37-year-old Sibeth Ndiaye is making a name for herself as the communications advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron. Born in Dakar, she quickly found herself in the world of politics after moving to Paris and becoming involved with the National Union of Students of France (UNEF) while studying health economics at Paris-Sorbonne University. She joined the French Socialist Party in 2002, ultimately becoming the secretary in charge of early childhood.
Although Macron’s wife Brigitte is widely known as his main confidant, Ndiaye was also heavily involved in his PR campaign throughout the election, granting or denying the media access to the presidential candidate for interviews and managing his image in what turned out to be one of the most divisive French elections in recent history. Ndiaye was even ranked ninth out of the fifteen most important personalities who were closest to Macron during his campaign.
In a recent interview with weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, Ndiaye said she did not officially become a French citizen until June 2016 – and that was
“after a long hesitation.”
When questioned over her status as a role model for young African women who are considering a career in politics, she was reluctant to accept the title.
“I do not see myself as a role model at all. My professional career was built upon encounters with people who trusted me …this leads me to believe that my success is because of my contact with the right people, people who do not see skin color, social origin or education background.”
Nyansapo Fest – Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks
It’s an embarrassing turnaround for the mayor who appears to have leapt to the position of far-right groups instead of checking the facts of the situation.
The Nyansapo Fest, which is organised by the Mwasi Collective, is set to take place in northern Paris between 28 and 30 July.
In recent days, the festival organisers have been lambasted by certain social media users– especially those from far-right and white nationalist circles– due to the fact that certain sessions will only be open to black women. On Sunday, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo jumped into the discussion, tweeting that the festival was discriminatory and that she would take firm and immediate action to ban it.
However, only a day later, Hidalgo took to Twitter to announce that the festival would go ahead after all. This prompted ridicule on social media, with the number one hashtag in France stealing a line from her most recent tweet, “Following my firm intervention…”
“Festival Nyansapo: Following my firm intervention yesterday with organisers, a clear solution was established,” Hidalgo tweeted.
So what happened?
The Nyansapo festival has divided its events into four categories– those open exclusively to black women (which account for 80% of activities), those open to both black women and black men, those open to women of colour and those open to everyone. The majority of events are reserved for black female participants.
The organisers say it is important to restrict access to certain sessions so that black women can engage in open, honest conversations about their unique struggles, without judgement from others.
Karima Delli isn’t your typical European Parliament committee chair.
She takes over the Greens’ only top job this week covering transport — a woman, in her 30s and with an Algerian background — and is used to facing-off against National Front leader Marine Le Pen in northern France.
“In electing a young woman you are sending out a very strong signal to European citizens,”
Delli said from the chair’s seat immediately after being confirmed in committee [in January].
At 37 she isn’t the youngest MEP, but she will be the youngest chair. Delli replaces Michael Cramer, a German Green with a penchant for cycling and rail who plans to step down as an MEP in 2019 and in 2014 agreed to switch the chair half-way through the term. A tight internal vote was held this month to determine who would stand.
As part of her priorities, Delli says she wants to prioritize social issues and deploy transport in the fight against climate change. A source close to Delli said she also hoped to bring a different style to committee leadership.
Delli is the ninth child from a family of 13 and grew up in the industrial city of Roubaix, not far from the Belgian border. Her father worked in a textile factory while her mother cared for the family. A former parliamentary assistant to a Green senator in France, she has a record of activism.
Her election to the European Parliament in 2009 came as a surprise. Delli was fourth on the Paris list for the Greens but benefited from an unexpected boost in support for the party in the French capital. Her first committee gig was in employment affairs where she focused on social housing and workers’ rights.
In 2014 she was re-elected, this time as first on the list from the northern Hauts De France region. It is here that she competed directly against Le Pen for votes.
A transition to transport policy came as part the European Parliament’s response to the Dieselgate scandal. Delli helped lead the push to collect over 150,000 signatures calling on the European Parliament to launch its own investigation. She’s been a vice-chair of the committee of inquiry since its inception.
“Divines” tells the story of Dounia, a tough but naive teenager living in the ‘hood, who sees getting rich or dying trying as her most viable option to get out, from French filmmaker of Moroccan descent Houda Benyamina.
Omar Sy stars in “Chocolat,” which is based on the life of Rafael Padilla – a former Cuban-born slave, who became a performer in France during the Belle Epoque era. He died in Bordeaux on November 4, 1917. French-Moroccan actor/director Roschdy Zem directed.
Directed by André Téchiné, “Being 17” is a tale of burgeoning gay romance that follows the pampered teenage son of a soldier and a doctor who lives with his mother in Army barracks in the south of France while his father is on a military mission in the Central African Republic.
Directed by Olivier Babinet, “Swagger,” is “a teen-movie documentary,” the docu-drama (part non-fiction/part fiction) takes audiences on a journey into the astonishing minds of eleven teenagers growing up in one of the most underprivileged neighborhoods in France.
Monique Y. Wells is a 20-year resident of Paris, France. She is co-owner of Discover Paris! – Personalized Itineraries for Independent Travelers, and is also a freelance travel writer and editor.
Through Discover Paris!, Monique has provided services tailored for the African-American traveler to Paris since 1999. Over the years, she has created Afro-centric itineraries, self-guided African-American history walking tours, a comprehensive Black Paris bus tour, and African-American hosted culinary activities for those wanting an in-depth travel experience in the City of Light. Her book, Paris Reflections: Walks Through African-American Paris (McDonald & Woodward, 2002; co-authored with Christiann Anderson), contains abbreviated versions of the walks that she proposes to Discover Paris! clients. She has provided private, guided tours of African-American Paris for student groups from Syracuse University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and other schools.
Monique writes and edits articles on many aspects of life in Paris. Her articles have been published by the International Herald Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, France Today, This City Paris, and other American newspapers, magazines and web publications. One of these articles was published in the anthology France, A Love Story (Seal Press, 2004).
Barnard College, Rice University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas Southern University, and numerous private groups have appreciated Monique’s lecture on “Black Paris and the Myth of a Colorblind France.” In 2011, she was named Black Culture and Heritage VIP in Paris by the online magazine African Diaspora Tourism.
Monique is also the president of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a French non-profit association whose goal is to honor painter Beauford Delaney and to educate the public about his life and art.