Thursday, November 22

Africa for Norway: Africans fundraising for dying children in Norway

I came across this interesting video yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you to get your reactions. It’s a video by Radi-Aid to encourage Africans to send their radiators to help people who are freezing to death in Norway. It’s a parody of “Do They Know it’s Christmas” by Band-Aid, a video made in 1984 by a collaboration of artists including Bono, Boy George, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, George Michael, Kool and the Gang and Sting. Even if you haven’t seen the video or didn’t know the history behind it, you’ve probably heard this song; it was the highest selling single in UK chart history until 1997!

At first, I thought the parody “Africa for Norway” was a bit mean spirited. After all, the purpose of the Band-Aid video was to raise money for famine relief during the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia; it raised millions of dollars for famine relief and inspired another song (We are the World written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie) which raised even more. So why would someone want to make fun of a song that was written with great intentions?

Well, after listening to the original and checking out a few comments online it became obvious that there are a few issues that people have with the Band-Aid song. The lyrics are very divisive (us versus them) with one controversial line that says “We'll, tonight, thank God, it's them instead of you.” And then there is the extremely inaccurate, yet commonly portrayed image of Africa that the song gives (“Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow”).

Africa for Norway calls out the stereotypes portrayed by the Band-Aid song and it does so in a funny and inoffensive way.

Here are both the original Do They Know it’s Christmas video and the Africa for Norway videoCheck out both videos and let me know what you think.

(Reposted due to trouble with links)

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