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“My profession is not black”: 16 actresses sign a book-manifesto for a fair representation in the cinema

Written by FDM

In France, 16 black and mixed race actresses recall the remarks they’ve received throughout their careers in a collective book, published on Thursday, May 3, called “Noir n’est pas mon métier” (My profession is not black).

A cry against racism. “Black is not my profession” is the title of the book, edited by the Seuil, that has brought together 16 passionate actresses including Firmine Richard, Sonia Rolland and Aïssa Maïga to testify to the racism and sexism they’ve suffered from as black women in the industry.

A few days before the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, the book is a call for a more accurate representation of French society in cinema, theater, television and in the cultural field in general.

“More than 300 French films are produced every year,” says Aïssa Maïga. Black actresses are rare. They are hardly ever showing. Aïssa Maïga, admits to being “one of the few to have access to roles and notoriety” in an environment where the lack of diversity is still apparent.

Most of the time, the proposed roles are still stereotyped: “Mamas in boubous”, single mother with problems, prostitutes … “A skin color is not a profession”, repeats Aïssa Maïga. The 16 actresses who testify in this book remind us that their career, their talents and their experiences are numerous, but that this wealth is always invisible in the cinema. For many of them, breaking through this medium means overcoming infinite obstacles.

They’re revealing it all in the book . An anthology of anecdotes sometimes staggering, sometimes funny, written in the urgency, in a context where the voice of women is heard.