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Black Actresses Raise Cannes Cry Against Racism

By Christopher Vourlias—May 17 2018

Frustrated with the lack of diversity and inclusion in the French film industry, 16 black actresses took to the red carpet in Cannes on Wednesday night, staging a protest against racism just days after 82 women, led by Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett, launched their own call for gender equality.

Led by actress Aïssa Maïga (“Bamako”), the group struck a defiant note while promoting a new book, “Noire N’est Pas Mon Métier” (My Profession is Not Black), which Maïga co-authored.

Speaking with Variety, the actress called it “a historic moment” as 16 black women linked arms on the red carpet outside the Palais for the first time. “It was beyond my wildest dreams,” she said. “For 20 years, I’ve been acting, and I’ve never felt like this.

“This was a statement we wanted to make to the entire world.”

The book features candid stories about the prejudice faced by black actresses in the French film industry. In one instance, Nadège Beausson-Diagne, who starred in French megahit “Welcome to the Sticks,” described how she’d been asked by a director if she spoke “African.”

She also recalled being told she wasn’t qualified to play a lawyer and was “not African enough to be African.” At one casting call she was told, “For a black, you are really very intelligent. You should have been white.”

Read more at Variety.

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