My Trip to Paris
Le Noire- Black Paris Walks Black Paris Tour
Bright and early on the morning of March 13, 2018, we went on the Black Paris Tour finding all of the hidden treasures the Paris has to offer. Our wonderful tour guide, Kevi, taught us that much of our history (African history that is) is buried in the crevasses of Paris. Before visiting France, I had no idea that most of my heritage is scattered so world wide. Sad to say, my view was so narrow-minded that I had come to think that African-Americans were the only people suffering with racial tension. I'm sure that many of us share some of the same views and that's why I am here to share my experiences. Although, Africans worldwide suffer differently, we are all in the same. Let me explain some of my findings. My professor put together a few questions for the class to answer which is extremely helpful because it gives me a structured way of getting my points across.
What was the legacy of the Dumas family in French History ?
Thomas Alexandre Dumas and his son Alexandre Dumas were both inspirational and power figures in France.
Alexandre Dumas, born July 24, 1802, was a French author. Oh, and he was black. One of his most famous works include The Three Musketeers.
He set the tone for many black writers world wide.
Not to mention, Alexandre Dumas was the first black man to have a ghost writer. Kevi then showed a French movie that was about told a story not of Alexandre Dumas, but of his ghost writer. Am I surprised? No. Our stories aren't important in the eyes of the white man.
How have the representation of Black bodies evolved in the French culture?
While on the tour around the city, we stopped in the beautiful Luxembourg Garden. To our surprise the area is owned by the senate.
How has the impact of colonization manifested in French society and in the city of Paris?
Since the colonization of Paris, society has slowly been integrating colored people. As you will red below, France is atleast twenty years behind.
Kevi informed us that there are currently no black officials working in the senate as of now.
What are some pre-existing and unfinished questions of race and blackness in France? What are some of the different notions of race and Blackness in France?
In 1872, France established a law that prohibits the French Republic from conducting census by making any distinction between its citizens in terms of race. France upholds this idea of remaining colorblind but continues to portray these ideas of racism. Kevi took us to this landmark that will forever be engraved in my mind. A painting entitled "The Joyful Nigger" plastered on a building. The painting told a story of a black man joyfully serving a white woman. To think that we are 2018, and paintings like this still hang on highly populated areas disgust me. In the video you will hear Kevi talk about how "Negre" is the equivalent of the American term "Nigger" or "Negro". The picture has obvious damage to it as protesters throw paint and rocks at it. The current museum that owns this picture no longer wants it because of it's evident racism.
The president of France says that he will open an African Museum and have the painting displayed there. His idea was shared up two years ago and sadly nothing has taken place. What continues to surprise me is that people are okay with such an ugly painting displayed for everyone to see. It's obvious racism is disgusting.
What are some of the pre-existing and unfinished questions of the representations of Black French in French Media?
This has got to me one of my favorite questions to answer. To get an idea of what I'll be telling you about, I'd love for you to pause, go to google and search "African French films" or "Famous African French actors and producers". What did you get? Nothing right?
I'll probably get in trouble for this later (Sorry Ms. Lundy) but a few friends and I went out to a bar. We met Miss Annette Licono and she was telling me how her daughter was so influenced by American media because that's all she truly has to watch. She informed us that French kissing is actually an American thing. Her daughter became fond of the idea of kissing her mother on the lips after watching American media. Her mother, Miss Annette chooses to kiss only her daughter on the lips just because that is what she sees on television. American Influence is very strong in France but the questions still lies: Why is it so weird for France to have French Africans represent themselves in the media?
If you watch the videos above, Kevi explains that while talking to a friend of his, he learned that seeing Africans in French media would be a bit taboo.
Ironically, a lot of African-American stars are raved about in France. This took me by surprise! Above are videos I got of a few people dancing to our music. One of our French friends said, "You know, I saw so many American Movies and listen to many black songs, so I know all of the bad words.". He then proceeded to show us the song entitled "California" by Deliquent Habits. Additionally, listened to "God's Plan" by Drake with our best friend from our favorite Crepe place.
Pictured: AiZha , Braxton Prince, Paige Johnson, Annette Licono