Blackness in French pop? The ambivalent success and legacy of Henri Salvador and La Compagnie Creole

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


While existing studies of French musical blackness focus on the inter-war period and on post-1990 rap, this paper presents preliminary findings about the middle decades of the 1960s to 1980s with a view to problematizing the presence of Black musicians, and musical representations of blackness, in contemporary French culture. Two case-studies of commercially successful Antillais acts, Henri Salvador and La Compagnie Créole, seemingly confirm the persistence of colonia-era stereotypes in post-colonial France (male clowns, dancing females). Nonetheless, the cultural legitimacy of sexual comedy in France complicates this interpretation, as this presentation grapples with the relevance of Anglo-American theories of musical blackness (Gilroy, Hall, Martens, Haggins…) when applied to the French case.
Period19 Oct 2022
Held atEuropean Popular Musics Research Group, United Kingdom