Ebony Rainford-Brent MBE says she feared a social media backlash over her stance in opposition to racism


“They’re much less overt than in my era however there are nonetheless biases and stereotypes and the younger individuals really feel that they usually really feel misjudged,” says Rainford-Brent after being awarded MBE within the Queen’s Birthday Honours Listing for her providers to cricket and charity

Final Up to date: 11/06/21 4:10pm


Ebony Rainford-Brent is the chair of the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) programme and a trustee of the Probability To Shine charity

Ebony Rainford-Brent says she turned off her social media in anticipation of a backlash in opposition to her video on racism in cricket and wider society with Michael Holding final summer time.

Rainford-Brent, who has been made an MBE within the Queen’s Birthday Honours for providers to cricket and charity, spoke powerfully within the video concerning the abuse she was subjected to throughout her taking part in days and concerning the Black Lives Matter motion, within the wake of George Floyd’s homicide in america earlier that yr.

It aired on Sky Sports activities on the opening day of the primary Check between England and the West Indies, and Rainford-Brent recalled: “I assumed it was going to tank, with the way in which Twitter is and cancel tradition for the time being.

“I used to be actually nervous about us doing that piece. I turned off all my social media and I assumed that most individuals would simply say ‘we’re not , we have been sports-starved due to the pandemic, why will we wish to take heed to you guys discuss that once we wish to watch the cricket?”‘

As an alternative, Rainford-Brent described the response to it as “mind-blowing”. The video led to Sky’s protection of the primary Check profitable a Bafta award final week.

She added: “It confirmed me that the world is able to discuss these kinds of points and I feel that is why the piece was obtained properly, as a result of possibly it wasn’t in your consciousness and the piece introduced it to your consciousness. Or it was one thing you cared about however possibly did not have an opportunity to discuss, and [it showed that] you might.”

In addition to her commentary work for Sky and the BBC, the 37-year-old former England worldwide is the chair of the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) programme which was arrange by Surrey to deal with the steep decline in cricket participation amongst members of the Black group.

The ACE Programme Charity aims to engage young people of African and Caribbean heritage after a 75 per cent decline in black players playing professional cricket. This is the story of the programme so far...

Sky Sports 10:03
The ACE Programme Charity goals to have interaction younger individuals of African and Caribbean heritage after a 75 per cent decline in black gamers taking part in skilled cricket. That is the story of the programme thus far…

The ACE Programme Charity goals to have interaction younger individuals of African and Caribbean heritage after a 75 per cent decline in black gamers taking part in skilled cricket. That is the story of the programme thus far…

In October final yr, its work was supported through a £540,000 grant from Sport England, and now works with the Black group in London, Birmingham and Bristol.

“We’re seeing actually constructive results for the sport and I can not anticipate our first participant to make it by way of the system,” she mentioned.

Requested whether or not the atmosphere for younger Black ladies and boys had improved from the harrowing expertise she recounts within the Sky video, she mentioned: “I wish to say we now have moved on. However I do not suppose we now have sufficient, and dealing with younger individuals I feel there are nonetheless challenges.

“They’re much less overt than in my era however there are nonetheless biases and stereotypes and the younger individuals really feel that they usually really feel misjudged.

Ebony Rainford-Brent says her ACE Programme Charity wants to make cricket stronger by ensuring the game is more diverse and representative of society as a whole

Sky Sports 3:24
Ebony Rainford-Brent says her ACE Programme Charity desires to make cricket stronger by guaranteeing the sport is extra numerous and consultant of society as an entire

Ebony Rainford-Brent says her ACE Programme Charity desires to make cricket stronger by guaranteeing the sport is extra numerous and consultant of society as an entire

“What I’d say although is that the tradition for listening is healthier, so now I do know that if there is a matter or a problem there’s a house to start out speaking about these points.”

She believes cricket nonetheless lacks anyplace close to sufficient variety in positions of energy.

“That is the one which wants a number of work,” she mentioned. “There was change – the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) is bringing in Baroness Amos which I hope will have an effect.

“I feel we have to usher in new voices who’re leaders in different areas. If you do not have individuals in positions of energy these conversations do not actually embed.”

Rainford-Brent, who can be a trustee of the Probability To Shine charity, got here by way of the ranks at Surrey, selecting cricket as her chosen sport after excelling at soccer and basketball.

Ebony Rainford-Brent explains Surrey's ACE programme - an initiative which hopes to increase cricket participation in the African-Caribbean community

Sky Sports 6:45
Ebony Rainford-Brent explains Surrey’s ACE programme – an initiative which hopes to extend cricket participation within the African-Caribbean group

Ebony Rainford-Brent explains Surrey’s ACE programme – an initiative which hopes to extend cricket participation within the African-Caribbean group

She admits one of many preliminary points of interest was the settings cricket took her to, and the strategic nature of the game.

“I keep in mind going to Arundel Fort in Sussex and it was stunning. I keep in mind pondering ‘that is so completely different to the environment,” she mentioned.

“I used to be used to inner-city London, going to Brixton market, and I simply keep in mind realising there was an entire different world.”

Her expertise took her around the globe and into the England set-up, and she or he was a part of the facet which claimed the World Cup, World Twenty20 and retained the Ashes inside the house of three months.

A career-threatening again harm on the age of 19 was the making of her although, she now admits.

“I fell into a reasonably darkish place, there was a little bit of melancholy,” she mentioned.

“I used to be bedridden and thought my entire world had been misplaced. It genuinely felt like a few years of my life obtained sucked out.

“I feel that is why sports activities is such a instructor actually. You study resilience, digging deep and I feel to come back again has given me a lot character growth for all times.

“That was positively the bottom a part of my entire time as a participant. However equally, I’d say it is one of the best expertise in hindsight as a result of it is given me a lot.”





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