M’bissine Thérèse Diop as Diouana in Black Girl (1966)

The French version of Ousmane Sembène’s film title, La Noire de (1966), translates directly to “the Black woman of” or “someone’s Black woman.” This translation implies that in the supposed postcolonial world the film is set in, the Black woman still belongs to someone that isn’t herself. Sembène’s utility of the French language further hones in on the ever persistent sense of ownership held by French colonial forces over the African woman, and the African continent itself. An assessment of both African…