Ellen DeGeneres visited Africa last week with her wife, Portia De Rossi, and posted multiple pictures of her travels on social media. However, not everyone was happy with the typical narrative of Africa Ellen showed in her pictures.
Although she turned 60 in January, Ellen’s birthday celebrations with her wife happened last week during a trip to Africa. DeRossi surprised Ellen during an episode of her show by revealing that she had set up The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund to support endangered species. One of the initiatives of the foundation was the establishment of a home for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Portia also revealed that she and Ellen would actually be traveling to Africa to supervise the work of her Foundation and meet the management of the Dian Fossey Fund.
Watch Portia De Rossi surprising Ellen DeGeneres here:
DeGeneres and De Rossi flew out last week, and the talk show host kept her social media updated with pictures from her trip. The couple spent time in Rwanda and visited Dr. Tara Stoinski, president of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. They also spent some time with the animals.
Among the many pictures Ellen posted was one of her with a group of African children. She captioned the photo, “Thank you to all the amazing people I met on my trip, who helped make it so special.”
Fans and critics immediately started dragging DeGeneres for showing only one aspect of Africa in her trip, and even for engaging in ‘poverty porn’, saying only ignorant tourists engage in such behaviors.
The parts of Africa you’ll never show ? but continue the poverty porn. pic.twitter.com/ErexQbEdjh
— Uncle Kuhle. (@kayisdreaded) June 6, 2018
I’m starting to feel like phones or cameras should be banned when foreigners are visiting or going for peace keeping missions or voluntary work. ?
— Amadoda wonke aweWakanda Ngawami?????? (@Kofi_SiribosBae) June 5, 2018
U coulda taken pics in rich/tush neighbourhoods.
But no. U want to showcase africa as poor and impoverished
And they say u have sense o
— Mudi Bankz™ (@battousaii_) June 5, 2018
“I love poverty porn ?”
— n?gga of the side hug (@MiQL) June 5, 2018
I can understand why Americans voted for Trump. They can purposely perpetuate a stereotype that they know very well doesn’t exist just to make themselves feel better. What a sad dream this is!!!
— Agent With A Wire (@exollany) June 5, 2018
Bruh why can’t y’all show the nice parts of Africa, its like you make a concerted effort to find the worst parts and show that to the world.
— Self Aweh (@iNdabz) June 5, 2018
Poor things amuse the rich, ‘rich things’ amuse the poor!
The story of an American visiting Africa and the story of an African visiting America.
Only the wise would understand these!!!
— FUNKYfied Aboki (@oluobededom) June 5, 2018
I know it looks like just a picture but these are the very stereotypes we fight.
*First, Africa is not a country, be specific.
*Next, posing with poor locals misrepresents the entire continent and perpetuates dogma
Maybe It’s just a photo, maybe it’s not
— Serious.Lee ?? (@SheunAdeola) June 5, 2018
Africa is not jus the jungle you know, you mus reach the cities too, there are people who stay there. pic.twitter.com/MrqI7ifDeH
— Lwastos (@Lwastos) June 5, 2018
A trip to Africa is not complete without the trademark poverty porn photo op
— ?? (@shawnallenlive) June 5, 2018
Of cource, the trip had to end in Africa being depicted as a poverty hub in dire need of charity. For the love of God, just go to Africa without making their economic standards a tagline for your campaign.
— Gakii (@Raballah_) June 5, 2018
This is a misfire. White tourist taking a pic with anonymous group of ‘happy but poor African kids’ always is. Examine your motivations in taking this pic- be honest. Showing how ‘real’ your experience was? Did kids consent to this being posted? These kids aren’t props.
— Tara Fernando (@tara_fernando) June 6, 2018
During her trip, Ellen hung out with not just gorillas, but also elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and giraffes during her stay at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. The couple also went on a safari in Tanzania.
Ellen said on her social media that her trip to Africa was exceptionally meaningful for her. She wrote, “I can’t begin to describe what this experience was like or how much it means to me. I’m so grateful.” She also said, “spending time with these gorillas changed my life.”
Alongside a picture of herself and DeRossi, she wrote, “This was a trip I’ve been waiting my whole life to make.”
You can donate to The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund here.