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Black British Entertainment

Black British Entertainment
Michaela Coel-Ghanaian-British actress,singer and director

Black to Front: The unfortunate murder of George Floyd saw a national outcry on the treatment of black people. The response cementing that Blacks Lives Matter. The movement did not just address the safety and discrimination of black individuals in America and other western countries such as Britain and France, but also the lack of opportunity and representation of black individuals across a wider array. 

After the murder of George Floyd, Microsoft made a statement stating its support for black people as well as black businesses. The company issued out a statement which listed several commitments it was willing to make to the black community in order to close the racial inequality gap. Microsoft made a promise to not just make this change internally by investing $150 million for their own diversity efforts,but also promising to double the number of black employees in senior positions. They have invested over $1 billion to non-profits organisations serving black communities and are making efforts to double their black suppliers by 2023. 

Bernicia Boateng – Makeup Artist

Many other organisations have tried to show ally ship to the black communities. Airbnb announced in a tweet that it will donate a total of $500,000 to the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) and Black Lives Matter. Etsy donated $1 million to Equal Justice Initiative and Borealis Philanthropy’s Black-Led Movement Fund. Not only did it show its support through monetary donations,but also added a landing page dedicated to black creators. Allowing them an exclusive place to showcase their products. One organisation that is maximising their efforts when it comes to the commitment they have made to improve the representation of black talents across the TV industry is Channel 4. Channel 4 have launched a ‘Black To Front’ Project. A statement on their sites states “The purpose of the project is two-fold: firstly, to challenge us all to see our content differently, and secondly, to leave a lasting legacy in terms of increased Black representation both on- and off-screen”. 

Clara Amfo-British Radio and TV Presenter

On the 10th of September Channel 4 broadcaster various programmes which feature black talents such as writers, artist, TV presenters as well as football players. All in celebration of black arts. Channel 4 stated in its statement that its programme was not only intended to entertain and provide relocatable content to its black viewers but to also create “national” conversation about how black people are portrayed as well as represented. The 10th of September was not just a day of celebrating black talent,but it was also the commencement of new all-black starring shows.

The Highlife – which is a docu-reality show, follows the rich and famous Nigerian and Ghanaians making their own mark and allowing us a view into the glitz and glamour. The cast includes DJ Cuppy,daughter to Nigerian Billionaire Femi Otedola, Bernicia Boateng – Makeup Artist to celebrities such as Michaela Coel and Clara Amfo. Alongside Kiddwaya, son of Billionaire Terry Waya, with other rich and famous faces. The highlife will follow these Africans who merge the African culture as well as their western cultures, whilst curating spaces that’s suitable for them! We all know too well that us Africans are nothing but raw, and with British televisions series not being short on drama, this black reality show is sure to be compact with laughter, one-liners, wisdom and a luxurious lifestyle that will make all of us side-eye our parents. 

Big Age is a comedy about young black British friends who are trying to navigate lives in their 20’s. Dealing with family, tradition and customs, friends, expectations as well as identity. Big Age isn’t just about being black in the U.K but it’s about being young and black and what it means in the modern world of young westerners. So much relatable content lined up and the foundation have us all primed for what’s to come. 

However, like channel 4 correctly stated, it’s not just all about feeling like we see ourselves on TV although that’s a big step in the right direction. It’s also about finding ways to communicate how we feel in wider society and finding ways to echo those feelings whilst being unfiltered, accepted and safe. This is where Channel 4 really hit the mark with Unapologetic. Unapologetic is described as a “late night topical discussion programme that doesn’t hold back”. In laymen terms black people saying how they feel and not feeling guilty about it. A talk show which sets the basis of how talk shows should be, not worried about compliance, not worried about making others uncomfortable. Butting heads because many great ideas are birthed from disagreements, and being what we know and love black people to be. Blunt. Unapologetic is the type show that makes your white friend leave and go make herself a cuppa in the kitchen as she runs from the discomfort of the truth. But also flushes out the black friend who doesn’t care about moving society forwards and is just here make some noise. Because although the conversation is raw, unfiltered and opinionated at best, it is coveted with intellectual points, compelling arguments and most of all full of emotions. A conversation about issues that deeply affect us. 

Kiddwaya, son of Billionaire Terry Waya

With an array of diverse content and presenters bringing heart, soul and passion to the front of our screens, channel 4 is feeding the black people of UK like we have never been fed before. However, the one funny thing about food is, in order to stay nourished, you most continuously be fed! You can have the beast meal of your life, but if it is a one-off meal, it will not sustain you. We need to be fed, just how your daily breakfast preps you for the day and gives you motivation to carry on, the same way we need the big breakfast show to be hosted by more black individuals so that we can stay motivated and stay unafraid of being ourselves. It’s all great having the 10th of September mark a day of change, just how it’s all great having one day celebrating black historians. However, what would be greater is if this wasn’t just ‘a project’, but became part of mainstream. If ‘Black To Front’ didn’t have an assigned budget, or end date. That would be the beginning of real change. Not a one-time dopamine boost. A way of British television life.

Author: Naomi Macanda


London, UK