Mayor Anne Hidalgo had strongly criticized and threatened to cancel the upcoming Nyansapo Festival a day earlier because it was “forbidden to white people.”
In a new series of tweets on the topic, Hidalgo said her “firm” discussion with organizers had yielded a satisfactory clarification: the parts of the festival held on property would be open to everyone and “non-mixed workshops will be held elsewhere, in a strictly private setting.”
“That’s what was planned from the beginning,” the collective said of how the public and private spaces would be assigned.
Anti-racism associations and far-right politicians in France both had criticized the event over the weekend for scheduling workshops limited to a single gender and race.
France defines itself as a country united under one common national identity, with laws against racial discrimination and to promote secularism to safeguard an ideal that began with the French Revolution.
“I firmly condemn the organization of this event in Paris (that’s) ‘forbidden to white people,’” Hidalgo had written.
Telephone calls to MWASIwere not immediately returned Monday.
The program for the first annual Nyansapo Festival, which is set to run July 28-30 partly at a Paris cultural center, stated that 80 percent of the event space only would be accessible to Black women.
Other sessions were designed to be open to black men and women from minority groups that experience racial discrimination, and one space was scheduled to be open to everyone regardless of race or gender.
Organizers said on the event’s website that “for this first edition we have chosen to put the accent on how our resistance as an Afro-feminist movement is organized.”
The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), meanwhile, called the festival a “regression” and said American civil rights icon “Rosa Parks must be turning in her grave.”
Identity politics remain a recurrent hot potato in a nation where collecting data based on religious and ethnic backgrounds is banned and the wearing of religious symbols — such as face-covering veils — in public is prohibited.
This approach, known to the French as “anti-communitarianism,” aims to celebrate all French citizens regardless of their community affiliations.
Last week, several women attempting to stage a “burkini party” were detained in Cannes after a ban against the full-body beachwear favored by some Muslim women was upheld in a fresh decree.
Philippe Sotto contributed to this story. Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K