Thursday, May 26, 2016

Moune de Rivel Honored in Paris Suburb of Clichy La Garenne

Moune de Rivel (1918-2014) was one of the best known and loved performers of Creole music in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Moune de Rival - La Grande Dame de la Chanson Créole
CD cover - Frémeaux & Associés

Born in Bordeaux of Guadeloupian parents, De Rivel (née Cécile Jean-Louis Baghio'ode) was exposed to Creole music at a very early age and eventually traveled the world as an ambassador of this music. In her heyday, she excelled at singing, guitar, piano, painting, and acting, and she performed in several films. She lived in the U.S. from 1946-1948 and was reportedly the first French entertainer, black or white, to go to the States after the war. During her two-year stay, she attended the Julliard School and was filmed for the 20th-Century Fox documentary Night-Club Boom.

De Rivel performed at popular Antillean night clubs in Paris such as La Canne à Sucre and La Boule Blanche. She also performed at La Rose Rouge, the cabaret-theater operated by Senegalese dancer Feral Benga.

For a short time, she even operated her own night club - Le Perroquet au Nid - near the Champs Elysées.

Among her many awards and citations, de Rivel received the Medaille de la Ville de Paris in 1967 and was named a Chevalier des arts et des lettres in 1997.

The non-profit association AGORA KARAYIB recently honored de Rivel with a photo exhibition called "Les horizons créoles de Moune de Rivel" in the northern Paris suburb of Clichy la Garenne. All the photographs on display were taken by photojournalist Foto Forey Fumey.

The exhibit was first displayed on May 15 in conjunction with a cultural exchange on the theme of Creole traditions at the Salle Heidenheim at 6, place du Marché.

From May 17-22, it was displayed at the Galerie "12 Avenue des Arts" at 86, rue de Paris. We attended a reception held at the gallery on May 20.

"Les horizons créoles de Moune de Rivel" at Galerie "12 Avenue des Arts"
© Discover Paris!

Duke Ellington and Moune de Rivel
© Discover Paris!

Dozens of people came to the gallery to pay tribute to her...

Reception attendees
© Discover Paris!

including her niece and grand niece:

Anasia Bader (grand niece) and Eliane David (niece)
© Discover Paris!

Fofo Forey Fumey is the photographer whose work was shown during the exhibit. He followed de Rivel's career for decades and was present at the gallery's reception to talk about this experience.

Fofo Forey Fumey and his photos
© Discover Paris!

Journalist Marie-Michaël Manquat gave a presentation about de Rivel, introduced de Rivel's relatives and Fumey, video-ed the festivities, and served refreshments.

Marie-Michaël Manquat and Fofo Forey Fumey
© Discover Paris!

Moune de Rival died on March 27, 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Her funeral was held on April 1, 2014 at Notre-Dame-des-Champs Church in Paris. She is buried next to her mother, Fernande de Virel, in Montparnasse Cemetery.

Listen to de Rivel perform the song “Morne à l’Eau” from the album Joie et Nostalgie Créoles (Creole Joy and Nostalgia) by clicking HERE.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

La Cima Charter School Tour of Luxembourg Garden - A First for Entrée to Black Paris Tours!

It's great to be back to blogging again!

Since the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition closed in mid-March, I've been on a mission to "take the show on the road".

Click here to find out how you can help!


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A few weeks ago, Entrée to Black Paris had the immense pleasure of providing our Luxembourg Garden tour to 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds from La Cima Charter School in Brooklyn. It was the first time that ETBP has given a guided walking tour to participants of such a young age!

La Cima Charter School Scholars and Chaperones at the Luxembourg Garden
© Discover Paris!

Executive Director Tara Phillips contacted us to ask whether we could give the La Cima scholars a guided tour that would complement the students' curriculum. Our initial response was that we don't provide tours for students less than 14 years of age.

