Spotify is trolling 'Do They Know It's Christmas' for some dubious lyrics about the Ethiopian famine

Greg Evans
Monday 23 December 2019 12:30
Showbiz

Christmas is that one time of year where we listen to the same 20 songs over and over again despite some of them being very problematic.

While songs like 'Baby It's Cold Outside' and 'Fairytale of New York' are constantly being pulled up for featuring some very dodgy lyrics other tunes seem to get off scot-free.

Well, thanks to of all things, Spotify, we can now add 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' to that list for basically being incredibly patronising to the people of Africa.

The charity single was originally released back in 1984. While it only mentions generic "Africa", it is in fact a reaction to the famine crisis in Ethiopia which left more than 1 million people dead.

The song was penned by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure after the former watched a documentary about the crisis. The two recruited the likes of Bono, George Michael, Boy George and Sting to form a supergroup and thus created one of the biggest Christmas songs of all-time.

However, hindsight can be a powerful thing and Spotify is reminding people that the lyrics are seriously problematic.

For starters, the song peddles myths about the cause of the famine, suggesting it was down to a drought, rather than the corrupt government misusing international aid. Not to mention the fact that the titular lyric itself is somewhat absurd. People would of course know what time of year it was – it is a predominantly Christian country.

Writer Joanna Mang spotted this while reading the 'Behind the Lyrics' feature on the song and let's just say that whoever wrote it was laying on some heavy sass on Geldof and Ure.

Mang's tweet has since gone viral and at the time of writing has been shared more than 12,000 times and liked more than 52,000 times. Let's just say that people are here for the shade.

That being said, we shouldn't completely undermine the impact that the song had at the time, and the subsequent three times that is was rerecorded in 1989, 2004 and 2014. A reported £200m was raised via sales of the single which went towards the relief fund and it later went on to inspire the iconic Live Aid concert in July 1985, which raised a further £150m.

However, both Geldof and Ure have routinely had to deny that they financially profited from the song while investigations have found that some of the money unintentionally ended up in the hands of then-president Mengistu Haile Mariam and his military dictatorship.

HT Mashable

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