The word Negrophilia, derives from the French négrophilie that literally means "love of the negro". It was a term that avant-garde artists used to describe their passion for black culture. This term was coined during the 1920-30s in Paris,France and it is still a prominent artistic expression in today's Parisian culture.
Negrophilia, was a craze in Paris, France that began through the private collections of African art appreciated by French intellectuals. During this study abroad opportunity, my colleagues and I found an African art store around the corner from the Centre Pompidou (Modern Art Museum) in the 4th arrondissement. Below is a shot I took while inside surveying the many different art pieces.
The following photos were taken at the Musée du Quai Branly, this museum is dedicated to indigenous cultures from all over the world. Ancient civilizations from Africa, Asia and other Oceanic countries in the Caribbeans are all exhibited here in this museum. Jacques Chirac, founder and former president of the museum began this extensive collection with admiration and appreciation for the modernity in indigenous artifacts and lifestyles.
Along with the French's appreciation for African art came an admiration for anything else African especially the lifestyles of African descendants. i.e. African Americans. For instance, Jazz created by African Americans in the 1920's was by far the most appreciated art-form in Paris. Still to this day, Jazz is held in high regard by the Parisians as a true African American musical art form. Here is a short clip of a Jazz club in Paris where this type of music is still being played and adored in the cellar night clubs all over Paris.
As the times change, so does` the taste in music. Although many Parisians still listen to and appreciate jazz, the younger generation is gravitating towards hip hop. One of the four hip hop elements; "graffiti" shows up almost everywhere in Paris. Graffiti has been used as an art form to express ideas and display a stance against oppressing politics.
Speaking with students from the Sorbonne, a business and management University in Paris, I learned that the French youth definitely listen to American music. Most of the students said they enjoy listening to hip hop artists and partying to electronic dance music (EDM). As we walked the streets of Paris, we frequently ran into street performers who specialized in another element of hip hop: break-dancing. Watch the video below for an example..........