During her stay at ZK/U Essé was interested in how hip hop culture may or may not have shaped the representations of Black Men in Berlin. Through readings, interviews with hip hop artists and industry players, she collected soundbites. She also collaborated with Ghanaian hip hop archivist and photographer Selorm Jay to produce unique portraits of Berlin based Black rappers. Finally she attended events dedicated to hip hop culture and read books on Black masculinities. This research constitutes a starting point for Essé's future exhibition as she wishes to create a positive, multi-faceted, multi-layered and non-linear audio-visual narrative that celebrates Blackness and Black masculinities far from the usual clichés.
Hip hop culture is said to have first appeared in 1970s and after 50 years of existence, the main actors of the culture: black men, are still reduced to an erroneous image. They are often portrayed as materialistic, misogynistic, simplistic individuals. This is far from reality.
Recent events have allowed to touch on a few taboo topics such as Blackness, Black Masculinity, The Fear of the Black Man but also Black people’s mental health, Black people’s vulnerability.
Essé wishes to explore all these concepts through the prism of hip-hop culture and wants to inscribe her project in the globalized Black Live Matters movement and she hopes that her work will contribute to a deeper change.
The mentor of this residency is Karina Griffith.