France: Josephine Baker enters the Panthéon

Josephine Baker will enter the Panthéon in Paris today. President Macron explained her induction saying that she embodies the values of the French Republic. The actor, dancer and singer was active in the French resistance during World War II and campaigned for many years against racism. There is rare consensus in the country's media about this homage to Baker.

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Libération (FR) /

Her courage is urgently needed today

Josephine Baker's induction into France's Panthéon alongside national heroes such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie is well timed, Libération enthuses:

“Because with each day that passes, political debate is sliding deeper and deeper into a deceitful, populist hypocrisy that must be fought with every means available, and certainly with symbols. Then, once the ceremony is over, the discrimination that still plagues French society must be tackled. With the courage that is so sorely lacking in our times - but which the artist herself never lacked.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

A signal against the woke mania

For Le Figaro, the tribute to Baker bucks the trend of using accusations of racism to promote social division:

“A strong movement from America wants to assign everyone to their race and gender, preaching resentment and theorising a war of all against all. Feminine, funny, committed, Josephine Baker is a perfect counter-example to this dangerous communitarian - 'indigenist' - trend. Daring to bring Josephine into the Panthéon means bringing universalism into it. Not burying it, as her critics would have it, but on the contrary defending and celebrating it as the very essence of a certain idea of France.”