June Sarpong – no way!

June Sarpong's Diversify book launch with Rebbecca Hemmings
June Sarpong’s Diversify book launch with Rebbecca Hemmings

The Throwback Series

This blog forms part of the Throwback series of blogs. In 2018 my blog malfunctioned and many of my post disappeared from the web. At the time I was still recovering from my breast cancer ordeal and just didn’t have the heart to repost them. Now, I am in a much better place, I have decided since I know these blogs are helping others, they must be reinstated.

Yes way!

Tonight, I get to sit down with the amazing June Sarpong and interview about her new book: Diversify. Yes, it’s her Birmingham book launch which is taking place tonight at the Malmaison Hotel. Just in case you don’t know who June Sarpong is, she is the British TV presenter who became famous for her role on Channel 4’s T4 programme and MTV. She’s also been a Loose Women panellist, has interviewed Tony Blair, co-hosted Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations with Will Smith, yadda, yadda, yadda. She is amazeballs!

June is a massive role model for many, including me. She has managed to navigate through some seriously rough terrain to break through and become a success on British TV. Through reading her book I have gained new insights into Miss Sarpong, such as: her passion and dedication to put diversity heavily on the agenda. She doesn’t have to do this, she is already successful but she cares and this is evident in her actions – I love her for this!

Plus, I didn’t know about her debilitating car accident at the age of 15 that nearly left her paralysed for life. The resilience she gained from being hospitalised for a year, absolutely must have helped her push through other tough times in life.

Massive respect goes to her for advocating to make poverty history. It’s a gigantic problem in society and we need more people with power and influence to talk about it and act!

Also, I could totally relate to her imposter syndrome (when you feel like a fraud) whom she names Agyness. I was surprised to learn that this was something she feels at times, given all her success, but she admits that it can and does still rear its ugly head every now and again.

The biggest lesson I have learned about June is just how concerned she is about the ‘othering’ of key groups of society, of which I am three: black, a woman and working class. At times it was difficult read as the words in black and white force you to face up to the problems that we deal with daily. But equally it offers hope and encouragement for better times ahead. Plus, the very fact that June herself shares the same ‘others’ as me, yet has defied the odds and smashed it, is hugely motivating.

I am truly blessed to have been given this opportunity, especially since I have not really been out and about in large crowds (where I know lots of people) since way before my cancer diagnosis in April 17. Tonight, I put on a brave face, my fancy shoes and take a massive leap back into society. What a way to do it!

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