On Wednesday 26 June 2019, the African and Caribbean Society held its first panel event since its introduction in 2016. The event was hosted by Gillian Joseph, Sky News presenter, and the panel was composed of Nife Agunbiade (dancer and choreographer), Leon Walker (development manager, Lloyds of London), JJ Wallace (musician and winner of 2018 Young Drummer of the Year Award), Tom Moutchi (actor) and Stephanie Douglas (Olympian).
The evening began with an introduction from each panellist, talking about their journey leading up to their current career and how they discovered their passion. Tom Moutchi and Nife Agunbiade spoke honestly about the struggles of growing up in an African household whilst wanting to pursue an unconventional career path, and JJ Wallace highlighted the importance of parental support in such careers, namely the Arts. The panel progressed to discussing the struggles related to being a Black British individual in finance and media, with Leon Walker and Gillian Joseph retelling their harrowing encounters with racism in the workplace. Following a conversation about the influence of social media in today’s society, the floor was opened up to the audience to put their questions to the panellists; some questions posing more of a challenge to answer than others.
It was a successful and unforgettable experience, where connections were made between schools and individuals, and it goes without saying that the ACS look forward to holding more events in the future.