A month after the release of its viral video “Kony 2012,” San Diego-based non-profit Invisible Children has released a second film to respond to criticism of its campaign, and to rally people to take new action against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
“You made Kony famous,” Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, says in the new video. Now, he says, people have to do something more.
The video, “Beyond Famous,” is just as sleekly made as the first, and just as simply-worded. Its message to its viewers is clear.
But unlike “Kony 2012,” the new video features voices from outside the U.S. and outside Invisible Children, quoting Ugandans affected by the conflict, top policymakers from around the world and teachers and students who were inspired by the film.
Through these voices, the video addresses the major criticisms of its campaign, including that it spends too little time helping people on the group in Uganda and that it oversimplified the conflict in its first video.
“The world should know that this war is complex. If it wasn’t complex, it wouldn’t have stayed for 26 years,” Invisible Children country Jolly Okot, who is Ugandan, says in the video.
Noticeably absent from “Beyond Famous” is the voice of Jason Russell, the director of the first video and co-founder of Invisible Children. Russell was hospitalized for brief psychosis last month after he was found naked and screaming incoherently in a San Diego neighborhood. The organization said in a statement he was suffering from “exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition.”
Despite criticisms and Russell’s hospitalization, the video says it won’t stop its efforts. And the video reminds viewers that Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) isn’t stopping either.
A major criticism of the Invisible Children campaign was that the LRA had significantly weakened in recent years, and that the organization had overstated the army’s current power. While the film acknowledges this to some extent, it also argues that thousands of people remain displaced because of the army, and hundreds of women and children are still held captive.
To fight these problems, the video issues its new call to action-- to “tell your leaders you care.”
“Your voice changes everything,” Keesey says in the video, citing two resolutions introduced to Congress in March calling for Kony and the LRA to be brought to justice.
The video calls on viewers to “cover the night” on April 20, by moving the conversation from the digital to the physical world. People can do this, the video says, by serving their local communities, writing to lawmakers in support of the resolutions and continuing to promote justice for Kony. Spread the word, Invisible Children says, by spreading posters like the one above.
But Invisible Children seems confident in their efforts. The video concludes with a sense of urgency, intoning: “We are a new generation of justice, made for such a time as this.”
Watch the video below: