Radio 1’s Vick Hope on diversity: ‘Black women in TV are unique’

Vick Hope recalls a time when she was ‘boxed into one stereotype’ in the entertainment industry but now sees an improvement in diversity, and hopes Black women can continue to champion each other. 

The former Strictly Come Dancing star now fronts a BBC Radio 1 show and is a regular face on ITV’s breakfast programmes presenting competition segments. She’s also a host of the Life Hacks podcast while currently offering wellbeing and mental health advice to youngsters. 

It’s safe to say, Vick is killing it at the moment and has long been one of TV’s most prominent figures in the Black community.

So, it makes perfect sense that she’s spearheading The Hundred Rising, a brand new program of 100 exciting opportunities offering aspiring professionals a platform to showcase their talent and gain valuable experience working or volunteering on the summer’s must see entertainment event.

Recalling her early career, Vick told ‘It was kind of an accident that I got into TV… it was just by chance that these guys from MTV needed someone who could speak English. 

‘There were so many things I learned along the way that I had no idea.’ 

She continued: ‘The biggest thing you can learn is to be yourself and that’s what took the longest because you think that you’ve got to put on a front and be perfect or emulate presenters that you know and love that you’ve seen on the TV but learning that actually, no, do yourself and you’re bringing something that no one else can bring because that makes you unique.’

Vick, 31, is part of a sisterhood of Black female presenters in the UK and she is more than willing to give them their flowers. 

‘I would like to take this opportunity to shout out Clara Amfo, AJ Odudu, Yasmin Evans, Maya Jama, all of these broadcasters that I think are amazing and work constantly, I think they’re just amazing people,’ she said. 

‘And the people who paved the way for us, I am just a massive fan of June Sarpong. I love everything she does and I love that she’s taken the helm at the BBC [as director of creative diversity]. 

‘We should always be shouting one another out and celebrating one another.’ 

Vick went on to recall Black presenters being ‘put in competition’ with each other and usually only one landing the gig. 

‘It shouldn’t be that way because that’s tokenistic and it should be on merit,’ she said. 

However, she added positively: ‘I think things are changing a little bit and what is important is that broadcasters and channels realise we all have different voices, we’re not just one Black woman fits all. 

‘We all have completely different things to say and completely different ways of saying it. I think for a while I felt a little bit boxed in with the stereotypes that you’re expected to conform to. 

‘But I think things are getting better, I’m optimistic as I think a lot of conversations are being had that I’ve never heard before and I’m glad people are having.’ 

When she’s not on TV, Vick is busy with her new podcast series Your Lockdown Wellbeing Toolkit, which tackles issues such as anxiety, money, career and loneliness.

One particular moment has stuck in Vick’s mind so far, as she recalled: ‘We spoke about suicide prevention, very emotional show. We had a guest on called Chloe, who had tried to take her own life and she realised that she had a life left to live. 

‘She was so brave and so amazing and she told us about how she now felt like life couldn’t be better. She was so happy and I just remember breaking down because there are a lot of people out there now that I really hope hear this so they know they have life left to live. 

‘I think that’s such a powerful thing and I think if that helps one person it’ll be worth it.’ 

Hopefully if all goes to plan with Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap, Vick will be showing aspiring media creators the ropes at The Hundred in July. 

The presenter explained: ‘As a mentor, I’m really excited to see the passion that people are bringing… 

‘What’s really exciting for me is it’s so accessible. Sometimes the media in sport and entertainment can feel quite impenetrable, it can feel like an industry that’s difficult to get into.’

Looking forward to the jam-packed event, Vick added: ‘It’s sport, it’s music, blockbuster, we’ll just be so full of euphoria having got to the other end of this and being together to celebrate.’ 

The Hundred Rising launches today with 32 paid positions on offer to be a Rising Host, Rising Reporter or Rising Content Creator at this summer’s must-see competition. To check out the current roles available, head to The Hundred Rising website.

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