Every year, as the Queen celebrates another twelve months on Earth, she releases a “Birthday Honours List” that featuring “members” of the British Empire she will honor with awards, such as a Knighthood, a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) or an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for their services to their respective fields.
This morning it was announced that, this year, legendary singer Omar and renowned actor/playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah will both be honoured with MBE and OBE awards, respectively.
After twenty-plus years in the music industry, seven albums and a list of classic singles — including 1991′s classic ”There’s Nothing Like This,” his first treat to the world of music — the 43-year-old Omar (now known as Omar Lye-Fook) released an official statement via his website expressing his feelings about the honour:
I am absolutely chuffed to bits to be named in the Birthday Honours List. I want to dedicate it to all my die-hard fans who have always told me to keep on doing what I’m doing.The music I make comes from the heart because it is all about self expression, a true art form and now to be recognised in such a way is outstanding and I couldn’t be more humbled.
I wake up every day and give thanks for the job that I do I want to thank my parents Byron and Sonia, my brothers and sisters (Rachel, Kareen, Kimon, Scratch, Samia) who have always been there to support me along with my beautiful partner Vicky and my daughters Gabrielle and Carmen who’ve been so patient and understanding of the business and all its unconventional ways, you’re my inspiration!
All the musicians, producers, promoters, booking agents, DJs, journalists and labels I have worked with over my seven albums and tours, home and abroad, you’ve all been part of this journey! And last but not least to all my fans I say a big thank you!!!
I’m a person that likes to do things differently and without your reassurance that I’m doing something right I’d just be some nutter making up beats and grooves in his mum’s basement! As long as I have music to put fire in my belly, I will keep on keeping on.”
The Kent-born singer is currently putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming eighth solo album, The Man, which is set for release sometime this year.
Kwei-Armah, who first landed on British television screens in 1999 as paramedic Finlay Newton of BBC 1′s hit drama series Casualty, stated that the award was an honor to the “immigrant’s dream” that brought his parents to the UK from Grenada. Since leaving the show, Kwei-Armah, who he changed his name from Ian Roberts at age 19 after tracing his roots back to Ghana, has written and starred in a list of critically-acclaimed plays including Elmina’s Kitchen and in 2005 became the second British-born Black person to have a play staged in the West End.
On behalf of EVERYONE here at SoulCulture, I would like to wish both Omar and Kwame Kwei-Armah a huge congratulations…