In episode ten of Brown Riot podcast, Coffee Cocoa Gunpowder creative partner Ant Melder talks to Faustina Agolley.
Having grown up in Clayton, Melbourne as the child of a Ghanaian father and Chinese mother, and become a respected figure in various fields of creativity, Agolley has a unique perspective on world events. Referring to her mixed race heritage she says, “Our identity has no end point”.
Bunking off school as a kid, she got her inspiration watching Oprah Winfrey. Later, she went on to become School Captain, get straight A’s…and tour Australia and New Zealand as Oprah Winfrey’s resident DJ. Before getting into TV, she did some modelling, including being Bond’s first ever Black model. She’s hosted Video Hits, The Voice and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. And made her stage debut in 2017, with the Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company’s co-production of the Molière award-winning play, The Father.
Faustina’s most recent work, Sam, explores loss, grief and her African identity, and is part of the first collection of African Australian stories in Australian Letters called, Growing Up African in Australia. She has written on queer issues for Women of Letters (Penguin), Huffington Post, Sunday Life, Queerstories and The Wheeler Centre Gala.
The wide-ranging Brown Riot conversation covers diversity, racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Instagram ‘black tiles’ campaign and the responsibility of ad agencies and brands to bring about change. Talking about representation in the creative industries needing to be paired with meaningful actions, she comments: “I’m not saying diversity is not important – it can be – but you have to have a strong concept of diversity. Unless we combine diversity and social justice we could end up with a notion that diversity means difference…that makes no difference at all.”
As ever, the podcast is produced by Smith & Western. All episodes are available via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and at brownriot.com.
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