West Indian World, The Caribbean Times and West Africa. According to Beulah Ainley, who worked with McCalla on the East End News, "nobody thought the Voice would work",[2] however, as The Independent has noted: "The previous summer, Brixton had rioted, and Afro-caribbean enterprises of all kinds were now being encouraged in the hope of preventing a repetition. London's councils, in particular, were keen to advertise for black staff, and even keener to do so in an Afro-Caribbean newspaper. McCalla also had a business partner, Alex Pascall, with BBC connections; soon the Corporation was advertising too."[2]

The Voice was established with a £62,000 loan from Barclays Bank. At a time when Afro-Caribbean businesses found it particularly hard to get backing from banks, The Voice was helped by two factors.

One was Barclays' desire to show support for Afro-Caribbean causes, to counteract the adverse publicity attracted by their investments in South Africa, for which the bank had been boycotted by the anti-apartheid movement.[3] The other was the existence of the Loan Guarantee Scheme, set up by the Conservative government as part of a policy of aiding and encouraging the growth of small businesses in Britain. Under the Loan Guarantee Scheme the Government secured 80% of the loan, thereby reducing the risk taken by the bank. As it turned out, the loan was fully paid off within five years.

The first issue of The Voice was printed to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival in August 1982. Its cover price was 54 pence, and was only sold in Greater London.[citation needed].

The Voice′s first office was in Mare Street, Hackney, East London.[4] The newspaper's first editor, Flip Fraser,[5] led a team of young journalists who set about addressing the issues that mattered to Britain's Afro-Caribbean community. They laid the foundation for the future success of the paper, combining human-interest stories and coverage of sports, fashion and entertainment with hard news and investigative reporting.

Within two decades it had become "Britain's most successful Afro-caribbean newspaper".[6] In 1996, The Voice fought off a challenge from the New Nation, which sought to position itself as an "upbeat, aspirational publication", rather than the typically "advocacy journalism" contained within The Voice.[7] New Nation published its final online issue on 17 February 2016.[8]

2004 takeover

Two years after the death of McCalla in 2002, ownership of the newspaper was taken over by the Jamaican Gleaner Company.[9][10] Its publisher is GV Media Group Limited.

Type and circulation

The Voice is produced in tabloid format and is now a monthly publication, published on the last Thursday each month, priced at £2.50. The paper caters to the interests of the African & Caribbean diaspora in the UK. There is also the website, The Voice Online, which regularly attracts a high number of weekly unique visits.[11]

The Voice newspaper is available nationwide, and has a wide reach online including UK, US and Africa. The paper is also circulated in British prisons to black prisoners.[citation needed]

Regular features and special publications covered in the newspaper include:

  • African and Caribbean Food Guide - an annual publication listing the best African and Caribbean restaurants across the UK and including regular features on up-and-coming restaurants and key figures to watch.
  • Black Business Guide - an annual publication highlighting and showcasing small black business owners and their trades.
  • * Apprenticeships - each year, a supplement highlighting apprenticeships across the UK is published alongside the newspaper. The supplement includes features from key figures in business and apprenticeships, alongside tricks on how.
  • Carnival - every August, The Voice publishes a Carnival supplement to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival.


In July 2017, The Voice hosted a special charity dinner for Usain Bolt ahead of his final appearance at the World Championships. The event, which took place at the Dorchester Hotel in London, raised money for Bolt and coach Glen Mills' Racers Track Club through auctioning off special items and raised over £30,000.[12]

The Voice has been a key player in Africa On The Square – a yearly event that takes place every October in Trafalgar Square, celebrating Africa's culture, cuisine, music and more.[13]


Executive Director of the Voice is Paulette Simpson, with George Ruddock as Managing Director. Other editorial staff include Rodney Hinds – Sports & Features Editor; Vic Motune – News Editor; Joel Campbell – Entertainment Editor and Alannah Francis, full-time Journalist.[14]

Well over a hundred people have worked for The Voice newspaper over the years, including former Commission for Racial Equality chair Trevor Phillips,[15] former BBC and currently Al Jazeera newsman Rageh Omaar,[15] ITV's Martin Bashir,[6][15] authors Diran Adebayo,[6] Leone Ross, and Gemma Weekes; film maker and novelist Kolton Lee, novelist Vanessa Walters, broadcasters Jasmine Dotiwala, Henry Bonsu,[16] Dotun Adebayo, Onyekachi Wambu, Joel Kibazo [17] educationalist Tony Sewell and publisher Steve Pope, among others.

