Labeled popular French songs, these texts that we hum lightly are in fact true apologies for racism.
Weddings, birthdays or other festive events, no one has been able to miss these French hits. But behind this catchy music, which has passed through the generations and still turns on the radio, hide deeply racist texts, helping to the proliferation of neo-colonialist, discriminating thoughts … From Michel Sardou to Julien Clerc via animators stars trying their hand at music, we can remove these songs from our playlists or at least, no longer listen to them naively.
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“La zoubida” – Vincent Lagaf ‘
We remember the Bigdil, this game show which lasted from 1998 to 2004. But its host, Vincent Lagaf ‘, also tried his hand at music. Notably with “La Zoubida”, a hit based on the worst prejudices about Arab people, with the added bonus of a most racist accent. Chosen song: “On the ring road they had a blast / But the Moqtar scooter had stolen it / By the police they were squeezed, Police station they found each other / The Zoubida was going to be yelled at / Father Moqtar he returned to the Health.” When nothing goes right…
“The time of the colonies” – Michel Sardou
Let us come to Michel Sardou, who is not the last on the list of artists with uncomfortable words. In his song “Le temps des colonies”, he says: “Formerly in Colomb-Béchar, I had plenty of black servants, and four girls in my bed, in the blessed days of the colonies.” An ode to the time of oppression on the African continent, which also mixes mysoginoir, a scorned animal cause and the height of the white man.
“Mélissa” – Julien Clerc
Cult title of Julien Clerc, “Melissa” is nevertheless a problem song. It still tells the story of a woman who is harassed, who seeks help and who is surrounded by disgusting voyeurs. And this chorus “Oh watch my mestizo, Oh my mulatto is naked, Oh matez my mulatto, Oh my mulatto is naked” … No doubt: we are in the midst of the hypersexualization and fetishization of Métis women, a frankly exhausting form of mysoginoir. Moreover, the comedian Tahnee lifted the veil on the problem posed by this song in a video on Instagram.
“Africa” - Rose Laurens
The years 1982 saw the melody “Africa” by Rose Laurens making the rounds of record stores. “I am in love with a wild land / A voodoo sorcerer painted my face / His gri-gri follows me to the sound of drums / Perfume of magic on my white woman’s skin / Africa, I want to dance like you / To offer me to your law / Africa, to move to hurt me for you / And to obey your voice, Africa. ” So here, a big fetishization of Africa with all the stereotypes invented by the West. The beautiful white going to rub shoulders with the scorching exoticism. And to think that this title still plays regularly on certain French radios …
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“Coffee color” – Serge Gainsbourg
The song “Couleur café” by Serge Gainsbourg, released in 1964 on the album Gainsbourg percussions, has strongly contributed to the dissemination of racist clichés, especially about black women: the color of the skin is “Coffee”, the eyes “roll” as in colonial cartoons … As a bonus, the body of the young racialized woman is totally sexualized … Once again, it is double the penalty for her: sexism and racism go hand in hand. We clearly miss our turn on this song, as well as on the rest of the album, even worse (yes, yes, it’s possible).
Melanie Bonvard Celine Peschard
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