16 Black actresses protest anti-Blackness in the industry at Cannes Film Festival
On May 16, 2018, 16 Black French actresses and performers staged a red carpet protest to challenge anti-Black racism in the French film industry during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals.
According to AFROPUNK, 16 Black performers are Sara Martins, Nadège Beausson-Diagne, Mata Gabin, Maïmouna Gueye, Sonia Rolland, Eye Haïdara, Rachel Khan, France Zobda, Aïssa Maïga, Marie-Philomène Nga, Sabine Pakora, Firmine Richard, Magaajyia Silberfeld, Shirley Souagnon, Assa Sylla, Karidja Touré.
They have also collectively published a book, Noire N’est Pas Mon Métier (Black is Not My Job) detailing the racist experiences they have encountered within French cinema. Nadège Beausson-Diagne, a leading member of the group, says she’s been asked if she speaks “African” and that “you have fine features and you are not negroid, not too [B]lack.”
They shared that they saw the film industry was undergoing a cultural change, stirred by the #Metoo movement and the expulsion of celebrity figures such as Harvey Weinstein.
“I was moved to act by the spirit of the times,” said Aïssa Maïga, star of the films Bamako and the African Doctor.