Although we’ve known it for a long time, it feels like everyone else is just now getting it. There aren’t enough black faces in mainstream media. Across the pond, the racial struggle is similar — even though the UK boasts an extremely multicultural population. For black actresses who may have been thinking about flying to Great Britain to find work, some reconsideration may be in order. Although Idris Elbas abound, limited roles for female performers of color are forcing more Black Britons to look elsewhere to find work.
Particularly, towards the U.S.
In a piece for The Voice, several black female media professionals weighed in on the ongoing debate surrounding black representation in the media.
“There still aren’t many black women on prime-time TV,” Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon said in a recent Cosmopolitan magazine interview. “Times are changing, but it’s interesting we’re in 2013 and still experiencing firsts. Hopefully in the next 100 years things will balance even more.”
Simone Bresi-Ando, the founder of I’m Possible, an organization that seeks to empower young British women of color, said that going abroad can help British women of color build much-needed connections.
“The opportunities in the States are boundless in my eyes. There’s a reason why the US and Africa are the two places on earth where black billionaires were created. Having powerful networks can really change your life in ways you can only imagine,” Bresi-Ando told The Voice.
ITV new reader Charlene White also explained how increasing opportunities continue to present themselves overseas – and not just in the U.S.
“The term ‘across the pond’ means so much more than just America,” White said. “What with the rise of emerging economies, a lot of talent is gravitating towards the country of their parents’ birth, or their birth.”
But most importantly, it appears that the women all agree that the agent of change in media representation must begin with us. According to British comedienne and playwright Angie Le Mar we, as the audience, must demand the change we seek from networks.
“It’s time to accept we are more loved in the rest of the world,” Le Mar said.
“We can mix it up now and again. We need positive discrimination.”