Why Comic Relief stopped sending ‘white savior’ celebrities to Africa after scandal

Comic Relief made a big change last year after being opposed for bringing British celebrities to Africa.

Over the years, the charity will attract actors, singers and comedians to visit African countries as part of their fundraising efforts.

But they have been heavily criticized for sending ‘white saviors’ to the continent and accused by Labor MP David Lammy of creating ‘poverty porn’ and perpetuating ‘prejudices’ tired and useless’.

Ed Sheeran The campaign video of this branded campaign in 2017 after he was filmed paying for a home for a boy in Liberia – was awarded the “Rusty Radiator”, given for “funding video most repulsive and stereotypical of the year”.

When Stacey Dooley is at the center of controversy in 2019 when she posted a picture of herself holding a Ugandan child with the caption ‘haunted’.

Mr Lammy, who has been an MP for Tottenham since 2010, wrote on Twitter that Stacey was damaging Africa’s reputation by reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes.

Stacey Dooley was fired for posting this photo


Unknown Internet)

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“The world doesn’t need any more white saviors. Like I said before, this just perpetuates tired and useless stereotypes,” he tweeted. “Let’s instead promote voices from across the African continent and have serious debates.”

Mr Lammy said his issue was not personal to Stacey and he did not question her “good motives”, but had issues with British celebrities coming to Africa to make films. send “a distorted picture” of the continent.

The politician said it continued to uphold “an old idea from the colonial era” and that “many black Britons” were “deeply annoyed” by Comic Relief’s “poverty pornography”.

“Comic Relief has a huge background and privilege and it’s the first and main way that children learn about Africa,” he continued.

“If they point to Africans as pitiful helpless victims, children will miss out on the broader picture of great progress in Africa.

“Comic Relief should help build the image of Africans as equals being respected rather than pitifully helpless victims.

“Therefore, it would be better for people who actually live there to talk about the continent they know.

Congressman David Lammy says Comic Relief is perpetuating “tired and unhelpful stereotypes”


Joseph Raynor / Nottingham Post)

“Many black Britons are extremely uncomfortable with Comic Relief’s poverty-stricken pornography. It’s my job to express their views even if it’s uncomfortable.

“They want their children to have a holistic view of Africa and such campaigns have unfortunately failed.”

But Stacey disagreed and hit back at the politician on Twitter, then challenged him to fly to Africa to raise awareness for the charity.

She wrote: “David, is the problem with me being white? (Honest question) … because if that’s the case, you could always go there and try to raise awareness?”

“The comic relief operations have raised over £1 billion since they started. I’ve seen life-saving projects with this money. Children get to live.”

In October of last year, Comic Relief confirmed that it would no longer be bringing celebrities to Africa and would also stop using images of undernourished people and unhealthy children in its scenes.

Instead of sending British production teams to Africa, they decided to ask local filmmakers to create films that would raise their funds.

Ed Sheeran traveled to Liberia to visit children living on the streets and slums in 2017


Comic Relief Ltd)

Sir Lenny Henry, who co-founded Comic Relief in 1985 with filmmaker Richard Curtis, hailed the “big step” and acknowledged that it would allow “young black and brown filmmakers” to tell stories. their story.

The comedian told the BBC: “I think the time has come. And it’s not to say that the films we’ve made before have not been extraordinary and haven’t made a big impact.

“But it’s time for young black and brown filmmakers to take responsibility and say, ‘I want to tell you my story.’ There are other ways to elicit empathy — and perhaps they are. I’ve been pressing the same button for too long.”

So far, things have not gone according to plan as two celebrities have been forced to withdraw from their hosting duties due to Covid.

First, Masked Singer host Joel Dommett, who announced he’s stepping aside after testing positive – and confirmed he’ll be replaced with I’ star Vernon kay m A Celebrity.

“Very upset to report that I have vid. Unfortunately this means I have to pull out of hosting @comicrelief,” he wrote in an Instagram post snapping a picture of himself in the stream. storage.

“My amazing replacement is the more handsome, talented @vernonkay who is the ace. I’ll be following home donations like everyone else!”

Zoe Ball has been forced out of Comic Relief

Confirming he was coming in, Vernon wrote: “Covid has caught Captain Fantastic @joeldommett so I’ll be trying to fill up his 11.5 size shoes on Fridays @comicrelief Prizeathon with @ajodudu Get the Vits in Joel kick it ass and join the fun from the sofa? (You can win a XE!)”

Ironically, one of the people wishing Joel a speedy recovery was co-host Zoe Ball, who has now been forced to step back from hosting duties.

The Radio 2 presenter told fans she was gutted to “fall at the final hurdle” following a positive side-flow test this morning, meaning Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon will now perform a double shift.

Zoe wrote on Instagram: “Pook! Hit the roadblock last time and had positive flows this morning – not too much!

“Good luck to Lenny, David, @mcguinness.paddy, @ajodudu, @vernonkay and the gang @comicrelief, there’s a lot of goodies in store tonight.”

Some of the other famous stars confirmed to host the epic Red Nose Day are Doctor Who star David Tennant, serious finalist AJ Odudu, Take Me Out’s Paddy McGuiness and of course co-founders Comic Relief, Lenny Henry.

Lenny Henry is very excited about this year’s event


BBC / Comic Relief)

Lenny is the co-founder of Comic Relief


Comic Relief Ltd)

Speaking ahead of the 19th edition, Lenny said they’re aiming to deliver another night of fun, famous faces and never-before-seen comedy sketches.

“Every year, it feels like Red Nose Day comes faster and faster – maybe it’s a sign I’m getting older. But it also feels like it needs to have an evening of laughter and use its unique power to raise funds. for those who urgently need our help, are more relevant than ever,” he explains.

Lenny said this is an opportunity to come together to help local communities in the UK and people around the world, especially during the current war in Ukraine.

And here we are in 2022, witnessing the horrific images of the war in Ukraine every day and seeing people around the world fleeing conflict and repression, he said.

Lenny added: “As well as hilarious comedy and exceptional sketches, our film will show you how and where all of your generous donations have helped and where your money has come from. What can you do the most for the future?

“I hope we can unite again to enjoy the show, and if you can, please donate. Your kindness and generosity really has the power to change lives.”

* Comic Relief starts tonight on BBC One at 7pm

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