Letting go. Backpedalling. Taking a deep breath, The easiest things are often the most difficult ones to do.
But in the supposed banality of these things lies the danger of losing oneself on the surface and forgetting them. It’s that simple.
Even Y’akoto, an artist known for her level-mindedness, is not immune from this danger. Particularly because the past two years were so exciting, eventful and grand that one can forget the little things on top very quickly. After all, Y’akoto was praised by the music press as giving a new voice to the legacy of such singers as Billie Holiday and Nina Simone and without further ado, she launched a new genre called
Soul Seeking Music with her combination of folk, pop and singer-songwriter soul with an African touch.Not to forget the countless shows where Y’akoto performed with such established artists as Erykah Badu, Nneka, Asa and Joy Denalane. And her first headline tour of her own that not only included dates in Germany, but also in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna.
Even now, “BabyBlues” is still making an international impact. The album was just released in the USA in February. The track “Diamonds” is featured in the new Steve Pink film “About Last Night” and is included on the international soundtrack. And in Italy, “Without You” is climbing in the national single and airplay charts.
However, despite all of these formative events and wonderful experiences, Y’akoto remains driven by insecurity. She is still searching: for the answers to all of the countless questions about life, for the best song and, not least of all, for herself.
“I have accepted insecurity as part of my life. That’s me, I’m insecure, not always, but
sometimes, and I express my insecurity in my art.”
Therefore Y’akoto has made the best of this and made her insecurity the leitmotif of her new album. And this was a good decision. In the end, her growing insecurity is largely due to the situation that she has become more open, reveals more of herself and questions things more often. Her inconstancy doesn’t come from a lack of self-confidence, but from the courage to make herself vulnerable through her music. For
instead of writing her pains away from her soul, Y’akoto writes herself into the pain in her soul and tries to take command of the general disorientation of the world by musical means. “I let all kinds of expressions pass right through my system. I don’t let it pass through a filter, instead I just take it, there for, I feel a lot without judging. I used to protect myself against that. I even intoxicated myself, smoked some weed, but now I’m interested in the entire experience of ‘feeling'”.
Y’akoto has grown, not only musically, but also as a person. While her previous album was mainly defined by anger, sadness, defiance and cynicism, the helplessness that accompanies these feelings is transformed on “Moody Blues” to the urge for change.The fear of emotional injuries has given way to genuine care for
the needs of her fellow human beings. The thoughtless focus on one’s self has made room for a sincere interest in the world’s problems. “Through real confrontation with life and people, I feel like I’ve come a little closer to myself. I could have chosen to be mentally isolated from everyone and everything, or I could have just leaned into life and rely or trust the people around me. I don’t want to be totally independent, I want to trust and love even if that makes me more vulnerable. Being more vulnerable makes me stronger.”
Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters! Thank you so much for helping us realize our goal in organizing the first ever Black Arts Retreat in Germany! 5 Days left and our journey begins! We have recently learned of the safety issues (right-wing extremists) surrounding the location of our retreat which discourages us from using public transportation to get there. Unfortunately this is something we cannot avoid. Your support helps us to rent 2 vans to ensure that our Retreat participants travel together directly and safely to and from the retreat. Your kindness and understanding thus far for our goals and mission has been overwhelming! We need one last push and then we will be set to experience a life changing and beneficial experience for us and our community! We will be documenting this event and sharing our highlights via social media afterwards. Stay tuned and again, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Peace, Love & Light,
Soul Sisters Berlin
We, Soul Sisters Berlin, are reaching out to you in hopes that you will help support our first-ever, non-profit BLACK ARTS RETREAT in Berlin, Germany!
SOUL SISTERS BERLIN
Soul Sisters Berlin was created in November 2014 through the friendship of a group of young Black women in Germany. They felt and saw the need for a safe space in which women of the African Diaspora in Berlin could share their experiences, connect with each other, empower each other, and learn from one another. This intimate privatsphere of like minded friends rapidly grew into a community of over 300 women of color who have made it their mission to empower the black female voice through the exploration of afro-futurism, african mythology, and speculative art and fiction! We intend to further live these principles by creating public events in which we can enrich our community with our presence, knowledge and perspective!
“Colored Woman in a White World” Performance, 2014
BLACK ARTS RETREAT (BAR):
Our first large-scale event is the BLACK ARTS RETREAT: Soul Sisters Edition and will be held May 20-22, 2016!! We are collaborating with BAR concept founder, Kelly Thomas (USA) to create a program that incorporates meditation, creative workshops and movement activities, that will focus on the mental, spiritual, and physical well-being of black women.
