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Mr Motivator On Racism

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The workout guru Mr Motivator has told of the stares and the racism he encountered growing up in Leicester.

The 67 year-old, whose real name is Derrick Evans, was a staple of breakfast television in the 1990s, leading workouts on GMTV. 

But he told Radio Times magazine his rise to success had been a struggle. 

He said: "When I came to Leicester aged 10 from Jamaica, everyone would look at me as I walked by. So I would turn around, smile and wave. 

"Later, when I walked into my very first job interview and the guy said to me, 'Why didn't you tell me you were black?,' I replied, 'Why didn't you tell me you were white?"' 

Speaking about his experiences trying to get into television, he said: "When television came along, it took me 10 years to get a break as an on-screen fitness trainer. 

"Every time I went to the studios, the guys would say, 'Look, for a white lady with two kids, a black guy on TV would never work'. But I kept on persevering." 

The star has been presenting an exercise slot on BBC Breakfast recently after about a decade's absence from mainstream television. 

"Racism is always stupid and wrong, but it seems especially so in a time dominated by illness, a time when we should all be realising that we all need each other. 

"Imagine if a racist person was badly injured and needed a blood transfusion to survive. 

"I don't think that person would hesitate to take my blood and, when they recovered, would be happily walking around with it inside of them. Blood does not discriminate."

18 June 2020                                            Back to the headlines

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