Black Celebrities Don White Makeup To Encourage Black And Asian Voting In U.K. General Election

Homeland star David Harewood has turned his skin color white for a new campaign to encourage black and Asian people in the United Kingdom to register to vote in the run up to the country’s general election.

Harewood, the British actor who played CIA chief David Estes in the hit drama, is shown wearing white make up in a series of posters shot by the photographer Rankin. Other British celebrities, including musician Tinie Tempah, ex-soccer star Sol Campbell and Paralympic athlete Ade Adepitan, also appear in the campaign.

The ads were created by Saatchi & Saatchi London for the campaign group Operation Black Vote. The campaign aims to show that if people from black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities don’t vote in the U.K. general election on May 7, their voices won’t get heard. An accompanying YouTube film shows David Harewood having white make-up applied to his face, before posing for a photo shoot and then wiping the make up off. In the 60-second video he says: “If you are black or Asian and you are not registered to vote, you’re actually taking the colour out of Britain–and quite frankly, that looks ridiculous.”

Andy Jex, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, says: “There was no money behind the campaign, so we knew had to create something that would punch well above its weight. We wanted to be very clear that we’re not just making a black man white. The big message is about taking the color out of Britain. For me, that means taking away the diversity and all the things that make Britain great.”

He added: “Black or white, people feel disassociated with politics. The problem is unless you’re registered to vote they don’t even need to canvas you–you don’t matter.”TI