FRANCE

French actresses to challenge racial stereotypes at Cannes

One of the signatories, Aïssa Maïga, at the 2017 ceremony for France's César awards
One of the signatories, Aïssa Maïga, at the 2017 ceremony for France's César awards Foc Kan/WireImage

As France prepares for the Cannes Film Festival, a number of French actresses who are black or mixed race have joined forces in a bid to combat racial clichés in the French film industry.

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In a manifesto with the title My profession is not black the 16 women recount the everyday racism they face as actresses of colour.

These range from being typecast as cleaners, prostitutes or delinquents from deprived suburbs whilst never being offered the role of the serious lawyer with a generic French name to being asked questions like "Do You Speak African?"

Aïssa MaIga tweets about the manifesto

Nadège Beausson Diagne who was in the box office hit Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Sticks) describes being told she wasn't "black enough" for some roles, that she was "really very intelligent for a black" and "deserve[d] to be white" and "What luck to have an ass like that, you must be great in bed".

The actresses say they will no longer put up with being referred to as "gazelles" or "panthers".

They will be on the red carpet in Cannes next week to launch their book, in the hope of challenging racism and forcing French film to reflect the country's diverse society.

To read our coverage of Cannes 2018 click here

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