The White Band’s Burden: Band Aid 30 and Modern Britain

Modern British Studies Birmingham

Andrew Jones Andrew Jones

The nights are drawing in, an African disaster is in the news, and Bob Geldof is swearing on live television. It can only mean one thing: Band Aid is back. Now resembling a national institution, the artistically dreadful charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas? has been resurrected for the fourth time in thirty years. Now featuring such humanitarian heavyweights as One Direction and Olly Murs, Band Aid 30 raises funds to help tackle the ongoing Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa.

Band Aid has attracted a significant amount of criticism since its revival, which has focused largely upon the song’s patronising and even dehumanising portrayal of African people as desperate, voiceless, and dependent upon the generosity of privileged white Westerns. Many of these critiques are as old as Band Aid itself. However, Band Aid 30 has still proven popular with the music-buying public…

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