Stacey Dooley hits back at MP's criticism of 'white saviour' selfies with African kids
The documentary maker has clashed with MP David Lammy after posting Instagram pictures on a Comic Relief trip
A trip to Uganda to film Stacey Dooley for the upcoming Comic Relief fundraiser has caused a storm between the Strictly winner and Labour politician David Lammy.
Images of the documentary maker holding Ugandan children, one captioned that she was "obsessed", led to a backlash from the MP for Tottenham, who stated it pushed the "white saviour" view of the continent.
Lammy wrote on Twitter: "The world does not need any more white saviours. As I've said before, this just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes. Let's instead promote voices from across the continent of Africa and have serious debate.
"The history of colonialism in Africa means race is important. Stacey’s Instagram posts continue a very long established trope of white female heroine with orphan black child with little or no agency or parents in sight. Comic relief do this because it makes people give money."
Dooley has defended her trip as part of a fundraiser which, in 2015, exceeded raising a total of £1 billion since its 1985 inception by Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry. This year's edition is due to take place on Friday March 15, along with a live show on BBC1.
In response, Dooley tweeted: "David, is the issue with me being white? (Genuine question) because if that’s the case, you could always go over there and try raise awareness? Comic relief have raised over 1 billion pounds since they started. I saw projects that were saving lives with the money. Kids lives."
Comic Relief have also released a statement backing Dooley, adding that they are "grateful" for her work on their behalf while noting that Lammy has not responded to their previous offers to work together. The 46-year-old MP has denied these claims.
Lammy also says that his criticism was not personally aimed at Dooley but insisted that Comic Relief-style fundraisers are outdated.
"This isn't personal and I don't question your good motives," he wrote. "My problem with British celebrities being flown out by Comic Relief to make these films is that it sends a distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era.
In separate tweets on Thursday morning, he added: "This way of raising money is tired and outdated. I wish they would change the record and realise all it does is perpetuate an age old colonial troupe that encourages supine Westerners to give but continue in total ignorance of what’s really happening in the continent.
"Imagine Black African celebrities coming to the U.K. holding up a mirror to our problems- Homelessness, drug addiction, abuse and asking people to sit back and give without context or discussion. It wouldn’t happen because power and colonialism don’t work that way!"