«Our goal is to make positivity an everlasting destination»
Paris Loves US is a movement, a belief, a spirit. Founded by Camille Tanoh, Nawfel Ouaamar and Dieylane Cisse, all originally from peripheral or Parisian suburbs, their message is very simple: “No matter where you come from, you are loved by Paris”.
Paris has had its fair share of unrest in its history and in a city that feels increasingly splintered, there has been much revolution. From constant union-led strikes to the recent yellow vest movement (mouvement des gilets jaunes) along with an escalation of a language based on separation, walls and barriers, the city is in need of positivity and unity in the face of an ever polarising social and political landscape... and that’s exactly where Paris Loves US come in.
The movement started organically and spontaneously around 2014. As sons of immigrants from poorer countries, the founders saw Paris as a metaphor for the perfect world they aspired to live in as children. Growing up in the suburbs together, they wanted to change the way people perceived them, to say “we are the same as you and you will love us... you just don’t know it yet!”, hence the movement is called ‘Paris loves US’ not ‘We love Paris’. The inhabitants of these suburb areas may not be perfect in society's eyes, but Paris Loves US are challenging society to rethink perfection; recognising that perfection comes in all sorts of forms and identities.
Although most of the founders are now living in Paris, their move to the city from the suburbs where they were raised was not an easy one and they initially felt an invisible wall between themselves and the Parisians. People were reluctant to help them out because of the “run down” areas they grew up in, and as they were scapegoated as “outcasts”, they found it hard to find work. Now they have overcome their initial fate through hard work, perseverance and positivity, they’re using their network and experience to help others from similar backgrounds. They organise gatherings inside and outside Paris, bringing people in neighbourhoods together, reaching out to help with whatever they can. They often bring people with certain skill sets together to support up-and-coming artists/entrepreneurs/businesses etc, or they help people find jobs by putting them in touch with the right people. It’s forever evolving.
They are positive in the face of adversity; a spirited, empowering force who have created a forward-looking revolution of like-minded individuals who are sending love in defiance of hate, through music and fashion, or films like this one. As a reaction to the terrorist attacks on Paris in 2015, a small group got together to help out those in the aftermath, giving reassurance and aid where they could, all the while wearing jackets with ‘Paris Loves US’ on the back: A strong message to say “you can’t break us” that went viral.
Now, Paris Loves US are going from strength to strength as their following increases and their positive message continues to spread
“We are a generation, a movement, a belief, a candid force to be reckoned with”