BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’s’ and ‘Dragon’s Den’ Called Out for Lack of Black Women Representation

The popular BBC show, The Apprentice, is being questioned for their lack of diversity.

After seeing this season’s lineup for the popular series and Dragon’s Den, season 17 Den contestants Natalie Duvall and Alison Burton questioned if women of color, particularly Black women, are being purposely set aside. In an Instagram post, the business owners spoke on the lack of representation, remembering theirs as the “only successful pitch.”

“Why are Black female entrepreneurs being erased on shows like these? More specifically… darker skinned representation?,”  they wrote from their business’ profile page.



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“Yes we know it’s just a TV show… but it has an impact, and why can’t we be a part of it?,” the former contestants question.

The owners of March Muses from Croydon, South London, say they had a great time on the show but still saddened by this reality. “We are only seen as the lighter skinned, ambiguous colour and we are talking about business here and we are talking about a reality TV show [sic],” Duvall told The Voice.

Yahoo News UK reported that Joanna Jarjue was the last darker-skinned woman represented on The Apprentice, making it to week 12 in 2017.

This season’s lineup casted a few people of color, including Simba Rwambiwa, a senior sales representative from Birmingham, and salon owner Rochelle Anthony from Bedfordshire. While that’s a great start, Burton feels they need to try harder. “I feel like with Black women, they are using a BAME approach, and BAME is a term that I absolutely hate,” Burton said.

BAME stands for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic. While the term is used often in the U.K., its highly criticized. “But when they use BAME, they can get away with throwing a melting pot of people to tick that diversity box,” Burton told The Voice. “And that’s where we get the ambiguous heritage thrown in there and people will say, ‘OK, well, she’s not white’ or if you have an Asian woman that ticks a box.”

BBC did take notice to Burton and Duvall’s concerns. In a statement obtained by Mirror, a spokesperson said it is “proud” of the former contestants.

“On both of these shows we make active efforts to reach a wide range of Black women in business as we know the valuable contribution they make to the UK and global economy, and we are pleased with the diverse range of contestants who have taken part across both series and the contribution they make to the success of those shows.”