Have you heard the news? June Sarpong has been appointed the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity. For those who don’t know her, she is a longstanding TV presenter and author. She has appeared on channel 4’s T4, ITV’s Loose Women, Sky News and MTV. Last year I was in the fortunate position of interviewing her for her debut book ‘Diversify’ in Birmingham (hence the photo).
Tony Hall the Director general at the BBC said June would have ‘a wide remit to deliver change.’ This is fabulous news! The corporation has been widely criticised for its lack of diversity and with this move clearly, they are serious about shaking things up. As someone who would love more opportunities in the media, this is a momentous moment filled with much hope and anticipation.
June says, ‘I relish the challenge of working with senior leadership to make the BBC more inclusive and representative of the broad and diverse audience it serves”. I could use this space to tell you how painstakingly frustrating it has been to see on screen, typecast people of colour and see very few at all in many programmes, but as this is a time to look forward, I shall refrain.
Much of my work over the years has been on trying to improve thinking around diversity in the work place by looking at its benefits, possibilities and morality. It’s a tough job ultimately as many people want to be successful in their areas of work and there only so many opportunities. However, having a truly diverse workforce means creating an equality of opportunity for everyone and I believe that June is committed to doing just that.
June goes on to say, “The task is indeed daunting, however being awarded the opportunity to help level the playing field for the next generation of diverse talent, makes the obstacles and discrimination I have personally faced throughout my own career all the more worthwhile”.
June you rock, you totally have my backing and I wish you every success in your role!
Photo credit: Gavin Tefler of Plugged Designs