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Inspiring Thursday: Angèle

«Je ne peux pas être la porte-parole de toutes les femmes, je peux juste être une des figures du féminisme, et d’ailleurs malgré moi» (“I cannot be the spokesperson for all women, I can just be one of the figures of feminism, and besides in spite of myself”)

The sensational 24-year-old Belgian female artist, Angèle, launched last year “Balance ton quoi” which refers to the #BalanceTonPoc movement following the accusations against American actor Harvey Weinstein, otherwise known as the Francophone version of the #MeToo movement.

Angèle Van Laeken was born on December 3, 1995 to singer Marka and comedian Laurence Bibot in Linkebeek in the southern suburbs of Brussels. She started playing piano at an early age and let her parents´ influence inspire her musical career. Angèle also looked up to some of the greatest artists in the industry such as Ella Fitzgerald and Hélène Ségara for musical inspiration.

Her public debut was on Youtube as a bedroom music producer, writing her own lyrics and creating her own sounds, she quickly became the epitome of the age we live in where music has no borders, is free spirited and incredibly independent. Her enthusiasm and energy for music encouraged her to perform in local cafes and make a first appearance for Belgian rapper Damso during his “Ipséité Tour”.

She was described as a modern-day Francoise Hardy with her mellow tunes depicting a certain innocent yet raw reality. The soft-spoken solo singer, Angèle created an atypical but very characteristic style of music with her biggest tunes being: La Loi de Murphy (2017), Je veux tes Yeux (2018), Jalousie (2018), Tout Oublier starring her brother Elvis Romeo (2018) and her latest Balance ton quoi (2018) – all of which denounce to a certain extent blemishes of contemporary society. This new breed of urban pop boldly signed with Charlotte Abramow for her music videos.

In 2018, the young singer released her first album, Brol (a Belgian familiar expression which means disorder) in her newly created label ‘Angèle VL Records’. In just one year, she toured all over France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Quebec and earned triple platinum disc.

“Faudrait casser les codes” (“ we should break the codes” Balance ton quoi, 2018)

In her very witty single, Balance ton quoi, the pop artist is able to tackle sensitive and serious topics through a fined tune combination of childlike humour and French aesthetic. In the quaint background of a mansion, she subtly evokes many tightly lipped societal issues such as sexual harassment, consent, equal pay, gynecological violence, and sexism in the music industry. The theatrical staging of her music video makes a satire of a court dedicated to cases of gender-based violence where legal documents are hand drawn cartoons of sexual harassment at work. The witnesses present in the made-up court serve as a metaphor revealing how sexism penetrates all strata of society, all ages and all religions.

She also introduces the concept of “Anti-sexism Academy” which features French actors, Pierre Niney and Antoine Gouy. This particular scene imitates a group discussion on consent but rather than having a productive conversation about the concept, it ironically reproduces male dynamics. Nikita Belluci, former porn actress, also plays a student in that scene and she is rudely ignored by the two men representing macho stereotypes. Throughout the video, Angèle goes from being the judge, to witness to instructor of the academy. Fun fact, the uniforms for the academy were created by the French feminist brand “Meuf Paris” for that music video.

“Une fille qui l’ouvre ça serait normal” (“a girl that opens her mouth would be normal” Balance ton quoi, 2018)

The song really stands out as the new feminist hymn – juxtaposing light hearted humour with very real realities about gender inequality. It also not only denounces sexism but presents compelling solutions such as legal remedies with a specific court and stresses the importance of education.

Check out her music video here.

Written by Claire Davis, WAVE Intern

Sources

Angele Biography – Albums, www.wrasserecords.com/Angele_314/biography.html.

“Biographie ANGÈLE, Âge Et Discographie: Culture TV5MONDE.” TV5MONDE Culture, culture.tv5monde.com/musique/biographies-artistes/angele-917.

Figaro_Culture. “Angèle Donne Une Leçon De Féminisme à Pierre Niney Dans Le Clip Balance Ton Quoi.” Le Figaro.fr, 16 Apr. 2019, www.lefigaro.fr/musique/angele-donne-une-lecon-de-feminisme-a-pierre-niney-dans-le-clip-balance-ton-quoi-20190416.

Pokovba, Angelika. “Angèle: The Belgian Singer That France Is Going Crazy For.” Frenchly, 2 Mar. 2019, frenchly.us/angele-melancholic-belgian-singer-need-know-france-going-crazy-for/.

Pougin, Eléna. “Que Représente Vraiment ‘Balance Ton Quoi’, L’ode Féministe D’Angèle ?” Interlude, 15 Apr. 2019, intrld.com/balance-ton-quoi-clip/.

Rédaction. “Angèle: ‘Balance Ton Quoi, Politique Malgré Moi.’” Journal Métro, 8 Nov. 2019, journalmetro.com/culture/2396207/angele-balance-ton-quoi-politique-malgre-moi/.