“Die Geschichte von den schwarzen Buben / The story of the Inky Boys”
Was kann denn dieser Mohr dafür,
Daß er so weiß nicht ist wie ihr ?
For, if he tries with all his might,
He cannot change from black to white.
Devised in the weeks following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protests, “Omagbitse” (in process, 2020) explores the ramifications of experiencing racism from birth and the performance of identity as a form of self-protection. With COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, NYC-based choreographer Sameena Mitta, Berlin-based Polish filmmaker Alicja Hoppel, and Berlin-based American dance artist Omagbitse Omagbemi created this reimagined “The Story of the Inky Boys” through a long-distance collaboration. With roots in Nigeria and the United States, Omagbitse accessed her personal understanding of discrimination across cultures and generations to envision a protagonist shaping herself in response to racism while trying to honor the countless victims of white violence who came before her.
xx minutes, xx seconds (editing in process)
Filmed in Berlin, Germany
Choreographer/Director: Sameena Mitta
Videographer/Video Editor: Alicja Hoppel
Performer: Omagbitse Omagbemi
Composer & Composition: Jessica Mays, “Duo, for piano and violin” (2013)
Costume Designer: Sarah Timberlake
*The development of this chapter was supported in part by a grant from the Dance/NYC Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund.