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  • our music, our dance, you know, our fashion, our style heritage, all of that is a part of the culture of who we are.

  • So that needs to be infused in the stories that we tell about us.

  • Hello everyone.

  • I'm Annika Hilton Donaldson, director of development at National Geographic and I am Tracy Harris and I work on nat Geo's international business in programming strategy and content planning.

  • Tracy.

  • Happy holidays.

  • It is so good to be here with you today on Disney plus voices to talk about multicultural engagement and the importance of tradition and heritage.

  • We worked together on natural kids content before, but I don't think I ever heard your story.

  • I'm from a very small town in Illinois where people just don't go into media.

  • I didn't know how to become a television executive.

  • So that goal just seemed unattainable.

  • So I took a more traditional route when I went to college and I studied business, but I wasn't happy.

  • I knew that wasn't me.

  • So I took a pivot when I went to grad school, which is where I studied media from there After graduation, I was able to get into the page program and that's how my career really took off.

  • We all don't take a linear path as we just talked.

  • Not at all.

  • Not at all.

  • Right.

  • You mentioned that one of the projects we worked on together is not Geo kids can you talk a little bit about why series like what SaM sees and SAM Zookeeper challenge are so meaningful to you.

  • That content and several others on the natural kids brand is important.

  • I believe that all Children, you know not just Children of color but all Children you know should be exposed to our world in a way that is inspiring.

  • It makes them want to go out and experience it.

  • But also to feel like they were part of it because representation in those spaces are very important.

  • It's something that I was excited to be able to be a part of telling those types of stories for Children.

  • No I agree with you completely an international way.

  • We think that it's important to get the kids as well.

  • So we're actually working on a project to launch nat Geo kids in Africa.

  • They're gonna be out there.

  • They're gonna be in nature.

  • And the beauty of this project is we didn't want something that just we picked it up from L.

  • A.

  • And then put it in Africa that's that's not authentic.

  • It's local kids, local producers, local production companies, local animators, everything is gonna feel african and when it's all said and done it's just gonna be something beautiful.

  • It's important that those who are not just in it are also telling it.

  • So that's it.

  • That's amazing.

  • Congrats on that.

  • I can't wait to see you.

  • Thank you thank you so much.

  • We've talked about being not only involved in the content that we do but we're also involved in terms of the employee experience representation matters.

  • You know it matters so much in everything that we do And I'm passionate about that.

  • Whether I am mentoring or whether I am in the workplace in the employee experience, you know, and making sure that I'm a voice as well as being an advocate or advising someone else that is important to me.

  • I'm not on the creative side, I'm on the business side.

  • And and you see, I think sometimes even less people of color.

  • So there's a lot of times when I'm the only one in the room if they'll even open the door and let me peek in.

  • So, you know, maybe maybe it's not pulling someone now, but maybe I'm opening the door.

  • So five years from now there there might be two people or three people.

  • So I think that's what keeps me going when it gets really, really tough.

  • Yeah, I feel we have a responsibility to hold that door open like you said for the next ones that are coming behind us and the way that we do that is we have to do things and excellence, but we also have to do things that are honest and and uncomfortable.

  • Sometimes you got to be uncomfortable word, right?

  • I always suppose, you know what the greatest growth that we can have is when we put ourselves in those positions that are uncomfortable when we stretch ourselves beyond our fear or what feels familiar.

  • You know what we've been told, we can't do.

  • Absolutely.

  • That is that's the truth right there.

  • We have to speak up and we have to be authentic and we have to make sure that we create space for those who need to be heard but don't have a voice.

  • How had traditions and heritage, these types of things shaped you.

  • And you're growing up, as I mentioned, I'm from a really small town in Illinois that was not diverse at all.

  • You're the one that stands out.

  • No one has hair like you, no one has skin like you, you don't have a date to the dance because no one looks like you.

  • So for me it was the lack of tradition and heritage that really shaped my upbringing because it wasn't talked about, it wasn't taught.

