Theater
Getty Images

White Actor Who Says He's "Born Again" African Wins Grant Meant For "People Of Color"

This story should sound eerily familiar.

The U.K. has its own version of Rachel Dolezal.

Anthony Lennon, a self-professed “born again African” is being criticized for winning a two-year grant that was meant for “theater practitioners of color,” the U.K. Independent reports.

Lennon, 53, is the artistic director of Talawa, an all-black theater company in East London. Last year, the Arts Council England named him one of the recipients of a £406,000 ( $531,674) grant, which was supposed to be allocated to minorities. Lennon applied for the grant as a person of “mixed heritage.”

The London native, who was born to white Irish parents, claims that he endured the “struggles of a black man,” and he’s been sticking to the same story for years.

Lennon alleges that he was subjected to racial bullying as a child because people thought he was biracial. He went on to change his middle name from David to "Ekundayo" and seemingly commenced to living a transracial lifestyle.

Although Talawa backed Lennon’s application, the Arts Council appears to be distancing itself from the scandal. “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,” the company said in a statement.

Other responses to Lennon's racial ruse have been less diplomatic.

“Many of us are becoming sick and tired of racial imposters who are commodifying blackness for their own financial gain. You cannot wear the cloak of blackness when it suits you,” said Habeeb Akande, a British-Nigerian author on race and religion.

According to the Evening Standard, Talawa received calls asking that they reconsider Lennon’s job position. “If the role was advertised for a person of color, then it has been given under a false pretext, and I think it should be overturned to give someone else an opportunity,” noted Vijay Shaunak of London’s Tara Arts theater company.

Ironically, Lennon's self-appointed blackness is rooted in white privilege. That said, he's not exactly hiding the fact that he's a white guy. The Independent cited a 2012 speech where he told an audience about his faux blackness, and a 1990 BBC docuseries on Lennon noted that while his parents are “indisputably white,” he “earns his living as a black actor, because ever since he was a child he has looked black.”

On Sunday (Nov. 4) Lennon offered another puzzling admission to The Times U.K. stating in part, "My genes are white but I'm black."

READ MORE: Rachel Dolezal Faces 15 Years Of Prison Over Welfare Fraud

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Mother And Daughter Arrested In Horrific Murder Of Pregnant Chicago Teen

A mother and daughter were arrested in the horrific murder of a pregnant Chicago teenager who had been missing since late last month. The victim, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was strangled to death before her unborn baby was sliced from her womb.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, her 24-year-old daughter, Desiree, have been charged with first-degree murder. Piotra Bobak, Figueroa’s 40-year-old boyfriend, was charged with concealing a homicidal death.

Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she went missing on April 23, after leaving Latino Youth High School. The mother-to-be drove herself to Figueroa’s home where she thought that she would be picking up baby clothes and a double stroller. The teen met Figueroa on Facebook and had purchased baby items from her in the past, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a press conference Thursday (May 16).

According to the Chicago Tribune, the elder Figueroa planned to keep the baby boy, who is reportedly brain dead from lack of oxygen. The newborn remains hospitalized on life support.

Desiree later confessed to helping her mother strangle Ochoa-Lopez to death, police said. Investigators searched Figueroa’s property Tuesday (May 14) and recovered Ochoa-Lopez’s remains from a trash bin in the backyard, along with the cable likely used in the murder.

Ochao-Lopez’s case had hit a roadblock until a friend tipped investigators off about her Facebook correspondence with Figueroa. Police initially visited Figueroa’s home on April 23 but were told that she had recently given birth at home. A DNA test later determined that she was not the baby’s mother.

A spokesperson for Ochao-Lopez’s family called the murder “surreal.” The teen is survived by a 3-year-old daughter and her husband, Yovani Lopez.

See more on the horrifying crime below.

Continue Reading
Erik S. Lesser

Westboro Baptist Church To Protest Spelman, Morehouse And Clark-Atlanta University Graduations

The Westboro Baptist Church, which the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America” has taken aim at several historical black colleges or universities.

According to reports, the group plans to protest Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark-Atlanta University's forthcoming graduation ceremonies. In a press release earlier this month, the Kansas-based group said Spelman College’s "Women's Research and Resource Center of Spelman" is actually "more evidence does not seem necessary to demonstrate that this college is being grandly paid to produce perverts who aggressively strive to push others toward proud sin and down the path to hell. Repent!”

The group then took aim at Morehouse college over the fact it announced it would admit transgender men. “Morehouse, founded by Baptists, announced in April, 2019, that for 135 years only male students could enroll, but starting in 2020, females, who pretend that they are males, will be welcome. Check the neck! God’s moral law is immutable!” the group wrote.

In the group's attack against Clark-Atlanta University, the group aimed at Reverend Dr. Ken Walden, the President-Dean of Gammon Theological Seminary who is scheduled to deliver a prayer during the upcoming graduation ceremony.

“No true or spiritually helpful guidance will be offered by this man, whose lengthy resume is given in demonstration that he is worldly, men-pleaser who has made a career of misconstruing, wresting and lying about Jesus Christ and His Word. Flee from whorish, lying pastors!” the group added.

The director of public safety at Spelman released a statement, which was obtained by The Grio, assured students that extra security would be put in place. “We will have additional staff on hand to ensure that all events proceed safely and with minimal disruption if any at all,” the email read.

Continue Reading
Bebeto Matthews)

Singer-Songwriter Meghan Tonjes Teaches White People How To Wash Their Legs

Last week, a debate about hygiene erupted on Twitter, specifically if one should wash their legs when showering. Unbeknownst to the writer of this post, I assumed legs were part of the human body and washing the entire body, both legs included, was a given. However, a recent Twitter poll showed that not everyone believes washing one's legs is necessary.

A few of things have been safe inside your pants all day, but may still need a wash...

— VeronikaSawyer (@VeronikaShell) May 10, 2019

I can't.... https://t.co/Sh17kxqqgZ

— Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29) May 10, 2019

Days later, Meghan Tonjes decided to educate those who surmised that washing their legs wasn't that important. In a video dedicated to white people and titled "White Washing 101" Tonjes explains how to wash and moisturize your legs.

While using a washcloth and soap, the singer-songwriter also offered variety in her instruction by informing viewers they can use up and down motions, back and forth or even use circular motions with their soaped up washcloth.

"If you're asking what the point of this is, it's to actually get the dirt off of your body," Tonjes said. She then instructs viewers to not just dry off their legs, but to lock in the moisture from the water by applying lotion. "And yes, you're going to do this every time," she says with a thumbs up.

Some might call this video patronizing, others might say Ms. Tonjes is doing the Lord's work. You decide for yourself.

Dear White People. #washcloths pic.twitter.com/nxMuHSWqQH

— Meghan Tonjes (@meghantonjes) May 14, 2019

Continue Reading

Top Stories