Hamé (La Rumeur) Biography: Real name Mohamed BOUROKBA, he was born in 1975 in Perpignan, south France. His family settled in France during the 1950s. His Algerian father, spent his life working like a slave in the fields as a farm labourer. Hamé’s mother, was twenty years younger than he was. She also came from Algeria. Hamé watched movies with his father: spaghetti westerns, Charlie Chaplin, stories about the war in Algeria such as La Bataille d’Alger. He then studied cinema at the Sorbonne University. Rap played a big part in his life; he collaborated with the group La Rumeur. He made several videos for the group. After obtaining his masters in film and literature, Hamé spent a year at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since 2002, Hamé has been involved with a series of legal proceedings after a pamphlet was published in the magazine La Rumeur, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then interior minister, filed a complaint against him. In his article, the author addressed the issue of insecurity in urban neighborhoods, concentrating on the role of the police and power politics. He wrote: “Any report from Internal Affair Office will never state that we lost hundreds of brothers by the actions of Police that, anyway, will never be prosecuted”. In the name of freedom of expression, he was acquitted at trial and on appeal. The interior ministry has never before pursued defamation charges so persistently. In 2010 he won the legal battle against the French President Sarkozy.
Youssoupha Biography: Real name Youssoupha Mabiki born in Kinshasa on 29 August 1979 is a French rapper of Congolese origin. He was born to Congolese parents and a Senegalese grand mother. His father was the musician and Congo-Kinshasa political figure Tabu Ley Rochereau. After passing his childhood in Congo-Kinshasa, at 10, he moved to France to live with relatives in Beziers. He finished his French baccaleureat at Académie de Versailles with high grades and continued with Cultural Mediation and Communication at Roanne and La Guillotière. After obtaining his masters degree, he consacrated himself to music. He first formed Frères Lumières, a trio with two other friends. They released a maxi single. He was also involved in many music projects including the album Tendance by the band Bana Kin (with Sinistre Kozi Philo and Mic genie). His own street DVD was released at end of 2005 as Eternel Recommencement followed in 2006 and was signed to Hostile record label. After working with a number of renowned rappers, he released his debut studio album in March 2007 titled À chaque frère. His second album came out in Octobre 2009 called Sur les chemins du retour and an international tour. In January 2012, he released his third studio album Noir désir. In 2009, French journalist Éric Zemmour opened a lawsuit against him accusing him of public threats for diabolizing the banlieus. Youssoupha responded in an interview with Le Parisien that he advocated non-violence, but was pointing out the contradictions of Zemmour. He also responded with his single “Menace de mort” (meaning Death threath in English) with clips from various television programs quoting anti-immigrant sentiments expressed by media figures. The rapper was condemned to pay an amend in compensation.
In 2012 another rapper, Kery James, released the song “Lettre à la Republique” (A letter to the Republic) in which he adresses his rage and polemic on how France dealt in history with its colonial past and more recently with the following immigration. Exactly the way politicians and medias reacted to Hamè and Youssoupha writing.
The track also speaks about how the economic crisis makes white people pointing their fingers against immigrants instead of bankers, raising islamophobia instead of raising a conscious awareness on how the system protect always the same people letting others going into an hysterical senseless war between poors.
Kery, born Alix Mathurin in Guadeloupe (French overseas region), West Indies, in 1977, moved with his family to France when he was 7. Started his rapper carreer in 1992 with group Ideal Junior. In 2002 he released his first solo album “Si c’était à refaire”. “92.2012” containing the hit single “Lettre à la République” has been released at the end of February this year.
Kery James – Lettre à La République.
Written and Selected by MarcoPres
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French articles on legal battles:
Youssoupha Vs Éric Zemmour: http://www.humanite.fr/societe/eric-zemmour-en-proces-contre-le-rappeur-youssoupha-479617