9 takeaways from the Harry and Meghan interview on representation and reclaiming your narrative
How #HarryandMeghanonOprah highlight the pitfalls of non-inclusive storytelling in communications and media.
Storytelling is powerful. The stories and representations spun out into the world shape our beliefs, opinions and what we "buy into".
It is no secret that media and advertising construct the narratives of the word and the main way we create identities about others through representation. The problem lies in the homogenous makeup of these institutions, being responsible for "controlling the narrative" through the lens of their dominant ideologies, unconscious biases and supremacy. This is one of many reasons why we are strong advocates of diversity in marketing and communications and feel it important to shine a light on the parallel between Meghan and Harry's experience and the role of media, representation and how this fuels racial injustice.
Owning your narrative means taking control of what is being said about you or the group you belong to, without the layers of unconscious bias, distortions and misinterpretations. We pulled out key points from the Oprah interview to illustrate why it's important to own your narrative.
"It's not just about an individual, it's about who they represent." - Prince Harry
"The perception and the reality are two very different things, and you're being judged on the perception, but you're living the reality of it." - Meghan Markle
Being silenced is a form of violence – especially when the mediums of communication consist of gatekeepers and institutions that are made up of and controlled by one group of people.
"Everyone is obsessed with how things look but not taking into account how it feels." - Meghan Markle
The hero and villain narrative is problematic when a person of colour is often cast in the role of the latter
Positive representation matters. If you can see it, you can be it
It's important to tell stories through a truthful lens which is also uplifting and gives a voice to a lot of people that are underrepresented and aren't really heard.
The message is as important as the medium. The Sussexes chose a safe space to share their side of the story, contrary to the British press
“If the source of information is inherently corrupt, or racist, or bias, then that filters out to the rest of society" - Prince Harry
There is still a long way to go regarding standing up to racial injustice, therefore each voice deserves the right to be heard and respectfully listened too, especially when for so long their narrative has been controlled.