The first year of moving to Barcelona I felt that I merely was the colour of my skin and I also felt that my nationality was not acknowlegded because of my black skin as it wasn’t white. I wasn’t white,as many expected a true Dutch person to be.
In the first year in e-mails and calls for future job interviews, a phrase “I am Dutch, but black” was born. I felt that I had to warn people of my blackness so that that they wouldn’t be in shock when they finally saw me.That does not mean that in Holland there was no racism, It only seemed much more in my face in Barcelona at that time.
At the same time many years later Barcelona gave me the pleasure to meet two other inspiring black female artists with whom we set up the company No Somos Whoopi Goldberg. We felt the need to make visible the margins of female blackness its centers of thought, expression and action. And we had the need to work on issues as being black woman, identity, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination etc. We felt the need to explore, discover and make visible the work of female Afro-descendant who contributed to history and thus make visible these role-models as not only for the Afro community but as role-models for all.
I also find it important to take into account that the experience of one often is not only individual but also a collective experience and it is important to share these experiences; experiences of how we feel perceived by society and how it influences the construction of our identity. It’s also important to share these experiences with those who have not the same experiences. So each and everyone of us have the opportunity to take our own behaviour and privileges under a loop .
At the same time a hunger has grown, a hunger to break with clichés, a hunger to put situations in evidence, a hunger to play, a hunger to create, investigate, a hunger to tell my own experience of identity in a way fresh and original, combining several disciplines; Spoken word, dance, audiovisual and singing.