First ‘Miss Black France’ Pageant Causes Controversy

by Britni Danielle

France is gearing up for its first ever “Miss Black France” pageant, and while many are excited about the show, others are calling it a step backward.

Saturday a bevy of French beauties will compete for the first ever “Miss Black France title in Paris,” an honor its promoters feel is long overdue.

“The purpose of this beauty contest is to shine a light on the many Black women in this country who are rarely given any media attention,” Frederic Royer, the pageant’s promoter, told France 24. “The Miss France competition is not nearly representative enough of modern France.”

The creators of “Miss France,” the country’s national pageant, called the “Miss Black France” contest “progressive,” noting, “France has a big racial mix and it must be emphasized as much as possible.“

The last time France had a woman of color take center stage in a beauty pageant was over a decade ago, in 2000, when Sonia Rolland—a biracial woman of Rwandan descent—won the “Miss France” title.

However, since then tensions in France, particularly an anti-immigrant sentiment, have continued to mount, culminating in a high percentage of voters (nearly 18%) supporting far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Critics of the “Miss Black France” contest claim it is “stupid” and “detrimental to French values” which officially ignores a person’s race (only seeing them as French), not even tracking it on the country’s census documents.

“This logic is detrimental to the values of French society,” Patrick Lozès, founder and former president of the French Representative Council of Black Associations. “If I think that there are not enough Black people in the most prestigious schools and companies, am I going to go create establishments exclusively reserved for Blacks?”

Despite many immigrants and people of color feeling increasingly discriminated against in France, Lozès says he’s afraid the new trend of singling out and acknowledging France’s black communities will further erode unity.

“I’m afraid that all of that will make French people even more defensive at a time when the National Front is more popular than ever,” he said. “It’s a contest that stipulates that white women are not welcome, which is very disturbing. This initiative could be perceived as a hostile event that will further erode national unity.”

While he doesn’t discount the discrimination currently at play in France, Lozès warns that having contests and intuitions catering toward France’s black communities is the wrong way to be recognized by the larger populace.

“We can’t start having ethnically exclusive contests if our ultimate goal is to have all-inclusive national contests. It’s a serious strategic error.”

What do you think? Is France’s first “Miss Black French” competition a good move or a step backward

  • QCastle

    I have to side eye all these nay sayers. They talk “National Unity” only to discourage non whites. The French are really the most hypocritical of the former colonial masters. Ugh! Nina Simone and many other black entertainers and intellectuals moved to France or Europe because they thought it more progressive than the U.S. Personally, their racist attitudes are more insidious than anything in America. F*** France and bring on Miss. Black France.

    I know who I would vote for… the boney chocolate sista on the top right.

  • Yb

    I think it’s great!! If you arent being represented then create your own representation. They have my support.

  • QCastle

    My bad. That should be on the top left.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    I’ve lived in France and in my opinion it IS more racially progressive than other parts of the world. The issue people have in France is not with ALL black people. They love black Americans. However, they seem to have a fierce dislike of African immigrants. Why? Well from what I can tell it appears to be the same issue we have here with Hispanics…only their African immigrants don’t want to work/do right (not all, but enough to spark outrage).

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    This reminds me of the Cosmo Latina thing–I would rather see more women of color in the Miss France contest than separate contests popping up. It is basically agreeing that Miss France means “Miss White France”

    That being said, there are some very lovely ladies competing for this new title.

  • Yb

    They only like us for our blue passport and American status. Once they get over the intrigue of us being Americans we are grouped the same boat as the black immigrants. Over 50% of French blacks have university degrees. They are far from lazy.

    Racism, plain and simple, is the explanation as to why black immigrants in France are hated.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    @YB

    That hasn’t been my experience. The French are far more progressive in terms of race than most part of world…especially the west.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @ Toppin- I’ll co-sign your comment and add that the French enjoy African-American culture(not hood culture). Jazz is big in France and don’t forget Miss Josephine Baker. Soul food is very similar to French food.

    I think the French hate Arab North Africans far more than they do Blk Africans.

