The Devoir d’Insolence Project & Other Music

In 2010, Saïd Bouamama and French popular music group Z.E.P. (Zone d’Expression Populaire) published a sociological study and accompanying music album entitled Devoir d’Insolence. Later that year, the conservative group L’AGRIF (L’alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l’identité française et chrétienne) brought a court case of discriminatory hate speech against Bouamama and Saïdou; in 2015, they were acquitted. Below are some of the songs and controversies I examine in the chapter:

Afropean Music

In chapter 4, I read Miano’s novel Blues pour Élise as an alternative Afropean mediascape.

Structurally speaking, the novel resembles both a music album (complete with a “Bonus” track/chapter) and a television series. Each chapter concludes with an “Ambiance Sonore” [soundscape] that lists songs referenced in the preceding chapter. Here are some of the main works and artists I reference in analyzing the novel:

The term “Afropean” itself also comes from the music world, originating with producer David Byrne, who puts it thusly:

I see a new continent, a virtual musical and culinary contient emerging in Europe–Afropea–the Africans and generations of kids of African descent have assimilated Euro and American styles and are making adventurous and exciting mixtures in music and food, and in every other aspect of culture.

He produced the first record to use the term, Zap Mama’s Adventures in Afropea I.

Coupé-Décalé Music

In this chapter, I put Alain Mabanckou’s Black Bazar (2009) into dialog with Ivorian coupé-décalé music. Both draw from and put into practice (albeit in different ways) fashion practices from the Congolese Sape movement. Note the danses des griffes in the coupé-décalé videos, as well as the three nouchi (Ivorian street slang) terms I analyze in the book: “coupé,” “décalé,” and “travaillé.”

Select coupé-décalé music videos by members of the Jet Set:

“Douk Saga en fête” by Douk Saga, the self-proclaimed president of coupé-décalé music. In the song, Saga discusses the relationship between the music movement and the 2002 Ivorian civil war, describing himself (and the coupé-décalé music movement more generally) as the “messiah” who brought “joy and gaiety” to the Ivorian population in despair.
“La Jet” by Boro Sanguy and Lino Versace:
“On n’a Ka s’amuser” by Lino Versace:

Black Bazar

In this chapter, I primarily focus my analyses on Alain Mabanckou’s 2009 novel, Black Bazar [Black Bazaarin English]. This novel, however, is part of a larger intermedial project, also entitled Black Bazar, which, to date, consists of the novel, two music albums (Black Bazar, and Black Bazar Round 2) and a one-man stage performance by Modeste Nzapassara (2010).





The chapter also puts Black Bazar into limited dialog with some of Mabanckou’s earlier novels, including his first, Bleu-Blanc-Rouge (1998) and Verre Cassé (2006).




Migritude Literature & Music

In this chapter, I primarily study J.R. Essomba’s novel Le Paradis du Nord, reading it alongside popular musical works championing sans-papiers identity, including Salif Keïta’s “Nou Pas Bouger,” Manu Chao’s “Clandestino,” and Meiway’s “Je suis sans-papiers.”