  • There was, there weren't a lot of people to ask the question.

  • So I always had a hunger to learn more about me and my people and I always felt like I wasn't connected, but I wanted to be Yeah, yeah.

  • You bring up a great point because it's often thought that, you know, as a, as a people as black people that were somehow myopic, we all have the same experience to hear you speak that you're not from a community, you know, where you don't see that representation that mirror, you know, essentially then you don't see, you don't feel like that's attainable for you.

  • You don't think that that's possible.

  • You know, you don't feel that pride if you don't see images that make you feel proud of who you are, you're not going to feel that.

  • Did I ever tell you this um that I'm afro caribbean?

  • I don't know I did not, I did not know that.

  • Okay so I am I'm afro caribbean.

  • Both of my parents are from Jamaica and um I was born actually in the U.

  • S.

  • But was raised as a child in Jamaica.

  • So I had that cultural experience every holiday, every special occasion we celebrate as well as with a lot of my extended family are caribbean heritage, it's so important, we do it in the food.

  • And let me tell you there are no events that we have that don't include some sort of curry something.

  • So you know curry curry shrimp.

  • So it's in the vibe that's in the food, it's in the you know the energy, the music, these are things that are important to me and I make sure I passed down to my Children because I want them to continue that heritage and tradition in their families.

  • I love love hearing that because that is something that I always felt was missing as I was growing up in a community that was um that was not diverse when you think about your caribbean heritage, there are relatively new african american traditions being celebrated?

  • Like Kwanzaa, can you talk about the importance and the principles that they teach like unity, I actually have participated with other friends who celebrated Kwanzaa and like you said Kwanzaa, it is important to the black community because it affirms our african heritage and it has the seven principles, one of which you mentioned, there's an african name that's attached to each of those principles in unity.

  • Like you mentioned, there is an african word, mojo to, this encourages us to unify as family, as a black community as a race.

  • What lessons do you think you can learn from traditions like Kwanzaa?

  • Like we just talked about and also juneteenth which was just made an official holiday in many states in the US.

  • I think for me the lesson is joy and pride.

  • I think too often our story is told through such a sad lens but we are resilient, there is so much to celebrate and so much to be proud of and for me that's what Kwanzaa and juneteenth represents and that's what I work towards.

  • I want us to get off of the struggle bus.

  • I mean right, I think that you know, yes, our struggle is important because it gives us pride and what we've overcome but there's so much more to us.

  • You know, we are joyful people, we are celebratory people, we have so much culture and tradition like we've talked about that we want to just celebrate.

  • We want to talk about all of those beautiful things that are part of us.

  • So then what is your vision for the future when it comes to sharing more of our traditions and stories, Joy for me is a big part of that.

  • And to be honest, that's a mandate that we have in terms of how we're filtering our content moving forward.

  • I envisioned in the next five years we will see a very different national geographic, I believe completely priest diverse talent representation on camera as well as behind the camera because we're working as well as in the boardroom strategy.

  • Right?

  • That you know, telling stories that are representative of this amazing planet which includes all of us.

  • You know, that we live on so that I feel like everyone's voice feels heard and we all feel included.

  • Three words come to mind for me, authenticity, frequency and normalcy.

  • Because I think the more that we have these conversations, the more that they just seem part of society and I'm talking about society as a whole, not just the black community and so it's more accepted and it's just a part of our world.

  • Mm hmm.

  • Yeah.

  • Absolutely.

  • Oh, this has been so good.

  • It's been great.

  • It's always good to feel the energy and be in the same space with us.

  • Right?

  • Yes, it has been great connecting with you again today.

  • Thank you so much.

our music, our dance, you know, our fashion, our style heritage, all of that is a part of the culture of who we are.

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A2 heritage african caribbean tradition representation content

The Importance of Tradition and Heritage in Storytelling | Disney+ Voices

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/04/12
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