Louise Mushikiwabo condemns racism against Aya Nakamura’s proposed performance at Paris 2024 Olympics

By Esther Muhozi
On 21 March 2024 at 02:48

Louise Mushikiwabo, the Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), has said that those opposing the idea of French singer Aya Nakamura performing at the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics are demonstrating high-level racism. Reports suggest that French President Emmanuel Macron has requested Nakamura to perform for an audience of about 300,000 at the launch of the Paris 2024 Games.

Nakamura is expected to sing a song by the late Édith Piaf, aiming to revive and honor traditional French music before performing her contemporary hits, which blend various languages and cultures. This proposal has sparked controversy in France, with critics arguing that Nakamura, who does not speak French fluently and was born in Mali, does not represent French culture adequately.

A group called “Les Natifs” posted a sign near the Seine, where the Olympic opening ceremony will take place, stating, “It’s not possible, Aya. This is Paris, not a market in Bamako.”

Nakamura responded to the backlash on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “You may be racist, but you’re not deaf. That’s what’s sad. I’ve become the main topic of conversation across the country. But what do I owe you?”

When Mushikiwabo was asked about the controversy during an interview on TV5 Monde program "L’Invitée," she suggested that the issue has political roots in France. She expressed surprise and dismay at the lack of appreciation for a talented French artist of African descent, seeing it as a negative political act linked to European electoral politics and current French political climate.

Mushikiwabo criticized the racist undertones of the opposition to Nakamura’s performance, highlighting the absurdity of suggesting that a talented artist like Nakamura should only perform in African markets. At 28, Aya Nakamura is one of the most listened-to French artists today, with her hit song "Djadja" garnering over 950 million views on YouTube.

Louise Mushikiwabo has condemned racism against Aya Nakamura's proposed performance at Paris 2024 Olympics