I yearn for conversation, connection and collaboration
What do you see when you envision the future of the Belgian creative scene? For us, we see diverse, unique perspectives, representative of the world around us. That is exactly why we have been working on our 20-something issues since 2014. These editions feature 20 people in their (pre-)twenties who are a guide, an inspiration or an Earlybird for the young generation of today in Belgium. It is the greatest honour to step into the minds of some of the most innovative young people in Belgium; and learn about their dreams, fears, inspirations and even their celebrity crushes. This year’s list was co-curated with Kevin Kotahunyi, founder of Please Add Color.
Aminata (Ami) Ndow
she/her, 26 PhD student in African Studies & Anthropology, co-founder of BHM Belgium, Cambridge MA
What do we & our readers need to remember about you?
I yearn for conversation, connection and collaboration and I am more approachable than you might perceive me to be.
What artists are you listening to?/Which records are you playing most right now?/What book are you currently reading?/Which film have you enjoyed lately?
Music: Waxahatchee’s latest album Saint Cloud, Charlotte Day Wilson, Wau Wau Collectif, Peter Cat Recording Co.
Books: The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease by Jonathan M. Metzl, Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief by Victoria Chang and Gregory Orr, Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved by Gregory Orr.
Film: C’mon C’mon by Mike Mills, Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma and Madres paralelas by Pedro Almodóvar.
What do you see for the future of Black History Month Belgium?
Reach even more Black people in Belgium, have the funding to be a professional organisation with our own house for production, creation, collaboration, archiving and caring.
What have been the most fulfilling collaborations BHM has achieved?
Too hard to choose but I would say any collaboration that resulted in a Black person feeling seen, heard, loved, appreciated, praised and cared for.
What makes your heart go faster these days?
Good writing, beauty, small kindnesses, Betty Carter’s 'Beware of my Heart' and Etta James’ 'Feeling Uneasy'.
What are you doing daily at 9 pm/9 am?
9 pm: reading, making an attempt to close some tabs on my browser and pdf reader, 9 am: waking up, make tea, doing yoga (most days), putting on a record, burning incense or diffusing essential oils
What’s your personal utopia?
What brings you satisfaction?
Beautiful and creative composition in writing, decor, music, film, photography, design, fashion, etc. Things being in order.
How do you relax?
Yoga, prayer, tea, essential oils, watching films, tv shows, Youtube.
What’s one of your sources of inspiration that may surprise people?
Mold, fermentation, traditional Nubian doors, antique beaded nightshades and old buildings.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Raising children, doing research, teaching and creating and collaborating in The Gambia.
What is the latest/future project you are working on?
Thinking through my PhD dissertation project, Black History Month 2023 and personal healing.
What will the second part of 2022 bring you?
Who is the person that most influenced you throughout your development in life?
My parents, my cousin and my husband.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned lately?
That true love is about inspiring each other to live… Recognizing how hard living is and how easy it is to lose our passion for it. To remind me that even if I lost everything, I did not lose God. To find hopefulness and reassurance in that.
True love is about inspiring each other to live
Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?
Alfi (@natureahead), Chloë Kamali (@somewhitepeoplename) & Ambika Amrashree Sana (@frank.miauw), Saddie Choua (@saddiechoua) Ioa Salden (@hitsigeneekhoorn), Rinske Salden (@djpeuterbeats) & Marieke Salden (@kinnekessuiker).
Comfort food/speciality dish?
Dahl made with red lentils, red curry and butternut squash, carrot cake oatmeal & domoda.
Yayoi Kusama, Fariha Róisín, Amy Sall, Hayao Miyazaki and Pedro Almodóvar.
Most irrational fear?/Most rational fear?
If you were a cartoon character in a show, what would be your uniform?
A colourful handmade maxidress with embroidery.
What were you like as a child?
Observant, curious, quiet and contemplative
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Communicate with the death.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Medjoul dates, hope & to love and be loved.
If there was a book about your life, what would the title be?
How I learned to stop worrying and love the unknown.
Biggest red flag?
Lack of compassion.
Favourite quote from a book/movie/show/song
‘One of the most durable paradoxes of white supremacy - the idea that those who are closest to an experience of oppression are its least credible witnesses’ Walter Johnson, Soul by soul: life inside the antebellum slave market
‘Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor did He forget you’ - Quran, 93:3
‘And yet there is Someone, whose hands / infinitely calm, hold up all this falling’ - Rainer Maria Rilke, tr. by Robert Bly, from Selected Poems
Photos shot by @aminatopoeia
Portrait with Mohamed shot by @iyeeshaaaa