George Floyd was assassinated on May 25, 2020, awakening a wave of anti-racism around the world that led the #BlackLivesMatter movement, a fight that was joined by great personalities from the world of entertainment such as actors John Boyega (‘Star Wars’), athletes like Floyd Mayweather or singers like Lenny Kravitz or Bad Bunny. All of them have also suffered racism in their jobs, their lives and their public profiles.
In France, on July 19, 2016, Adama Traore lost his life in circumstances similar to those of George Floyd and protests for this occurred throughout the country, rekindling with the event that occurred in the United States. Among the French figures who took to the streets with posters and used their social networks to expose this injustice is Omar Sy, known throughout the world for his participation in the success of the French cinema ‘Untouchable’ (2011).
With a sign that read “I can not breathe”, the actor marched through Los Angeles in the massive demonstration that was organized to protest the disproportionate police burden where George Floyd lost his life. A gesture that, by all accounts, honors him but also triggered a good series of criticisms for the French actor.
Months later, Omar Sy returns to the front pages of all the media for his work and yet racist messages continue to be read when it is talked about. Omar Sy stars in ‘Lupine’, the new Netflix series, its great premiere for this meal in 2021 and in which the actor gets into the skin of one of the great classics of French literature, Arsene Lupine, the white-collar thief created by Maurice Leblanc in 1905.
“Arsène Lupine will be black in the next Netflix series”, reads one of the headlines that announce it in the Spanish press. And it is true, Omar Sy is black and it is the first time that this character is played by an actor of another race that is not Caucasian but it is not curious that it is the most widespread reaction.
“I am delighted to play Arsène Lupine, such a charismatic character in a modern and unique adaptation,” said Omar Sy on Twitter when the news was released, without expecting that what people would highlight the most precisely in this social network would be the color of his skin: “Lupine, black?”
For most of us, Lupine was not white, not black, or human. I, like so many children of the 90s, discovered the adventures of Arsenio Lupine (Spanishized) in the Japanese anime series ‘Lupine III’ that Telecinco aired in the mornings, noon and afternoons. Nobody commented in networks the size of his eyes, the thickness of his kilometer-long legs when he escaped from the police or the size of his sideburns, but it is true that there were no networks and that perhaps we did not pay attention to those things. Fiction is fiction.
And if he’s a fictional character, what does it matter what race he is? We refer to the words of Omar Sy when was the first black also to win the César- the Oscar in France and was asked why “? What was your reaction to winning the Cesar and be the first black actor do not I was not expecting it at all. I hadn’t prepared a speech and the nomination was already an award in itself. But I was moved because it recognized the work I had put into this role. And it was recognition and love, which I was happy to receive. More Later, people started saying, “Yeah, you’re the first black actor to win a Caesar,” and that’s great. But it would be even better if the next black actor received the Cesar, it wasn’t news, they don’t even know. will notice. That is my goal: to be recognized as an actor. “