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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-13

Problem-plagued French President François Hollande is not known as a particularly dynamic speaker. Could a new, “gangsta rap”-loving speech writer change that?

The question has been swirling since Monday, when French daily Le Monde revealed the dual career of Pierre-Yves Bocquet, the man who will soon be penning the French leader’s public addresses.

Indeed, Bocquet, who is 40 years old, white, and has the same prestigious pedigree as nearly all of France’s elites, happens to be a widely published specialist of “gangsta rap”, the confrontational and controversial sub-genre of hip hop made famous in the 1980s by rappers like Ice T.

In 2005, he released a book titled “Gangsta-rap” using the pseudonym “Pierre Evil”, and his new work, “Detroit Sampler”, is expected to hit shelves in the coming weeks. Bocquet also wrote a documentary on African-American musical history, “Black Music, Des chaînes de fer aux chaînes en or” (which translates as “Black Music, from iron chains to gold chains”), which was broadcast on French-German TV channel Arte in 2008.

Unbeknown to his contacts in the music world, Bocquet was simultaneously climbing the rungs of the French political world.

He graduated from France’s top school, the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), and went on to work for former justice and social affairs minister Elisabeth Guigou.

Prior to his appointment as the president’s new scribe, Bocquet worked in Hollande’s administration as a welfare advisor. He has been described by colleagues as “meticulous and methodical”.

Sources close to the Elysee have emphasised that the president will continue his active involvement in the “writing and re-writing” of his own prepared remarks.

That may not come as any comfort to Socialists hoping for a hipper Hollande to bounce back from recent polls that showed him to be the least popular French president on record.

Date created : 2014-03-13


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