“…historically African American women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of race-related stress, given their socially constructed identities as African Americans and as women.” (Stress, Health and African American Women: A Black History Month Notation – Huffingtonpost.com)
“The rate of high blood pressure for black females age 20 and older is 45 percent.” (The leading cause of stroke) (Stress, Health and African American Women: A Black History Month Notation – Huffingtonpost.com)
“The depression rate among African American women is estimated to be almost 50% higher than that of Caucasian women.” (Blackwomenshealth.com)
(Although these citations are taken from studies and statistics in the United States, they shine a light on the daily struggles and issues of women of the African Diaspora all over the world.)
Dear Global Community! Help us heal and strengthen our society from the inside out! The retreat is organized by a team of Soul Sister volunteers, however, there are some costs we cannot avoid. We are looking for financial support to help us cover the costs of housing (650 euros), food (200 euros), and transportation (200 euros) . Every little bit counts!
Please help Soul Sisters around the world enrich our community and empower our society to make even greater contributions to our Global Society!
THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts,
Soul Sisters Berlin
In 2010 the Black Women in Europe™ Blog released its first Power List naming 58 women across Europe in 6 categories. For the past two years the list was called down to highlight 5 women. This year the awardees are in the following categories: Arts, Media, Politics, Science and Sports.
This list, presented in alphabetical order, is intended to acknowledge powerful black women in Europe and to inspire others to reach their full potential.
What constitutes power?
Power is defined as the ability to act or produce an effect.
The Power List does not aim to assess rank but rather to showcase influential women who, in some cases well known and in others, are women who should be known.
Arabella Kiesbauer – Austria – Journalist/TV Personality
Arabella Kiesbauer’s career started already in the 1980s at Austrian Broadcasting ORF before she moved to host her own talk show in Germany on the German TV channel Pro7 for 10 years and significantly influenced the TV landscape there. She returned to ORF in 2002 to lead the talent show Star Mania.
She’s also hosted TV programs on ARD in Monte Carlo, Berlin TV station N24 TV, has presented the Viennese Opera Ball 5 times as well as the Lifetime Ball. In addition Arabella Kiesbauer works in international TV in different languages including Sylvestergala 2005 on Arte TV in French; the International Cirkusfestival 2007 in Monte Carlo on ARD also in French and the FIFA World Players Gala 2007 on Eurosport in English.
Arabella has also worked as an actress in 1996 in Das Superweib and 2004 in Kommissar Rex. She has won several awards recognizing her television work. Arabella is also a model and ambassador for shoe company Vogele Shoes.
She is a two time published author having written Nobody is perfect in 1999, and later My African Heart.
Since 2008 she has been an ambassador for integration in the team of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration. She became the host of Kiddy Contest in 2012 on Puls 4 and in 2014 became the presenter of a popular show helping Austrian farmers find love.
She’s won 3 awards for her TV work and in 2013 she was honored for the commitment to tolerance and against racism with the Golden Medal of the Republic of Austria. This year she was one of the hosts for the Eurovision Song Contest viewed by over 200 million people worldwide. Welcome to our Power List.
Arlette Bomahou – Sports – Ireland
Arlette Bomahou has two World champion titles and is two-time European Champion title in power lifting in 2013 and 2014. She has been weight training for the past 10 years. In 2011 her personal trainer Adrian Quinn suggested she compete and she participated in her first competition in Cork in August 2013.
She has gone on to win the World champion title in Dusseldorf in 2014 where she broke the World record in division equipped deadlift with 162.5kg, and also picked up the Silver medal in unequipped deadlift with 167.5kg
Arlette has also won the European champion title in full power Championship in 2014 with Squats: 100 kg, Bench press: 57.5 kg and Deadlift at 165kg; the European champion title in single lift Championship in 2014 where she broke World record in equipped division with Deadlift at 175 kg, and the World Champion title in Glasgow in 2013 with Squats: 102.5 kg, Bench press: 62.5kg and Deadlift 160kg. Welcome to our Power List.
Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE – Arts – England
Chi-chi Nwanoku is the founder of the Chineke! Foundation that seeks to be a force for good in the classical music industry, levelling the playing field for young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) music students, and helping to create a vibrant new generation of professional musicians of all colors.
The Chineke! Foundation has formed Europe’s first professional all-black orchestra.
She studied at the Royal Academy of Music and with Franco Petracchi in Rome, and soon found herself in demand internationally.
Chi-chi is Principal Double Bassist and co-founder of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She is Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and was made a Fellow there 1998.
Her range of musical interests has resulted in a broad career performing and recording in a diversity of styles from authentic baroque through to 21st century and new commissions, with many of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras and ensembles. Some of her notable chamber recordings include Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet (recorded three times), and Octet, Beethoven Septet, Hummel Piano quintet and Boccherini Sonatas. Her solo recording of Dittersdorf and Vanhal Concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Hyperion CD 67179 received critical acclaim.
Chi-chi was awarded an MBE for services to Music in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday honors. Welcome to our Power List.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock – Science – UK
Margaret Ebunoluwa “Maggie” Aderin-Pocock, MBE is an English space scientist. She is an Honorary Research Associate in University College London (UCL) Department of Physics and Astronomy. Since February 2014, she has co-presented the long-running astronomy TV program The Sky at Night.
