France: TV channel censors political message on rapper’s T-shirt in new video

7 November 2016

In an act that sparked public outrage on social media, French TV channel W9 decided to blur out rapper Black M’s T-shirt when airing his new video for his song ‘Je Suis Chez Moi’ due to a political message referring to a controversial death under police custody, reported Le Parisien on 19 September 2016.

The rapper’s T-shirt featured a message in French saying: “Justice pour Adama – sans justice vous n’aurais jamais la paix”, which translates to: “Justice for Adama – without justice, you will never find peace”. The message relates to the case of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who was arrested by police in Beaumont-sur-Oise, a town in northern France, on 19 July 2016, and who died shortly afterwards under unknown circumstances. Versions of what happened on that day have been contradictory and remain unclear, reported French newspaper Le Monde on 14 September 2016.

W9 issued a statement on Twitter clarifying that “the blurring of a message referring to a non-judged issue has been done on grounds of neutrality”. As reported by Le Monde on 29 September 2016, W9 confirmed they will continue blurring out the T-shirt’s message.

CRAN, France’s Representative Council of Black Associations, criticised W9’s decision, stating: “We do not see why the fact that there is an ongoing [judicial] procedure would prevent the spreading of images of support to Adama Traoré, which simply ask that justice is done.”

Rapper’s performance banned
This is not the first time Black M has been at the centre of controversy in 2016. Verdun city mayor Samuel Hazard cancelled the rapper’s concert commemorating the 100-year anniversary of WWI’s Battle of Verdun due to protests concerning the rapper’s alleged “anti-France” and homophobic lyrics, particularly in the song “Désolé” by his group Sexion d’Assault.

Politician Marion Le Pen was one of the key campaigners for the concert’s cancellation. Black M decided to respond to the incident and politician by reaffirming his French identity and rights in ‘Je Suis Chez Moi’, with lyrics such as: “I’m French/they don’t want Marion to be my fiancé/maybe because she finds me too dark/just let me invite her to dance”.

Photo: Screenshot from ‘Je Suis Chez Moi’ video on Black M’s YouTube channel


» RTL – 21 September 2016:
Black M’s “Justice for Adama” T-shirt censored by W9: the channel’s response

» Le Parisien – 19 September 2016:
W9 censors Black M, who wears a T-shirt “Justice for Adama Traoré”, in his new clip

» Le Monde – 19 September 2016:
W9 blurs out Black M’s “Justice for Adama” T-shirt in his latest clip

» Le Monde – 14 September 2016:
Death of Adama Traoré: a fireman contradicts the policemen’s version

» L’Express – 12 July 2016:
Black M responds to Marion Le Pen: “I know she loves me. I’m French”

More from Freemuse

» 19 May 2016: France: Mayor cancels WWI centenary concert over rapper’s “anti-France” lyrics

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