Culture desk

Fried Plaintains Collective Puts Black Women Centre Stage

The motivation for the upcoming second event of the Fried Plaintains Collective is the same as it was for the first, says Yemi Azamosa.

“A Black person, a Black women, putting on things to do with Black people’s lives that’s not coming from a patronising place,” she said.

“As usual everybody is welcome but people have to see – Black people, especially in this country, have to see their own face up there,” she said.

The first event of the Fried Plaintains Collective was a spoken-word, music, and film night. This time, Azamosa has organised a screening of Witches of Gambaga, on Thursday 11 August at the Caring and Sharing Association (CASA).

It’s a small space that only fits about 30 people, says Azamosa. So don’t be mad if you get there too late to get in. There’s a €6 entry fee.

The documentary, made by Ghananian feminist filmmaker Yaba Badoe explores the lives of women in northern Ghana, who, accused of being witches, have been banished and ostracised from their communities and forced to live in an isolated camp.

“I thought the documentary had an eerie similar history to the girls who experienced the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland,” she said. It’s about women and girls who have done in many cases everything society asked of them, yet are still being ostracised.

“Is this about society’s standards, or about something more sinister? I wanted to do it with Black women talking about it, so it’s not another charity case. Kind of like, ‘Oh, here’s another documentary about about poor black people,'” she said.

She wants to put on some kind of ritual too, as a mark of respect for women who are going through institutional racism, like those in direct provision, she said.

“To say, ‘We’re thinking of you guys, and we’re not dismissing you, guys.’ I want the Fried Plaintain events to always be an experience as well.”

Filling a Gap

Azamosa, who graduated a couple of years ago in community development, was inspired by nights such as PettyCash, the spoken-word evening led by Niamh Beirne, who puts on shows responding to political and social themes.

Beirne said that Azamosa came to her and said she didn’t feel there were enough nights created by people of colour and LGBTQ people of colour, and she wanted to respond to that. “A fun approach to the political, or a social approach to the political,” she said.

Although she’s white Irish, Beirne said she understands where Azamosa is coming from. “It’s all about visibility,” said Beirne.

“Sometimes, a pronounced visibility, hey this is what this is for, that is important too,” she said. Ireland might be increasingly multicultural, but that doesn’t mean that people of colour are visible, she said.

“When you’re talking about home and making Ireland a home, for some people who would be second generation or first generation, in order to make some people feel like home, you need to find spaces that are specifically addressed to you,” she said.

Azamosa said she feels there are issues that should be looked at more through a different lens.

“I didn’t think that the feminist movement was focusing on, like, women of colour,” she said. When we talk about repealing the Eighth, or other issues, we also need to talk about immigration policies and racism, she said.

For those who took part in the first event, it was also a chance to meet other people from different backgrounds.

“It’s such a great environment, it’s such a welcoming environment,” said Sahar Ali, who performed her poetry. “People stuck around and they talked about the poetry and what it all meant.”

You meet people you wouldn’t encounter otherwise, she said. “Because I actually don’t get to know a lot of these people. A lot of the things I would go to there wouldn’t be much of a non-Irish audience or participation. So it’s nice to start a conversation about that.”

So far, though, like many who try to put on events in the city, Azamosa’s main stumbling block has been finding spaces for them. But she is optimistic that the events will continue.

Next up, she plans, is a gig.

Lois Kapila portrait
Lois Kapila

Lois Kapila is Dublin Inquirer's managing editor and general-assignment reporter. Want to share a comment or a tip with her? Send an email to her at info@dublininquirer.com.

 

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