An award-winning writer and director has been recognised in the 2023 New Year Honours list after raising the profile of Caribbean people in drama.

The Reverend Jason Young received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to cultural heritage and public awareness of Black British History through the creative arts.

He is also the pastor at Gospel Temple Apostolic Church in Enfield and produces content for the church's YouTube channel

Rev Young wrote and directed Caribbean stories during the Covid-19 crisis including Women in Church Leadership.

He said: “The documentary was considered for a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) and was submitted for consideration at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

"It didn't make it through, so the BEM comes as both my BIFA and my BAFTA, that's how I see it.

"I want to thank my crew and cast members for their kindness and co-operation, which has made this award possible.

"Without them my writing would never have been realised into a project that I could direct and bring to the public.”

In December 2021, the debut feature length documentary received its world premiere at British Urban Film Festival in Brixton. 

Interviews were undertaken before restrictions for the second lockdown eased in June 2021 and post-production was completed before the winter.

“This was a way of documenting the stories”, Jason said, “and memories of contemporary Caribbean people as a way of remembering how we got here.”

He added: "I wrote and directed a short stage play on the Jamaican writer and abolitionist in 19th century England, Robert Wedderburn, which was meant to be performed live at Millfield Theatre during Enfield Black History Month 2020 but had to be filmed instead and uploaded for an online event due to the second Covid-19 lockdown."

In addition to a stage play on Robert Wedderburn, Jason also wrote and directed a docu-drama on the 19th century Jamaican called The Radical Preacher.

He said that he wanted to explore the identity of Caribbean people in Jane Austen’s England "as this is a narrative that is alienated from British period dramas".

He added: "What Jane Austen does for period dramas, I want to do for black history."

“I wanted to bring an equality of Caribbean and Black British historical stories being told on screen. 

"This was my way of bringing diversity and inclusion to period dramas.”

To listen to one of Rev Young's podcasts on the Gospel Temple YouTube channel, click here.