Soprano Pretty Yende detained and strip-searched at Paris’s De Gaulle airport

Posted on: June 23, 2021

“South African opera star Pretty Yende said she was detained by French authorities, strip searched and held in a dark room at Paris’ main airport after arriving this week for a starring role at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees,” write Jocelyn Gecker and Sylvie Corbet in Tuesday’s (6/22) Associated Press. “ ‘Police brutality is real for someone who looks like me,’ Yende, who is Black, said in a social media post Tuesday, a day after the encounter at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Yende … is starring in ‘La Sonnambula’ at the Paris theatre and flew into the city on Monday… Yende said that airport police confiscated her belongings, including her cell phone and took her to a ‘retention cell.’ … A French official … said that Yende was questioned by police because she held a South African passport and did not have a French visa.… After a verification process, Yende ‘received a visa [and] was allowed to leave,’ he said. The official said it was standard to strip search someone who is held because of improper paperwork…. Yende … has engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra in October and Washington National Opera in November. She has appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera … and elsewhere.”