Lammy Is Strictly Right About Dooley, Maybe Markle Is The Answer?
If you live in Britain it is hard to have missed the recent storm that blew up when Labour MP David Lammy quite rightly raised his concerns about the ‘White Saviour’ culture that seems to go hand-in-hand charity projects in Africa.
The debate originated when Stacey Dooley was photographed with a seemingly parentless Ugandan child against a typically barren landscape in a promotion for Comic Relief. Lammy pointed out that the photo seemed deliberately staged to perpetuate the myth of Africa as an impoverished continent full of malnutrition and orphans.
With Dooley, an attractive white celebrity front and centre of the the photo you’d have to be deliberately obtuse not to see it as another glib piece of propaganda with benevolent westerners riding to the rescue of poor black people.
You could fill another whole article on Dooleys motivation (and that of the countless other worthy white celebrities involved) but it’s hard not to feel that she stands to gain as much any of the recipients of aid. Until recently she was a virtually unknown documentary journalist on a small terrestrial channel. Then it feels her PR team kicked into gear - she featured on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, maximising her working class girl schtick to cruise to victory. Moving on to a high profile charity gig seemed an obvious progression and no doubt her agent must be thanking their lucky stars for David Lammy and the ensuing Twitter storm.
So if we agree that the use of white celebrities for African charities is problematic then who can we send?
David Lammy went a bit too far when he said that really only people from Africa should feature in such promotions. This misunderstands the purpose of celebrity endorsement - it is an essential tool for raising awareness. What we can agree on is that it would be more appropriate to sideline white celebrities in favour of people of colour, as it will disrupt the White Saviour narrative that has abounded for centuries.
With that agreed then the question arises, who would be a better replacement for Dooley? There is a simple answer right under our noses - Megan Markle. She is a strong and beautiful black woman, with the common touch and enough celebrity to shine a light on the most obscure of causes. She also doesn’t stand to gain from the transaction as her profile is already stratospheric.
Unfortunately though, the media are busy trying to destroy her in the eyes of the world. The novelty of a black royal seems to have worn thin rather quickly. The tabloids and the public in general seem to be getting a perverse glee in pulling her down - this interloper with a low born background who dared to enter the upper echelons of society. Rather than lauding her for all she has achieved and taking advantage of her kind nature and talent she is being denigrated.
An opportunity missed - but oh well, I’m sure Olly Murs is available for another photo op in Ethiopia.
What do you think? Post a comment below and get the conversation started.