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JulieGianni View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Miss France and the New Black
    Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:08am

Originally posted by www.theroot.com www.theroot.com wrote:

Miss France and the New Black

Chloe Mortaud’s no Miss Obama, but she’s another potent symbol that blackness is in vogue.

  • By: W. Hassan Marsh | Posted: January 14, 2008 at 12:01 PM
Getty Images

Blackness is fast moving to the center of the world’s psyche. For proof, look no further than last month’s crowning of a binational and biracial Miss France 2009. Chloe Mortaud’s selection as the face of French beauty and elegance has so few precedents that the French media have named her, perhaps cheaply, “Miss Obama.”

In one symbolic photo circulating on the Web, Mortaud, whose mother is African-American and whose father is French, is being kissed on either cheek by the two runners-up. The image’s symmetry communicates the bleak uniformity of traditional universalizing in French culture. The two runners-up look like pasty twins. Mortaud bursts through with a bit of brown and a confident smile, announcing that multicultural pluralism has arrived.

The photo represents a new vogue that blackness is experiencing around the world. “Black is the new America,” as Pakistani blogger Asad Haider put it. Once a generic signifier of outsideness, the concept of blackness may be slowly changing to represent a much desired centrality.

Although she is a media darling, not everyone is happy about the breakthrough. Marine Beaury, the first attendent to Mortaud’s regional crown, has contested her loss in court. Around the Web, some French commentators have complained that Mortaud is not pretty.

The very discussion of Mortaud’s worthiness represents an advance in the way the French deal with race. The enduring myth of a colorblind France has obscured the relative invisibility of non-white French people in France’s public life. The French government does not keep statistics on race. The official position is that there are no differences among the races—therefore, there is no reason to keep an account of it. That means disparities among racial groups cannot be quantified. However, a trip to an impoverished banlieue (suburb) of Paris or Marseille, where “race riots” in neighborhoods inhabited by large numbers of African and Arab immigrants have made world headlines, shows a qualitative difference.

Thanks in part to the Obama effect, French blacks who have traditionally been divided by designations like Caribbean, African or mixed ancestry, have started to make claims on transnational “blackness,” a feeling of a mutual experience if not shared origin. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said she hoped that the Obama effect would reshape the French elite by incorporating more people of color. (Never mind that it was her husband, who was the minister of the interior during the well-televised riots of 2005, who called the African and Arab youth protesting the death of two children “riff-raffs.”)

The 19-year-old Mortaud embodies the emerging pride and awareness around a global notion of blackness. Other than French and English, Mortaud speaks Spanish and Chinese and studies international business. “I want to incarnate … today’s French diversity,” she said according to the Associated Press.

In a video interview with Men’s Style, Mortaud names Halle Berry, who is also biracial, as an idol. Mortaud also identifies herself as “black,” which is rare in France when speaking about someone who is biracial. Presumably, she learned this from her black American mother, along with a worldview deeply influenced by the African-American experience.

As a true transnational, Mortaud delicately balances her Frenchness with American blackness. In the same interview with Men’s Style, she insists that she likes classical music (as any Miss France must) then quickly affirms her love for hip-hop and the artist Akon.

As Mortaud reportedly said, “This vote of the French well represents what is going on in the world.”

W. Hassan Marsh is a freelance journalist from Atlanta who has lived and traveled extensively in Francophone countries. He blogs at The Maroon Wanderer.

 

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vibrantthang View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:11am
interesting..."Miss Obama" and "Black is the new America"
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binky622 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:13am

The photo represents a new vogue that blackness is experiencing around the world. “Black is the new America,” as Pakistani blogger Asad Haider put it. Once a generic signifier of outsideness, the concept of blackness may be slowly changing to represent a much desired centrality.

Thank God maybe the younger generations will have more confidence and love for our race.  For now the older generations some will continue to lick their wounds, some will continue to practice seperation from ones kind and so forth.  The Obama wave is moving fast...just like that

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*Sweet~Natti* View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:15am
The new black isn't quite black...mmmmmmmmmmmk
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Merin View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:17am
I think this post is going to go downhill fast. 
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JulieGianni View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:18am
Originally posted by *Sweet~Natti* *Sweet~Natti* wrote:

The new black isn't quite black...mmmmmmmmmmmk
 
LOL
 
But still, so true.
 
Reminds me of what Ann Coulter said on The View about famous biracial people, i.e. Alicia Keyes, Barack Obama, and Halle Berry.  She said she doesn't understand why these people identify as black when they were raised by their white mothers after their black fathers abandoned them.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:18am
Originally posted by Merin Merin wrote:

I think this post is going to go downhill fast. 
 
Why? LS/DS?
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binky622 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:19am
Originally posted by JulieGianni JulieGianni wrote:

Originally posted by *Sweet~Natti* *Sweet~Natti* wrote:

The new black isn't quite black...mmmmmmmmmmmk
 
LOL
 
But still, so true.
 
Reminds me of what Ann Coulter said on The View about famous biracial people, i.e. Alicia Keyes, Barack Obama, and Halle Berry.  She said she doesn't understand why these people identify as black when they were raised by their white mothers after their black fathers abandoned them.
 
girl Ann Coulter is on crack in the worse way.
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LadyCC View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:20am
Shocked  Marine Beaury can go kick rocks!   Chloe Mortaud IS pretty enough.  Its also about Chloe's forum.  Let beauty be what beauty is.  Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 14 2009 at 10:23am
Originally posted by *Sweet~Natti* *Sweet~Natti* wrote:

The new black isn't quite black...mmmmmmmmmmmk
 
I have to agree with that statement. I guess I should go and read the article but honest New black? Give me a break...whatever
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