Comic Relief Will Stop Sending White Celebrities To Africa
Sir Lenny Henry has revealed that Comic Relief will no longer send White celebrities to Africa, following accusations of ‘White saviourism’.
The charity is known for sending well-known stars – who are more often than not White – to Africa in a bid to share the stories of the people who will receive help from the funds raised by the show.
However, in recent years the programme has come under fire for perpetuating the ‘White saviour’ stereotype, which refers to a White person helping a non-White person in a self-serving manner.
It comes after Stacey Dooley faced major criticism last year for sharing a photo of herself carrying a Black child from Uganda, with the caption, ‘Obsessed.’
Labour MP David Lammy was among those who criticised the documentary maker, tweeting that ‘the world does not need any more White saviours’.
However, Comic Relief stepped in and defended Stacey, pointing out that she has ‘filmed and reported on challenging issues all over the world, helping to put a much-needed spotlight on issues that affect people’s lives daily’, as per Metro.
Back in 2017, Ed Sheeran was also accused of ‘poverty porn’ after he was filmed paying for a young boy’s housing in Liberia.
‘A lot has changed over Comic Relief’s 35 years, and so the way we raise money and talk about the issues we are here to tackle, and the people we are here to support, must change as well,’ Sir Lenny said in a statement.
‘I think on certain issues right now, like representation, amplifying Black voices and diversity, there’s a real sense of reflection and looking inwards, and asking ourselves what can we do to learn and grow too.’
Investing in local talent across Africa to tell stories from their communities is great and a much-needed step forward but as always there is more that can be done. The energy and passion for change and new perspectives is there in bucket loads.
African people don’t want us to tell their stories for them, what they need is more agency, a platform and partnership.
Henry founded the charity in 1985 alongside filmmaker Richard Curtis, and says he’s ‘proud’ of the changes the charity is making.
The organisation now plans to preview films from African filmmakers that explore the impact of mental health issues, climate change and young women escaping forced marriages.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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