    Culturally, Blk Americans are “Western” and for the French, culture is as important if not more so than skin color.

  • Yb

    @Toppin

    You are right. That is your experience and I have to take your word for it.

    While I believe France, like many other European countries is racist, I do agree that France is far less racist than the U.S.

  • QCastle

    @Chic Noir

    “I’ll co-sign your comment and add that the French enjoy African-American culture(not hood culture). Jazz is big in France and don’t forget Miss Josephine Baker. Soul food is very similar to French food.”

    Gag me with une cuillère. Go to France so you can be the cook and entertainment.

  • QCastle

    @YB

    How easily can those university educated black Frenchmen and women find work? Do they have to change their names on their CVs? When it comes to race relations, I prefer the Anglo Saxon countries.

  • edub

    My experience in France was quite different. I lived in the South of France and found it to be extremely racist and offensive. I felt like an object–in every way. There was this exaggerated since of appreciation for my blackness that came across as contrived, insincere, and offensive.

    Josephine Baker was a minstrel. Nicki Minaj look like a nun in comparison to her. I blame her for the objectification of black women in France today.

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    @Edub

    The objectification of black women in France (and the world over) didn’t start with Josephine Baker. It was happening long before she entered the picture…and it was often done by force. Josephine Baker simply embraced the objectification and used it to her advantage.

    I personally loved the attention I received from the French. I met my man in France. If you are a decent looking Black American woman France, Spain, and Italy (in my opinion) are your playgrounds.

    I plan to retire in France.

  • Jessica

    There is something very affirming to see a large group of beautiful black French women together celebrating their beauty, without them having the feeling of being the “add-on”, or the token black in a sea of white.

    I wish they had worn colors.

  • QCastle

    “f you are a decent looking Black American woman France, Spain, and Italy (in my opinion) are your playgrounds.”

    …sex tourism.

  • edub

    Josephine Baker simply embraced the objectification and used it to her advantage.

    I can’t argue with that!

    I found the attention from french men to be inauthentic and patronizing. But that’s me, I’m a tough nut sometimes.

    The only french guy i’d let NEAR my nether regions:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry_Lhermitte

    Mon Dieu!!!

  • QCastle

    @edub

    “I found the attention from french men to be inauthentic and patronizing.”

    Im sure youve seen before. Always a good laugh when American girls start gushing over European men.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/european-men-are-so-much-more-romantic-than-americ,11552/

  • Toppin (Formerly Known As Just Sayin’)

    @edub

    LOL! I saw a few that could get it. I had a ball in France. I love Frenchmen.

  • Ri

    Racism is easy, but race relations have been and forever will be complex. I think as black Americans we have to first understand the concept of “black” is very fluid throughout the rest of the world. Here at home there’s almost something inherit that allows us to identify our own. If a woman has skin like milk, but just the right type of curl we can identify her as black (one drop rules of slavery have reinforced this sort of mulatto identification). As an extension there is scale of sorts for black folks and how they will be received in other parts of the world. I have a caramel color, and curly-kinky-yet-straight-in-the-bakc hair fusion until a flat iron hits it. Here at home I’m black, others see me as black, and my distant mulatto heritage be damned. But my experience in Europe? Quite different. I was adored and gawked at lustfully by Italian men, asked if I was from the Netherlands whilst in Milan, if I was “half cast” in England, blending in on the Paris subways with the other hundreds of French black folk that look like me, while being embraced by a strange gypsy man. And here at home, if I run across the right person at the Hispanic grocery store they assume I can speak Spanish. The point is this, no one pigeon holes “black” people more than other black and white Americans. Contrary to all assumptions and realities we face here at home, we have no clue how we will be received outside the borders of this country. Even Osama Bin Laden gave his sympathy to the black American populous while he rejoiced over the 9/11 attacks essentially saying that it was unfortunate that we too had to share pain in the tragedy because we are the descendents of slaves. What’s going on here is a complicated issue. Taking a look at the beautiful young women in the picture, most of them seem to be a brown or darker complexion(all but two perhaps). Where are the lighter toned women? Are they not black? Does the pageant not speak to them? Do they not feel marginalized by the lack of black representation? Is it just that there is only a certain type of black representation? And if the latter is true then there’s little need to look overseas for controversy. I think we have plenty of that going on right here at home.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @ Qcastle-

    You sound jealous, don’t be. I got love for my Mandigo magpies(UD) but sometimes a girl wants a French baguettet.

