Channel 4 has announced a ‘Black to Front’ project that will air for a whole day in September, in a bid to show black talent on screen and behind the scenes, following a report by The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity.
There will be many classics broadcast throughout the day, such as Channel 4’s longest-running show, Countdown, which will be hosted by the esteemed journalist and broadcaster, Sir Trevor McDonald. He’ll be joined by acclaimed poet and playwright Lemn Sissay OBE who will be taking over Dictionary Corner, and the maths genius Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE will be running the maths segment.
This is part of the channel’s ambition to improve the visibility of Black talent on and off-screen, on All 4, in their marketing departments, and on social media. The day is planned to recognise and represent black talent, voices and stories.
Black to Front was orchestrated by commissioning editors Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal, and will be led by Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb, as well as with Vivienne and Shaminder working with Melissa Cousins as Project Coordinator.
The project idea comes from the publication of the report by The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity which highlights a lack of ethnic diversity in television.
The report highlights three objectives Channel 4 should work to accomplish. These are:
1. Achieving 100% Black on-screen talent across the day.
2. Achieving as high a proportion as possible of Black people in off-screen roles in general, and in key off-screen roles in particular. And where this is not possible trying to achieve as high a proportion as possible of PoC in off-screen roles.
3.Use the day to improve diversity over the long-term, both in terms of gaining lessons to inform future policies and creating lasting change from actions taken on the day.
A spokesperson for Dr Anne-Marie shared her enthusiasm with Powell and Barns Media on taking part in this event.
They said: “Anne-Marie is looking forward to taking part in Countdown after being a fan of the show for many years. It will be exciting to share her maths knowledge with contestants and viewers and work with a great team”. -Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon.
Channel 4 is hopeful that this event will pave the way for new Black talent within their company, but wishes that this event will allow for barriers to be broken and for challenges to be addressed. Which is that many Black people face difficulties when wanting to break into the industry.
(This article was written and is owned by me, originally published on Powell and Barns Media)