By Laura Harman
Thandie Newton has signed Lenny Henry’s open letter about COVID-19 vaccinations for Black people. She is one of the many Black celebrities who have added their signature to the letter.
Lenny Henry has penned a heartfelt open letter to encourage Black people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This open letter has been signed by various other Black celebrities who are supporting Lenny Henry’s message and encouraging vaccinations. This includes authors, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Malorie Blackman, and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.
Black British actors, Adjoa Andoh, David Harewood, Adrian Lester and Naomi Ackie signed the letter and starred in the short video that brought the letter to life. The video is titled, “A letter to loved ones about the COVID-19 vaccine - Sir Lenny Henry” and was co-produced by the NHS.
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Sir Lenny Henry explained that he felt compelled to write this letter in order to help Black people in Britain. On Twitter he said, “I felt it was important to do my bit, so I wrote this letter to Black Britain asking people not to get left behind, to not continue to be disproportionately impacted and to trust the facts from our doctors, professors and scientists."
Sir Lenny told BBC Breakfast that the short film was created remotely while all the cast were still at home in Lockdown. "It came together really quickly - within a couple of weeks we were making the film. People were all over the place. We all managed to make this little film with Amma directing us remotely," said Lenny.
Lenny wrote in the letter, "While other communities are rushing to get the vaccine and millions have already been vaccinated, some Black people in our community are being more cautious.”
Lenny urged those who were uncertain about the vaccine to trust their doctors. He said, “we’re asking you to trust the facts about the vaccine from our own professors, scientists and doctors involved in the vaccine’s development. GPs, not just from here in the UK but from all over the world, including Africa and the Caribbean.”
The comedian then reminded readers that there is already racial inequality in Britain and that not getting vaccinated with worsen this issue. “Don’t let your concerns be the thing that widens racial inequality in our society. Don’t let coronavirus cost even more Black lives. Because we matter,” he said.
He ended the letter with a heartfelt plea and a little joke to lighten the message. Lenny wrote, "So please hear us and when your turn comes, take the jab. Let's do this together. And once you do, tell cousin Mo to do the same thing (is he really my cousin?) Let’s do this together. Thank you. Lenny x"
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