'Why Can They Not Be African?': Trevor Noah Claps Back At French Ambassador Mad He Said Africa Won The World Cup
"I heard your words about an ‘African victory’ – nothing could be less true,” the ambassador wrote in a letter to Noah.
Trevor Noah’s celebration of the French soccer team’s African origins has drawn the ire of the French ambassador.
On Monday, July 16, the Daily Show host joked that the motherland was responsible for France’s World Cup victory.
“Africa won the World Cup,” Noah said. “I get it; they have to say it’s the French team. But look at those guys. You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends. Basically, if you don’t understand, France is Africa's backup team. Once Senegal and Nigeria got knocked out, that’s who we root for.”
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The joke drew sharp criticism from Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, who sent a stern letter to the show.
“I watched with great attention your show where you spoke about France’s World Cup final victory in Russia. I heard your words about an ‘African victory’ – nothing could be less true,” Araud wrote.
“As many players already stated, their parents may have come from another country, but only two were born outside of France. The rich and various backgrounds of these players is a reflection of French diversity.”
In a segment posted on The Daily Show’s Twitter page, Noah read the letter aloud, with a French accent, and offered his critiques. Noah, who is from South Africa, claimed Araud tried to erase the players’ African identity.
“Black people all over the world were celebrating the African-ness of the French players. Not in a negative way, but rather in a positive way, going ‘look at these Africans who can become French.’ You know what I mean? It’s a celebration of that achievement,” Noah said.
“So, this is what I find weird in these arguments is that people go ‘they’re not African, they’re French!’ Then, I’m like, 'Why can’t they be both?' Why is that duality only afforded to a select group of people? Why can they not be African? So, what they’re arguing here is in order to be French, you have to erase everything that is African?”
He later complimented the United States, noting that while the country has its flaws, people “can still celebrate their identity in their Americanness.”
Watch the full clip below:
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