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Hitchcott, Nicki (2004)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
As president and spokeswoman of the French black rights movement, Collectif Egalité, Cameroonian-born novelist Calixthe Beyala is committed to pushing for an improvement in the representation of black people on television in France. This article discusses the ways in which the Collectif has attempted to draw the French public's attention to the lack of 'visible minorities' on French TV. It takes as a test case the controversial figure of Beyala herself who has become something of a minor TV celebrity in her own right. What emerges as an apparent contradiction between Beyala's own media representation and the Collectif's campaign will serve to illustrate the ambivalent positioning of black citizens in contemporary France.
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    • 1. Calixthe Beyala quoted in MATAILLET, D., 'Qui êtes-vous …. Calixthe Beyala?', Sépia, 13 (1993), pp. 3-7 (pp. 6-7).
    • 2. Collectif Egalité was founded in 1998. Its members include Manu Dibango, Princesse Erika, Diedonné, Luc Saint-Eloi, and le Secteur A (Passy, Doc Gynéco and Stommy Bugsy).
    • 3. DECUGIS, J-M., and DURAND-SOUFFLAND, S., 'Positions tranchées sur les quotas', Le Figaro (1 juillet 1999).
    • 4. FRACHON, C., and VARGAFTIG, M., (eds), European Television: Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities (John Libbey, 1995), p.149. The first British sitcom to be written for and starring black British people was The Fosters (featuring a young Lenny Henry) broadcast by LWT in 1976. I am not suggesting here that racism is not an issue on British TV; rather that the visibility of black people in the media is far greater in the UK than in France.
    • 5. Quoted in BERTHIER, S., 'Le profil à doc', Télérama (28 November 2001). Before moving into television, Nébati spent two and a half years at the Comédie Française
    • 6. M.N., 'La devise de Calixthe Beyala: Liberté, Egalité et Mixité', L'Evénement, 6- 12 (mai 1999).
    • 7. M.N., 'La devise de Calixthe Beyala'. 'Saga-Cités' was a weekly magazine programme about life in the Parisian 'banlieues' and broadcast at midday on Sundays for more than ten years. See below for further discussion of this programme.
    • 8. La Lettre du CSA, 129 (juin 2000), p. 26.
    • 9. The first study was carried out by the CIEMI (Centre pour l'Information et l'Etude des Migrations Internationale) and culminated in the publication of PEROTTI, A., 'Présence et représentation de l'immigration et des minorités ethniques à la télévision française', Migrations Société, 3.18 (1991), 39-55. See MCGONAGLE, J.M.'s recent article, Ethnicity and Visibility in Contemporary French Television, French Cultural Studies, 13.3 (2002), pp. 281-292 for a discussion of Perotti's study.
    • 10. MALONGA, M-F., 'Ethnic Minorities: which Place and which Image on French Television?' [www.lse.ac.uk/collections/EMTEL/Minorities/papers/franceminorepres.doc] La Cinquième was not included as its programming ends at 19.00; Arte was also excluded as its broadcasting begins at 19.00 and, as a Franco-German channel, it is not monitored by the CSA. See the summary of the unpublished report, 'Présence et représentation des minorités visibles à la télévision française: une étude du CSA', La Lettre du CSA, 129, pp. 12-14.
    • 11. MALONGA, 'Ethnic Minorities'.
    • 12. I am very grateful to Marie-France Malonga for providing me with further information about the CSA study.
    • 13. MALONGA, 'Ethnic Minorities'.
    • 14. ibid.
    • 15. Désir quoted in DECUGIS and DURAND-SOUFFLAND, 'Positions tranchées'., KEDADOUCHE, Z., 'Rebonds', Libération (15 novembre 1999).
    • 16. Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples.
    • 17. Quoted in ZAPPI, S., 'Gouvernements et associations rejettent l'exigence des quotas', Le Monde (22 mai 2000).
    • 18. KEDADOUCHE, 'Rebonds'.
    • 19. BLANCHARD, P., and BANCEL, N., De l'indigène à l'immigré (Gallimard, 1998) p. 85.
    • 20. Radio interview on 'Le vif du sujet', France Culture, 18 juillet 2000.
    • 21. 'La 25ème nuit des César', Canal +, 19 février 2000. The statement read by Beyala and Saint-Eloi is reproduced in the former's published essay, Lettre d'une Afro-française à ses compatriotes (Mango, 2000).
    • 22. La Lettre du CSA, 129, p.13
    • 23. Frédéric Beigbeder, 'La case de tante Beyala', Elle (14 octobre 1996).
    • 24. There are twelve recorded appearances for this year in the copyright archives of the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) in Paris.
    • 25. 'J'y crois j'y crois pas', TF1, 2 mai 1996.
    • 26. 'Le vrai journal', Canal +, 29 septembre1996.
    • 27. 'A tout savoir', La Cinquième, 11 octobre 1996.
    • 28. 'Journal de 20 heures', TF1, 30 octobre 1996.
    • 29. See, for example, Thierry Beccaro in 'Matin Bonheur', Antenne 2, 8 décembre 1987. Much of Beccaro's interview with Beyala consists of whole-screen close-up shots of her face. See also Serge Moati in 'Ripostes', La Cinquième, 28 mai 2000.
    • 30. 'A la Folie', TF1, 25 octobre 1987.
    • 31. See, 'Matin Bonheur', Antenne 2, 8 décembre 1987.
    • 32. 'Matin Bonheur', Antenne 2, 20 septembre 1988.
    • 33. 'Durand la Nuit', TF1, 29 juin 1993.
    • 34. PONTIE, E., 'Belleville à l'honneur', Afrique Magazine (mai 1999).
    • 35. BEYALA, C., Lettre d'une Africaine à ses soeurs occidentales (Spengler, 1995) During the programme, Beyala misquotes the title of her book as Lettre ouverte aux femmes occidentales.
    • 36. 'Tout le monde en parle', Antenne 2, 23 octobre 1999.
    • 37. 'On a tout essayé!', France 2, 3 octobre 2000.
    • 38. BHABHA, H.K., 'The other question: the stereotype and colonial discourse', Screen, 24.4 (1983), p.18.
    • 39. See BLANCHARD and BANCEL, De l'indigène à l'immigré for a visual history of these images.
    • 40. ROSS, K., Black and White Media: Black Images in Popular Film and Television (Polity, 1996), p.xxii.
    • 41. CHALAYE, S., 'Autour du “Collectif Egalité”: Entretien avec Jacques Martial', Africultures, 27 (2000), pp. 43-48 (p. 45). Marital plays Bain-Marie in the longrunning series, 'Navarro'.
    • 42. ROSS, p.170.
    • 43. ALLISON, M. 'Women and the Media', in GREGORY, A. & U. TIDD(eds), Women in Contemporary France (Berg, 2000), pp.65-87 (p.68)
    • 44. THOMAS, D., 'Francophone Studies in Global Contexts', FrancophonePostcolonial Studies, 1.1 (2003), pp. 92-99 (p. 96).
    • 45. 'Bouvard des succès', France 2, 26 août 2000.
    • 46. BLANCHARD and BANCEL, De l'indigène à l'immigré, p. 83.
    • 47. MALGONA, 'Ethnic Minorities'.
    • 48. Letter reproduced on the website of Acrimed (Action Critique Médias) [http://acrimed.samizdat.net/imprimer.php3?id_article=249] 49, HUMBLOT, C., 'La télé n'est toujours pas multicolore'', Le Monde (27 septembre 2003).
    • 50. ibid.
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