France just keeps building on its reputation of hypocritical racial intolerance. Right on the heels of the controversy surrounding the Miss Black France pageant in Paris, news has come out that Steve Harvey’s highly successful film “Think Like a Man” has been banned in the country because of the lack of diversity in its cast. Global Voices exposed the issue rather pointedly, writing:

“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.”

Much like the argument that the Miss Black France pageant was exclusionary in its celebration of black beauty, a note from the Facebook page of “Negro News” reposted on Martinican blog People Bo Kay, suggests that same thinking is at play with the ban on Harvey’s film.

“The French state has had a sociopolitical strategy which favors interracial relationships rather than valuing communities,” the post reads. “In the comedy ‘Think like a Man’, the focus is on black couples.”

Interesting that Gabrielle Union’s on-screen romance with Jerry Ferrara didn’t meet the country’s unspoken interracial quota. It seems the goal is to flip the script on the black community’s cries of disenfranchisement by arguing that all-black efforts do the same thing, without any regard for why such all-black projects exist. Steve Harvey isn’t the only black contemporary film that’s been banned either. The note also adds:

“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 diaspora through their films.”

Other bloggers suggest that beyond the racist undertone of the ban, the French people don’t believe that a movie with an all-black cast could actually lead the box office. That sounds awfully similar to expectations here in the U.S. before the film knocked The Hunger Games out of its four-week run at the #1 spot and brought in double the revenue that was expected. If the success of Tyler Perry’s movies hasn’t sparked a change in France’s thinking, it’s not likely “Think Like a Man” will either. Unfortunately, it seems films like Les Intouchables will continue to be outliers as long as the country keeps pushing for a more nationalist approach to country unity without acknowledging that all French people aren’t allotted the same freedom of expression.

  • Qofn

    Nope. Just the white ones and some of the arabs.

  • Echo

    And then, there’s the recent news that France has recently appointed three Blacks as ministers in the country. Not sure if this link will work, but you can go to the Black France Facebook page for the story as well.

    Not unlike the US, France has a complicated racial history, and you may even say in some instances that France is in denial about its issues surrounding race. Historically the country has embraced Black ex-pats–especially artists (James Baldwin, Lois Maillou Jones, Josephine Baker)–yet has not been as amicable towards Blacks born in the country or other Francophone countries and territories. And, much like some in the US fault Mexican immigrants for the lack of jobs, some French cite the influx and influence of Black and brown immigrants for the tight economy and job market as well. I’d be curious to know whether Black French audiences are actually clamoring for “Think Like a Man” and other all-African American cast films. It’s frequently said over here in the US that Black films do not do well in overseas markets, but is that due to lack of audience demand or a pre-conceived idea of what audiences will and will not gravitate toward?

    What is also fascinating is the recent election of François Hollande as president of France. Evidently he did overwhelmingly well among young black and brown French citizens. So taken in parts, we can rail against the French for being racist hypocrites because they (whomever the “they” is in this case) declined to put “Think Like a Man” in theatres because of its all-Black cast; or, taken as a whole, we can further explore the ways in which race, color, class, nationality, and France’s historical cultural perspectives impact popular culture now.

  • Ladyt

    hmmm……the media like to portray france as the open minded country that is light years ahead of everyone else as far as race relations. I wonder if the charges of DSK reopening has anything to do with it? The jews are very angry with the blacks right now.

  • Fab from

    This does not make any sense to me. I am scratching my head.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    What Jess said.

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