What a night! The 2023 GUAP Gala was nothing short of cosmic excellence, with a star-studded turnout that pulled out all the stops in jaw-dropping, otherworldy outfits. A massive thank you to our sponsors; headline sponsor Lionsgate+; Category sponsors adidas, WhatsApp, Instagram; official Media Partner BBC 1xtra; and after party sponsor Chivas Regal.
So, what happened on the night? On arriving at the beautiful Natural History Museum, guests were welcomed with drinks and then photographed on the red carpet. There was also a special photo and video experience Cosmic Dawn, featuring steps and an arch all in a resplendent pink.
After all the photo ops guests then moved through to the ‘Earth’ room, perfectly fitting for the planetary theme of the gala. The room featured a lengthy escalator leading up into a huge Earth structure. While guests mingled, violinist J Hope came down the escalator, literally descending from the sky, and played hits such as Talibans by Byron Messia, using a bow that was lit up so it looked like a lightsaber.
Now, on to the actual show! Guests were ushered in to the beautifully lit Hintze Hall, taking their seats under the whale skeleton structure (am I the only one that thought it was a dinosaur all this time?).
The night was effortlessly hosted by the brilliant Munya Chawawa and Remi Burgz, who gave the audience an inviting and seamless evening of celebration, with plenty to laugh about in between. GUAP co-founders Ibrahim Kamara and Jide Adetunji graced the stage to announce that the winner of the legacy award this year is Idris Elba, as recognition for all that he has contributed across his career and the doors he has opened for Black British actors specifically.
The ceremony kick-started with a beautiful mash up of Cleo Sol, Yebba and Marvin Sapp by Deya Soul and a choir, before people started winning their well-earned awards (Check out who won what here). The performance lineup was serious, with 18 year old Sekou soothing the crowd with gorgeous vocal talent. The third performance was a special one; Tay Iwar, the mastermind behind ‘True Love’. Next up was Homerton’s own Unknown T, who descended the majestic staircase accompanied by an orchestra, performing ‘til we meet again’ and ‘goodums’. Closing the show we had The Compozers, who got the whole hall on their feet to dance to their renditions of crowd pleasers such as ‘Drift’ by Teejay and ‘Party No Dey Stop’ by Adekunle Gold. As always, the vibe was electric and both the band and the guests were sweating by the end of it.