Recognition and awards

The Voice has received many awards, which include:[citation needed].

  • Young Voices – two "Best Magazine" awards from the Urban Music Awards 2010 and 2009.
  • BBI Media and Entertainment Award 2008.
  • Voice of Sports – Performance Award 2003 from Western Union
  • BEEAM Awards for Organisation Achievements 2003
  • Black Plus Awards 2002
  • Britain's Ethnic Minority Federation at the Bank of England, Partnership Awards 1999.
  • NLBA Enterprise Excellence Awards 1996
  • BGA Gospel Awards – Best Media 1980s.


The editorial tone and content of The Voice has often come under criticism. At the launch of the New Nation newspaper, the paper's editor, Richard Adeshiyan referred to The Voice as a "doom-and-gloom sheet" which prints damaging news and images of blacks as victims.[7]

In July 2020, educationalist Tony Sewell publicly retracted and apologized for homophobic remarks he had made in a column published in The Voice in 1990, in which he commented on the announcement by footballer Justin Fashanu that he was gay.[18] Sewell had written:

We heteros are sick and tired of tortured queens playing hide and seek around their closets. Homosexuals are the greatest queer-bashers around. No other group of people are so preoccupied with making their own sexuality look dirty.

On 30 July 2020, The Voice received widespread criticism for publishing an interview with rapper Wiley shortly after he posted a series of anti-Semitic comments on social media. Rather than challenging Wiley on his comments, the interview merely asked Wiley if he felt he had made any "salient points".[19] This received widespread criticism from many Jewish people, with music producer Mark Ronson tweeting a series of comments criticising the publication.[20][21] On 31 July the article was removed, with The Voice issuing a statement apologising for the offence caused by the article.[22][23]

See also


  1. ^ ""Newspapers", Black In Britain".
  2. ^ a b Andy Beckett, "The Voice in the Wilderness", The Independent, 11 February 1996.
  3. ^ Lionel Morrison, A Century of Black Journalism in Britain: A Kaleidoscopic View of Race and the Media (1893-2003), Truebay Limited, March 2007, p. 64.
  4. ^ "City Hall Hosts Voice Newspaper Exhibition", The Voice, 19 October 2017.
  5. ^ Elizabeth Pears, "Black Hero Flip Fraser Joins The Hall Of Fame", The Gleaner, 7 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Angelique Chrisafis, "McCalla, publisher who gave black people a voice, dies", The Guardian, 24 August 2002.
  7. ^ a b {Decca Aitkenhead, "Black and successful? Here's the good news", The Independent, 13 October 1996.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Chris Tryhorn, "Voice sold off in £4m deal", MediaGuardian, The Guardian, 20 May 2004.
  10. ^ Chris Tryhorn, "Gleaner group acquires the Voice", The Guardian, 21 May 2004.
  11. ^ "Britain's Favourite Black Newspaper". Voice Online.
  12. ^ "Bolt charity dinner raises £30,000 for young athletes". Caribbean National Weekly. 21 July 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Africa On The Square". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Contact us", The Voice online.
  15. ^ a b c Ian Burrell, "Lester Holloway: 'Victim stories have had their day in black papers'", The Independent, 5 May 2008.
  16. ^ Steve Pope, "Total blackout", Comment, The Guardian, 19 March 2004.
  17. ^ "About us".
  18. ^ Murphy, Simon; Stewart, Heather; Dodd, Vikram; Walker, Peter (16 July 2020). "Race commission head Tony Sewell apologises for anti-gay comments". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Systemic Oppression and Wiley". The Voice. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  20. ^ Harpin, Lee (30 July 2020). "The Voice publishes inflammatory interview with Wiley". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  21. ^ Ellery, Ben (31 July 2020). "Wiley antisemitism: Mark Ronson clashes with black newspaper". The Times. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  22. ^ Harpin, Lee (31 July 2020). "Voice removes Wiley interview but defends decision to publish". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Statement from The Voice in response to Wiley article". The Voice. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 January 2021, at 13:01
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