    *shrugs shoulders*

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Thierry Lhermitte

    Edub, you have very good taste. I hear women going crazy over V.incent Cassel, not my taste by a long shot.

    *shudders*

  • QCastle

    @Chic Noir

    “You sound jealous, don’t be. I got love for my Mandigo magpies(UD) but sometimes a girl wants a French baguettet.”

    Jealous of what? French hypocrisy on race? Voting in National Socialist? You think a Nazi party in America would get 18% of the American vote? I dont care who you screw, just dont think your vagina will end racism.

  • Tonton Michel

    Mon Dieu! Non daltonien France, il n’est pas possible, mensonges maudits.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    q castle think a Nazi party in America would get 18% of the American vote?

    Well the Republican party usually get 40%+.

    Anyway….

    Sweetheart have a lovely weekend :)

  • L

    Why are you all of a sudden pretending to like Black women? Afraid of being banned, looking for friends-what?

  • jw

    I don’t know how black women in France are treated,but if it’s anything like black American women are treated.Which is made to feel unwanted.While white women or women who’s skin looks so light you wouldn’t know their black unless they told you,are always seen as beautiful.The world has know problem making black women feel unwanted,ugly and less than other women.I have no problem with France’s first Miss black French competition.I’ll vote for the woman at the bottom left.Who’s hair look like Diana Ross.

  • C

    True…where are the lighter women. If it was the reverse….All Black is Black, right?

  • L

    Yes, lies

  • I know how to spell -__-

    who edits these articles?!?!?!this is a magazine, no?

    “of Rwandan decent” — descent*
    decent vs. descent

    DECENT: Conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behavior.
    DESCENT: derivation from an ancestor; lineage; extraction.

  • Robbie

    As a black French woman, I will never suppport this nonsense. My country is not perfect and the last thing that I want to hear is black miss France. Give me a break! One miss France is enough already.

    AA are always trying to make it look like we black French women live in a bad country. Do not force on us your way of living and your experiences. We are not the same. We may share the same skin color but our CULTURE is different. Respect it!

    There may be some black French that have issues or don’t like their country but it is not the case for most of us. For many like me, our country is the best place to live, raise our kids and retired despite all of its problems. We don’t need you to tell us what we need. Accept us for who we are just the same way we accept the fact that you share a culture different than ours.

  • fffff

    They should move out if they dont like it, so black immigrants in Europe complaining on how the french man in his own country is racist, they shouldnt be forced to bend over backwards for other people, it’s their damn country.

  • QCastle

    @jw

    Does France have an Oprah? A Beyonce? A Condolezza Rice? A Michelle Obama? That should answer your question.

  • QCastle

    @ffff

    When I went to Morocco everyone spoke French. Why? Why do they speak French in Senegal? French isnt indigenous to these countries. Oh I forgot, France was in these countries for centuries.Then when they ruined themselves like the rest of Europe through genocidal wars, they invited all these French speaking Africans to first fight these ways for them and then to clean up the mess. France should be paying reparations. Start with Haiti.

  • QCastle

    Some of your black American women need to stop thinking with your coochies. France will never have a Michlle Obama. It will never have a Condolezza Rice. It will never have an Oprah. It will never allow its non whites to reach the level of wealth influence, and INCLUSION that blacks have reached in the US. Big deal, some French guys want to screw you and you think France is some racial paradise. Some black women are so stupid.

  • Anne

    I lived in France for three straight years and many French folk seem to think that being racially-blind is the progressive and most constructive way to deal with race when it fact, it makes it easier for them to mask their racism behind their idea of nationalism and point the finger at anyone who challenges this, or brings up the racial issues the country has.

