Marcus Rashford features in first episode of 'Black, England & Proud' series

Friday 06 Nov 2020
Former BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter David 'Sideman' Whitely hosts the first episode of Black, England & Proud

We have partnered with Refresh Productions and Facebook to launch a new multi-part content series that explores the experiences of Black players who have represented England.

Black, England & Proud launches today with the first episode seeing Marcus Rashford in conversation with former BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter David 'Sideman' Whitely.

Further episodes of the series will follow through the rest of 2020, with present and past members of the men's and women's squads discussing their personal relationships with their national team.

Refresh was founded by broadcaster and film-maker Leon Mann, who is leading the production of Black, England and Proud in collaboration with The FA’s in-house content team.

Discussing the series, Mann said: “Black, England & Proud is a celebration of Black culture, diverse communities and the incredible contribution people of African and Caribbean heritage have made to the national side. Vitally, it also offers an opportunity to learn more about the rich diversity of Black people in England – and our experiences – through our footballers. 

“Refresh is a Black-owned production company and this series is made by a diverse team of superb talent. This collaboration with The FA and support from Facebook represents a powerful partnership and we are proud to be part of it and look forward to seeing the impact the series makes.”

The FA and Facebook both recently partnered with Kick It Out to support the Take a Stand campaign as part of a shared commitment to drive action in the battle against discrimination in football.

As part of that partnership, we will be working with Facebook in piloting a new training module with HOPE not Hate to be delivered through the England national teams’ community and fan engagement programmes.

Ronan Joyce, Facebook’s lead of team partnerships in EMEA, commented: "We are really proud to support The FA and Refresh on sharing such important conversations from black players who represented their country. 

“Through this series we hope everyone can learn from the experiences of others and celebrate the contributions from diverse communities to our society.”

The release of Black, England & Proud comes just over a week after we launched the Football Leadership Diversity Code, with more than 40 clubs and teams committing to tackle inequality across senior leadership positions, team operations and coaching roles by signing up.

The series also begins on the back of Black History Month, during which we commemorated the roles that Black players have played in the history of the England teams and the Emirates FA Cup with a series of illustrations, as well as working with the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS) to offer opportunities to aspiring content creators from under-represented backgrounds.

Edleen John, The FA’s international, corporate affairs and co-partner for equality, diversity & inclusion director, said: “We’re delighted to launch Black, England & Proud in collaboration with Refresh Sports and Facebook. 

“Ensuring that we celebrate the contributions that Black players have made to England’s history has been a key focus for us in recent weeks, not just as part of Black History Month but as means to drive important conversations around diversity, inclusion and equality among our audiences.

“Through future episodes of Black, England & Proud, we are committed to keeping those discussions going and continuing to show the importance of diverse England squads, support teams and fanbase.”

The first episode of Black, England & Proud is on Facebook Watch now.

By Jim Lucas