The United Nations Children's Fund is running damage control after its new German advertising campaign was not so-well-received. Someone had the not-so-clever idea to splash four blond child models in mud to create blackface.
The public service announcements intended to draw attention to the education crisis in Africa by appealing "for solidarity with their contemporaries" in Germany. The adverts appeared in, among
other places, the most respected publications in the nation, such as Die Spiegel, Stern and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Roughly translated, the first ad reads, "In Africa, kids don't come to school late, but not at all" The translation below: "I'm waiting for my last day in school, the children in Africa still for their first one."
Black American expatriate blogger Black Women in Europe brought the campaign to international attention: "[It] is disturbing that this organisation thinks blackfacing kids with mud equals" showing "solidarity with African children," she notes. It also "ignores African academics and regular people andreduces a whole continent to a village of muddy uneducated, uncivilized people."
UNICEF issues a quasi-apology: "We apologize if you feel irritated by the make up of the children."