Supermodel and activist Naomi Campbell spoke out against medical colonialism in Africa during Diddy’s dance-a-thon on Easter Sunday.
The virtual dance party featured appearances from the likes of Drake, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion and Campbell, who each showed off their dance moves and gave tributes to essential workers in the spaces of healthcare and produce. Campbell was moved to tears while saluting doctors and nurses working in the midst of the novel coronavirus and called out remarks from French doctors who suggested testing on Africans.
“For our people, for us to read that this attack should be [tested] on our people, is also another thing,” she said. “I think about Africa too because Africa is in the summertime so when we get to winter, what happens with the timing of the seasons?”
“We will not be tested on, we will not be guinea pigs,” she added. “That’s 100 percent for sure.”
The comments about testing on the continent were made by Jean-Paul Mira, head of the intensive care unit at the Cochin Hospital in Paris and Camille Locht, research director at France’s national health institute, Inserm. As they spoke on French television channel, LCI, the men suggested testing on Africans because of the assumed lack of resources.
Africa, which is the least affected continent by COVID-19, has seen 10,000 cases and a reported 500 deaths in 52 countries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC).
According to BBC News, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a country-wide three-week lockdown on March 27 with an extension into April.
Campbell has been a long-standing advocate for Africa as it relates to inclusivity in the fashion industry. In addition to projects like Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, she’s teamed up with Gucci to provide fellowships to those looking to enter the industry in Africa. She also hailed as a judge for the LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2019 that included South Africa’s Thebe Magugu and Nigerian menswear designer Kenneth Ize as finalists.
“You do see me but what I do in my life now has changed, because my relevance to me is that I have to help the continent of Africa and I feel that I want to be inclusive in the world that I know, which is fashion, and I mean all over Africa,” Campbell told South China Morning Post. “This is a start and I hope that everyone else will realize that this is a place that’s been untapped for so long and there’s so much talent there.”
In addition to Campbell, Kelly Rowland, Ava Duvernay, LaLa Anthony, Tiffany Haddish and Jennifer Lopez shared tributes to health care workers. Diddy raised over $3 million for essential workers during his hours-long fundraiser.