Cynthia Erivo, Michaela Coel to headline BBC first ever virtual Creative Diversity Event

Oscar-nominated Cynthia Erivo and BAFTA winner Michaela Coel, will headline the BBC’s first ever virtual Creative Diversity Xperience, showcasing the “vibrancy, innovation, leadership and talents” of Black and other ethnicities, in the creative industry, it has been announced.

The BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity, June Sarpong, announced that the event – dubbed CDX – will create a space for audiences to watch, share and engage with content from around the world, with a new interactive platform Reactoo hosted on the BBC’s Creative Diversity website. This will allow audiences to host their own virtual rooms remotely, where they can watch CDX live together with friends, all on in one place.

“We have thought carefully about creating an authentic, engaging and immersive experience using innovative technology. CDX will set its self apart from what people may have seen or expect of the BBC,” Sarpong comments on the event, which the Broadcaster says is aimed at younger audiences, and “will examine issues of relevance to them.”

 In May this year, Sarpong – who the BBC appointed to the role in November 2019, announced a series of initiatives, including the establishment of guidance and tools to help the BBC’s creative staff and industry partners ensure diversity and inclusion is at the heart of production.

June Sarpong speaking at the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention 2018, at the Barbican Centre in London. Credit: Howard Lake

“It is important for the BBC to be the beacon to rest of the industry and champion Diversity and Inclusion,” adds Sarpong who is also the author Diversify – Six Degrees Of Intergration, says.

Oscar-nominated actress Cynthia Erivo will sit down with the BBC’s Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, for an exclusive one-on-one spotlight conversation, while  Michaela Coel –  star and writer of the current hit BBC show ‘I May Destroy You’ will host a masterclass.

The event – taking place on 28-29 July – will also draw many other iconic stars, cultural disruptors and influencers over six hours of live-streamed events and masterclasses  on each day.

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Other key sessions will include; a music masterclass with a special line up of UK artists, such ‘Diversity for Every ‘body’, ‘Cancel Culture’ hosted by Linkup TV and “Beyond Yellow Face Casting”, covering topics including cultural appropriation, the power of social media and why other ethnic minorities creatives are forgotten in the film industry.

Viewers will  also hear from diverse leaders from across the creative world including; 1xtra’s DJ Target with special guests, Noughts and Crosses star Msali Baduza, Actor Aiofa Hinds (Normal People & Derry Girls); Grace Ladoja (Creative Director and Manager) and Writer and Filmmaker Lucy Sheen discussing current issues that speak directly to the minds of audiences. 

Last month the  BBC announced the Creative Diversity commitment – the biggest financial investment to on-air inclusion in the industry – which will prioritise £100m of the BBC’s existing commissioning budget over three years, towards diverse and inclusive content

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