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This Black Woman Just Made History As The First To Host A Wildlife Show On Broadcast TV. Meet Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant


This Black Woman Just Made History As The First To Host A Wildlife Show On Broadcast TV. Meet Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant
Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is passionate about wildlife and preserving our planet. This lifelong pursuit made her the perfect candidate to become the co-host of NBC’s new show, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom: Protecting the Wild [which] showcases wildlife success stories across the United States.”

This feat now makes her the first Black woman in the U.S. to ever host a wildlife show on broadcast television, as per a press statement shared with ESSENCE.

After the show’s premiere, Wynn-Grant discussed what inspired her to embark on this career path, her history defying stereotypes, and the importance of following your dreams.

Ironically enough, her love of nature stemmed from watching television. Wynn-Grant said she was “a very urban kid. My family moved around a lot, but we also lived in big cities.” The San Francisco native shared how strict her parents were with what she was allowed to watch on television. “It always had to be educational, and one of the things that was educational and on TV in the 1980s and early 90s was nature shows. I used to love watching wildlife documentaries and nature shows.”

“Believe it or not, Wild Kingdom was one of the shows that I used to watch,” Wynn-Grant revealed. “I was kind of obsessed with the experience that the hosts were having. Being in the wilderness seemed like the most exciting adventure anyone could have.” And thus, the seed was planted. “To me, there was no greater career,” she said.

But as UC Berkeley Environmental Policy and Management Professor Dr. Carolyn Finney said, “In terms of the majority culture in the United States setting a narrative and tone about the environment and the way we should think about and relate to it, we Black and brown folks have largely been left out of that mainstream conversation.”

This sentiment is embedded in Wynn-Grant’s own journey. During her studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Wynn-Grant said, “As far as I knew, I was the only Black student in environmental science.” Understandably, “it was really tough and uncomfortable to be in those spaces. On top of that, it seemed like everyone else was an environmental science major because they grew up in the outdoors. They were inspired because their families went camping, or they had traveled around the world. Whereas for me, my understanding of nature was through a textbook or through a PowerPoint presentation,” said Wynn-Grant.

Fortunately, the ecologist felt empowered to continue down this path by a study abroad program in Kenya. “It made me feel not only that ‘Yes, this is for me, but yes, I can do it.’ It also showed me that being a nature show host is still the dream. But there’s this more purposeful aspect to learning about wildlife and figuring out how to protect and conserve.”

Years later, Wynn-Grant would go on to achieve her childhood dream. She’s also aware of her unique position. “I think race and identity is a really important part of the conversation here,” she said. “The show is a classic, all kinds of people watched it. I have a very large, Black family and they all watched the show back when it was on.”

However, she pointed out, “it was always hosted by white men and rarely featured non-white men. So, to be a Black woman, a millennial, and someone who is outspoken about social justice to be selected as a new co-host for the show symbolizes a lot of progress.”

Being selected, she believes, displays “a commitment in the conservation community to inclusion, and my biggest goal is to create even more inspiration.” “I was inspired as a little kid, and I was so different from the host that I saw on TV,” Wynn-Grant reminisced. “I hope that more young people, adults, everyone can be even more inspired by watching now.”


Source link : www.essence.com

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