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A Black Woman Wrote A Letter About The Racism She's Faced For Being A Bollywood Fan

"I listen to Bollywood songs every day – I have Indian channels on my TV because of that and for me that is normal! That's my life, so I don't understand how, because of my skin colour, people can laugh or not take my passions seriously."

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She's been a massive fan of Bollywood films since she was 14 years old, and has even met a bunch of Bollywood actors.

Fabienne Menoud

Menoud told BuzzFeed that Deepika Padukone, Vidya Balan, Ranbir Kapoor, Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut, Tabu, Ranveer Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, and Priyanka Chopra are her favourite actors.

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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.

Fabienne Menoud

"We were the only black people in the line," she wrote. "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 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.

Fabienne Menoud

"During the media interviews at IIFA, each celeb was in a room where the 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, and some kid even tried to kick me."

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.

Fabienne Menoud

"I wanted to point out that issue and tell people that they should be happy with their passions and not be ashamed of that," she said. "There are a lot of people like me who love India and Bollywood! I have seen more Indian movies than French or English."

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.

Fabienne Menoud

"I listen to Bollywood songs every day –I have Indian channels on my TV because of that and for me that is normal!" she said. "That's my life, so I don't understand how, because of my skin colour, people can laugh or not take my passions seriously! I like their country, I like their music! If anyone comes and tells me that they love my country, I'd be proud and wouldn't give them strange looks or laugh at them or not take them seriously."

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 andre.borges@buzzfeed.com.

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