Meet the new Rachel Dolezal. His name is Anthony Ekundayo Lennon (his original middle name was David) and he has lied about being a person of color to win grants that are meant for people of color.
According to The Independent, Lennon is white and back in 1990 he even said, “My parents are white and so are their parents, and so are their parents, and so are their parents.” However, he said he identifies as a “born-again African” because “Everybody on the planet is African. It’s your choice as to whether you accept it.” He also said he has “gone through the struggles of a Black man” because of his high cheekbones and hair texture. See a photo of him below.
Lennon applied for the Arts Council England grant, which is a paid two-year fellowship for artists of color that is worth more than $500,000. He applied as a mixed heritage person even though he is not of mixed heritage.
The Indepedent reports, “Critics have described the decision to award Mr Lennon with ‘crucial funding dedicated to artists of colour’ as a ‘kick in the teeth’ for black aspiring actors and artist. … Paula Akpan, an advocate for black women, said his claim of being ‘African born again’ was ‘not how race works at all,’ while black actor Luke Elliot said he was ‘fuming’ that Mr Lennon was ‘taking up the little resources’ awarded to black artists.”
However, Arts Council England was standing by its decision to give a white man the grant, partly because Talawa, the Black-led theatre Lennon works for backed him in applying for the grant.
“As an artist of mixed heritage he is not only eligible for the position, but his experience, work and achievements make him an exceptional person for the role,” it said in a statement.
The Arts Council, which awarded the grant, said: “Talawa raised their wish to support Anthony with us. In responding we took into account the law in relation to race and ethnicity. This is a very unusual case and we do not think it undermines the support we provide to black and minority ethnic people within the theatre sector.”
Lennon has not commented on the controversy.
From Rachel Dolezal, who was showered with awards and praise while at the NAACP, to Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, these white folks who claim they are so Black are blatantly taking resources from Black communities.