After ten years away from the cameras, the emblematic rapper from the 2000s comes out of his silence and presents in Cannes, an autobiographical documentary in which she looks back on her glory, her depression and her conversion to Islam. Justified Hi, the film is available on BrutX.
It seems like an eternity has passed since 2012, when we last saw Diam’s. She confided in TF1 magazine seven to eight, which evokes his conversion to Islam and his choice to stop music. Since then, the world has kept turning, the music industry too, and unfortunately we have not seen another rapper impose himself as the first woman to become a star in the genre. For her part, she was forgotten, settled in Dubai, where she started a family and works for orphaned African children with her association Big Up Project. This year, Mélanie Georgiades, whose real name is, looks back on her glory, the depression that followed, and her rebuilding through faith in Hi, an autobiographical documentary presented at Cannes and already available on the BrutX platform. Here are three things to know about the film, which is directed in collaboration with Anne Cissé and Houda Benyamina.
1. Hi : Diam’s first speech in ten years
Produced by BrutX, released on the platform and in some French cinemas on July 1 and 2, Hi signs the return to meet the camera from the emblematic rapper from 2000. In a refined face-to-face staging between Diams and her mother and interventions from some of her relatives – including her own mother, singer Vitaa, her former manager Nicole Schluss and ex footballer Nicolas Anelka – the fallen artist confides for the first time in ten years to his glory, but above all his depression and his discovery of the Muslim religion. Visibly appeased, the one, who now lives far from France with her husband and three children, reveals, as if to sign his memoirs, the underside of the celebrity. She speaks without filter about her suicide attempt at the age of 14, her detention in 2008, her diagnosis of bipolarity, which would have given her lifelong treatment, and above all, her conversion to Islam after a revelation while on vacation in Mauritius. Most importantly: she returns, without masking her emotions, to the controversy that arose in 2009 after the weekly Paris Match published stolen photos of her wearing a veil as she leaves a mosque in the Paris suburbs.
2. A documentary film directed by Houda Benyamina, the director of divine
Presented in a special screening on May 26 at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, Salam revealed on the Croisette without Diam’s to defend it. And if many wondered whether she should come or not to the event, the rapper, who nevertheless gave a long interview to the media Brut, can count on Houda Benyamina and Anne Cissé talking about it for her. Because his autobiographical documentary was written and directed with six hands, with the precious help of a filmmaker already used to Cannes and a screenwriter to whom we owe the scripts for the Netflix series. Vampires and Lupine. Tributed in 2016 for divine, a film for which she won the Camera d’or in Cannes, Houda Benyamina had already become known for her association Mille Visages, created in 2006 and working for access to culture for young people in suburbs and rural areas. In 2020, during the first incarceration, she returned to the scene with Eddyen, an international Netflix series produced at the instigation of American Damien Chazelle (La La Land). To him to whom we owe the tube Dumplingen (2006) she imagined an intimate film similar to the former rapper, which looks back on moments of her life through testimonies from her loved ones: each scene is captured in close-up and the faces of the interviewees – who knows the rapper for years – has been surrounded by a black background, which obscured.
A testimony of depression, faith and … a promotion for the rapper association
While Diam slams during certain passages of the film, thus revealing some unpublished texts, above all, she wrote this documentary to finally expel the wounds caused by her media lynching at the announcement of her conversion to Islam. But if, in fact, she had already become a Muslim long before images of her veiled appeared in the press, she, who was demonized in the late 2000s and who ended up settling far from Paris, managed to climb up the slope thanks to faith and, we learn it in Hi, to his community involvement. The ex-rapper has set up an association, Big Up Project, which comes to the area of vulnerable children in Africa. We therefore see her in the picture visiting the residents of an orphanage that she helped build and seeing the improvement in the living conditions of the children who have grown up. Because Diam’s has not been unemployed for ten years: she is raising her three children and fighting to do good throughout the world. Moreover, if one wants to do the same, she warmly invites the audience at the end of the film to make a donation to her association.
Hi (2022) by Mélanie Diam’s, available on BrutX and in some cinemas on July 1st and 2nd.