COMIC Relief announces changes and will stop sending celebrities to Africa after criticism of outdated, “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” and visions of “white saviours”.
Sweeping changes are being made to the charity following backlashes in recent years to stars such as Stacey Dooley and Ed Sheeran highlighting themselves as “white saviours” when visiting Africa.
The charity will now be looking to adopt a “more authentic perspective”, and it is a move the Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry welcomes:
“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,” he said.
“African people don’t want us to tell their stories for them. What they need is more agency, a platform and partnership.”
The charity also said it would stop using images of starving people or critically ill children to portray the continent and would instead positively highlight three videos made by film-makers across Africa.
In the announcement, made on Wednesday, October 28, the charity said it was finalising new “story-telling guidelines”, which would include a stronger focus on “grassroots” workers in appeal films that explore issues including; mental health, climate change, and forced marriages.
Comic Relief finally announces changes and will stop sending celebrities to Africa, after receiving fairly public criticism from Labour MP David Lammy.
He said that Stacey Dooley holding a young Ugandan boy perpetuated “tired and unhelpful stereotypes” when she travelled to Uganda to visit a neonatal clinic.
“The world does not need any more white saviours,” he added, before stating that the picture evoked “a colonial image of a white, beautiful heroine holding a black child, with no agency, no parents insight”.
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