France’s most popular singer on the Internet calls on voters to oppose the far right

France’s most popular singer on the Internet calls on voters to oppose the far right
France’s most popular singer on the Internet calls on voters to oppose the far right

Aya Nakamura, the most listened to French singer on the Internet, has joined the chorus of voices calling on the French electorate to vote against the far right in Sunday’s elections.

The National Rally party, which is set to emerge as the big winner in Sunday’s run-off election, has drawn criticism and concern from French celebrities with dual nationality, who are worried about the impact of its immigration plans. The party, led by Jordan Bardella, 28, wants to restrict access to certain public jobs for dual nationals. It also wants to deprive citizens born to foreign parents on French soil of their citizenship rights.

Pop star Nakamura, who emigrated to France from Mali as a child and rose to fame with her song “Djadja,” made the call in a message posted on social media on Tuesday that focused on her own experiences facing racism in France.

The 29-year-old said in her post that she is “well positioned to understand and know the place of racism in our country.”
Nakamura said that while she had previously chosen not to comment on certain issues, she now understood that her role as a major music artist obliged her to “speak out” at such an “important moment.”

He asked his fans to vote against “the only extreme that must be condemned,” in what seemed to be a reference to the far right.

In another post, Nakamura directly referred to the National Rally party, saying: “F*** the National Rally.” Nakamura later deleted the message, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.

Nakamura herself is no stranger to threats from the far right. This year she found herself at the centre of a controversy when there was speculation that she might perform the classic French song “Je ne regrette rien” at the Olympic opening ceremony.

Far-right groups and politicians, such as Marion Maréchal, a far-right MP and niece of Marine Le Pen, complained that Nakamura does not even “sing in French.” This insult apparently referred to the mix of French and African slang that Nakamura uses in his lyrics.

Major stars of French sport have also used their platforms to call on the public not to vote for the far right. Jules Kounde, a 25-year-old from Benin who plays for the French national team, used a press conference during the European Championships to share what he called his own “political position.”

“I was disappointed to see the direction France is taking, with strong support for a party that is contrary to our values,” Kounde told reporters after Monday’s France-Belgium match. “I think it is important to block the far right, the National Rally, because this party will not lead our country towards greater freedom.”

Kounde’s remarks echo comments by his compatriot Kylian Mbappé, who told reporters during the tournament that he is “against extremes.” Mbappé, whose family is originally from Algeria and Cameroon, stressed that he did not want to “represent a country” that did not embody his “values.”

The strong presence of the French far right in the first round has raised concerns in several European countries and even among senior UN officials. UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday that the recent advances of the far right in Europe should serve as an “alarm signal.”

 
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