This is Fabienne Menoud, a Haitian nurse currently living in Switzerland.
She's been a massive fan of Bollywood films since she was 14 years old, and has even met a bunch of Bollywood actors.
Menoud said she's seen over 300 Bollywood films, and that Ram Leela, Devdas, My Name Is Khan, DDLJ, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai are her favourites.
Recently, Menoud penned an open letter calling out people (mostly Indians) who have mistreated her because of her ethnicity in relation to her love for Hindi cinema.
In the letter, she wrote: "I am sad to say that it is not easy for me to be a Bollywood fan. I had many bad experiences where people did not take my love for Bollywood seriously because of my ethnicity and colour."
She cited specific instances in the letter about racism against her. One such instance was when Priyanka Chopra was shooting for Quantico, Menoud and her cousin were asked a lot of questions just for being there to meet her.
Another instance was at an IIFA event in Madrid. Menoud, who was part of the media crew, claimed that everyone else was given media access to the celebrities, except for her.
Menoud told BuzzFeed that she wrote the letter to emphasise how the colour of her skin shouldn't have any bearing on her love for India and Bollywood.
She further stated that she hates it when people don’t take her love for Indian culture seriously. She often receives criticism or strange looks from others.
Menoud provided BuzzFeed with the full text of the letter. You can read it here:
I am a girl from Haiti and have been a fan of Bollywood since I was 14 years old. I discovered Bollywood through my lessons at school and with the movie Bend It Like Beckham. I am now 26 and my passion for Bollywood has only increased with time.
If I decided to write an open letter today, it is to point out the challenges in being a Bollywood fan of another ethnicity.
I have at least 100 CDs of Indian movies, several Hindi learning books and some on Indian culture and travelling to India. I also convinced my mother to add three Indian channels in our TV box because of my love for Bollywood movies and Koffee With Karan.
However, I am sad to say that it is not easy for me to be a Bollywood fan. I had many bad experiences where people did not take my love for Bollywood seriously because of my ethnicity and colour.
For instance, when a famous star was shooting for the pilot of her show abroad, I went to meet her along with my cousin. We were the only black people in the line. A guy from her team came to us and began questioning us. He asked how we know of the star! I was shocked as he did not believe that we are genuine fans of hers.
Another time, I went to IIFA, Madrid and was attending a press con on behalf of a French media where I was working. A lady looked at me in a strange way and began questioning me. Though I explained I am from the media, she gave me queer looks. At the end of the press con when I asked a couple of celebrities for pictures, they just walked away. I was shocked and wondered why it happened!
During the media interviews at IIFA, each celeb was in a room where media could interview them for a few moments. Imagine my shock when the bodyguard let everyone enter except me. People behaved strangely all through the event. They would look at me, laugh at me and some kid even tried to kick me.
My friend and I were the only two black people there and we felt terrible being left out like that.
When I went to watch Ae Dil Hai Mushkil recently, people were staring at me like I was an animal!
See, there are no rules about who should love what! My passion is India, I love listening to Bollywood songs. I love Deepika Padukone and have a t-shirt of her. I love Indian food, I’m learning Hindi and I’m black, Haitian and proud!
You should be proud that people like me like your country, your culture, your industry. That we want to meet you to tell you that we love you! Do not look at us in a weird way just because of our skin colour.
We are in 2017 and even if you think that only Indians are Bollywood fans, you’re wrong!
Andre Borges is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Mumbai.
Contact Andre Borges at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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