Bolu Babalola, Cuppy, Kiddwaya and other Black entertainers take over Channel 4

Say it out loud, Channel 4 is Black and proud!

“Black to Front” is the catchy, applicable name British broadcaster’s Channel 4 have given to their ongoing project to spotlight Black people in television. From writers, to actors, entertainment personalities to to presenters, today Channel 4 are committing their programming to Black people, doing their part to improve the representation of Black people in British media.

This morning, news circulated of Ant & Dec’s 20th consecutive win as Presenters of the Year at the National TV Awards, a record that is unfortunately symbolic of British media’s insular mechanics. As model and business entrepreneur, Leomie Anderson expressed, statistics such as these are discouraging to Black entertainment personalities and proof of the hostility of the climate – which Channel 4 are stepping up to tackle. Not too far away on the Twittersphere were tweets celebrating the return of one of the UK’s most loved shows of the past, The Big Breakfast, with an all Black cast.

A weekday morning news program, coming back to TV screens after nearly two decades in the can, The Big Breakfast makes a come back with Mo Gilligan and AJ Odudu. In this all-star debut of its Black to Front return, The Big Breakfast invited Krept & Konan, Eve, Idris Elba, Love Island’s Toby, Tokyo 2020 weightlifting medalist Emily Campbell and more. The Receipts Podcasts’ very own, Tolly T, Audrey Indome and Milena Sanchez were also present for this iconic new direction, about which revered author and one of the Black to Front contributors, Bolu Babalola gagged!

Airing tonight, Bolu Babalola’s premiere comedy series is one of the big draws to Channel 4’s Black and Proud programming today. Titled Big Age, Babalola’s show follows the life of Sadé, a budding writer, and her three other friends, Dela, Zeke and Tayo. The title being a play on the Nigerian saying “at your big age,” the show centres around these friends navigating the trials of early twenties life, and the value of friendship during this period of our lives.


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A post shared by Bolu Babalola. (@boluberry)

Other new shows that aired today include Yinka Bokinni and Zeze Millz’s pop culture discussion show, Unapologetic, and Highlife, the reality TV show that follows the lives of Cuppy, Kiddwaya, and other British-Nigerian and British-Ghanaian personalities. In partnership with Google Pixel, Highlife is a “docu-ality” about “the lives and loves of a group of West Africans all chasing their own idea of success.” Revealing the high family expectations that often influence our choices and the friendship groups that form the backbone of our support system, Highlife is set to resonate with West African young adults who relocated to the UK with their parents in search of the increased opportunities Western countries afford. Well… relatable in some ways.

Elsewhere on Channel 4, Tayo Oguntonade joins The Great House Giveaway presenting team today, whilst Gogglebox exclusively watches black families watching TV, including celebrity figures Maya Jama and rapper Ghetts. Behind the scenes too Channel 4 are supporting black owned production companies, seeking out a wider pool of black talent and funding progression placements, “to enable Black talent to make a paid and credited step-up in seniority.”


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A post shared by Cuppy (@cuppymusic)

Channel 4 is doing the long-overdue work of opening the media space up to Black talent and creators, and they’re doing so on all levels. It feels even more authentic, meaningful and promising that such a commitment comes outside of Black History Month and that many of today’s changes are long-term adjustments, that will not only empower the individuals but inspire the Black British community. Promising to feedback their learnings to the media as a whole, Channel 4’s Black to Front Project is likely to make a lasting change in British media and we are thrilled to see it.

If you’re in the UK, tune in to Channel 4 throughout your evening, or get into their Black and Proud programming over the web here.

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