Humboldtians In Private

Kween Kong: Comedy Against Racism

The photo shows Lynette Mayowa Osinubi in a discussion following a showing of her film, Acting White, in Berlin. In the United States, “acting white” is a derogatory term used to refer to people of colour who supposedly betray their own culture by fulfilling the behavioural norms and expectations of white society. In the documentary, Mayowa, as she is known artistically, explores how this negative judgement affects one’s own identity and what consequences it has for the psyche.

  • Recorded by Mareike Ilsemann
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

Lynette Mayowa Osinubi comes from Atlanta, United States, where she has her own film production company. Her documentary Acting White was selected for the 2020 Berlin Feminist Film Week. In 2018, she moved to Berlin as a German Chancellor Fellow and founded the ISSA Comedy Show.

 

Lynette Mayowa Osinubi

Mayowa comes from Atlanta, Georgia. In 2018, she moved to Berlin as a German Chancellor Fellow to make a documentary about the experiences of people of colour in Germany. Mayowa is a film maker, YouTuber, model and event host. In Berlin she discovered stand-up comedy as a form of expression. In general, she is sad to say, the comedy scene is dominated by sexist and racist humour. So, two years ago, she launched ISSA Comedy Show. ISSA is now not only the first, but also the largest event that provides black artists and comedians from the LGBT community with a stage where they do not have to fear encountering hostility or discrimination.

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An event like this takes courage. For Mayowa, it is important that her events are held in a safe space. Her first full evening’s programme, Kween Kong, attracted some 400 enthusiastic fans. As the host, Mayowa ensured there was barrier-free access for people in wheelchairs and translators for those who did not speak English. On stage, Mayowa uses stand-up to expose the absurdities of a sexist and racist society and to discover the healing power of laughter together with her audience.

As a black woman living in Berlin, you are sometimes alienated from yourself, she feels, because you represent the “other” in contrast to the majority white population. During the fellowship, Mayowa came to the conclusion that Berlin society is not as tolerant as many believe. She intends to continue speaking out and encouraging people to find a voice for their very own stories – whether as a film maker or a comedy show host.

published in Humboldt Kosmos 111/2020

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