A personal message from Sonny

“Without passion you have no energy with no energy you have nothing” 

Photo Crèdit : Yann

The last 5 months have pushed me mentally, physically and emotionally, and after a lot of thought, I’d like to share some words.

Normally I avoid talking about my life and feelings, but I would like to share just a little now, as it is our experiences that shape us. I witnessed violence through my early years, violence that ripped through my family and that we can still see when we close our eyes 😞
I grew up without my dad and recently learnt of him passing away in April this year. My family was devastated by the loss of my younger sister Lili years ago. Not only did my mum survive the tragedy of Lili., she dug so deep and found courage, strength and resilience. I learnt at a very young age that you have to fight for what you want in life. Sometimes life put in awful situations and being strong is the only solution that you have. When I was 16 years old, I started studying catering. I got a job in the industry, and from that moment on, I fully supported myself.

I moved to the UK almost 20 years ago on my own with 1 bag. Throughout my life, I have grown a thick skin, but under that thick skin, there is a human being. I try to stay strong, but sometimes things really hurt. Sometimes I find myself fighting back the tears with no idea where to turn.

I started SVPromotions, now Ginga Boo UK and I have an incredible team. We meet weekly, and I love training them. They are dedicated, sweet, funny people and are always supportive of my mission. However, the buck stops with me. I don't have a life partner or a dance partner to support me in this journey, so ultimately I carry everything on my shoulders.

I never realised what came with the package, the challenges, the stress, the no sleep, the losing money, the sacrifices, the criticism, the judgment, the whispering, the isolation and the negativity. Many times at 1am after teaching, I am walking to catch a bus, knowing that after paying my artists for their collaborations in class I will not have made a penny. At that point I know I am alone and all that I can do is not give up. I have a vision. I know what I want. I work day and night to achieve these goals and put everything into making my events perfect as possible. 

"If you see it in your mind you can hold it your hand". Napoleon Hill

I still have a long way go and so many more challenges to face. I am proud to be a woman in a male dominated industry, but it's a challenge.

In the last few months I have experienced polar reactions from my peers, people I looked up to and the public. I have felt some incredible support, a warm hug, a private message or pat on the back. I have also experienced great hurt, public online abusive discussions, streams of threatening private messages and discoveries of rumours being spread trying to tarnish my brand.

I am proud that the UK KIZOMBA AWARDS 2019 was a success. I am proud that even with swollen eyes, a hurting heart and an inbox full of abuse, I didn't give up. If you gave the awards your support, please know how grateful I am 🙌🏽🙏🏽

Whatever business you are in, if you really want something if you have ideas, if you have a vision, if you have guts, you must try! You must be open to learn and grow.

You do not need to be a prime minister, president or most affluent person in your field to do something. You need to be YOU a person with passion, energy and ideas!

To me being different, having different ideas, having goals, challenging yourself and taking action is the key to achieving what you want. Being surrounded by people that believe in you is essential and you have to fight to be positive, even on the tough days.

Life is here to guide you towards the right path, so failure is part of the process, take it as a blessing. Failure is only showing you the right direction!

The UK Kizomba Awards is giving artists more exposure. Even if you do not win, you get recognition through nominations. I have discovered new artists through nominations, and I will ensure that I give more exposure to them in the future. The awards will celebrate new talent, and I will give that talent the chance to grow at my parties and festivals.

People have criticised the UK Kizomba Awards for being a popularity contest, and they are right YES it is. If you are popular, it is because you are doing something right! You are talented; you are a good teacher, promoter, Dj and you make people feel good; that is why you are popular. The UK Kizomba Awards is also an excellent way to promote less well-known artists. There can only be one winner for each category, but through nominations, artists get greater publicity to students, other teachers and promoters. The result of this will be growth within the community. Those nominated will be seen by more and potentially will get more bookings or attendees at their events. 

When an artist gets nominated, it is the public showing support and recognition. Even if they do not win, they still receive the exposure, and it may spark determination to grow and gain a bigger following for the next year.

Since the awards, I have received so much love and gratitude, which fills me with relief that the stress and hard work was worth it. THANK YOU ❤

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone that supported Ginga Boo UK through the process. We won contribution of the year, and I can't verbalise what this means to me.

I would like to mention that this Awards is the fruit of not just me but my team as well. WE have won the 

Qas, Joan, Leny, Lee, Riaz, Bronek, Katy, Melissa, Elyjah, Mary & Kelly.

Thank you for trusting me and believing in me. My GB team ❤

Special Mention :

To Bronek my friend through thick & skin I ❤️ you!
To Koko sister you are the proof that women build each other, your support is so appreciated 🙌🏽😘
To Bruno you are amazing. Your support has been a blessing 🙌🏽
To Edson thank you for your supportive messages  🙌🏽
To Jeydikson your kind words mean a lot to me 🙌🏽
To Rico your support & kindness keeps me going 🙌🏽
To Riquita your kind words warm my heart 🙌🏽
To Mary & Kelly I ❤️ you! To Katy ❤️

To all that took the time to write to me and give me support throughout the UK Kizomba Awards, you kept me strong and pushed me to keep going no matter what so THANK YOU! 🙌🏽🙏🏽

Sonny Varela AKA Miss Ginga Boo