Just weeks after the debate surrounding the election of Miss Black France 2012, another question is being discussed by French people of African descent: the cancellation of the release of the American movie “Think Like A Man” in movie theaters.
How does an American movie find a place in the French social debate?
Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country’s multiethnic population. Although the recent success of the movie Les Intouchables, which earned French African actor Omar Sy the Cesar award for Best Actor in 2012, caused great pride and hope among French nationals from Africa and the Caribbean, it was not to be the turning point for a deep and lasting change.
Martinican blogger Bondamanjak is very cynical after this tainted victory, as he explains [fr] that Omar Sy’s award nomination did not come all naturally, but was rather due to the great number of viewers in theaters.
And all French people as one man forget that Omar Sy was not initially shortlisted as a nominee for the Cesars […] It was only when the ‘Intouchables’ reached 19 000 000 viewers in theaters, that people started calling out to the French movie industry about its indignant attitude, and that they acknowledged the wrong. However be sure that this award is only an opportunistic drop of water in a desert which keeps moving forward.
How can racial profiling in cinema be explained?
Martinican blog People Bo Kay reposts a note published [fr] on the Facebook page of Negro News, entitled “France does not want all-black couples in movies”. This analysis, which has now gone viral, develops ideas about communalism and politics in France, which are supposed to explain the rejection of the movie.
The French state has had a sociopolitical strategy which favors interracial relationships rather than valuing communities. In the comedy ‘Think like a Man’, the focus is on black couples.
According to this note, the other explanation to the blocking of African-American films in France (despite their profitability) is that:
Black actor and producer Tyler Perry‘s movies are never scheduled in any French movie theaters or are only released in DVDs, even though he has been used to leading the US box-office, as with ‘Why did I get Married’ and ‘For Colored Girls‘. The French society acts hypocritically, when it refuses to show movies from black producers who earn millions from conveying a positive message to the African diasporathrough their films.