Prêt-À-Poundo: A Mixed-Raced Miss France 2014, So What?

The mixed-raced winner of Miss France 2014 Florence Coquerel has brought up continuing issues of race and national identity in modern France.

Late last year, Flora Coquerel, a beautiful half-French, half-Beninese 19-year-old, was crowned Miss France 2014 in Dijon. An international business student, Coquerel conquered French people's hearts with her words — she stated a desire to represent a cosmopolite, modern France claiming that "today's France is a mixed France, where there is every culture, and I think a lot of people will see themselves in me".

Coquerel's statement came at an important time, after the country's latest racist incidents targeting French Minister of Justice Christine Taubira. Recent moves against Taubira include a far right politician comparing her to a monkey because of her skin tone. The events forced the United Nations to take action with Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stating "This utterly unacceptable abuse of a prominent politician, on the basis of her color, is a stark manifestation of the rising racism, xenophobia and intolerance aimed at members of ethnic and religious minorities – as well as migrants – in many European countries." (France 24)

Last year Louis-Georges Tin, the president of CRAN (Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France) noted the lack of black beauty contestants in the run for Miss France stating "The failure to represent the contemporary French population in an event such as this is obviously serious. It amounts to denying the very existence of French people of African origin." Many people expressed displeasure against the lack of Muslim contestants, as there as more than 6 million Muslims currently living in France.

Meanwhile, other crowds refused to see the new Miss France as a French citizen entirely due to her race. But if French citizens voted for her, it's because Coquerel is an accurate reflection of a mixed nation. Unfortunately, many social media users spread vile comments about her election. Some of the comments are truly offensive and leave us wondering where the boundaries lie in what can be published on social media. Despite free speech, should we allow hateful behavior on these channels? Here are some of the tweets, several of which draw from the same bigoted reasoning behind the attacks on Christiane Taubira:

"I am sure that Miss France is celebrating her victory at the zoo with all her family" @MikeAssouline

"The mixed race is the cancer of the white race" @tdechampagn

"Why do we always have to have a Black Miss France? Aren't there enough in France's soccer team and enough similar to Taubira?" @John_Doe_1001

"Miss France should thank Taubira. They elected a "Miss Black" to improve the image of France following the controversy" @Vaskk

We can't tell you how to act or think but we can denounce a grave mentality that disrupts the national environment and damages a country's society. As a new year dawns, it's time for a change — boycott the haters on social media or otherwise and highlight the lovers who are spreading a positive message. Just saying. If you want to talk about it, tweet @okayafrica with #missfrance2014.



Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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