Director Phillips responded immediately by informing us that La Cima's vision as a school is to "develop scholars who have the intellectual capacity, social capital and the emotional strength of character to be change makers in their communities" and that their curriculum "encourages students to grapple with difficult issues when it comes to being Black in America, both from historical and current perspectives." She told us that the article they were given to read in preparation for the trip was Thomas Chatterton Williams' story in the premier issue of Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly: "Is Paris Still a Haven for Black Americans?"

ETBP's "Black History in and Around the Luxembourg Garden" was the perfect tour for the group. It provided an idyllic setting to discuss many aspects of race relations - past and present - in France and to compare them with race relations in the U.S. Among the topics presented were the Loi Taubira (which declares slavery and the slave trade crimes against humanity); the outstanding political legacy of French Guiana's native son, Gaston Monnerville; and the Paris experiences of African-American artists Loïs Mailou Jones and Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Bust of Gaston Monnerville
© Discover Paris!

The students were delightfully attentive and had opportunities to associate topics from the tour with various subjects they were studying at home.

Executive Director Tara Phillips and Monique Y. Wells
© Discover Paris!

Phillips had the following to say about the tour:

We learned about the Entrée to Black Paris tour from the US Embassy. Monique came highly recommended and accommodated us with a well-tailored tour for our group. Our group included 12 5th graders and 7 adult chaperones from a charter school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

We wanted the tour to be relevant to things our scholars have studied, including the experiences of Black Americans in Paris and other institutions that impact Black people around the globe. The tour met our expectations and we all learned a great deal about France’s role in the slave trade, famous Black American artists and writers who lived in Paris and several Black political leaders in Paris and their impact on government.

Students and chaperones alike enjoyed the tour. It definitely broadened all of our knowledge about the city and there were relevant connections made to our own lives in New York City.

Read Executive Director Phillips' entire testimonial here.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Give1Project - Global Leadership Summit at UNESCO

On Friday, March 11, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending activities organized as part of the Give1Project Global Leadership Summit for 2016.


GIVE1PROJECT's mission is to invest in young global leaders, empowering and inspiring them to continuously strive for greater social, economic and political participation in their communities, both locally and internationally. Previous summits have been held in Cotonou, Benin (2013), Casablanca, Morocco (2014), and Washington, D.C., U.S.A. (2015).

The Paris summit was a four-day affair, with Friday's activities consisting primarily of two panel discussions about leadership. One hundred and fifty persons from 30 countries and 25 nationalities were in attendance.

Conference attendees
© Discover Paris!

The morning started with a brief introduction of the day's session by Jacqueline Cofield, director of Give1Project's Give1Arts program for the arts and cultural entrepreneurship. (Ms. Cofield organized the Global Educator Program that was an integral part of the Beauford Delaney art exhibition that took place in Paris from February 4 - March 15, 2016).

Jacqueline Cofield, Give1Arts of Give1Project
© Discover Paris!

This was followed by a presentation of UNESCO by Victoria Dellinger, External Relations and Public Information officer; spoken word by Ibson Littérapure; and an introduction to Give1Project by founder and CEO, Thione Niang.

Victoria Dellinger, UNESCO
© Discover Paris!

Thione Niang, Give1Project
© Discover Paris!

Give1Project executive director Dr. Anta Sané then introduced the first panel discussion, which was entitled "Women in Leadership: Inspiring Positive Change."

Dr. Anta Sané, Give1Project
© Discover Paris!

Panelists for "Women in Leadership: Inspiring Positive Change"
© Discover Paris!

Among the panelists were:

Karen Andre, White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Amaal Nuux, Somali-Canadian singer and songwriter; and Danielle Sassou Nguesso, president of the Sounga Foundation.

Karen Andre, White House Liaison, HUD
© Discover Paris!

Amaal Nuux, singer-songwriter
© Discover Paris!

Danielle Sassou Nguesso, Sounga Foundation
© Discover Paris!

This discussion went far longer than anticipated due to numerous comments given in response to a young man expressing his belief that women have no problems with inequality today and asking the panel whether women themselves prevented other women from achieving the success they desire.

