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Islington Fair Futures activist Jermain Jackman: ‘I want to be Prime Minister’

PUBLISHED: 11:57 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:11 22 November 2017

Jermain Jackman is chair of the Islington Fair Futures Commission. In February, it will publish a report on how to improve the prospects of young people in the borough. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

Jermain Jackman is chair of the Islington Fair Futures Commission. In February, it will publish a report on how to improve the prospects of young people in the borough. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

Em Fitzgerald

Jermain Jackman is relentless. This activist/musician/student is not your typical reality TV winner. He tells the Gazette what drives him.

Jermain Jackman has a hectic life. On Mondays and Fridays, it’s the Islington Fair Futures Commission, which he chairs. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, it’s studying politics at Leeds University. And on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s making music and book writing.

The book is about the reality of reality TV. “It’s probably going to get me in trouble,” Jermain laughs. He won The Voice in 2014. “But there’s shit that goes on behind the cameras you need to be ready for.”

It all sounds overwhelming, but this 22-year-old from Finsbury Park is driven by intense desire to create opportunity for others.

He was lucky enough to be get opportunity at Arts and Media School Islington, in Turle Road.

“The best years of my life were at that school, I was saying this to my twin sister the other day. It encouraged you to be unique, saying it was OK to be different. My first ever public performace was there. I had the opportunity to take my singing from the shower to the stage.”

Islington Council leader Richard Watts, Islington Fair Futures Commission chair Jermain Jackman, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and Islington youth Cllr Miriam Fleary at a recent Fair Futures Commission event. Picture: Islington Council Islington Council leader Richard Watts, Islington Fair Futures Commission chair Jermain Jackman, Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and Islington youth Cllr Miriam Fleary at a recent Fair Futures Commission event. Picture: Islington Council

He was “discovered” during this performance. Not by a music executive, but by Jeremy Corbyn, then a backbench MP little known outside Islington North.

“He’s so involved,” Jermain says. “Most young people don’t even know how to contact their local MP, but there he was taking interest in a school performance.

“He came up to me and said: ‘Jermain, you’ve got a fantastic voice.’ He got me singing at events and campaigns he was speaking at. He’s the only human on earth allowed to tell me what to do.”

In February, Jermain’s independent Fair Futures Commission will publish a report recommending how to improve the prospects of young people in Islington.

“I’m an advocate for potential,” he says. “I auditioned for the first series of The Voice when I was 16 (he won the third series aged 19). I remember someone asked me if I was in any gangs. I was like: ‘Erm, no, but I am part of UK Youth Parliament.’

Jermain Jackman with pupils from Duncombe Primary School debating society earlier this year. Picture: Em Fitzgerald Jermain Jackman with pupils from Duncombe Primary School debating society earlier this year. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

“It showed me how young people are stereotyped. I was like: ‘You know what, forget this, young people should be allowed to reach their potential. But I see young LGBT people struggling to come out. I see young black women and men facing barriers.

“This is what Fair Futures is about, empowering people. I was approached to do it by Islington Council. I said to them, this better not be a publicity stunt. I won’t do box ticking.

“I’m a Labour man myself, but I say to this Labour council: ‘You guys are at fault too.’ You should see some of the angry emails I’ve sent them! I make sure I keep them on their toes. But I’m proud to be working with Islington Council on this forward thinking project. It shows how they are really committed to making change.”

There won’t be any rest in February. “I’m already thinking, what’s going to be legacy? How can we be sure the recommendations are met?”

A life in politics, then, surely beckons. “I want to be Prime Minister. If not that, then mayor of London. And if not that, then United Nations.”

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