Thursday, March 24, 2011

Black Women on French Television

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France has long been criticized for not having enough black faces in the media, whether it be cinema, television, or theater.  Strides forward are being made, however.   Today I bring you the stories of three women who are breaching the color barrier on the small screen.

Rama Yade

Rama Yade
Photo from Wikipedia Commons

Rama Yade, former government Secretary of State for Human Rights and Secretary of State for Sports, and current French Ambassador to UNESCO, can now be seen regularly on the French television station LCI. Yade is one of the panelists on the show Think Tank, which presents a weekly debate on current affairs from a leftist viewpoint.  Her first broadcast was on March 11, 2011.

For a time, it was rumored that Yade would replace Harry Roselmack (the first black man to anchor a French news program) when Roselmack announced his departure from TF1.  But she was quick to refute these claims, saying that she is a public servant for France – "period."

Born in 1976 in Ouakam, Senegal, Yade was one of President Nicolas Sarkozy's early favorites when he was elected in 2007.  In 2008, she declined the Sarkozy government's invitation to run for the European Parliament.  This was the beginning an increasingly widening rift between Yade and Sarkozy.

Audrey Pulvar

Audrey Pulvar
Screenshot from i-Télé

Audrey Pulvar is the first woman from an ethnic minority to present the evening news in France.  A 39-year-old from the French department of Martinique, she made her first appearance on national French television with co-host Louis Laforge on the France 3 broadcast Soir 3 in September 2004. 

Pulvar went on to anchor France 3's national news broadcast 19/20 from 2005 - 2009.  In 2006, she began hosting a monthly news magazine called Parlez-moi d'ailleurs on the Assemblée Nationale station.  She moved to the station i-Télé in 2009, where she broadcasted nightly from 6 - 8 PM and hosted a political show on Sundays.

In November 2010, i-Télé suspended Pulvar to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest because of her relationship with Socialist deputy Arnaud Montebourg, who had just declared his intention to run for president in 2012.  In the interim, she is anchoring a show called Arrêt sur Info, where social, but not political issues are discussed.  This airs on i-Télé at 11:40 AM and 4:10 PM. She is also presenting a special event at the Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration from March 22-26, 2011 on Curiosphère TV.

Additionally, Pulvar broadcasts from 6-7 AM and presents a three-minute spot at 8:37 PM on the radio station France Inter.

Christine Kelly

Christine Kelly
Screenshot from YouTube

Christine Kelly 's career as a nationally known journalist began when she was chosen to present the morning news on LCI, France's most popular continuous news station, in February 2000.  She is proud to have been the first black person to present a national news program.  From March 2005 to July 2006, she wrote and presented a show on sustainable development for Ushuaïa TV.

After taking time off to write a book about French Prime Minister François Fillon, she rejoined LCI in February 2008 to host the station's afternoon news magazines and to serve as co-presenter of the environmentally-oriented weekly show Terre-Mère.

Beginning in September 2008, Kelly hosted LCI Matin week-end on Fridays from 6 - 9 AM and the news on Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30 - 10:30 AM. She resigned her post, but subsequently reconsidered and was assigned an interview spot that broadcast on Fridays at 8:45 AM.

A 2009 article in the UK newspaper The Telegraph about Kelly states:

Although she said being a black icon "is not a end in itself, I'll take the flag as it passes by. If I can help others, encourage people to take up professions, so much the better," she once said.

However, she cannot stand being called a "black journalist". "I'm a journalist, full stop."

In January 2009, Kelly was appointed a member of the prestigious Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA) by the president of the French Senate.  This organization is responsible for regulating all audiovisual broadcasts in France.

Kelly was born in the French department of Guadeloupe in 1969.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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