Diversity: The Wave of the Future?

Or is it? I’m not known for my positivity. Par the course of this column focusing on all things Brexit, I figure this outlet hasn’t been the most ebullient way in which to express my love for the human mind. Or humanity itself. I cannot apologise for that – mind you, had the pub folk not voted for their leave a few years ago we would be much better off. But to rally against that negativity and xenophobia is to find your strength in times like these, so I like to think I did that last night. I ventured over to Channel 4 HQ to view a showcase for creative careers in the media industry, specifically directed at BAME individuals and those from a lower socioeconomic background. To explain what I felt may be to trivialise it, but…

I was amazed. I found myself for the first time in years part of a cohort brewing and birthing unabashed, unashamed cheerfulness. An optimism that refused to be marginalised, shoving a bright future out for us all to see. So I came home convinced that a celebration of our country’s diversity is the cure to how this current negativity may manifest itself. (I’ll discuss this in my next article).

The evening itself was restrained, somewhat low-key. Opening with comedy from Shazia Mirza who utilised social commentary on race and received far more than a chuckle in return, the evening moved onto six individuals working in separate strata of the creative industry. They each gave their piece with around 21 of 180 seconds to spare, but there were a couple who raised my eyebrows far better than botulinum ever could.

A publisher by the name of Natalie Jerome summarised the fight. “I’m a triple threat,” she stated. “I’m working-class, black and female.” Now, I’m too repressed to resort to schlock-circuit cheering. Yet, to know that standing before me and the odd-200 other undergraduates packing the room was a woman proud to declare that she came into and stayed in the industry is to know that this was no run-of-the-mill talk. How fortunate it would have been had the night stopped there. I wonder who sequenced the showcase? Nonetheless, the cavalcade for excitement pressed on.

From ITV Studios came Angela Jain who stood out as confrontational in comparison to the others. She spoke from a perspective of life, not education, to remind us…” Don’t think there’s nothing beyond what you cannot see.” How she had such clear insight into my life, I’ll never know. Yet these guys best epitomised that the fight, the bravado to bring oneself forward is courage now more than ever. Not only did these guys manage it, but their lives had little direction. From what I heard, anyway. Their voice and their passion worked for them then – let’s reaffirm our pride in how different we are. It’ll work for us now too.

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