June Sarpong 'humbled' as she is given newly-created diversity role at BBC

Julia Hunt
June Sarpong attends a photocall during the Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 15, 2018 (Massimiliano Donati/Awakening/Getty Images)

June Sarpong has said she feels “humbled” after being chosen to “make the BBC more inclusive” as its new Director of Creative Diversity.

The former MTV host, 42, will lead a drive to “further transform and modernise the BBC and its culture” in the newly-created role.

The BBC said Sarpong would work to increase representation and ensure that the broadcaster’s content reflects the public.

She said: "As we move on from National Inclusion Week and begin Black History Month, I am particularly humbled to step into the newly created role of Creative Diversity Director for the BBC.

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“I relish the challenge of working with senior leadership to make the BBC more inclusive and representative of the broad and diverse audience it serves.”

The star admitted the task was “indeed daunting”, but said having the opportunity to help level the playing field for the next generation of diverse talent made the obstacles and discrimination she had personally faced “all the more worthwhile”.

“I look forward to collaborating with diversity and inclusion industry stakeholders to find new and productive ways to create systemic change,” she added.

The move was welcomed by the BBC’s director-general Lord Tony Hall.

He said: “While we have made significant progress on diversity, we also have to accept that the BBC has much further to go.

“June’s drive, ambition, and knowhow, will help further transform the BBC’s programming to ensure that we truly reflect the public we serve.”

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Calling the star “an immense talent”, Lord Hall said Sarpong would look at improving the BBC’s on-air talent portrayal and commissioning and provide expertise on all on-air diversity matters and serve as an ambassador and champion.

He said she would have “a wide remit to deliver change”.

“I am determined that we have a BBC that continues to speak to and for everyone,” he said. “June will help us achieve that.”

Sarpong was awarded an MBE for her charity work in 2007.