black and french: ‘mariannes noires’ film explores the intersections of identity

February 16, 2017

The African diaspora reaches to every corner of the earth and in the Western world Black identity is often formed within the context of white supremacy, white nationalism, and white majorities. For Black people learning, growing and living in France, the intersections of race, class, immigration, and nationality all color their upbringing and everyday lives and new film “Mariannes Noires” aims to dive headfirst into these experiences. Directors Mame-Fatou Niang and Kaytie Nielsen follow seven French woman of African and Caribbean origins of various professions and try to extract what binds them beyond their Blackness. They are dancers, entrepreneurs or intellectuals, and as they share their worlds with the camera, a commonality emerges and it is that as much as these women are Black, they are grounded, proud, and unequivocally French. Their Frenchness is rooted in cultural and aesthetic differences, roots that their country is still grappling with and is slow to accept. “Mariannes Noires” is a mosaic of seven narratives that raise the veil on multicultural France. The documentary covers topics ranging from family, the importance of hair and beauty, entrepreneurship, to the access of minorities to means of economic and cultural production. With a Paris screening coming in April, this film is not one to miss! For those of us in the States, we’ll have to wait for it to be available on the interwebs, so hopefully it’s on the way! To keep up with what’s going on with the film, be sure to follow their Facebook and enjoy the trailer below!

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor