A comedian who has gone viral for his parody videos of British news reports says he wants to draw attention to “subtle” racism in the UK media.
After this weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests, Munya Chawawa created a mock news broadcast poking fun at what he saw as the “quite negative” media response.
The video, which has now been viewed 2.5 million times, was shared by actor John Boyega and prompted calls to get Chawawa his own TV show.
“The final racist icing on the pounded yam was when a brown horse aggressively galloped through the streets at the speed of Dominic ‘Vin Diesel’ Cummings,” he joked.
“Perhaps it’s time these protests became no-tests,” Chawawa added.
Chawawa, who has been in comedy for two years, said he often addresses race in his performances, and has been disappointed by the media’s coverage of anti-racism protests over the last two weeks.
“The media and public response to the recent Black Lives Matter movement was, I felt – quite negative,” Chawawa told the PA news agency.
“I was reading the comments under news articles, calling protesters ‘scum’, ‘thugs’, ‘lemmings’, and this was during the peaceful protests.
“Racism in the press is usually quite subtle; maybe it’s getting an easy name ‘mixed up’ or using negatively charged language to provoke a reaction.
“So I thought: let me just do you a favour and say what you really want to say for you.”
Chawawa has previously supported the Black Lives Matter campaign, calling for people to “listen, be empathetic, and try to understand”.
“I grew up in Zimbabwe, where being black was the norm, and I moved back to Norfolk – where it definitely isn’t,” he told PA.
“Throughout my life, I’ve ticked of most the bingo boxes for ‘being a black person’: unsolicited hair touching, n-words over football fallouts, being followed around Tesco by suspicious security guards and, of course, the annual ‘I’m as brown as you!’ from colleagues in summertime,” he said.
“So naturally – race and racism is something I address in my comedy.”
Chawawa said that comedy has kept him “busier than I’ve ever been” during the UK-wide lockdown period.
He told PA that lockdown had “already helped me make some of my best content”, referencing another parody of himself as singer “Craig Covid” that also went viral in March.
“However, with this video, what has fulfilled me most has been the messages from black people of all ages telling me I’ve cheered them up and helped lift the mood after two very tense, exhausting weeks,” he added.Support us and go ad-free
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.