Yumi Stynes has released a new podcast with SBS Audio, which will spotlight high-profile Australians and the ways they forged a career despite facing racial prejudice, discrimination and a lack of visible role models.
The interview series will speak to Narelda Jacobs (Whadjuk Noongar journalist), Hannah Diviney (disability activist and writer), Michael Mohammed Ahmad (award-winning novelist and playwright), Yassmin Abdel-Magied (writer, social advocate and cancel culture survivor), Atong Atem (internationally renowned artist and writer), Ray Ahn (punk legend from the Hard-Ons), Shyamla Eswaran (performing artist), Stuart Yiwarr McGrath (Aboriginal health practitioner and first Yolngu nurse), Professor Veena Sahajwalla (Eureka Prize-winning inventor and recycling advocate), Dr Dinesh Palipana (doctor, lawyer and disability advocate) and Ellia Green (rugby player and Olympian).
SBS said the podcast, “Seen”, would help listeners understand the importance of diversity in media.
Stynes, meanwhile, said she hopes stories will broaden people’s idea of what a diverse and multicultural Australia looks like.
“I think it cracks open the scope of what we view as ‘Australia’ or ‘Australians’, so if you want to widen your understanding of who makes up the population of this wonderful country, then the podcast introduces some inspiring Australians that you’ll be glad to meet,” she said.
“I was so excited to find these wonderful people, and to unfurl their stories as best I could and allow their stories to speak,” she added.
“It’s an important question to ask: are these voices being heard less or not at all because of things beyond their control? Like race, ability or disability, religion. Are they being given fewer opportunities or more obstacles because of that.”
The first instalment, with Jacobs, is out now, and Stynes also flagged some key upcoming episodes.
“In the podcast Hannah Diviney talks about how as a young girl with cerebral palsy, she used to stare at herself in the mirror for ages because she was worried that if she didn’t, she might disappear. She literally couldn’t see herself anywhere else, but in the mirror,” she said.
“[And] Yassmin [Abdel-Magied] and I have known each other for a few years and when her situation reached a real crisis point, there were a lot of people like me watching in utter dismay, thinking, ‘This is what happens to women of colour who are mouthy.’
“You don’t have to say the wrong thing, you just have to say anything. That interview was like a therapy session for me and a chance for us both to look back and go, ‘What the heck was that?’”
Stynes has previously co-hosted the “3PM Pick-Up” radio show across ARN’s Kiis Network, as well as various other television roles including on Channel V Australia and Channel 10.