Sunday, February 19, 2012
Video: "Noirs de France" ("Blacks of France”) - The history of Black people in France
The French documentary "Noir de France" ("Blacks of France”) is a new documentary of the history of black people in France. It's based on the book "La France Noir" of French historian Pascal Blanchard. The documentary is aired on France 5 in 3 episodes and will be will be available on DVD on 20 February 2012. A traveling exhibition is also on the program.
Update: The documentary Black France - A three-part series looking at the history of France's black community and their long struggle for recognitionon, on Al Jazeera.
The trailers of the original French documentary
The people in the video (in order of appearance)
- Claudy Siar (Radio station owner and host)
- Audry Pulvar (first black TV anchor woman)
- Senegalese Tirailleurs (soldiers of the French colonies)
- Aimé Césaire (late poet, author and politician from Martinique)
- Rokhaya Diallo (activist/writer and commenter on the TV) in red dress
- Yannick Noah (winner tennis tournament at Roland Garros)
- Christiane Taubira (French politician)
- Aimé Césaire (inauguration of his name in the Panthéon in Paris)
- Audry Pulvar again
- Rama Yade (Secretary of State for Sports)
- Lilian Thuram (former footbal player and anti-racism activist)
- etc (different people)
The documentary "Noir de France" ("Blacks of France”) could also be entitled “ Black doesn’t mean we have here arrived yesterday”. And that’s why this documentary is right on time.
In an interview the author Blanchard points out that the current public debate of immigration, integration and citizenship in France often treats black people as foreigners who still have to integrate. A year ago sociologist Hughes Lagrange made a hit by saying that African immigrants had a cultural inability to integrate. Lagrange is considered one of France's leading experts on teenage criminality and was an important analyst of the French riots in 2005.
But this book and the documentary show another story, it shows that black people have a deeper history with France than most people think, or would like to believe. Blanchard notes that even no member of the French centre-right political party the UMP knows that the first black mayor of France, Raphaël Elizé, was elected in 1929 in the city of Sablé-sur-Sarthe, the same city where the current Prime Minister François Fillon was mayor for eight years.
The reason why it took so long to bring French black history to the attention of the general public was because there was no publisher who wanted to publish the book. But times have changed in a country were racial and ethnic categories were until recently officially taboo.
The book is a success and the documentary and the forthcoming exhibitions will further fuel the need to explore and to celebrate the history of the black presence in France. See an french article about the book and the documentary here
Synopsis documentary: From 1889 to our days - 130 years of shared history. This three-part documentary film weaves together many archives and new testimonies to tell us about the contemporary French black history over 130 years. This film gives a voice to both the protagonists and the heirs of this history and relays the building of a French Black identity. An old history, a presence which becomes visible with the 1889 World's Fair. A story which goes through two World wars, the colonial period, the Independencies, and the time of the migrations from the West Indies and Africa, but also from the Indian Ocean, New Caledonia, and from the African American influence since the Interwar period.
With: Sylvie Chalaye, Éric Deroo, Jacob Desvarieux, Rokhaya Diallo, Manu Dibango, Yandé Christiane Diop, Mar Fall, JoeyStarr, Gaston Kelman, Pascal Légitimus, Patrick Lozès, Elikia M'Bokolo, Alain Mabanckou, Pap Ndiaye, Audrey Pulvar, Claudy Siar, Soprano, Christiane Taubira, Lilian Thuram, Françoise Vergès
See the website here
Below the trailers of the 3 episodes.
Episode 1 : Le temps des pionniers (1889-1940)
Episode 2 : Le temps des migrations (1940-1974)
Episode 3 : Le temps des passions (1975 à nos jours)