The Lack of Representation of Young, Black Women in British Media

Janeth Mwasa & Anita Kuambana

It is clear that there’s not many young, black females presented in British media. Racial diversity in British media has always been the never-ending subject.

This is something that has been going on since the early years of television. Don’t get me wrong, representation has improved, but only just a fraction. In the black community, a fraction isn’t enough. Which is why this is actually a very upsetting issue.

From journalism, TV presenting, British films and soap operas, there is not much diversity. We get to see few black female roles in British films such as ‘Gone Too Far!’, ‘Adulthood’, ‘Top Boy’, ‘Belle’, ‘Pressure’, ‘Skyfall’ etc. But the roles in which these young females get to act in are usually very limited and stereotypical. Not every black female is part of a gang cult, an immigrant or practice drug abuse. And nothing that bothers the black community more than seeing black people in general; male and female being portrayed as thieves living in a ghetto. 7 out of 10 black people have never been in the ghetto so can the stereotypes need to stop.

In films such as Skyfall however, we see a strong black female lead: the role is played by Naomie Harris. But films like this with a strong black female lead are very rare and only make an appearance once in a while. This is the same issue in journalism and television too. Most TV channels won’t even have a black presenter, and even when they do, they would have someone who’s over 25 years old. So basically, they usually go for an older generation of the black community. This is mainly because these news channels are too scared to face a backlash from the general public who think having a black, young person presenting is a problem. Plus, this might bring a race war, and that’s not good business for them. Why should it be a black and white thing? Everyone from every culture, race and sex should have the same equal opportunities.

An interview done by The Voice magazine in 2013 about black women having to leave Britain to become successful in the media industry, shows that black women are exhaling Britain simply because the media industry is just not providing fair opportunity. “The industry hasn’t been great when it comes to the representation of many different cultures and sections…” says Alicia Dixon from the interview.

Maybe in the near future things will speed up and we will start seeing more racial diversity in British media. We all hope that this whole Brexit thing isn’t going to affect this growth either, as there’s been a rise on racial conflicts and hate crimes by 58% since July.

How do you feel about the representation of young, black women? Drop a comment below!

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