Give1Project founder Niang then introduced the second panel, which was entitled "Against the Odds: Empowerment and Leadership."

Panelists for "Against the Odds: Empowerment and Leadership"
© Discover Paris!

Among the panelists were:

Mamadou Cisse, youngest mayor in Senegal; and Debo Folunrosho, Founder and Creative Director at Applause Africa.

Mamadou Cisse, mayor of Kédougou, Senegal
© Discover Paris!

Debo Folunrosho, Applause Africa
© Discover Paris!

Senegalese rapper and activist Simon Kouka delivered a powerful and impassioned speech about leadership and giving back to Africa.

Simon Kouka, Senegalese rapper and activist
© Discover Paris!

The afternoon ended with the presentation of Outstanding Entrepreneurship Awards to start-up business owners

Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award Winners
(far left, center, and far right)
© Discover Paris!

and Karen Andre presenting a gift from the White House to Morocco's Ambassador to UNESCO, H.E. Mrs. Zohour Alaoui.

Karen Andre and H.E. Mrs. Zohour Alaoui
(Anta Sané and Thione Niang in background)
© Discover Paris!

During the course of the summit, participants also enjoyed a welcome at the French Business Confederation MEDEF, a visit to the Presidential Palace, and a gala dinner and award ceremony hosted by Royal Air Maroc.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bob Tomlinson: Fragments of Myth Exhibition in New York

Bob Tomlinson is a Jamaican-American artist, retired French professor, and long-time Paris resident who made the City of Light his home “by accident.” He lived in Paris during the 1968 student uprising, moved away for several years, and then came back and established permanent residency in the city. He and I share a burning passion for investigating the history of African-American Paris, particularly regarding Black Montmartre during the interwar years. His story is one of 24 African-American and Afro-Caribbean expatriate stories that I feature in the Discover Paris! publication Black Paris Profiles.

Bob Tomlinson and Anna Comnena
Image courtesy of Bob Tomlinson

Viridian Artists, a contemporary art gallery in Chelsea, NY, will be hosting an exhibition of Bob's latest works from March 15 - April 6, 2016. Called Fragments of Myth, the show will feature several complex canvases done in Bob's inimitable style.

Josephine Baker: The Myth of Africa
2016 Oil and collage on canvas
Image courtesy of Bob Tomlinson

Bob combines areas painted in oil with elaborately textured and printed papers, as well as digitally manipulated photographs. His work flows uniquely between the figurative and the abstract. Art critic Lawrence Downes writes that:

The subjects of the paintings are echoes of myths, be they ancient, literary, historical or personal. However, both formally and philosophically, they can reach us only as fragments.

The Expulsion from the Garden
2016 Oil and collage on canvas
Image courtesy of Bob Tomlinson

Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York. He has shown widely in Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York and is represented in many international public and private collections, including those of the Clark-Atlanta University Museum, City University of New York, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Lord and Lady Hirshfield, M. Franco Trecanni di Montichiari, Mme Linda Weil-Curiel, and Herr Frits Bernard. A graduate of Pratt Institute and the CUNY Graduate Center, he is also a scholar of French Literature and Aesthetics and has lectured and published in both disciplines, as well as in Afro-American Studies.

In addition to Black Paris Profiles (2012), Bob figures in the book entitled 100 New York Painters by Cynthia M. Dantzic (Schiffer, 2006) and is one of the artists studied in a recent Masters Thesis by Charlotte Barat entitled "Artistes noirs américains à Paris (1945-1969). Vie de bohème, liberté artistique et négociations identitaires (Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2014)." He is also the subject of a film project by the documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah.

Fragments of Myth opens March 15 with a reception on Thursday March 17 from 5-8 PM. The work will be on view through April 2. Bob will be at the gallery on Saturday, April 2, the final day of the exhibition, for coffee and conversation from 3-4 PM.

Viridian Artists, Inc.
548 West 28th St #632
NY, NY 10001

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-6 PM
For further information please contact Vernita Nemec, Director at 212 414 4040 or

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