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My experience of Mr and Miss Black and Beautiful, was a joyous one. The things I learnt about the 80's has inspired me to go back to my roots and think more about my culture. My only question is why wasn't this done sooner?

During the 80's Babies sessions, I learned how to approach the world, in my own unique way. In sense that people should see you how you truly are and not what they want you to be.

I have also learned not to be shy, true everyone says that, but truly whenever I was in a room full of people, the one sitting by herself in a corner trying to be inconspicuous was me! Now when a room is full and people are laughing you will always find me at the centre of it all, to some people's annoyance.

I have also gained some genuine friends who are out to help other people, which have restored my faith in the human race that people are not just out for all they can get and not thinking of others. This has rubbed of on me to, in the sense that you should help people without wanting anything in return.

Motivation has been a real test for me, sometimes I felt to give up and not come to sessions, but I was glad that I never gave into any of the urges, otherwise I wouldn't be here today if I had. Back to motivation, I learned that to get what you want in life you have to be motivated and passionate about what you want to do. The worst they can say is no and like the saying goes, when one door shuts another one opens, so I you must be ready.

The music side of the 80's Babies have really opened my variety of music, since being a 90's baby, I didn't really to any music from the past, just the junk they have now, where the swear words and the degrading of women seems not to be frowned upon but allowed? Where as the 80's Babies, has made a song, which I am proud to say I am a part of. Where the aim is to promote young Black people to aspire higher. They promote not using swear words or degrading women to sell songs, just like in the 80's.

In my line of career, Which is a film director, this has helped me in many ways, firstly connected, in the way to approach people in the industry. Always be prepared and when thinking about music that should go into films or documentaries, when I have made some which will be soon. I will choose ones that also uplift the spirit and promote good values.

Billy Ocean is one of the 80's stars that we looked at in detail. He released his first single in 1972 on Spark Records as Les Charles. By 1976 he had adopted the name Billy Ocean and recorded his debut album, Billy Ocean, with the first single 'Love Really Hurts Without You,' charting at number 2 in the UK.

In 1982 he crossed over into the US R&B charts with 'Nights (Feeling like getting down)'.

Billy Ocean became an international star when 'Caribbean Queen' reached number one in Pop and R&B charts thus rendering him a world wide hit. The song's name was changed to suit other nationalities e.g. African Queen, European Queen this had the same success.

His 1986 album 'Love Zone' also sold very well, it included the hit singles 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going' (The name from the film The Jewel of the Nile)' this was a number one hit in the UK and a number two hit in the U.S. ' There'll Be Sad Songs (To make you Cry)' a number one, and also a major UK hit.

Ocean's next album 'Tears Down These Wall' (1988) featured another number one single 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car'. In 202 the University of Westminster awarded Ocean an Honorary Doctorate of music. The ceremony took place in the Barbican Centre in London; this award recognized Ocean for his services to the music industry.

Another 80's star we looked at was Soul II Soul; they were a two time Grammy winning act that emerged at the end of the 1980's from London. Soul II Soul was one of the most successful soulful exports from the U.K during the late eighties and early nineties. The group initially attracted attention as a sound system, playing records at house and street parties, where their clothing line- dubbed 'Funki Dread'- quickly made a splash, inspiring them to star a line of clothing.

Founded by Jazzie B and featuring a changing roster of other musicians - notably Nellee Hooper, Simon Law and Caron Wheeler-Soul II Soul's experiments in music making of their own resulted in ' Fairplay' which secured them a deal with Virgin Records.

They had a huge hit in 1989 with singles 'Keep On Movin', which reached number five in the U.K Charts and 'Back to Life (How ever do you want it) both from their debut album Club Classic Vol I: These songs, both featuring Wheeler on vocals and set the tone for early 90's mainstream dance music in the UK.

Their follow-up album Vol II: 1990- A New Decade, yielded the hits 'Get A Life' and 'A Dream A Dream' the latter featuring operatic vocals by Victoria Wilson James. While their U.S following declined somewhat following its release, Soul II Soul continued to have hits in the UK, including 1992's top 10 single, 'Joy'. The follow-up album release 'Volume III, Just Right' 'made its debut at number 3 in the U.K album charts. That set included Move Me No Mountain' and 'Just Right'

Which made the top 30.

Overall I enjoyed the experience Mr and Miss Black and Beautiful has taken me through. The information I have learned will help me in the future, in whatever thing I eventually do. I hope that one day I can help people, just like this experience has helped me.


80's Babies Member

Victoria Ijeh - Okusanya

Lambeth Business Awards 2009 - Commended Best Social Enterprise