Three reasons to see the documentary “Once it's a Black”
Seven comedians participate in the documentary “Once it's a Black”
“Once it's a Black”. This beginning of a joke in very bad taste, Normand Brathwaite, Anthony Kavanagh, Michel Mpambara, Boucar Diouf, Eddy King, Erich Preach and Garihanna Jean-Louis have heard it too often.
In the documentary of the same name, these comedians testify to the evolution of the place of Black people in Quebec humor. Here are three good reasons to watch it.
To measure the road-travelled
Although he embodied the first a black character on Quebec television in Chez Denise at the end of the 1970s, which is historic in itself, Normand Brathwaite admits that he played there “the Haitian on duty”.
For the public at the time, he was “the little black man”, he recalls. This role nevertheless opened the door to the mythical Laughing Saturday to the one who later became the star host of Piment fort then of Belle et Bum.
At one point or another of their careers, black comedians in Quebec have faced racism. Talk to Anthony Kavanagh, who recounts in the documentary that he often received “compliments” from viewers saying, “You're the only black guy I love.”
When he started animate Kiwis and menin 2007, Boucar Diouf received tons of emails criticizing his accent. “We don't understand anything you're saying,” he was reproached for.
Eddy King was flatly refused admission to the National School of Humor because he was doing so-called “ethnic” humor, a niche already occupied by Rachid Badouri, he was told.
To highlight the absence of women
Black women are conspicuous by their absence in the comedy industry in Quebec. This is reflected in Une fois c't'un Noir, which only gives the floor to a single black comedian, Garihanna Jean-Louis.
Still little known by the great audience, the Haitian-born comedian is the first black woman to graduate from the National School of Humor. The general manager and founder of the establishment, Louise Richer, personally offered her a scholarship a few years ago.
Garihanna Jean-Louis says she often felt “out of place” and “misunderstood” during her studies, simply because the experience she told in her numbers was different from that of the majority.
Often, I felt invalidated.
Garihanna Jean-Louis, who says she is considered “too Quebecois” for the Haitian public and “too Haitian” for Quebec audiences.
Being one of the rare black women in the comedy industry in Quebec, Garihanna still today has the impression of being invited on sets to reach a quota. “I fill in two boxes: the racialized person and the female gender.”
Her testimony shows that there is still a long way to go.
To celebrate solidarity
Based on interviews conducted by actor Frédéric Pierre with each of the comedians named above, Une fois c't'un Noirmakes it possible to become aware of the solidarity that exists in this industry, despite its competitive nature.
Thus, Anthony Kavanagh remembers being inspired by seeing Normand Brathwaite in Chez Denise, despite the clichés conveyed by his character.
An eloquent example of this solidarity is that of Erich Preach. While he was a doorman at the Brothel, Mike Ward spontaneously brought him on stage. Since then, he has opened for the famous comedian in addition to experiencing a monster success on YouTube with his sidekick Aba.
The documentary also allows us to reconnect with Michel Mpambara, who had a huge success in the early 2000s with the show with the powerful title There's too much white in Quebec. Boucar Diouf describes the comedian as a “bridge builder” and regrets that we have seen him too little in recent years.
Une fois c't'un Noir ends with a short reflection on the contribution of black comedians in Quebec that would have benefited from being deepened. Because as Boucar Diouf mentions, humor succeeds in “breaking down barriers and opening eyes”.
Once It's a Black will be available on Crave on February 4th. The documentary will also be broadcast on February 20 at 9 p.m. on Noovo and Canal D.