Event Partners

Without the support of our partners, this event would not have been possible, so big-ups to The ONE Group, QPE, the PFA and of course Chelsea Football Club, thank you! 🙏🏽

Your 2023 hosts were the fantastic Sirayah-Shiraz Koraltan and Jamil Olweny

First on the agenda was Lord Finkelstein

The event kicked-off with a wonderful speech delivered by Lord Daniel Finkelstein who opened with:

“I have been lucky in my job to meet Kings and Presidents, prime ministers and diplomats, great writers and popular entertainers. But, I can honestly say I have rarely met someone as big as Paul Canoville.”

Lord Finkelstein replicated this sentiment in his programme notes for the home match against Arsenal shortly after this event, where he expanded on the importance of diversity at Chelsea Football Club and the impact of Paul’s legacy.

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We then heard from Raphael and Christian

There was a discussion between the PCF CEO, Raphael Frascogna and Christian Mba, Assistant Principal of Kettering Buccleuch Academy (KBA), discussing their plans to develop a literacy reading programme with Paul’s award winning “Black and Blue” book as the core text and relating this to Christian’s work alongside Ian Wright’s with the Twinning Project – partnering professional football clubs with prisons to drive educational outcomes.

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Then came the incredible Duke Al Durham

Duke Al Durham is an award winning spoken-word artist. He performed three pieces, one about his story and battles with obsessive compulsive disorder, one about the US athlete Jesse Owens and then a special Sir Lewis Hamilton piece, first debuted live on television. Duke completed his set with a specially commissioned piece for our BBL event entitled “Rise Up”, about Chelsea Football Club’s historic black excellence – through adversity – across the men’s and women’s football teams.

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We saw some familiar faces on video!

Xaymaca then told us about his special project

Xaymaca expanded on being one of two successful applicants amongst thousands of others for the newly launched Blue Creator Fund, which promised support of £15,000 for two successful applicants to create a project about Chelsea and the community.  Xaymaca outlined his plan to tell the story of Chelsea’s relationship with race through the medium of film and that he will be featuring Paul Canoville within his piece.

The Rum & Reggae Boys

Given Chelsea FC’s storied links with black-inspired music genres, we treated the crowd to a stellar performance from leading Ska outfit The Rum & Reggae Boys, who topped and tailed the early part of the event and also played a set at the interval point.

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Mr Cee's Covid Free Real OG Carefree Quiz

This was originally billed as The Race featuring Shaun Wallace, “The Dark Destroyer” quiz supremo from The Chase, but sadly Shaun fell ill with Covid the week of the event and wasn’t able to make it.

After putting our heads-together, we changed to a panel quiz format hosted by the hilarious Mr Cee and featuring the two preliminary round finalists – Conor Feasey and Mark Meehan.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful Jonathan Kydd and Dave “Stamford Chidge” Chidgey of Chelsea Fancast fame, who kindly stepped-up as team captains, joined by two willing audience members that joined either team to make up the panel of three.

After many laughs, Team Conor-Chidge emerged as victors!  Conor won two tickets to the upcoming Chelsea vs Man City match and Mark went home with a special framed tee shirt signed by Canners and Foundation Patron Omari Hutchinson.

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The Talented Charlie Johnston

The incredibly talented Charlie Johnston was invited on stage to present to Paul his superb gift of a one-off charcoal and graphite artwork featuring Canners.  This is the second piece of art gifted to Paul and our Foundation, after he kindly donated another spectacular one-off artwork featuring Raheem Sterling, which we will be giving fans a chance to secure in the near future through a special “golden ticket” draw … details to follow.

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Black & Blue Legends - The Legends

We were delighted to feature a panel discussion with three true Black and Blue Legends, expertly directed by event hosts Sirayah and Jam.

Our guests were Ade Mafe – former Olympian and Chelsea’s first black coach (recruited by our first black manager, Ruud Gullit), Ken Monkou – Chelsea’s first black “player of the year” and the main man Paul Canoville – Chelsea’s first black first-team player.

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We then heard from some of our Foundation friends on the big screen ...

Then it was party time!

The final few hours of the event saw guests treated to another set from the Rum & Reggae Boys, followed by a specialist reggae set from DJ Jeff George and some classic R&B and soul from DJ Mastermind – featuring some stellar MC verse from your man King Canners on the mic! 

You may see a few familiar faces amongst the photos, including our special guest presenter Leonie Carpenter (thanks Leonie!) who spent some time chatting in the green room with special guests including multi-award winning recording artist Heather Small, ex-pro and broadcaster Aaron McLean, television celebrity Sandi Bogle and our very own Chelsea content-creator Matisse.  These videos will be available to watch very soon via our social media channels.

Click the image above to scroll the segment gallery and if you were there, see if you can spot yourself!