Racism raises its head in Paris Olympics

Racism raises its head in Paris Olympics

AYA NAKAMURA: French-Malian singer is France’s biggest popstar Photo credit: Aya Nakamura

The French authorities are investigating alleged racist slurs against pop star Aya Nakamura.

The 28-year-old French-Malian superstar, whose hit Djadja has been viewed almost one billion times on YouTube, is said to have recently discussed performing one of the legendary Edith Piaf’s songs during the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony.

The possibility reportedly arose when Nakamura met the French president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in February, although neither has since confirmed or denied the singer’s involvement in the inauguration of the Games  on July 26.

Mention of Nakamura was met with boos and catcalls during a campaign rally organised by the far-right Reconquete party on March 10 and a small but extremist political group, the Natives, put up a banner on the banks of the Seine where the opening ceremony will be held.

“No way Aya.  This is Paris, not the Bamako market” the banner declared in a reference to the street market in Mali’s capital, Bamako.

The investigation follows a formal complaint filed on March 13 with the International League against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA), which is based in France.

Another anti-discrimination group, SOS Racism, also announced that it was lodging an official regarding the “acts of incitement to discrimination and racist cyberbullying” that Nakamura has been subjected to.

“If this were about music, we wouldn’t even have a debate.  Nakamura is France’s biggest pop star, full stop,” Olivier Cachin, a prominent music journalist, told the French media.

“But it’s not about music. It’s about the colour of her skin,” he added.

Meanwhile. the Paris Olympics organising committee told the Agence France-Presse news agency that it was “very shocked” by the attacks on Nakamura, expressing “total support for the most listened-to French artist in the world.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.