Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

First editor of The Voice newspaper Flip Fraser dies

2014-09-01 12:51:55

Flip Fraser
LEGEND: Flip Fraser

Flip Fraser, the man who is regarded as the first editor of The Voice newspaper, has died.

Little is known about Fraser's passing, but it is believed he succumbed to a long-running illness.

Reggae singer and friend Delroy Washington announced the news on Facebook a few hours ago.

In an emotional post, he wrote: "It is with much sadness that I have to inform you all that my long time colleague Flip Fraser, who is best known for producing Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame passed away in the early hours of this morning at 2:00am.

He added: "Flip is one of the most celebrated African-Jamaicans in the UK... During his remarkable career, Flip Fraser has created some of Britain's most iconic publications including The Voice newspaper and Black Music Magazine. I will forward some more information as soon as I can gather myself."

Following Washington's post, social media was overwhelmed with mourning.

Comedienne Angie Le Mar wrote: "This man right here!!!! I can't even begin. RIP Flip Fraser #TrueLegend"

Journalist Keysha Davis added: "RIP Flip Fraser, a dynamic media pioneer who inspired many, self included. our passionate, intelligent and insightful musings on Facebook will be greatly missed."

In a 2012 interview with The Voice Fraser recalled the response to the first edition of the paper, which he handed out underneath the bridge at Ladbroke Grove during the Notting Hill Carnival in 1982.

"I remember the reaction when we started giving away those copies that first day. The pride on people's faces when we put a copy in their hand said it all. The Voice was not going anywhere; it was here to stay," he said.

The Voice was the brainchild of the late Jamaican-born businessman Val McCalla and veteran journalist Alex Pascall, who was best known for his work on the BBC's Black Londoners.

Fraser, who worked at the Caribbean Times as its arts and entertainment editor, was invited to come on board. He was 31 at the time.

Fraser said: "I got a call from Val saying he wanted to show me the idea he had for the paper and he basically offered me the job and I took it happily. I think it was my work with the youths that drew him to me. He liked the edge I had on youth, arts and entertainment."

He continued in his signature rhythmic Jamaican tone: "I had to ask myself 'well, can you do it?' and I thought, 'yes, I can do it.' And Val assured me he would put all the resources he could behind me."

Fraser, who was fully immersed in the music scene hosting talent shows and worked with acts like Musical Youth, best known for reggae classic Pass the Dutchie, which spent three weeks at number one in 1982.

Fraser grew up in Jamaica and moved to Britain when he was 16. He went to university to study chemistry, but developed allergies to chemicals and was forced to drop out.

Eventually, he started working in the music industry with British record label Trojan and fell in love with the media side of things.

He later enrolled at Tennesse State University in the United States - a state-funded historically black college - and graduated in the same year as Oprah Winfrey.

After leaving The Voice, Fraser continued to pursue his passion for music. He divided his time between the UK and Jamaica.

In 2012, he celebrated the 25th anniversary of Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame, his popular production that celebrates black icons past and present, such as Marcus Garvey and Nelson Mandela.

"No one speaks on behalf of black people in this country. Black politicians talk about vote Lib Dem or vote Labour. Who is talking about what is best for this community? We need to realise that we have to form a caucus and represent ourselves," he said.

Rest in peace Flip Fraser.

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