Row erupts from far-right over Aya Nakamura performing at Paris Olympics

Music

Rumours of Aya Nakamura performing at the Paris Olympics has sparked a huge outrage from far-right critics.

According to French newspaper Le Monde, local media reported that the French-Malian musician met with President Emmanuel Macron last month to discuss singing a song by iconic French artist Edith Piaf. Nakamura has racked up over 1billion views on YouTube for her 2018 hit ‘Djadja’, whilst Le Monde has dubbed her “the world’s most popular French-speaking artist”.

Whilst these reports have not been confirmed by either Macron or Nakamura, the rumours caused significant fury with the far-right. The Reconquest party, who held a rally on Sunday led by ex-presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, announced Nakamura’s name which elicited boos from their crowd.

Meanwhile, another extremist group called The Natives hung a banner by the River Seine: “There’s no way Aya; this is Paris, not the Bamako market.” According to NBC, French officials have confirmed they are investigating racist attacks targeting Nakamura.

Nakamura has responded to a photo of the banner on social media, replying (as translated by The Guardian): “You can be racist but not deaf … That’s what hurts you! I’m becoming a number 1 state subject in debates … but what do I really owe you? Nada.”

The Olympics organising committee has said it gives Nakamura “total support” on Monday, adding: “We have been very shocked by the racist attacks against Aya Nakamura in recent days. (We offer our) total support to the most listened-to French artist in the world.”

Other French officials have weighed in on the debate, with sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra saying to Nakamura: “It doesn’t matter, people love you. Don’t worry about anything.”

Meanwhile, Antoine Léaument of the leftwing LFI party wrote: “They claim to love their country but they want to exclude the most listened-to French-speaking singer in the world since Édith Piaf. We cannot be racist and patriotic in France.”

Nakamura, who makes Afrobeats/zouk-inspired music that uses “unorthodox spelling” and “slang-infused lyrics”, has previously responded to suggestions that she is mocking the French language: “I can understand why some people say: ‘Who does she think she is, mocking us in our French language?’”

“But it’s important to accept the culture of others, and, me, I have two cultures,” she said to AFP.

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