    France is NOT more racially accepting that other countries, especially because they rarely have dialogue and discourse to address racial issues – they simply ignore them and hope they’ll go away.

    What I love most about the US is that black people are constantly fiercely engaged in racial dialogue and occupy more space in US media/politics/etc. Neither of systems are without flaw but at least the US can vote a black/biracial man in office (which I know isn’t the be all to end all of racism, but it’s a heck of a lot more than I can say for France).

  • Tricia

    After reading the comments, I believe that if the black women in France feel that they are not being represented in beauty pagents or in media, it is their RIGHT to have Their Own pagent, because no one ever notices when there is an all white pagent and thinks “Hey the black ladies will feel left out” Also if there are black people, ladies and men, who find that this will cause problems well that is their opinion cause there are two sides to every issue and if they feel it will cause division, leave them alone!

  • QueenOfCastle

    @Anne

    The United Kingdom will be the next country to have a non white head of state. I put my money on it.

  • Brett Mann

    “The last time France had a woman of color take center stage in a beauty pageant was over a decade ago, in 2000, when Sonia Rolland—a biracial woman of Rwandan decent—won the “Miss France” title.”

    wrong.

    the last time France had a woman of color take center stage in a beauty pageant was 2009. chloe mortaud was top 10 at miss universe, and 3rd runner-up at miss world.

  • Robbie

    As I said before, you may not like it that is your problem as far as I am concern, I like my country with all its imperfections. From the food, the education,it beautiful sceneries, my neighborhood and so forth…

    My culture is French and no matter how bad or brainwashed some of you think we are, I don’t feel the same way and so are my black friends. You cannot understand it. You love to tak about these type of issues but never mentions how much so many of us are well-integrated in the French system.

    I am not from Africa nor are my parents even though I am black. I cannot speak for them. I can say that I have spoken to a lot of people born in France of African parents that love France and that are not intetested in all the American glory and are not even considering moving to the US to see if the grass is greener.

    I am repeating myself once again, stop generalizing all French people and make us feel like we are not happy or well-integrated in our country. Our experience is different than yours. Accept it for what it is and move on! If some feel like they need this pageantry that is on them. As far as I am concerned, I couldn’t care less. If these people are so unhappy, they are free to seek for a new country of residency.

  • Pauline

    as Robbie, I’m French, I’ ve lived in the US and in Ireland. You can’t compare France with the US, there’re probably racist people in both countries. This event won’t help minorities to be more accepted in the country, it would mean that beauty of women is diferent according to their skin colour, which is just ridiculous. You’re so pround to have a ‘non white’ president, what about the WASP?? what about a woman-president?
    @Ri: it’s a bit complicated to explain because in French there’s different word for blacks and lighters (Noir, métisse), the election is to show black women who are not in Miss France, women who have African origins. As in Miss France, Sonia Rolland excluded, black women are from West Indies. I’m not sure to explain correctly , hope you’ll understand what I mean.

  • http://bronzedgirlsguide.com Lindiwe

    This makes me happy. Really it does, This takes me back, when the french had this whole study back in the days of Sara Bartman, thats french white women were superiour, I have been to france you hardly ever see a non interacial couple and if you do you have to looks twice. Not that this makes me comfortable though, id hate to be a token black wife

    Its sad though that blacks dont have a political foot in France, you need to have a political voice, you do you need to start thinking about getting balcks in politics. Besides that I must say black french women rock, there sooo pretty. I loved the country except for my tour bus driver who sounded racist making comments about how poor the ivory coast was yet there people drive big cars in france, but he looked like he was fat and dying

    PS: CLUCTH MAG IM HOOKED ON YOUR MAGAZINE. I LOVE THIS BLOG

  • http://www.Talk2Q.com Q

    It’s definitely a “white man’s world,” but having a separate pageant won’t seem to fix anything if you ask me. That’s like starting a new basketball league because the NBA won’t draft you. It’s your right, but it’s still not the NBA.

