After a decade of artistic absence, Diam’s is back in front of the camera in Hello. A delicate documentary produced by BrutX and presented in preview at Cannes before being released in theaters in July. But it is Mélanie who addresses us with a strong and sensitive testimony. She appears calm, like a fulfilled daughter and mother. Those who were worried about her obviously have nothing to worry about.
Because Diam’s, the first rapper to have sold more than a million albums in France, has now found inner peace, in other words “this salam which is worth more than all the gold in the world”, as she expressed herself in a one-and-a-half-minute recorded video broadcast before the documentary, having chosen not to come to Cannes. And to explain: “For the sake of preserving this little cocoon, this simple life that I have today”.
And Mélanie explains many things in the nearly hour-long documentary written and co-directed alongside Houda Benyamina and Anne Cissé. She also delivers all her explanations on the path that led her to convert to Islam at the end of the 2000s. And this, after a dazzling career where she became a reference for an entire generation. She had marked the spirits and the hiphop by her chiseled and hard-hitting texts, she “gross woman”the one who “wants to enjoy the vibe” and who sings “huge hatred” to Marine Le Pen.
Mélanie looks back on her torments. “From a very young age, I was tortured by the fact that my mother could die (…) I had found in writing the outlet to express my suffering, I drew inspiration from suffering”, she says in the documentary. But Melanie is still not well. Depression pursues her and success changes nothing. His manager, Nicole Schluss, who intervenes in the documentary, just like his parents, his friend the singer Vitaa or the footballer Nicolas Anelka, reports scarifications on his arms and even on his face.
Diam’s can’t find the remedy for his ills. “At the top, it’s cold, we’re alone”, she says looking back. “I was writing to be helped but the people, the public, were as damaged as me, we are all suffering in fact.” She discusses her psychiatric internment in 2008: “It’s the beginning of the nightmare, they take your phone, they cut you off from the world, sometimes they put machines on your head, they were barely listening to me. I continued to hurt myself. They extinguished me with pills and I fell into the hell of drugs”.
There will be a decisive meeting. A friend of the singer Vitaa, a believer, talks to her about prayer. It will be for her the first door to the Muslim religion. Mélanie who was baptized and who made her communion when she was younger decides to buy several publications and to go to Mauritius. In his luggage, books on faith, Ramadan or the Koran.
“I opened the Koran without any knowledge and I found it very beautiful. I continued and very quickly I read about Adam, Satan, paradise, the children of Israel, Moses… and then I said to myself that ‘there are familiar words, remnants of the catechism come back to me and I want to understand why there are all the prophets. I understand that they are all united and I liked reading about them. I don’t m don’t realize it but it makes me feel good.”
For Mélanie, it’s a revelation. “For the first time in my life, I begin to contemplate those around me, I tell myself that if God really exists then everything will change. I was amazed by the verses on creation and by the creator. I am answering all my questions. The first thing I had to do was convert to Islam.”
The singer actually performs her conversion, once in Arabic and then in French. “I was really happy and I haven’t stopped being happy. Life wasn’t always easy after that, but I wasn’t alone anymore.” She decides to write a last album for then “change environment” and “to no longer speak to journalists and the media”, believing that they couldn’t understand because what was happening to him “was really crazy”.
Then the path ends abruptly, “freezes”. The weekly Paris Match posts a photo of her wearing the veil. “People weren’t sure if they should talk to me anymore, brands were apologizing for canceling partnershipsshe reveals. It hurt me and it was necessary, I tell myself “your environment, I don’t want it anymore”. Speaking to her fans, she adds: “I’m forever grateful to the group of people who stayed and I don’t blame those who no longer love me, those who wrote to tell me that I was a traitor, indoctrinated…I I don’t blame them, I even understand them.” But the link is not broken. She leaves the address of her website in the end credits for those who wish to communicate with her.
Mélanie feels in any case at this time the need to travel, “to have other visions, to get rich”. She will find her peace and stability by creating her association, Big Up Project to help orphans in Africa. Mélanie no longer sings, even if the documentary distills texts set to music for the occasion. She first offers us her joy and her most beautiful smiles. “I hope this film will do some good, that’s why it’s called Hello : the peace”. It succeeded !