French, Mainstream and Black. Conceptualising blackness in French popular music

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talkResearch


Starting from the observation that all the best-selling artists featuring in the Top 20 albums list have already been the focus of scholarly publications, this paper examines the common approaches, hurdles and definitions of the mainstream in Anglophone academia, before considering the extent to which this existing research applies to the French context. By focusing on economic, aesthetic and sociological considerations of mainstream popular music, this paper offers a critical examination of my own intellectual evolution towards this notion, over the last twenty years, from reluctant to embrace when studying French popular music. It concludes by offering tentative avenues for the study of race within the French mainstream, introducing a new research project that focuses on Black artists and representations of blackness in commercially successful French pop of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, before the emergence of so-called ‘World Music’ and rap.
Period1 Dec 2022
Event titleThe silence of the mainstream/Le silence du mainstream
Event typeConference
LocationStrasbourg, FranceShow on map