Scholarship regarding the intersections between the city of Paris and African American culture tend to focus on French fascination with blackness and/or the lives of black expatriate artists. Often overlooked are the lived experiences of black communities within France, comprised largely of immigrants from Francophone Africa and the Caribbean, and the ways in which they engage with African American culture. Black Parisians, often living in les banlieues (suburbs), partly define themselves through American films, music, and sports to both foster diasporic unity and outwardly resist assimilating into French and European culture. Looking at the ways in which black youth culture in France has been influenced by and aligned with both hip-hop and basketball since the 1980s, this essay explores the racial dimensions of basketball's rising popularity in France since the 1980s. Premised on the impact of imported media, the international reach of American images work in unison to couple basketball and hip-hop as supposedly authentic sites of black masculine performance. The combined influence of rap videos, sneaker commercials, and home videos produced by NBA Entertainment not only helped shape a narrow definition of black male identity, but also provide an alternative to French and European culture that can be worn and performed. Through the transformation of the French national basketball team (Les Bleus), the popularization of street ball, and the intersections between the sport and hip-hop within France, the connection between basketball and African American identity has created both a com-modified and politically resistant site of cultural expression.


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pp. 213-225
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