What happens when a group of 6 Black people walk along the city centre of Berlin with a barrel of bananas? For the music video “Deutschungshoheit“ by Malonda, we did an artistic intervention with the banana as a tool of resistance, subverting its racist, sexual and political connotations into Black empowerment. We went to places of Black resistance in Berlin. Soon we got circled by police who interrogated us for more than an hour before giving us a report. “It doesn’t fit into the image of the city“ said the policeman. It is up for interpretation if he meant us or the bananas. The rhetorical question is, would this have happened to a group of white people too?
In ”Deutschungshoheit“ Malonda is shedding light onto Germany’s hypocrisy towards its racist legacy which has been continuously covered up by neo-liberal gaslighting strategies under concepts such as ”Vergangenheitsbewältigung“ and denazification. The debate on racism in Germany is often disregarded, silenced and/or misappropriated in socio-political discourses, and Afro-German, Black and non-white people living in Germany are deeply affected on an institutional and societal basis. The word Deutschungshoheit is a play with words that opens up current debates on Germany’s self-image which is rooted in white-supremacy. Who has the sovereignty of interpretation in a society that proclaims to be so open and progressive?
The banana as an ambiguous symbol - some associate it with economic growth, for others it reminds them of reunification. Often people associate it with racist stereotypes. For us, a group of Black Germans and Afro-diasporic people in Germany, the banana is an object of resistance that we use to empower and celebrate ourselves. Josephine Baker led the way in the 1920s. The white gaze that criminalizes, fetishizes, and exoticizes our bodies. The white society that negates and silences our histories in this country.
Resistance and solidarity
are the tools we work with towards
Subverting the white gaze which is immersed in racism, entitlement and exoticization we created a concept for the music video that aimed to empower and plays into our values of resistance and solidarity.
Moving beyond notions of exoticization and honouring Josephine Baker's banana skirt as gate-keeper for Black empowerment and cultural influence. With Josephine Baker’s banana skirt as starting point, the banana with its multitude of meanings became main interest in the research for Deutschungshoheit.
As a performance artist and director I am interested in everyday life happening on the streets, as no imitation can make so clear what is in front of our eyes 24/7. Merging activistic happenings with iconic images became an interesting experiment that we decided to explore.
Rebecca Pokua Korang
Kamera/ Schnitt/ Color Grading/ Compositing:
Yatri N. Niehaus, Rebecca Pokua Korang
Rebecca Pokua Korang, Yatri Niehaus, Achan Malonda
Jannick L. Philp
Farina La Fina
Rebecca Pokua Korang
ISD Berlin/Tahir Della
Archiv und Sammlung FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum
Natasha A. Kelly, Alte Pumpe Berlin, Timotheus Theisen, Biplab Basu, Fabian Wolff
Song produziert von:
Riffsn, Mona M und Benedict-François