Too Black? Pop Sensation Aya Nakamura Sparks Paris Olympics Racism Debate

by Grace Somes
Aya Nakamura || Image credit: @ayanakamura_officiel

There have reportedly been requests for the well-known French singer to participate in the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympics. Still, only some people in France have approved of the idea.

Although Aya Nakamura is the most popular French-speaking artist worldwide, her critics in France go beyond the far right.

Outrage from the far right over rumors of Aya Nakamura’s performance at the opening ceremony has exposed deep divisions in the country

Since starting her career, Aya Nakamura has faced setbacks, discrimination, and harassment every step of the way. 

She is the most popular French-speaking performer worldwide, and the only female artist represented among the top 20 best-selling albums in the nation in 2023.

Nakamura’s second album surpassed one billion Spotify streams in 2021, and her 2018 hit song Djadja has nearly one billion YouTube listens. Unusually for a French-speaking performer, tickets for her two shows at the storied Bercy arena in Paris last year sold out in 15 minutes after she announced them.

Aya Nakamura is a music superstar. Yet the French-Malian singer can never be judged solely on her music.

Given that France is hosting the Olympics this summer, a French vocalist is sure to perform during the opening ceremony. However, one question remains: why do certain French politicians raise objections to her singing on a national platform?

After rumors that President Emmanuel Macron reportedly asked Nakamura to perform at the Olympic Games opening ceremony after she told him she was a fan of Edith Piaf, the country has been spilled over racial debate

Politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the granddaughter of the founder of France’s far-right party and the niece of its current leader seems to be leading the movement to oppose Nakamura’s performance.

“The French don’t want to be represented in the eyes of the world by a singer whose style is influenced by the hood and Africa. This is a political move by Emmanuel Macron, who wants to tell the world that the face of France is multicultural. We’re no longer a nation with Christian roots and European culture,” Marechal-Le Pen reportedly said through an interpreter in an interview with  NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley.

Nakamura’s lyrics mash up West African, French, Arabic, and English slang. Unfortunately, her musical concoction has fuelled a conspiracy theory that claims people of color are being used to replace white populations.

Related Posts

Crown App