    It’s well within the rights of them to participate in their own competition, but I think it would be more productive to protest the Miss France competition. I’d rather fight to desegregate than separate if I’m going to fight at all.

  • Me

    I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say this but the UK is not a country. It consists of 4, almost like a mini European Union (which has 27).

  • pathetic…

    “…only their African immigrants don’t want to work/do right ” lol really?

    Just because you had a good time in France and met your husband you don’t have to excuse their racism and nationalism. Even if the racism doesn’t affect you as you claim why would you qualify it with such a bogus statement..? Don’t people claim the same thing about poor Black folks in America who are basically trapped in poverty? How on earth does any group just “not want to work” or “do right”?

    How easily people forget…

  • http://beyondblackwhite.com/ Jamila

    This is a step back.

    I don’t want to read Black Vogue. I want to read Vogue and see black people in it. And I don’t want to see a Black Ms. France Pageant, I want the see the Ms. France Pageant and see Black women in it.

  • Ri

    Thanks for trying to explain, Pauline. I would like a clearer sense though if you ever have the time to share, pass on a link, etc. @3rd_iY

  • QCastle

    @Me

    Yes, but Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales arent really countries are they? More like appendages. LOL. But you get my point.

  • Mahogany

    “…only their African immigrants don’t want to work/do right ” lol really?

    Really? And where do you get these facts from. I am the child of African immigrant and was born and raised in France. Racism is well and alive in France and it is not better place than here in the US.
    Most employers omit even looking at your resume if you have an African last name, regardless to wether you necessary qualifications for the job. Some go as far as requesting pictures of applicants because some west Indians have French last names.
    Your views of Africans living in France is disorted my dear. Come with real facts next time before you make such comments. SMH!

  • BlackWomen&GirlsNeedLoveToo

    I support this. There is a large Black female population in France, and this is a way for them to get the recognition they so deserve.

    I am ALL about this kind of segregation for Black women & girls.

  • C

    Dont feed this troll

    Just continue to ignore her

  • Ravi

    Step forward.

    “color blind” societies like this will always essentialize the dominant norms. anyone deemed other gets marginalized, so you won’t see the beauty pageants being representative of the diversity within that society. In attempting to forget about color when the beauty standards are already shaped around whiteness, those deemed most beautiful will usually default to white. While a eurocentric beauty standard is dominant, the only way to get full appreciation of black beauty is to consciously promote it through events like this.

  • Pingback: Anonymous

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I hate to agree with Q Castle, but it is very creepy people are measuring racism by how much the men want to sleep with them. It is so unbelievably desperate. Gross.

  • Alexandra

    In a progressive world, yes I agree with this and I think that’s how it should be.
    Then I think, would I rather hear people complain about exclusion? Or create their own? Nowadays everyone is finding their own avenues for creativity. It’s a shame that they would even need to create one, especially since France prides itself on not categorizing race.

    Why call the idea stupid, when other Frenchmen/women feel left out? This is why I feel the need to have people claim one (race or nationality) can be detrimental, as it dismisses the issues pertaining to prejudice. There are still many ‘unofficial’ racially exclusive clubs, pageants, etc; This is a pageant after all; not a fight for education, work, political position and whatnot.

  • Capua

    I want Miss White France then.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/TheKMichel K. Michel

    Aside from the unnecessary use of the word “stupid”, QCastle certainly has a point. Furthermore, she isn’t a troll just because you (or another person would) happen to disagree with her points-of-view… especially when you can’t seem to argue against them.

  • HopeChest

    She’ll appreciate your vote…

  • HopeChest

    “…but it is very creepy people are measuring racism by how much the men want to sleep with them. It is so unbelievably desperate. Gross. ”

    Black men do this all the time concerning non-black women in foreign countries, so give it a rest, please.

    But I digress…

    Back on topic:

    As far as I’m concerned, no place is safe for a black person (American and non-American)to let their guard down and believe that other countries are so laissez-faire with their racial attitudes.

    That should never stop anyone from visiting and enjoying the place neither, so why should it now?

    Just take note and be aware of your surroundings, sistas.

