Why Ben Cajee Is The CBeebies Presenter We All Need In 2020 - Rugby and Daventry Radio Station Midlands UK            

Why Ben Cajee Is The CBeebies Presenter We All Need In 2020

Written by on October 29, 2020

Article Published on Thursday October 29, 2020 11:00 AM by

Why Ben Cajee Is The CBeebies Presenter We All Need In 2020

A CBeebies presenter who speaks openly and emotionally on kids’ TV about being mixed race might just be the role model all our kids need in 2020. 

That’s because Ben Cajee, 33, who has worked for the children’s channel as a presenter since 2015, gave out the simplest of messages to millions of viewers: that it’s really important to be kind to each other.

“Sometimes people have been unkind about what I look like and the colour of my skin,” Cajee said in his viral video. “But I try and forget about those people and instead focus on the people who were there for me and who supported me. I think at the moment it’s really important to be kind because you never know, you might just make someone’s day.”

HuffPost UK spoke to Cajee, who said that the response from the public had been “overwhelming”. 

“It was a pretty overwhelming week, to be honest,” he said. “The reaction and overall reach has blown me away – and to know that it’s meant something to so many people is amazing.”

“We did something about the ethos of CBeebies back in June and the messaging that “everyone’s welcome” – it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from or what you sound like.

“This is just an extension of that really.”

In the recent clip, Cajee explained that his mum,  Fiona, is white, and his dad, Yacob, is black – and that he’s “really, really proud” to be mixed race. He also told viewers that he’s inherited loads of things from both his parents, such as his smile from his mum and his “really bendy toe”, from his dad. 

It received an outpouring of positive responses on Twitter. One woman wrote: “What an amazing young man with a beautiful heart.” Another said: “Fantastic but it makes me so sad that racism is still a thing. Why do some parents think it’s ok to bring children up to hate?”

But Cajee admitted he’d had some concerns about how it might be received.

You always have to consider whether you’re serving your audience and by being open and discussing issues that are personal, like your family, you have to think about that too,” he said. “I’ve always said that I’ve wanted to use my platform and voice to make a difference – whether that’s reading someone’s birthday card, making them smile by doing something daft in a ridiculous costume, or talking about some of these bigger issues.”

Born in 1987, Cricket-mad Cajee grew up watching children’s TV himself. When he turned 5, his birthday card was even read out by by former BBC broom cupboard presenter Philippa Forrester – as you can see in this vintage clip.

But as he told BBC Radio 5 Live in a recent interview, “I was called every name that you could possibly imagine that I can’t say live on the radio, from when I was 5-years-old,” which is why he feels “duty bound to talk about this stuff”.

I showed my kids Cajee’s video, and my eight-year-old told me what she understood about Cajee’s message.

“He’s telling us to ignore people who are racist, and telling us something important about the world,” she said. “He’s telling those people who are having trouble with their colour or who don’t like it or who are trying to hide themselves all the time to be proud – this might give them the confidence to come out a little more.”

It’s not the first time Cajee has made a heartfelt appeal to the nation’s children.

In June, as Black Lives Matters protests escalated following the killing George Floyd in the US, he told young viewers: “In the CBeebies house, we believe everyone is different, and everyone is equal. Some people are treated unfairly because of the colour of their skin – and they shouldn’t be.”

Cajee emphasised the importance of working together to change views on racism, adding: “One day you will be older, and one day you will be looking after the world, and all of the people in it.”

Then, as now, the message received huge support. As one grown up viewer wrote: “In under a minute, @CBeebiesHQ makes the clearest, most inclusive statement that anyone can understand.”

Cajee said he believes his message hit home, in 2020 particularly, because people are focused on creating a better world for their children.

“I think that the vast majority of people would like to see a better, kinder, more empathetic world and society,” he said. “That’s basically what this message is about, you know. Be good to people. I also think our audience value and appreciate us being authentic and genuine as presenters – so if we can do that and it means something to families and kids, that’s awesome.”

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Why Ben Cajee Is The CBeebies Presenter We All Need In 2020
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