Update, November 19: Fuse ODG has called the charity venture “ultimately flawed” and said he will donate the proceeds from his next single to tackling Ebola.
In an article for the Guardian, the Afrobeats star explains that he “spoke at length” with Bob Geldof about his concerns over the project’s portrayal of Africa, and eventually decided against contributing to the song when he saw the new lyrics.
“On receiving the proposed lyrics on Thursday – two days before the recording was due to take place in London – I was shocked and appalled by their content. The message of the Band Aid 30 song absolutely did not reflect what Africa is truly about and I started to question whether this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
He adds: “In truth, my objection to the project goes beyond the offensive lyrics. I, like many others, am sick of the whole concept of Africa – a resource-rich continent with unbridled potential – always being seen as diseased, infested and poverty-stricken. In fact, seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa. ”
Africa has too long been associated with images of poverty and famine, he continues. “With decades of such imagery being pumped out, the average westerner is likely to donate £2 a month or buy a charity single that gives them a nice warm fuzzy feeling; but they are much less likely to want to go on holiday to, or invest in, Africa. If you are reading this and haven’t been to Africa, ask yourself why.”
The singer’s This is New Africa (Tina) movement intends to change people’s perception of the continent, he add. “Anyone who has experienced Africa in a positive way is a citizen of the New Africa and needs to play their part in challenging perceptions. I’m sharing my experience through my music – and if I can make chart-topping music that celebrates Africa then surely Band Aid and its extensive network can do the same. I’ve performed in two of the three countries currently hit by the Ebola crisis, where I have friends and loyal fans, and will be donating the proceeds from my next single to help tackle this issue.”
The ‘Antenna’ singer had philosophical problems with the project.
Fuse ODG — an English Afrobeats artist of Ghanaian descent — has taken to Twitter to explain why he declined the opportunity to sing on Band Aid 30’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
Upon received the song’s proposed lyrics, Fuse “felt the message of the Band Aid 30 song was not in line with the message of The New Africa movement (TINA).” “T.I.N.A.” — short for “this is New Africa” — is Fuse’s latest single, album and the movement he’s launched to showcase Africa in a better light.
“After some consideration, I spoke with Geldof and informed him I would be unable to attend the studio session,” he writes. “Sir Bob Geldof respectfully acknowledged my decision.”
Band Aid 30 featured Bono, Bastille, Ellie Goulding, Chris Martin, Sam Smith, Jessie Ware and more. However, despite inclusion on early press materials, Pitchfork reports that Disclosure did not appear on the song.