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NPNS vs Orelsan, epilogue

10 May 2018

Given the avalanche of reactions provoked by NPNS’ position following the 3 prizes won by Orelsan’s music at the Victoires de la musique, it seems a good opportunity to reassert the values ​​of our association and to remind readers of the history of the quarrel.
In 2009, NPNS and a few other organizations thought that Orelsan’s comments in two of his songs – “Sale Pute” that dates from 2006 and “Valentine’s Day” that dates from 2009 – were intolerable. At the time, we understood the intention of the artist, but the words hurt, especially since they were being taken, without any irony, by the young people we met during our school interventions. So we decided to attack Orelsan in court and we lost: it’s just a matter of taste and nothing illegal.

NPNS still does not appreciate the threats that Orlesan makes: they echo the lives of many of our victims.

And time has passed. The artist has gained notoriety. However, he has not featured the two controversial titles on his albums, he does not perform them on stage, he did not boast after his victory in court. He never ceased to restate that he was respectful of women, and was even honored by two victories of music in March 2012, which caused no great outrage.

Since then, there is nothing to complain about, if we understand that his colourful language comes from the street. He even dedicates an episode of “Blocked! in 2014 to feminists – smart and funny. He released a new album last year… which is a hit. We do not listen to it any more than the previous one because it’s not our style of music and because we keep the sad melody of “dirty whore” in mind and we have so much more to do than have an opinion on a record. We always have victims to welcome, help and advise. We go to the schools of the Republic to expose our values, and talk about tolerance, respect for others and open-mindedness. We open branches throughout France, all, still without much support from public authorities (except the CGET).

One evening, on TV, his new album receives three award at the Victoires de la musique and boom, the controversy: should these awards be withdrawn from Orelsan? We do not know where this petition comes from, the main feminist organisations have not spoken on the subject. Anticipating that this affair was going to gain momentum, and in order to support our feminist arguments and prepare our punchlines, we listened to the record. We did not detect anything suspicious: we discovered an album where Orelsan speaks about love, respect and tolerance, where he defends fidelity, wonders about the celebrity, confides his nostalgia, his attachment to his good city of Caen and defends living together harmoniously… all very pleasant to listen to, even for the feminists that we are. In fact, many of the values ​​he defends are ours. So in response to many solicitations, we expressed this opinion on networks.

This position has had immeasurably more press response than when we intervene in the public debate on any other subject, what irony! Some say they do not recognize NPNS. So it is perfectly acceptable to have differences with other feminists on many points, but when it comes to a song it is suddenly necessary to remain in solidarity? How can we then explain to the young people we meet every day to respect justice when we are allowed to question it whenever it suits? They condemn Orelsan on principle, without even bothering to listen to his last record. Which is not something we did at the time: we had listened to it before deciding to go to court. It is precisely this dogmatism, of condemning in principle, that excludes many women and men from feminism. NPNS is respect and tolerance, not rage.

It’s that simple.