Clara Amfo delivers powerful anti-racism message

·3-min read
Clara Amfo poses for photographers upon arrival at Brit Awards 2020 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.(Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Clara Amfo admitted she had not felt able to come to work after the news of George Floyd's death. (AP)

Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo broke down in tears as she told listeners she had missed the show over George Floyd’s death.

The 36-year-old presenter was absent from her BBC afternoon radio show on Monday June 1st and returning the next day - on Blackout Tuesday - she admitted she was struggling with her mental health following the reports of Floyd’s death while being restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Amfo said: "As you would have noted, I wasn’t in work yesterday. I want to talk you about why that was.

"Before I get into it, I want to say that I am fully aware that we are in the middle of this devastating pandemic. I am fully aware that I am not a medical professional or frontline worker. I’m just a woman who does a radio show, but my job is very public facing so I wanna talk to you."

Read more: Alison Hammond breaks down making impassioned speech about Black Lives Matter

She went on: "My mental health was in a really bad way yesterday - it has been for a few days in relation to the death of George Floyd.

"An unarmed black man who died while being held under arrest.

"I didn't have the mental strength to face you guys yesterday, because my weekend was terrible. I was sat on my sofa, angry, crying, confused, stuck at the news at yet another brutalised black body.

"Knowing how the world enjoys blackness but seeing George, we get the feeling that people want our culture but don’t want us. In other words, you want my talent, but not me."

Floyd died aged 46 after a white Minneapolis police officer was seen pinning him to the ground by kneeling on his neck as he pleaded for air.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Clara Amfo arrives at the launch of the Samsung SpaceSelfie campaign party, at Samsung KX in London.
Clara Amfo made an impassioned plea to her listeners about anti-racism. (PA)

On Friday, former police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.

In response, anti-racism protests in the US and elsewhere have been held, including in London.

Speaking out on Blackout Tuesday - when many across the entertainment industry took part in a social media blackout in support of the Black Lives Matter movement - Amfo hit out at racist attitudes.

She said: "There is a fake idea that racism and anti-blackness is just name calling and physical violence, when it is so much more insidious than that.

Read more: Before You Check In On Your Black Friend, Read This

"One of my favourite thinkers is a woman called Amanda Seales, and she says that you can't enjoy the rhythm but ignore the blues. I say that with my chest.”

Amfo added: "I want to say to black listeners, I hope you feel seen and heard, and to those of you who already let me know you’re doing the work so we can do better, I see you, so let's do this. Let's all be anti-racist."

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