‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ Needs To Be Canceled

A terrible, racist song which led to ruin

6 min readDec 4, 2019


After colonialism, they inflicted us with this

Throughout history, someone has always been canceled, so I have no problem with cancel culture. Usually, the victims or people that can’t speak up are canceled — this is the default — and what people dismissively call cancel culture is a repudiation of that.

So, to that altar I would like to offer the song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ produced by Bob Geldof and featuring Boy George, George Michael, Sting, Bono, and Simon Le Bon, this bunch of white men singing ignorant, racist nonsense at Africa needs to stop.

Jesus lived in Africa, North Africa celebrated the first Christmases and, today, Africa is home to the largest Christian population in the world. I think they know it’s Christmas. We can cancel the stupid song now.

The Abominable Lyrics

[Paul Young]
It’s Christmas time
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time
We let in light and we banish shade

OK, this is literally just racist, but this is still one of the more excusable lines. Singing about Africa and banishing shade is metaphorically dubious, but maybe they didn’t mean it that way.

[Boy George]
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time

Oh no, they did. So not only are they lighter than Africa, they are also richer. Wonder how that happened. *Cough cough* colonialism.

[George Michael]
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time it’s hard




Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.