Black actresses brave downpour to protest at Cannes


Black actresses brave downpour to protest at Cannes: Sixteen black and mixed-race actresses staged a glamorous red carpet protest at the Cannes film festival Wednesday to denounce everyday racism in the French industry.

Black actresses brave downpour to protest at Cannes

Black actresses brave downpour to protest at Cannes
Hand in hand in protest: French actress and producer France Zobda, French actress Aissa Maiga, French writer Rachel Khan and French actress Nadege Beausson-Diagne. Photo: AFP

Led by “Bamako” star Aissa Maiga, they also launched their new book “Being black is not my job” (“Noire n’est pas mon metier”), denouncing the prejudice they have suffered from directors and casting agents.

But the heavens opened as they stepped out onto the red carpet from their cars wearing spectacular gowns by Balmain’s mixed-race designer Olivier Rousteing.

Black actresses brave downpour to protest at Cannes
French actress and Miss France 2000 Sonia Rolland) is welcomed by Burundian singer and member of the Feature Film Jury Khadja Nin as the protest gets underway. Photo: AFP

Their march follows hot on the heels of a historic red carpet demonstration Saturday by 82 Hollywood stars, women directors, producers and scriptwriters, led by Cate Blanchett, demanding equal pay and status.

“I was moved to act by the spirit of the times,” Maiga told AFP, who said quotas “could be a possible option” for combatting the lack of black faces on screen, even if that would spark vehement opposition in France.

One of the actors who took part, Nadege Beausson-Diagne, said in the book that she had been asked if she spoke “African” at a casting.

She was also told, “You can’t play her, she’s a lawyer” and “Luckily you have fine features and you are not negroid, not too black…”

The actress, who appeared in France’s biggest ever film at the box office, “Welcome to the Sticks” (“Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”), said she was also told she was “not African enough to be African” and that “for a black, you are really very intelligent. You should have been white.”

AFP News
AFP News


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