This year the cricketer took the brave decision to speak out publicly about the racism he experienced during his time at YCCC and the impact these experiences had on his mental health. The specifics of Rafiq’s experiences were harrowing, but shined a light onto the engrained nature of racism within sports in the UK. This resulted in the resignation of many board members, public apologies and the admittance from officials that the club was institutionally racist. News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy spoke out about this also, stating ‘There will barely be a brown-skinned person in Britain who hasn’t felt that smarting, holding-back-the-tears feeling, while being told it was just banter.’
Season two of Bridgerton came back with great fanfare and wowed audiences with its beautiful and in-depth representation of South Asian women. This series centred the plot on the experiences of Kathani Sharma and her younger sister Edwina. Not only are these South Asian women’s stories centred around their desirability in a way not shown frequently on Western TV, but the plot is enriched by the inclusion of South Asian cultural practices such as drinking chai, a haldi ceremony (where turmeric is used to bestow blessing the night before a wedding) and snippets of South Asian languages.
This past year, Channel 4 has truly committed to improving Black representation on-screen and within the film and TV industry. From the introduction of shows like The Big Breakfast, Highlife and Big Age to the diversification and renewal of existing programmes like Gogglebox, Mel B’s Packed Lunch, Hollyoaks and Countdown, this project has placed their commitment to diversity at the forefront of their mission. Off-screen, the project has worked with production partners to encourage more Black hiring and funded progression placements to help Black talent reach their full potential.
This is the late-night discussion show that’s all about being your authentic self, unapologetically. Hosted by Yinka Bokinni and Zeze Millz, the duo speak to Black guests about everything. From body image to parenting, this groundbreaking programme has also tackled some of the biggest media moments such as Black Lives Matter and racism in football. It’s no surprise we’re set for another season of this powerful show!
Disney’s latest blockbuster movie, Encanto, hit the screens in 2021 and has been highly praised for its diverse representation of Latino/Latinx peoples, cultures and experiences. From its Spanish-language song Dos Oruguitas to its Latino voice actors, this movie has shone a light onto not only the breadth of Latin experiences, but has also provided young children everywhere with a heart-warming story about a community previously neglected by the Disney company. It is no surprise that not only did this movie receive the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but a Golden Globe and Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award to boot!
The Thomas brothers trio join forces to discuss everything from mental health and fame to their own inspirations and defining moments on this podcast. Ryan, Scott and Adam have starred on our screens on shows like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Love Island, with their second season announced earlier this year.
Filmmaker Topher Campbell’s latest project Moments That Shaped: Queer Black Britain, which debuted on Channel 5, established a clear and powerful message of LGBT+ Black experiences in the UK. With insights from UK Black Pride’s Lady Phyll and activists like Ajamu X and Marc Thompson, this is a story of resilience, beauty, diversity and growth. Regarding this endeavour, Campbell said, ‘As a Black queer man, I feel very strongly that those stories that we tell about ourselves become history – not just for us, but for everybody.’
The treatment of the Windrush generation over the past decade has gained much criticism, and rightly so. Activist Patrick Vernon took a stand last year, speaking to those affected by the scandal, and began a social movement to provide Windrush citizens with amnesty, raising funds through the Windrush Justice Fund and advocating for a public and formal apology to those affected.
This 2022 Pixar movie, directed by Domee Shi and starring Sandra Oh, follows the story of a Chinese-Canadian girl, Meilin, who transforms into a giant red panda. The movie was heavily inspired by anime influences, but also touched on Chinese culture and history throughout, receiving high praise from audiences worldwide. Turning Red also brought to light the realities that many second-generation children face with their families and with living between two cultures.
Arguably one of the most popular podcasts of the past year, Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO tells the journey of remarkable people who have redefined culture and achieved much against the odds. Bartlett himself has overcome the odds, beginning as a university dropout before becoming CEO of one of the UK’s fastest growing companies. His podcast is not only inspirational, but also honest and unscripted, platforming individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds.