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"Africans for Norway" is a charity single put together by Radi-Aid, a group that is trying to send radiators from Africa to Norway, to help the people of Norway overcome their problems with cold and frostbite. In it, a group of Africans sing a song about how the plight of the frozen Norwegians has touched their souls, and how they are sharing their African warmth and smiles with the poor people of Scandinavia.

The video can be watched here:

This is, if I am not ruining the surprise, a parody. A joke with a serious purpose: to underscore how many "relief" efforts, including the long string of charity music concerts dating back to USA For Africa's "We are the World", cause misinformation and stereotypes, and are often used more to create a feeling of self-satisfaction amongst the charitable public than to solve problems.

This is actually a complicated debate. On one hand, bringing up third world poverty and how dire it can be is a necessary part of educating people about the world's vast inequalities. On the other hand, it can often devolve into sensationalism, and what apparently is called "poverty porn". (I learned while researching this, that this term had been coined, and that my own coinage, "oppression porn", is apparently not that original.)

But I will sidestep that discussion to make an observation about this video: it is a brilliant piece of satire. Like all great satire, it is believable with only the slightest exaggeration to let the viewer know this is a joke. A group of singers sways gently to the music, singing clich├ęd lyrics in a serious tone. They smile and gesture, showing their heartbreak at the plight of the people in Norway. A soloist comes on while a man at a piano seriously bobs his head. The singers all look at each other with the smug, yet innocent look of people who are "reaching out" to "do something". All of this is played with a straight face. It is a funny video to watch, a spot-on imitation of the charity single. Whether it will keep its humor upon repeated viewings is not something I could vouch for right now, but it is one of the more clever musical parodies I have seen for a while.

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