Faizel Patel – 11/03/2021
The Director of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird says while celebrities will always occupy people’s minds, sometimes they do raise issues that are prevalent within society including racism and mental health among other challenges.
Bird was speaking to Radio Islam on Thursday about the Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on Tuesday.
The couple set off a whirl of speculation about the identity of the senior royal who asked how dark their child’s skin would be before he was born.
Meghan, whose mother is black and father is white, also spoke about how she had suicidal thoughts but failed to get any support during her time in the royal family.
Bird says while there may or may not be any interest in celebrities lives, there are bigger issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and poverty that famous people create awareness about.
“The moment you start dealing with those things, then I think it’s certainly worth engaging with them. Certainly when you look at the responses to that and how those themselves are motivated by racism, that is a very useful way of showing and demonstrating how ordinary people’s experience of racism kind of plays out on a bigger scenario.”
Bird says Piers Morgan’s opinion of not believing Markle about her racism claims is just a clever ploy.
Morgan has left ITV’s Good Morning Britain following a row over comments he made about the Duchess Sussex.
“What he’s actually doing is, as a white male saying to someone who is expressing the fact that they had experienced and are a victim of racism to say ‘I’m denying you that reality, I don’t believe that, there’s no racism here.’”
Bird says media is absolutely critical in our digital era.
“We rely on media and journalism now to help us understand, to think through issues, to challenge, question, get a sense of what’s going and to know what’s credible and what isn’t.
Referring to Morgan, Bird says it is a very worrying sign when media start behaving like the worst elements of social media.
Listen to the interview with William Bird