She attended Imperial College London, earning a BSc in physics in 1990 and a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1994. Her thesis was accepted in 1995, entitled “Interferometric Studies of Very Thin Lubricant Films in Concentrated Contacts”. This project involved development of an ultra-thin film measurement system (using spectroscopy and interferometry to the 2.5 nm level). This doctoral research involved improving the optical performance and the mechanical design of the system, as well as development of control and image processing software. Other techniques at the time could only operate to the micron level with much poorer resolution. This development work resulted in the instrument being sold by an Imperial College spin-off company.
Aderin-Pocock is committed to inspiring new generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists and she has spoken to about 25,000 children, many of them at inner-city schools telling them how and why she is a scientist, busting myths about careers, class and gender. Through this Aderin-Pocock conducts “Tours of the Universe”, a scheme she set up to engage school children and adults around the world in the wonders of space. She also helps encourage scientific endeavors of young people by being a celebrity judge at the National Science + Engineering Competition. The finals of this competition are held at The Big Bang Fair in March each year to reward young people who have achieved excellence in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics project.
She has won numerous awards including 2013 UK Power List, most influential black people; 2013 Yale University Centre for Dyslexia “Out of the box thinking award”; 2011 Winner of the “New Talent” award from the WFTV (Women in Film and Television); 2010 Awarded Honorary fellowship from the British Science Association; 2010 Awarded third STFC Fellowship in Science in Society, held at UCL, and 2009 Winner of Red Magazine’s “Red’s Hot Women” Award in the pioneering category. Welcome to our Power List.
Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana – Politics – Germany
Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana was a 2014 candidate in the EU Parliament with the Green Party. In the same year she was reelected to the position of City Counselor in Erlangen, Germany for the third time giving her a mandate from 2005 – 2020. She was the first black woman elected to a German Parliament.
She is the President of FORWARD Germany the Foundation for Research, Health and Development, Against Female Genital Mutilations and forced marriage in Europe and a Board Member of the Federation of Female Migrants Organization known as DAMIGRA. She was a 2013 Member of the Executive Committee Network of Female Migrants in Bavaria, Germany and since 2011 has been a Member of the Executive Committee of Higher Council of African Communities in Germany. From 1995-2006 she was a Member of the Executive Committee of AFARD & AAWORD and it’s Representative in Europe.
She is a multiple award winner including the 2014 African Women Award; 2014 Certificate of High Appreciation de IAC/CI-AF; 2009 Recipient of the Helene Weber Prize Award from the Federal German Ministry of Women, Aged Persons and Youth making her the first political women with an immigrant background to receive this distinction. In 2004 she was the first recipient of Pilgrim Gorée awarded for scientific publishing.
Dr. Herzberger-Fofana holds a Ph.D. in Romantics and Germanistics from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and a Master’s Degree in in German socio-linguistics from the Maîtrise at Sorbonne. She is currently a Researcher at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Welcome to our Power List.
View the Power List on YouTube.
Let’s use our collective power to make a difference. Join the Black Women in Europe™ Kiva team.
Since 2013 the Black Women in Europe™ Kiva team has grown to 8 members and has provided $250 in loans. Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Our collective efforts will make a difference to an individual, a group, and a community.
Let’s support women. You don’t have to wait to start giving as part of our team. Choose a project and click on the amount you would like to donate. Remember as little as $25 is all that is needed. You’ll be taken to your basket where you can select what lending team your loans should count towards. Beneath the “Count Towards Team” column, you’ll see a drop down box with Black Women in Europe™’s lending team listed. Click that box and select the Black Women in Europe™’s lending team and the loan to will count towards our team.
Fountainhead® Tanz Théâtre, 35 years
Black International Cinema Berlin, 30th edition
Black International Cinema Berlin Film Awards, 25 years
THE COLLEGIUM – Forum & Television Program Berlin, 20 years
“Footprints in the Sand?” Exhibition, 15 years
Cultural Zephyr e.V., 25 years
The conference aims to discuss national identity at different levels, for example how individuals of immigrant and non-immigrant background negotiate and express national identity (e.g., in implicit and explicit attitudes or behaviors), how national identity is reproduced by public institutions such as schools, how states define national identity through their constitutions and laws or what measures and policies governments take to foster certain forms of national identity.
Through taking a closer look at these phenomena we want to understand if and how national identity content changes and is negotiated within and between individuals or institutions and if and why the concept still matters.
Monday, 31. August 2015 – Tuesday, 01. September 2015
Start: 8:45 am
: WZB, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Raum A 300
The WZB Berlin Social Science Center conducts basic research with a focus on problems of modern societies in a globalized world. The research is theory-based, problem-oriented, often long-term and mostly based on international comparisons.