Directed by Alan Govenar • Documentary • With Tyler Stovall, Monique Y. Wells, Thomas Allen Harris, Karim Toure, Akin Babatunde • 2020 • 86 minutes
For more than a century, African American artists, authors, musicians and others have traveled to Paris to liberate themselves from the racism of the United States. What made these African Americans choose France? Why were the French fascinated by African Americans? And to what extent was and is France truly colorblind? Alan Govenar’s film investigates these questions and examines racism that has plagued not only African Americans fleeing the United States, but Africans and people of color in France today.
The film explores the lives and careers of renowned African Americans who emigrated to Paris, including Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Beauford Delaney, and Barbara Chase-Riboud, and includes rare footage of Henry Ossawa Tanner in Paris. Features interviews with renowned author Michel Fabre, jazz aficionado Francis Hofstein, poet James Emanuel, historian Tyler Stovall, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, graffiti artist Quik, hip hop producer Ben the Glorious Bastard, African drummer Karim Toure, and many more.