Monday, October 25, 2021

White Actor Calls Himself a ‘Born Again African’ to Land Job Aimed at Black Directors

Photograph: Twitter

*A white theatre director is under fire for claiming to be a “born-again African,” so he could bag a job designed to increase the representation of Blacks and folks of color in British theatre.

The Guardian reports that the Arts Council England has described Anthony Ekundayo Lennon’s case as ‘very unusual’.

Read below how the publication breaks down this curious case of what happens when white supremacy wants to occupy ALL spaces of reality.

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via The Guardian:

Lennon was one of four people who won a paid, two-year, full-time residential traineeship funded with government assistance from Arts Council England.

The programme is designed to help theatre practitioners of colour establish themselves in an industry that accepts it has failed to attract a diverse workforce and is dominated by white men.

Lennon, an actor with more than 30 years’ experience, was awarded a position with the Talawa theatre company based at the Rich Mix arts centre in Shoreditch, east London.

The position was advertised as “open to people of colour” and Lennon applied as a “mixed-heritage” individual, according to the Sunday Times.

“This programme aims to increase the representation of theatre-makers of colour at the highest level of British theatre management, influencing whole organisations from the artists to administration, the productions and the audiences,” said a press release accompanying his appointment.

“In the long term, more theatre leaders of colour will result in artistic programmes and audiences that better reflect the talent, innovation and diversity of Britain in the 21st century.”

Lennon, who is the epitome of white entitlement, previously discussed his identity on an episode of the BBC series Everyman broadcast in the early ’90s.

“Anthony Lennon was born in Kilburn, west London. His parents both come from Ireland and are both indisputably white,” read a synopsis for the show.

“Anthony now earns his living as a black actor, because ever since he was a child he has looked black. When his friends, who are mostly black, find out about his background, fierce debates invariably follow; about whether Anthony really can call himself black, and about what black skin means to those who are born black.”

According to the report, the then 24-year-old Lennon shared how his appearance caused him to be on the receiving end of racism while growing up in 1980s London, so he decided to pull a Rachel Dolezal, despite his father’s disapproval.

“When my hair was shorter it looked like a little afro and people just assumed you’re half-caste,” he said on the show. “When I was younger I would try to explain. After a while, I just got sick of it, the explaining.”

“When I’m alone in my bedroom looking in the mirror, thinking about the stuff I’ve written down, my past, relationship-wise, pictures on the wall … I think I’m a black man.”

The organization that distributed the funding told the Sunday Times: “Talawa were satisfied Anthony was eligible for the opportunity as a result of a relationship with him over a number of years, in which he has identified as a mixed-heritage individual.”

Arts Council England added: “Talawa raised their wish to support Anthony with us. In responding we took into account the law in relation to race and ethnicity. This is a very unusual case and we do not think it undermines the support we provide to black and minority ethnic people within the theatre sector.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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