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We must lead by example on Africa's famine crisis

ACTION NEEDED: Bob Geldof's Band Aid project seemed to exclude black Britons.

THE DAILY television pictures of starving children and emaciated livestock in the Horn of Africa are reminiscent of the unforgettable famine in that part of the world that prompted Bob Geldof to “feed the world” with his troupe of rock ‘n’ rollers for the initial Band Aid line-up.

It was a line up that is also remembered for its dearth of black British stars - they dragged on some yanks at the last minute such as Jody Watley from Shalamar and the bloke who was singing with Kool and the Gang.

But for a British charity record it was like we didn't exist. At the time many of the black British stars who felt left out created their own famine relief charity records for Ethiopia. Of course they couldn't muster up stars on the level of U2, Phil Collins and George Michael and they weren't given equal coverage in the media. Ultimately nobody remembers that we were as concerned for our starving brothas and sistas in east Africa, because the historical documents (the Band Aid record and video) that survive don't feature us.

The current famine is an opportunity for us to correct our omission from history. Black Brits need to step up a gear now to agitate, educate and organise our response to the impending famine or “too late” will be our cry. Whether we simply donate money to Oxfam or organise our own Live Aids we need to do something now. Tomorrow is too late.

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