Pretty Yende was detained at the French Customs on June 21 as she returned to France for the fourth performance of “La Sonnambula” at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
The soprano took to social media to share her story on social media stating, “Now I have some idea of how it feels to be in prison literally. Customs detained me and treated me like a criminal today.”
In a second post, she said, “Police brutality is real for someone who looks like me. I’ve always read about it on the news and most of my brothers and sister end up being tortured and some fatal cases make headlines and dead bodies suddenly appear with made up stories. I am one of the very very lucky ones to be alive to see the day today even with il-treatment and outrageous racial discrimination and psychological torture and very offensive racial comments in a country that I’ve given so much of my heart and virtue to and still determined to do so as a legal International citizen on the global stage community.”
She added, “I’m still shaken thinking that I am one in a million who managed to come out of that situation alive because of one phone call I thought of at the time as I was in shock and traumatized and couldn’t believe what was happening to me. They took all my belongings including my cellphone and told me to write down phone numbers of my close family and friends to call with a landline phone they had on the retention cell, they said they were going to take me to a ‘prison hotel’ in the meantime while they looked at me like I was a criminal offender. I said, my phone battery is dying, might you have a charger by any chance? The police officer said ‘listen to me carefully, you will not have your phone… I said what…he continued, listen to me until I finish with a very harsh and condescending tone… I replied…’ am I a prisoner?… he rudely said yes…”
Yende added that she was “stripped and searched like a criminal offender and put on the retention cell on terminal 2B customs control Charles de Gaulle, Paris.”
The soprano then thanked her fans and reassure them that she was not brutally interrogated or physically tortured but that she needed to tell the story for those families who go through worse circumstances and never get answers.
Numerous artists showed support for the soprano including Aida Garifullina, Nadine Sierra, Yusif Eyvazov, Joesph Calleja, Angel Blue, Isabel Leonard, Angela Gheorghiu, J’Nai Bridges, and Jamie Barton, among others.