  • HopeChest

    Um, how is this about AA women where you feel the need to be so sanctimonious?

    Your beef is with your beloved country, not AA women.

    Your country is the one where they are holding this event, so why are you so mad at AA women?

    Axe to grind, n’est ce pas?

  • HowApropos

    Only a bitter azz man disguised as a black male apologizing mammy would worry what black american women do with their coochies in France.

    LOL!

    Please try to rub one out before you spout your bitterness against black women on this site.

    Always the bitterbtches like you who get mad at what other black women do.

    Must suck to be you, QueenMammy.

  • zouk

    I agree. Then men and women should be competing side by side in the same sport. Miss Universe pageant can also be seen as wrong etc.The world is a huge place. If you are denied equity on the white stage then stop complaining, just make your own stage.If black American had to wait for permission to create jazz music that day would never come. There is no such thing as color blind. this is the height of hypocrisy

  • zouk

    It already exist. you missed it since you are “color blind”. The trick about “color blind” is that everyting has to be white or close to it.

  • nadine_himmer

    the last black miss France wasnt sonia roland in 2000 tho. corinne coman in 2003 won the title and she is from guadeloupe (french west indies)

  • anthony

    This is stupid, in light of the fact that men are not represented at all. The female beauty pageant is female sexist and discriminates against males much more than it does any black person. So what is really needed is for men to be able to enter too and call it a beauty pageant for all, not a Miss pageant but a Mr. and Miss Pagaent.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    the best anon ever I hate to agree with Q Castle, but it is very creepy people are measuring racism by how much the men want to sleep with them. It is so unbelievably desperate. Gross.

    Ummm no, two different conversations going on at once.

    1. Conversation was about the dynamics of racism in France. For African-Americans in France, it’s less about race and more about culture.

    2. Coversation was about the appeal of French men.

    Remember women can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @ Qcastle Does France have an Oprah? A Beyonce? A Condolezza Rice? A Michelle Obama? That should answer your question.

    Well they have Aissa Maiga and notice she is a bit darker than a paper bag.

    *kayne shrug*

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    QCastle France will never have a Michlle Obama.

    Oh how soon we forget.

    People said the same thing about Michelle Obama up until the year before her husband became president.

    Ask any of the Blks who lead the movement in the 1960′s if they thought they would see a Michelle Obama or “Condi” and maybe an Oprah.

  • BlackWomen&GirlsNeedLoveToo

    No, what is stupid is men trying to compete with women in a beauty pageant of all things. Are you freaking kidding me? Beauty pageants are for WOMEN. Get it? WOMEN, W-O-M-E-N. So a Black beauty pageant is for Black WOMEN.

    Men wanting to be in beauty pageants, And people wonder what is wrong with the Black race, SMDH.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    qcastle You are so incredibly disingenuous

    Please explain

  • Socially Maladjusted

    @anthony

    ROTFLMAO!

    ha ha ha . . . . .

    brilliant.

    that idiot girl below you can’t see the sarcasm shows just how dumb these chicks are.

    I’m hoping your shit was mockery.

    eh?

    :-)

  • I. L. Farrington

    The initial purpose of the miss Black Whatever pageants was/is to create self-awareness and there cultivate self-love in women of color. The self-hatred that exist within the ranks of women of color is destructive to all. Ignoring this creates havoc for everyone and leaves nothing but destruction in its wake.

  • Beautiful Mic

    IMO – France would have less of a problem if the physical traits of most of the girls represented people of more hybridized ancestry. If most those girls were part white, and looked more mixed, I doubt they’d have an issue.

Latest Stories

Cheers! 30 Not-As-Obvious Occasions That Call For Champagne

by

Maker of Infamous ‘Sizzurp’ Takes it Off the Market

by

How To Rock: Black Women In Orange Lipstick

by

Newsflash: Most People Aren’t Down With the ‘Swirl’

by
Read previous post:
D-I-Y Ear Cuffs

You Decide: New Afro Dish Washing Sponges – Cute or Offensive?
Close